A fresh and healthy rainbow salad with lots of fruit, pecans, and a poppy seed dressing. This is a delicious gluten free lunch or dinner option!
One of my favorite restaurants is Panera. It used to be a much bigger favorite of mine, back in the day when I was eating wheat, eggs, and dairy, because of the bread. And the bagels, and the cheesy soups and sandwiches, and did I mention the BREAD?!? So good. (Not a sponsored post, I just was a really huge Panera fan in my earlier years). :)
In fact, there was a year where I was driving to Cleveland every other week for a lesson from the Associate Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, and there was a really nice toll road service plaza that had a Panera. I so looked forward to stopping at that Panera on my way home. Yes, I was driving 3.5 hours to take a lesson that lasted about 90 minutes, and then turning around and driving the 3.5 hours to go home. The things you do when you’re young!
Anyway, there are still a few things that I can eat from Panera even though I now have food sensitivities to work around. I like the classic salad with chicken, the black bean soup, and my favorite: the strawberry, poppy seed, and chicken salad.
What really makes my favorite rainbow salad so special is the poppy seed dressing. I love it – it’s sweet, and it goes really well with crisp lettuce and fresh fruit. I decided I needed to make my own version of this salad at home. I made it for lunch without the chicken, but you could add chicken or turkey if you want.
It was SO easy to make the poppy seed dressing that goes over this rainbow salad. I just dumped the ingredients in a glass jar and shook it up. We kept it in the fridge for about three days, and it held up just fine.
I used blackberries, but the original Panera salad uses blueberries…any berries will work just fine and be delicious.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Rainbow Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing.
A fresh rainbow salad filled with fruit and nuts and topped with a poppy seed dressing.
- 2 romaine hearts chopped
- 2 cups blackberries
- 2 cups pineapple diced
- 2 cups mandarin oranges in light syrup drained
- 2 cups strawberries chopped
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
Make the dressing: Put all the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. Close tightly and shake the jar until combined.
Assemble the salads: Put a bed of romaine on each plate. Place the blackberries, pineapple, oranges, strawberries, and pecans in a neat row on top of the lettuce.
Drizzle each salad with the poppy seed dressing.
Dressing adapted from here.
Have you ever made a favorite Panera menu item at home?