Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad – Copycat Recipe

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Reason number 247,628 why I love summer? Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. It is hands down my favorite salad, and I look forward to Panera bringing it back each summer. With juicy slices of chicken, crunchy bites of pecans, and a sweet explosion of fresh summertime fruit, this salad is amazing.

I recently concluded that despite my love of this salad, however, it is probably best to avoid solely keeping Panera in business, and made my own version instead; I must say, it’s a pretty close comparison! 

I kept the same fresh flavors throughout the recipe, but I substituted baby spinach for the traditional romaine lettuce, just to incorporate some extra vitamins and nutrients. You can either make your own poppyseed dressing (recipe below), or find a favorite at your local grocery store (there are some really tasty options out there). However you decide to dress it, this salad provides a light, refreshing, and satisfying meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Have you ever had the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad from Panera? Let me know below!

Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Serves 1


  • 3 cups baby spinach 
    • You may also use romaine
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (in juice) – drained
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges – drained
  • 1/4 cup pecans or slivered almonds
  • 3 ounces grilled chicken breast – sliced
    • If you are looking to save time, there are many pre-grilled refrigerated chicken options, which you can find near the lunch meat. The brands that come to mind are Oscar Meyer and Perdue.
  • Poppyseed Dressing – to taste (about 2-4 tablespoons)
    • Homemade (recipe follows) or Store-bought

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Inspired from

  • 1/4 cup light Miracle Whip
    • You can also use light mayo, but I would increase the sugar a little bit
  • 2 tbls. milk
  • 1 tbls. sugar or Splenda
    • Add more or less depending on desired sweetness
  • 1 tbls. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  1. Toss together salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
  3. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly.
    • Refrigerate remaining dressing for future use.
  4. Enjoy!


Holly · July 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

Did their salad always have pineapple or did you add that in? I don't remember it.

I love this salad too, it's a great refreshing meal.

    Paula M · July 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure they have pineapple there…though maybe not… Either way, it's tasty đŸ™‚

Anonymous · October 21, 2012 at 12:05 am

It definitely had pineapple in it. Are the calories the same in this recipe?

    Paula M · October 21, 2012 at 12:32 am

    This entire recipe has about 500 calories. That being said, this recipe is HUGE. You could easily cut it in half for a delicious lunch at around 250 calories. I just made this recipe so huge because I was craving a hearty yet healthy dinner one night:)

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