Copy Cat Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken

I don’t know if y’all have been to Panera Bread to check out their summer menu yet but it’s pretty good and really refreshing. I love summer and nothing is more satisfying on a hot day than an ice cold beer but of course we can’t always have beer especially when are at work. I decided to make a copy cat of one of their salads, it doesn’t contain everything but you definitely can get playful with it, adding what you like and taking out what you don’t like.

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I never tried fruit in salad and to be honest the thought of it just weirded me out for some reason that was until I walked into to Panera Bread and discovered that they were no longer going to carry my favorite salad, Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (tear). I was sad and kind of forced to try something new and that’s when Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad came into my life.  IT WAS DELISH! I had to order it without the toasted pecans as I’ve developed nut allergies thru the years, which kind of sucks ’cause I’m sure the pecans give it that extra texture.

Anyway I went grocery shopping a few days after having that salad and it was on my mind, I had to replicate it if not at least something pretty close! So I bought the ingredients Panera Bread had listed on their website, I opted out on blueberries, pineapples and of course the pecans. The poppyseed dressing on the salad is amazing, light subtle and flavorful. I knew that I wanted to make a poppyseed dressing from scratch but tell me why it was impossible for me to find poppyseeds?! I may have to go to wholefoods or even order them online but I found out that Panera Bread started to sell their own dressing which is available at your local supermarket in the produce section and even at Target. Score!

When I got home, I lightly seasoned some chicken breasts and popped them in the oven and as soon as they cooled I put them in the refrigerator so that the next day they would be nice and chilled for the salad.

Lets get this salad assembled…what you need:

  • Chicken Breast, cooked & diced
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Mandarin Oranges, Del Monte 
  • Crispy wantons strips
  • Poppyseed dressing

Add as little or as much as you want, ultimately you know what will satisfy you. I’m going to be honest, I NEVER measure anything when I cook or in this case assemble. I do measure when I bake and that’s really the only time. I guess I just learn and do taste tests as I go.

Let me know what you think and definitely try the salad, if not at home at least at Panera Bread!

**Panera Breads’ ingredients, per their website: Chicken raised without antibiotics and romaine tossed with fat-free poppyseed dressing and topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and pineapple, mandarin oranges and toasted pecan pieces


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