Between classes and studying, dinnertime for college students usually means grabbing some kind of to-go item or Easy Mac and calling it a night. But sometimes you just crave a warm, homemade dinner. I’ve learned to improvise and minimize my time in the kitchen by cooking different things at once. Here’s an quick way you can cook a nutritious vegetarian meal for yourself (and impress a guest) in a quick half hour.

Total cost:  $2/plate


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2

Oven Roasted Carrots
1 bunch carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Garlicky Quinoa and Brown Rice
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 lime (optional)

Roasted Garbanzo Beans with Feta
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 tablespoons crumbled feta

Photo by Parisa Soraya

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2. Wash carrots and cut the greens off stems.
3. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle the minced garlic, salt and pepper. Bake for about 7 minutes.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

4. Pour quinoa, brown rice, garlic and salt into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
5. Stir occasionally until all the water has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Fluff with a fork when finished.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

6. Toss garbanzo beans in olive oil, salt and pepper. After the carrots have cooked for about 7 minutes, pour the garbanzo beans onto the pan next to them and cook both for another 7 minutes.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

7. When everything is finished, plate onto two dishes. Squeeze lime over garbanzo beans and sprinkle on crumbled feta.

Plating tip: Tightly pack quinoa into a small bowl or cup and then flip onto plate for a better presentation.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

8. Garnish with carrot greens and serve warm.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

You can also substitute the ingredients to fit what’s in your fridge. If quinoa isn’t your thing, you can try any other familiar kind of grain for a similar effect. Or swap in a different veggie, especially these three vegetables, that taste great roasted. And if chickpeas aren’t up your alley, replace it with another food that packs a protein punch.