“I’m tired of salad, but there’s no other way to get your daily vegetables,” one of my friends told me a few weeks ago as she stabbed a piece of lettuce with her fork. Although the dining halls at Princeton are wonderful, even the best of salad bars can become boring when you see the same ingredients every day. Instead of your usual lettuce, spinach, and Thousand Island dressing, here are some new and hopefully exciting alternatives for your daily fix of vitamins and fiber.

Part 1—Gourmet salads, dining hall version

Chicken Caesar Salad

Ingredients: lettuce, croutons, cut up grilled chicken

Dressing: Caesar

Although cutting the chicken can be a bother, the rich taste of dressing and the crisp lettuce turns your usual chicken breast into the beloved, classically American salad. Alternately, you can just add chicken to pre-made Caesar salad at Wu/Wilcox. If you are concerned by the calories in creamy Caesar dressing, you can always adjust the amount of dressing and just add salt—the beauty of the salad bar is that you can customize everything to your preferences.

Mexican Salad

Ingredients: lettuce, tomato, kidney beans, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced grilled chicken, corn chips

Dressing: tomato basil, hot sauce

Any salad with tomato and/or beans from the vegan bar is a great addition to this. If there is no sour cream, plain unsweetened yogurt has a similar taste, and can be found with the peanut butter and other spreads. If you (like me) love spicy foods and miss the kick that the right amount of spiciness adds to a dish, the hot sauce will work perfectly with the tomato-flavored dressing.

Greek Salad

Ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, red onion, cottage cheese, olives

Dressing: olive oil, salt, pepper

Typically consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese, Greek salad is a familiar restaurant favorite, popular for its juicy ingredients and its simple, yet refreshing taste. Though the dining halls don’t have feta cheese, they do have cottage cheese, which can be a milder, similarly-textured substitute. Fans of Greek salads will find that this dining hall rendition is a more than adequate replacement.

Part 2—Salads using…


Ingredients: lettuce, mixed greens, kidney beans, chickpeas, edamame, corn

Dressing: herb vinaigrette

Called the “meat of the field” in Japanese, beans are a great source of protein. Even if you’re not vegetarian, try this as a healthy and more environmentally-friendly alternative to meat. The vinaigrette and refreshing texture of chilled corn help balance the taste and mouth-feel of the dense, protein-filled beans.


Ingredients: Any kind of short pasta (from the pasta bar), carrots, tuna, onions

Dressing: raspberry vinaigrette

The pasta should be cold if you want a salad-like dish, but if you’re looking for an alternative to your usual marinara sauce, this salad’s sweet, tart flavor works just as well with warm pasta. Putting some spinach under warm pasta will let it soften and cook a little with the carrots and add some green to the dish.


Ingredients: lettuce, mixed greens, tuna, corn

Dressing: ranch

Tuna, corn, and mayonnaise (in this case ranch) are a staple combination in Japan for salads, sandwiches and even pizza. This recipe is a great alternative way to get protein if the dining hall’s main entrée doesn’t suit your taste on a certain day. Put this tasty salad on bread for a delicious and quick lunch.


Ingredients: mushroom, tomato, green pepper, tuna, onion

Dressing: herb vinaigrette

Mushrooms seldom get to be the star of the show, but this salad gives them the opportunity to shine. The mushrooms’ distinct taste and smell complements the tart tomato and vinaigrette, while the green pepper and tuna adds additional taste and color to the salad.