Panera Apple Salad (with homemade dressing)
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Homemade Panera Apple Salad with a sweet vinaigrette – make your favorite Panera salad recipe at home! This is the perfect lunch or dinner salad recipe.
This is the perfect salad all year but especially in fall – a copycat Panera Apple Salad!
Do you have Panera where you live? We absolutely LOVE eating at Panera (but I don’t love the price). I love how fresh their salads are and their bread is amazing. I usually try to skip the dessert case, but I love drooling over that too.
I have a few standards when I eat at Panera: I’m either going to get the Greek Salad or, if it’s in season, the Apple Salad with chicken. Until a few years ago I’d never thought to put apple in a salad. A friend of mine did it once when I was over for lunch and I fell in love with the combination of flavors. The sweet crunch of the apple mixed with the lettuce and cheese and other toppings on the salad quickly became my favorite combination.
The actual name of this salad is Fuji Apple Chicken Salad because it’s a salad filled with fuji apples and grilled chicken.
It’s really the perfect salad all year long, but especially in the fall at the peak of apple season.
What’s in the Panera Bread Fuji Apple Salad?
Apples, obviously. But there are so many other wonderful things in this delicious salad. It’s the perfect lunch or dinner recipe, and even my picky daughter loves it.
Here’s what you put in this copycat Panera salad:
- Fuji apples (or Gala, use whichever looks best)
- Spring Mix (feel free to use romaine, but I love the combination of texture and flavor in Spring Mix)
- Tomatoes and red onion
- Grilled Chicken – that lemon herb chicken I made forever ago is my go-to chicken recipe for this salad.
- Sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds or nuts (anything you love, pecans are also amazing in this)
- Goat cheese (or you can use Feta)
I discovered my love of goat cheese in 2003 on my second wedding anniversary. We were in Paris and I ordered a salad that came with goat cheese toasts. I ate that salad about three times – and can still remember it. To this day I am still in love with the creamy and saltiness of goat cheese. Crumbled, it’s perfect on this salad. The salty soft cheese with the crisp sweet apple is the perfect texture combination.
If you don’t like goat cheese, feel free to use feta or your favorite cheese. Shredded cheddar also goes very well with apples.
Normally I don’t eat salad dressing but I love the vinaigrette on the Panera Apple Salad. I made a homemade copycat version that I think really comes close to the original.
The dressing on the Fuji Apple Salad at Panera is a bit sweet and a bit tart. It’s a dressing that starts with white balsamic vinegar. White balsamic has a lighter color and taste than traditional balsamic vinegar. It adds a wonderful flavor to the dressing.
Copycat Panera Apple Salad Dressing has the following ingredients:
- White balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder
It’s so easy to make your own vinaigrette – just add all the ingredients to a jar and shake. But, if y0u don’t want to make your own, you can buy a Fuji Apple dressing that Panera sells at the grocery store. It’s not the dressing they put on the salad, but it’s super delicious with a sweet apple flavor. It’s actually Jordan’s favorite salad dressing!
This easy copycat Panera Apple Salad is easy to make and perfect for a healthy lunch or light dinner. Enjoy!
PANERA APPLE SALAD (WITH HOMEMADE DRESSING)
FOR THE SALAD:
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 to mato sliced
- 1 fuji apple diced
- 1/2 red onion sliced
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds shelled
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
- 1-2 cooked sliced chicken breasts
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 2 ounces white balsamic vinegar
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Toss all ingredients in a large salad bowl.
- The amount of chicken you use depends on how many you're feeding. As a main dish, this salad feeds 2 and 8 ounces of chicken breast is plenty.
Make the dressing:
- Place all dressing ingredients in a jar. Seal and shake.
- Pour over salad, toss to coat. Serve immediately.
This is a great salad without the chicken too!
Greek Pasta Salad is another (semi) Panera Copycat!
Caprese Tortellini Salad is a favorite!
Cheesecake Apple Salad is another fall favorite!
**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**