Winter Salad Fantasy

Now that I’m a working woman again (more on the end of grad school soon), I get to partake in the grand tradition of commuting. I don’t mind it, really. In the morning I can read the Metro and do the crossword, allowing me to both stay informed and mentally agile. In the evening I do the sudoku and fantasize about what I’m making for dinner.

Today, there was no question about it. I was craving what I’ll call my winter salad fantasy— it’s a salad of mixed greens, blue cheese, almonds, and dried cranberries. The tangy blue cheese, sweet cranberries, crunchy almonds and fresh greens become irresistible to me when tossed in a light garlic salad dressing. I paired it with a baked acorn squash and some chicken. Delish.

Winter Salad Fantasy (makes 2 big salads or 4 side salads)


  • store-bought “fresh herb and greens” salad mix (if you’re not into pre-washed salad mixes, I recommend arugula or baby spinach)
  • dried cranberries, approximately 1/2 cup
  • almonds (crushed, sliced, or whole), approximately 1/2 cup
  • blue cheese (about 2 oz, or 1/3 cup crumbled)
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • one or two cloves garlic
  • salt & pepper

Toss salad, cranberries, almonds, and blue cheese together. (Add more of any ingredients if you don’t like the distributive quantities I suggest! In a separate dish, mix about three or four tablespoons olive oil with about one tablespoon lemon juice. Mix in one (or two, if you want) crushed garlic cloves, add salt & pepper to taste. Adjust other ingredients as necessary until the dressing tastes good to you. Drizzle over salad and toss. YUM.

More Recipes From the Broke Yet Creative Graduate Student

Summer Tuna Salad

Open and drain one can of tuna (solid white albacore, dolphin-safe, in water).

Smush in:

  • about a tablespoon of mayo (or more to taste)
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice (fake from a bottle is fine, rice vinegar would probably also be ok)
  • a tablespoon of olive oil (canola oil or veg oil will not do; this is what gives this a grown-up taste
  • salt & pepper


  • small handful (2-3 tablespoons) of nuts (I suggest almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
  • small handful (1-2 tablespoon) of dried fruit (I suggest craisins or raisins, but also try dried apricots).

Stir to insure equal distribution. Enjoy!

Although the nuts and berries tend to be a bit pricy, they last a while (and are even more cost effective if you buy them in bulk). The whole thing has a nice protein punch, but with a yummy sweetness from the craisins.

Also: crasins + almonds make a great mid-afternoon snack that satisfies the hunger urge while letting you nosh during long lectures. For an extra treat, splurge and mix in a pack of M&Ms from the vending machine.