Have you tried Panera’s most popular salad? According to the girl who helped me last time I was there, it’s the Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. She promised I’d love it. She was right.
I loved all of the fruit in this salad: fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. As I was eating the salad, I knew it was going to end up on ABK…
If you’re a Panerapurist, you’re probably wondering if a homemade salad is really going to taste like Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. This recipe comes via Panera’s website. They demonstrate the recipe online throughvideo (as far as I could find, only the dressing is in print). I followed the recipe for their dressing (tweaked it just a bit reducing the Stevia and Dijon mustard) and made a note of the salad ingredients. They didn’t disclose the recipe for their chicken, but it seems to have an herb/citrus type flavor. I came up with a version that has a nice herb crust that is flavorful, moist and easy to prepare in a home kitchen.
Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
- 3 chicken breast halves about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
- *Mrs. Dash seasoning
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon stevia sweetener or two additional tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- 1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 large head romaine lettuce washed, chopped
- 1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
- greens combined should equal about 15 cups total
- 1 can mandarin oranges drained well
- 1/2 lb strawberries washed and sliced
- 1 pint blueberries washed and patted dry
- 1 cup pineapple sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
- 1 cup pecans toasted and cut in half
For the chicken:
Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it’s heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Poppyseed Dressing:
In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.
For the salad:
Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately.
Yields about 15 generous side servings.
Mrs. Dash is found in most grocery stores near the spices.