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Surviving Sodexo: NDNG—No Dairy, No Gluten

One great aspect of Sodexo is that students can always count on the availability of bread, cereal, pizza, bagels and a variety of ice cream. Yet, for dairy and gluten free Maya Vasser ’16 and other students like her, Sodexo does not always have the same reliability. “It’s not that hard, but my options are very slim,” Vasser said. Gluten free for four years and just recently dairy free, Vasser does her best to diminish effects of her autoimmune disorder. While her advice to any student in her situation is to go to Whole Foods, she cannot help but miss the luxury of just being able to grab a slice of pizza, and she often finds herself at the salad bar in Lower Usdan preparing a nutritious salad.

This week, for all the gluten and dairy free students at Brandeis, I would like to feature Vasser’s “NDNG” salad. The salad, light enough to be eaten on the side, but with the addition of chicken large enough to be a main course, will re-nourish your body on the coldest of winter days.


balsamic vinegar
chicken from allergen room (optional)


Get a large bowl or plate and head directly to the salad bar. Fill the plate with spinach and add cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers and chickpeas. Vasser explained that it is important to have a significant amount of spinach, because it’s the base but to use only a few onions, as they taste best in small portions. If in Usdan, go to the allergen room and put chicken on top of salad. Depending on the day in Sherman, gluten-free chicken may be available. Cut the chicken and add it to the salad. Return to the salad bar and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the salad. There should be enough vinegar to have some leftover on the bottom of the plate after you finish the salad. While there are an infinite amount of salad combinations available, the NDNG will please both the taste buds and leave any gluten or dairy free student in good shape.

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