As university students, the last thing any of us want to do after a long day of lectures is spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. Some days, all we can manage is a microwave meal or indulge on curry chips in the Clubhouse. But fear not! For those dark evenings when you’re craving something a little more homily, we’ve got you covered.

Here is a relatively prep-free, budget-friendly, simple dinner recipe that’s perfect for students.

Equipment Needed:

Cooking hob
2 Pots (one with a lid)
Pasta strainer (optional)
Mixing spoon
Cooking time: Approx. 20 minutes.


Meatballs and Sauce:

  1. Turn on the hob to a high heat.
  2. Pour a dash of oil into the pot and let it heat up.
  3. Sauté the onions until they turn a light brown colour, then add the meatballs on top.
  4. Once the meatballs have browned, lower the heat to medium and add tomato passata sauce and a sprinkle of garlic granules.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid and leave it to simmer, stirring intermittently.


  1. Fill a pot with water and add a pinch of salt, then turn the hob to high heat.
  2. Bring the water to a boil before adding the pasta.
  3. Watch for approximately 5 minutes, stiring intermittently to prevent pasta from sticking.
  4. When ready, carefully remove the pot from the heat and drain the pasta water using a pot lid or strainer.
  5. Season and serve.

Tips and Alternatives:

  • Add washed mixed leaves to meatballs and sauce during the cooking process or after, depending on your preference.
  • There are various alternative tomato sauces available, specifically for meatballs, at similar prices.
  • You can’t go wrong with a sprinkle of your favourite cheese on top too.

Storage and Leftovers:

By using a tomato passata instead of a regular pasta sauce, there is more versatility in what you can use it for. All leftovers and ingredients should be stored in the fridge. The frozen diced onion has a long shelf life and won’t make the whole fridge smell, which is especially valuable for students in shared accommodations.

And there you have it—a stress-free, prep-free, homily dinner that doesn’t break the bank. Bon appétit!

Saoirse Wilson's Meatball Recipe. Image rights; The College Tribune.
Saoirse Wilson’s Meatball Recipe. Image rights; The College Tribune.

Saoirse Wilson – Arts and Lifestyle Editor