Copycat Panera Bread Strawberry Poppyseed Salad Recipe | Best Salad Ever

We love a good restaurant copycat recipe, especially ones that are seasonal or only available for a limited time on our favorite restaurants’ menus. One we’re constantly fantasizing about? Strawberry Poppyseed Salad from Panera. It was equal parts fruit salad and green salad, with a luscious orange and onion poppyseed dressing with pops of fresh fruit including strawberries, blueberries, Mandarin oranges, and pineapple.

We’re hopeful it’ll make a comeback on the Panera menu so we can eat it among other favorites like their mac and cheese and Frontega chicken panini. Meanwhile, it’s ridiculously simple to make at home, so you can eat it anytime you want.
The nicest part of creating these at home, as with any copycat, is the flexibility to modify and alter up the ingredients as you see appropriate. We used grilled chicken breast breast in ours, but feel free to substitute any protein if you choose. The same goes for the fruit—we love how vivid and brilliant the assortment here is, but use whatever you have on hand.

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Are you not a fan of romaine? Choose arugula or spinach. Not a fan of walnuts? Instead, try pecans or cashews. It’s your salad; make it precisely how you want it (without the stress of having to change your order at the counter).
If you choose to grill chicken, we recommend spending the extra effort to pound the breasts to an equal thickness before cooking. This ensures that your chicken is moist throughout and that the slices in your salad are nice and even.

YIELDS4 serving(s)
PREP TIME15 mins

how to make Copycat Panera Bread Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Copycat Panera Bread Strawberry Poppyseed Salad Recipe: Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1 pound total)
  • 1 teaspoon of sodium-free lemon pepper
  • Kosher salt is kosher salt.
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar, distilled
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice 1/2 tsp coarsely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped onions
  • a third of a cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 (10-oz.) chopped head romaine (approximately 6 c.)
  • 1 (10.5 oz.) can drain Mandarin oranges in light syrup
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 3/4 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
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Copycat Panera Bread Strawberry Poppyseed Salad Recipe: Directions

Step 1

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat for 5 minutes (or preheat a grill pan for 5 minutes). Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it into 1/2″-thick chunks with a meat mallet. Season the chicken with lemon pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt all over.

Step 2

Grill the chicken until golden brown and slightly cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Allow to cool somewhat on a cutting board.

Step 3

Whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, poppy seeds, granulated sugar, dried onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium mixing basin. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking frequently, until the dressing is smooth and emulsified.

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Step 4

Toss romaine with one-third of the dressing in a large mixing basin; season with salt. Thinly slice the chicken against the grain and put it on top of the lettuce. Add oranges, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and pecans on top. Serve with the leftover dressing on the side. REF.

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