It’s Salad Time!

It’s Salad Time!

Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad, a seasonal Panera Bread favorite, inspires some wonderfully fruity ideas for at-home salads.

We wait all year for the moment when strawberries turn ruby-red and blueberries are at their sweetest—that’s when we know it’s time to welcome back our Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad, which debuted in 2001. 

This standout salad features fresh hearts of romaine topped with our fat-free poppyseed dressing and tender chicken raised without antibiotics rubbed with a special blend of citrus and spice. Add sun-ripened strawberries and blueberries, fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, and a handful of crunchy pecans, and you have a finished salad that deserves its standout status. 

“I am always finding new things to love about this salad,” says Panera Bread chef and Food Team member Mark McDonough. “When you peel back the layers, it’s easy to see why this dish is a delicious choice.” But adding fruit to a green salad isn’t just a way to improve taste—it’s an easy way to up your intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber with every bite. 

Ready to start creating at home? Here are some summer salad combinations that make the most of the marriage of fresh fruit and crispy greens.

  • Peaches, avocado, and arugula with shaved zucchini and pomegranate seeds. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Avocado tip: pick one with dark textured skin that’s firm but not rock hard. 
  • Grapes, sugared almonds, crumbled blue cheese, and mixed field greens tossed in red wine vinaigrette. To make a batch of sugared almonds, brown sliced nuts in a nonstick pan with a generous amount of sugar, stirring until the sugar melts and the nuts are toasted.
  • Cherries with arugula, goat cheese, and red onion. Top with shelled pistachios, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Cherries have a short selling season, so stock up when their natural sweetness peaks. You can even freeze fresh cherries to use in the fall or winter months.
  • Peaches with brown rice, baby spinach, sunflower seeds, and arugula. For the dressing, blend ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, and 2 tablespoons each of low-sodium soy sauce, honey or brown sugar, minced fresh ginger, and water.
  • Watermelon, arugula, and feta tossed in olive oil and accented with freshly ground black pepper. For the sweetest, ripest watermelon, look for one that is firm, symmetrical, and heavy for its size. It should also have a creamy-yellow spot on the bottom, the point where it sat on the ground while ripening in the sun. If the spot is green or white, the melon was picked too soon.