Hanging out with your friends in the stacks of the university library. Singing along to your favorite song at a campus party. Long conversations with your professor after hours.
These are the moments that combine to create a rich fabric of memorable college experiences, cementing the time as a formative, powerful, and exciting one. College food, on the other hand, usually is not remembered nearly as fondly, with dining halls being tolerated but not pined over among the aspects of collegiate life.
For college students looking to escape from the dining hall experience for a meal or two, options and resources can be limited. Unless you live in an on or off-campus apartment, you most likely do not have access to a private kitchen to store and cook recipes in your parents’ cookbook. However, these limitations do not mean that you cannot create some delicious meals that do not require any cooking, which for our purpose refers to any recipe that can be followed without using a stovetop or oven and can be easily prepared in a dorm room.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of six fantastic, no-cook dishes that can be prepared in your dorm room. And for any students who fall more on the side of eaters rather than cooks, OCM has a selection of great snacks and food that are all tailored for on-the-go college students!
1. Blueberry Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are perfect for students with early classes in need of a nutritious premade breakfast.
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup milk + splash in the morning you can use any type of milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds or chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Put all ingredients in a jar or bowl.
- Stir so everything is combined.
- Put the lid on, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, splash a bit of milk on top and stir around again.
Recipe courtesy of Brooklyn Farm Girl.
2. Chocolate Chia Pudding
Chia seeds are superfoods that make for a “super” way to start your morning or end your day.
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup 100% cocoa/cacao powder
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of mineral salt
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the milk, chia seeds, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt, whisk until blended. Be patient, it will take a good minute or so to blend in the cocoa powder.
- Cover and place in the fridge to chill. Give a good stir after 30 minutes (this step is very important or your pudding will not set properly and you’ll have a soupy mixture), cover again and continue to chill. Stir again after 15 to 30 minutes. Pudding should be thickened and ready to serve within 4 hours, and will be at it thickest after 8 – 10 hours.
- Serve as is, or with a few of the following….
- banana slices
- berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and/or blueberries)
- kiwi, pineapple, cherries, or mandarin oranges
- cacao nibs, mini chocolate chips, or shaved chocolate
- dollop of whipped coconut cream, peanut butter, or non-dairy vanilla yogurt
Recipe courtesy of The Simple Veganista.
3. Taco in a Bag
Also known as a walking taco, this recipe is tasty and requires just a shake in a bag!
- 1/4 cup refrigerated taco sauce with seasoned ground beef (from 18-oz container)
- 1 bag (1 oz) nacho-flavored tortilla chips
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 2 tablespoons shredded lettuce
- In a small microwavable bowl, microwave ground beef on High for 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Squeeze bag of chips to crush slightly.
- Cut bag of chips open along the top; hold open. Top chips with warm ground beef; mix with fork. Top with cheese, lettuce and if desired, other taco toppings. Eat directly from bag.
Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.
4. Mason Jar Greek Salad
Healthy and easy, this salad comes together in a pinch and is super portable.
- 2 Tbsp hummus
- 1/2 lemon (juiced)
- 1/4 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp water (if needed)
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (drained)
- 1/2 cup cucumbers (diced)
- 1/2 cup vine ripe tomatoes (diced)
- 2 Tbsp black olives (sliced)
- 2 Tbsp feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1–2 cups romaine lettuce (chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk together hummus, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt. Add water, if needed, to thin out the dressing.
- Pour dressing in the bottom of the mason jar then begin to layer your salad.
- Start with the chickpeas, then the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and lettuce.
- Place the lid on the mason jar and store in the fridge.
- Salads will keep for about 3 days.
Recipe courtesy of Holley Grainger.
5. Mac and Cheese in a Mug
For a tastier and (dare we say) healthier alternative to fan-favorite Easy Mac.
- 1/2 cup small elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper or hot sauce optional, adds more flavor
- Add water and macaroni into an extra large mug (I recommend at least 20 ounce mug/2.5 cups). Place the mug on a large plate (this is to catch the overflow of water that occurs when cooking). Your macaroni should only rise to 1/3 or at the most 1/2 of the mug. Microwave at full power for 1 minute. Remove mug and stir macaroni, making sure to loosen any macaroni that may be stuck to the bottom of the mug.
- Microwave for an additional 1 minute and stir again. During this 2nd minute is when the water tends to overflow a little. If it's only a little water, then it should be fine. If it's a lot of water you may need to add a little water to your macaroni later. Macaroni should be almost cooked after the 2nd minute mark and most of the liquid should be almost gone, but your macaroni should still be moist. How much more you need to cook will depend on your microwave.
- Continue to cook the macaroni at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. If your macaroni gets very dry, add 1 tbsp of water. However, adding water will increase cooking time so you only need to add the water if your macaroni is dry. If it's moist but not watery, do not add more water. The microwave will cook the moist macaroni. After the first 30 seconds, my macaroni was just cooked but still al dente. Almost all the water was evaporated though the pasta was still very moist. I then microwaved for 30 more seconds. At this point my noodles were completely cooked and soft and no water remained. My macaroni cooked for a total of 3 minutes.
- Working quickly, add in cheese and stir until cheese completely melts and evenly coats the macaroni. Add salt, ground black pepper or hot sauce if desired. Eat immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Kirbie’s Cravings
6. Frozen Blueberry Bites
Vegan students can easily sub their favorite dairy-free alternative to enjoy this healthy dessert snack.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup yogurt vanilla, fruit-flavored, and/or dairy-free
- A few toothpicks
- Prep: Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment or wax paper.
- Dip: Place a berry on a toothpick and dip in the yogurt. Set on the parchment paper in a single layer, and repeat until all the berries are dipped. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour.
- Store: Eat immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer.
Recipe courtesy of Live Eat Learn.
Cooking in a dorm room may not be the most glamorous way to pass time, but you can make the most of it by enlisting a few of your friends or hallmates to help you with the job! These recipes are just a few of many that you can make with the resources that you have available to you! Dorm room cooking is all about being resourceful and making the most of what you have, making for a lesson that will last well after you have to worry about a dirty dorm room microwave!