Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad

On Wednesday, my sister, little man, and I took a trip to a local orchard where we picked blueberries.  We came home with over four and a half pounds of some of the freshest blueberries that I’ve ever tasted.  Naturally, we’ve been trying to make as many dishes with blueberries as possible in order to eat them before they go bad.

The delicious blueberries that we picked

Last night we put together a salad bar that allowed each of us to customize a salad to our own liking.  Other than the spinach for our salad base, and some chicken that we grilled, the rest of the salad ingredients were delicious fruits, which allowed us to make our own Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad.


Spinach (which can substituted for any lettuce of your liking) (1-1.5 cups per person)
Strawberries, rinsed chopped into bite size pieces
Blueberries, rinsed
Pineapple, cut into bite size pieces
Can of mandarin oranges, drained
Chicken breast
Poppyseed dressing (either store bought or homemade, separate recipe below)


1.  Grill one chicken breast per person until no longer pink on the inside.  Once cooked, let sit for at least five minutes before slicing into bite size strips.
2.  While the chicken is grilling, prep all fruit, a large handful of each fruit for each person.
3.  On the stove, roast a handful of pecans for each person.
4.  Arrange fruit, chicken, and pecans over spinach or other lettuce.
5.  Drizzle poppyseed dressing over salad.

Our kitchen counter was transformed into a mini salad bar

There are several brands of poppyseed dressings available at local stores, but the homemade dressing that we made is also very easy to make.  The recipe below makes approximately four servings worth of dressing.

Poppyseed Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.  Rewhisk before drizzling over salad.  Store any extra dressing in an air tight, sealed container.

QOTD: What is one of your favorite restaurant dishes to make a copycat version of?

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23 Responses to Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad

  1. Darlene says:

    awesome. my mouth is watering.

  2. Lesley says:

    One I like to copy is Wendy’s apple pecan chicken salad. It’s easy to throw together, and I add on the dressing I like.

  3. Everyone seems to love that Panera salad-I think your version looks a lot better!

  4. this looks so good. I’ve never picked fresh barries but I always thought it sounded fun to do with the kids. I think I’ll try to find time to do it this year.

  5. Sounds delish! I love blueberries, especially picked fresh off the bush. I miss having a blueberry farm nearby ;-(

  6. Karen :0) says:

    YUM! This salad looks delicious! Fresh blueberries are always the best! Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  7. Wendy says:

    Looks yummy. I need to start sharing some of my recipes!

  8. Coco says:

    Oh, yum! Where can you get local blueberries around here??? Or were you somewhere else?

  9. Rachel says:

    I don’t often make copycat recipes but this looks damn good!

  10. AJ says:

    That looks so yummy!

  11. This looks even better than the ones from Panera! Now to get a healthier copycat of their cinnamon crunch bagel! Haha

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