Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet as a college student is no easy task—navigating dining hall menus can be tricky, the temptation of cheap ultra-processed food lurks at every social event, and the limited space of a dorm room makes cooking for yourself a challenge. But at Forks Over Knives we strive to make the WFPB lifestyle accessible for everyone, especially the next generation of plant-based eaters. As you pursue your degree, fuel your brain and your body with delicious meals that can be easily whipped up with limited kitchen supplies. From finger-licking-good sandwiches to hearty Instant Pot stews and microwave-made tacos, this roundup of vegan recipes you can make in a dorm room will fuel late night study sessions and satisfy post-party munchies on your path to becoming a college graduate.
No kitchen? No problem! These satisfying meals are easy to prepare without a stove, oven, or microwave. All you need is a little bit of counter space and some standard kitchen tools (like a mixing bowl and utensils), and you can throw together a delicious dish in a matter of minutes. Between classes, social events, homework, and club meetings you probably don’t have time to prepare intricate meals; these simple and scrumptious recipes will keep you going no matter how packed your schedule gets.
Instant Pot and Slow-Cooker Recipes
If there’s one kitchen appliance that’s worth splurging on for your dorm-room days it’s an Instant Pot or mini slow cooker. These nifty tools don’t take up much counter space and can easily be stored under the bed or in a closet when you’re not cooking up a storm, and the Instant Pot lets you saute right in the pot before the slow-cooking or pressure-cooking functions begin. Simply place all your ingredients in the pot, click a few buttons, and voilá! You have a delicious homemade meal without dirtying a bunch of dishes. Pro tip: Make sure you have food storage containers on hand to store leftovers so you’re set on meals for the whole week!
Beans are filling, nutrient-dense, and incredibly versatile—basically, they’re the perfect dish to have on hand as a busy college student. This recipe flavors pinto beans with oregano, cumin, paprika, and chipotle chiles in adobo to create a smoky pot of goodness that’s great to eat as-is or can be used in burritos and taco bowls. Just press a few buttons on the Instant Pot, and you’re good to go!
When you’re feeling homesick and craving some childhood comfort food, whip up this insanely creamy vegan mac and cheese. Nutritional yeast and roasted red bell pepper combine to create a beautiful orange sauce that tastes even better than the boxed version you loved growing up. Miso-infused breadcrumbs offer a delicious finishing touch that takes this recipe from a nostalgic favorite to next-level delicious.
Going to school in a city with intense winters? This Instant Pot minestrone will warm you up from the inside out. A medley of fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta soak up a savory broth that’s positively slurpable. Keep your brain sharp and body well-fed with this easy dorm-room recipe, which tastes like a classic dish prepared by an Italian nonna.
Dining-hall meals have nothing on the delicious recipes you can whip up in your room with a few simple ingredients and an Instant Pot. This North Indian–inspired dish is loaded with fragrant spices that meld together in a creamy kidney bean stew. Fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice take this recipe over the top. Serve over rice, and dig in!
A healthier (and easier) take on fried rice, this tasty pilaf recipe combines the comfort of chewy brown rice with a large serving of tender veggies. Seasoned with the warming aromas of ginger, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, you’ll love the complexity of flavors that come together effortlessly in the Instant Pot. Who said cooking in your dorm room has to be hard?
Ready to satisfy all your death-by-chocolate cravings while taking your Instant Pot skills to the next level? With the help of a blender (for whipping up the luscious chocolate icing) and cake-pan inserts for the Instant Pot, you can bake this rich cake without an oven. Feel free to top with fresh berries or dive into this heavenly treat as soon as it’s done!
A few staple ingredients create a tasty bowl of green lentils that can easily be turned into a soup, taco filling, or chunky pasta sauce. This simple dorm-room recipe is ideal when you’re in a time crunch and need something substantial to fill your rumbling tummy. Feel free to toss in any other leftover veggies you have on hand, like bell peppers or mushrooms, for a clean-the-kitchen-sink type meal.
Even if you normally hit the snooze button five times in a row, this delectable slow-cooker oatmeal recipe will get you out of bed in a heartbeat. Shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, and raisins turn the oats into a delightfully creamy porridge that’s spiced with the warming flavors of cinnamon and ginger. Shredded coconut flakes turn up the tropical vibes so bleary mornings feel more like a beach-side vacation.
While split pea soup normally gets its hallmark smokiness from ham bone, this tasty vegan version uses smoked paprika to deliver big flavor without any animal products. This slow cooker recipe is perfect to put on in the morning and come back to after a day packed full of classes. The split peas get deliciously creamy after hours of being simmered with fennel, carrots, and onions, creating the perfect consistency for dunking a side of crusty bread!
Like Remy the Rat says in the famous Pixar movie, “Anyone can cook!” Even if you’re not a decorated chef, you can create your own dorm-room version of this classic French dish by throwing a jumble of fresh veggies in a slow cooker until they get deliciously tender. Seasoned with cayenne, garlic, and basil, this tasty veggie stew is great served over a bed of wheat berries or any other whole grain you enjoy.
Cozy up to a bowl of this satisfying soup that transforms humble potatoes into a restaurant-quality dish. Leeks bring a subtle savory element that’s enhanced even further by fresh thyme and smoked paprika. The end result? An intensely tasty meal you can easily throw together from the confines of your tiny dorm room. Enjoy with some whole wheat bread or a side salad!
Forget Top Ramen! These microwaveable meals are way tastier—and healthier—than a measly cup of prepackaged noodles. Keep some basic seasonings and kitchen tools (like a can opener and potato peeler) in your room or the common area of the dorm to make whipping up these vegan meals a breeze. You’ll love the bold flavors and fresh ingredients of these hearty dishes that can be created with just a few minutes in the micro.
A satisfying bowl of chili doesn’t have to take hours on the stove: This microwave version is ready in 20 minutes and is just as tasty! Hearty sweet potatoes get melt-in-your-mouth tender after going in the micro and mix perfectly with white beans, kale, and diced tomatoes. A generous scoop of chili powder adds smoky goodness to this stew, which tastes best served over a bed of steaming brown rice.
Dig into this dorm-room recipe that comes together in just 25 minutes with a little bit of microwave magic. Comforting penne pasta (or any shape of pasta you prefer) is tossed with fresh broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and bell pepper so you get a healthy dose of veggies in each serving. Sprinkle with chopped nuts for added crunch, and hit the textbooks with a full stomach!
It only takes six simple ingredients to whip up this yummy dish starring tender potatoes and hearty kidney beans. Seasoned with paprika and topped with pico de gallo, this deceptively simple recipe is packed full of flavor that you’ll be hard pressed to find in the dining halls. One happy reader says, “This was delicious!”
Tacos in the microwave? You bet. The succulent bean and corn filling for these tempting tacos will keep your mind sharp during lectures and belly full between social activities. Romaine lettuce adds crunch while cubed avocado brings a creamy element that pairs perfectly with the warm corn tortillas. Ready in just 20 minutes, this dorm-room meal is definitely a keeper.
Get your daily dose of whole grains with this colorful quinoa slaw recipe, which highlights a medley of fresh veggies. Worried about whether this dish will keep you full? Chickpeas add hunger-busting heft so you’ll be all set until your next meal. Feel free to add in any other fresh veggies you have on hand that need to be used; this recipe is incredibly versatile!
The simplest of all our dorm-room recipes, this veggie-packed hummus wrap is great in a pinch. Warm up the whole wheat tortillas in the microwave for easy assembly and layer them with sliced carrots, bell pepper, and lettuce. A generous splash of hot sauce brings depth of flavor to the creamy hummus so your taste buds are satisfied and your stomach is stocked with good-for-you ingredients to keep you chugging toward that degree.
This is a great collection for an extended hotel room stay as well.
Thanks Megan for some great recipes.