Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students (2024)

If I remember anything from my days as a philosophy student, I’d say this is a valid syllogism: “All students are vegan. All vegans have a couple of tins of chickpeas in their cupboard. Therefore, all students have a couple of tins of chickpeas in their cupboard.” Now, despite those two premises being not terribly empirical, I have a feeling that, in 2018, this is not too far from the truth. So today I offer a three-course meal based on two tins of chickpeas, two tins of coconut cream and a bunch of other inexpensive ingredients. Whether you’re a student, a vegan or neither, there’s lots to enjoy.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s chargrilled vegetable recipesRead more

Chickpea and rainbow chard soup (pictured above)

If you can’t get hold of chard, use spinach or another leafy green instead. For non-vegetarians, grated parmesan would go very nicely here, as would some buttered bread to mop everything up.

Prep 20 min
Cook 65 min
Serves 4

360g drained tinned chickpeas (1½ tins) – reserve the remaining drained chickpeas and their liquid for the other recipes
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped into ½cm cubes
3 sticks celery, roughly chopped into ½cm cubes
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 tbsp thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
¼ tsp smoked paprika
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
900ml vegetable stock or water
600g rainbow (or swiss) chard, stems cut into 1cm chunks, leaves roughly shredded
1 red chilli, finely sliced on an angle
10g picked flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 lemons – 1 zested, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the other cut into wedges, to serve

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Pat the chickpeas dry, then spread out 100g of them on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Add two teaspoons of oil, a good pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper, toss to coat, then roast for about an hour, until golden and crisp.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high flame, then saute the onions, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned – about seven minutes. Add the remaining 260g chickpeas, carrot, celery, potato, thyme, tomato paste, smoked paprika and half the garlic, cook for two minutes. Add the stock, a teaspoon and three-quarters of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium, cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are completely soft. Transfer to a blender in batches and blend smooth, then keep warm until ready to serve.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in large saute pan on a medium heat. Add the chard stems and cook for five minutes, until softened. Add half the chilli and the remaining garlic, cook for two minutes, then stir in the chard leaves, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for four minutes, until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley, lemon zest and juice.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top with the chard, the crisp chickpeas and the remaining chilli, drizzle with the remaining 30ml oil and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Courgette, chickpea and herb pancakes

Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students (1)

Serve these with a spoonful of yoghurt instead of the coriander cashew cream, if you prefer, or even just drizzled with lime juice. Makes eight pancakes.

Prep 15 min
Cook 55 min
Serves 4

For the pancake mix
3 courgettes
150g chickpea flour (also called gram flour)
1 tbsp cornflour
20g coriander leaves
10g mint leaves
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
120g drained tinned chickpeas (½ tin)
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
80ml olive oil

For the coriander cashew cream
75g cashew nuts
40g coriander
60ml lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
40g coconut cream

Roughly grate the courgettes, then put them in a sieve set over a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt, mixing to combine. Leave to sit for 20 minutes, then squeeze out as much liquid from the courgettes as you can. Set aside the courgette flesh – you should have roughly 370g.

Meanwhile, put the cashews in a small saucepan, add boiling water to cover and simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain, then put the nuts in a blender with the coriander, lime juice, coconut cream, 50ml cold water and half a teaspoon of salt, and whizz until completely smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the gram flour, cornflour and 200ml cold water until smooth. Roughly chop half the coriander and mint, and stir into the mix with the spices, ginger, chilli, chickpeas, courgettes, half the spring onions and a teaspoon of salt.

Heat half a tablespoon of oil in a medium nonstick frying pan on a medium flame. Once hot, ladle in about 110g of the pancake batter, using a spatula to spread it out into a thin circle about 15cm in diameter. Fry for about two minutes, until it’s golden brown underneath and bubbles are starting to form on the top, then flip and cook for another two minutes on the other side, until golden and cooked through. Slide the pancake on to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and batter, until you have eight pancakes, or enough for two per person.

Mix the remaining herbs and spring onion with the last teaspoon of olive oil. Top each pancake with the herb mixture and serve with the coriander cashew cream.

Coconut ice-cream with lime-macerated strawberries and crisp coconut

Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students (2)

This is a vegan dessert to impress, and it doesn’t even require an ice-cream machine. You need to start a day ahead, so the ice-cream can freeze overnight. Aquafaba is the thick, viscous water you find in a tin of chickpeas. It can be whipped up like egg whites and is often used as an egg substitute in vegan dishes, where volume, structure and a smooth consistency are needed.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Setting Overnight
Serves 4

280g coconut cream
160g caster sugar
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
¾ tsp ground star anise
100g coconut flakes, lightly toasted
½ tsp flaked sea salt
70ml aquafaba (the liquid drained from ½ can of tinned chickpeas)
250g strawberries, quartered
1 lime, zest finely grated, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tsp

Put the coconut cream in a medium saucepan on a medium heat with the sugar, vanilla and half a teaspoon of star anise. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar and cream dissolve – about two minutes. Off the heat, stir in the coconut flakes and leave to steep for at least an hour. Strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside. Mix the coconut flakes with the sea salt and spread out on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with clingfilm and set aside overnight.

Put the aquafaba in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place (or use a handheld whisk). Whisk on high speed for about eight minutes, until the mixture resembles semi-stiff whipped egg whites, then gently fold in the coconut cream until well combined. Line a 21cm x 11cm loaf tin with greaseproof paper, then pour the mixture into the tin. Wrap tightly with clingfilm and freeze overnight.

The next day, heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Mix the strawberries in a bowl with the lime juice and zest, and leave to macerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the clingfilm from the coconut flake tray and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until deep golden and crisp.

To serve, scoop the ice-cream into four bowls and top with the strawberries and their juices, the remaining star anise and a generous helping of crisp coconut.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students (2024)
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