My favorite Panera menu item of all times is probably the Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Salad! The summertime salad is a Panera classic with a cult-like following. And for good reason. The Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Salad (or ‘straw pop’ as my friend Sarah and I have dubbed it) is a seasonal slam dunk.
I had this idea for a Summertime Salad Series here on the blog – where I share one simple, tasty salad recipe per week for the rest of summer. And I could think of no better way to kick it off than with this vegan copycat Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Salad.
Crunchy romaine plays nicely with seasonal berries, allowing you to savor the bounty of summertime. Pineapple adds a nice tang, and pecans provide a wonderful crunch.
The salad used to come without chicken, but sometime in the past 8 years or so, it changed to come with chicken on top by default. Obviously, as a vegan, I order it without chicken, and instead sub avocado.
The avocado adds a creamy, savory element, and balances the sweetness of the fruit quite nicely. The poppyseed dressing is tangy and sweet, and adds the finishing touch on this dish, which I consider a perfect summer lunch (enjoyed best on the patio).
Now, you can buy Panera dressing lots of places, including Target. So if you want to keep it super Panera-authentic, you could always grab that.
Otherwise, I provide a recipe for a similar sweet-tangy dressing down below. I actually subbed chia seeds in place of poppyseeds, partially because it was what I had on hand, and partially because it ups the vegan protein, fat, and omega-3 content of the dish. Win-win. Love when that happens.
I hope you enjoy this salad! Buckle in for this summer salad series. It’s gonna be SO FRESH.
Other salad-related content you may enjoy:
- Watermelon Arugula Salad with Vegan Feta, Balsamic, and Mint
- Asian Kale Salad with Soy Ginger Vinaigrette
- The Best Hummus Dressing
Other Panera-related content you may enjoy:
Copycat Vegan Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Salad Recipe (with dressing!)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 meal-sized salads, 4 side salads
- 6 cups chopped romaine (roughly 3 heads)
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup salted or raw pecans
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup diced pineapple
- 1/3 cup Mandarin oranges, drained (optional, I personally prefer without)
- 1 avocado, pealed and sliced
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave, honey, or sugar
- 1 teaspoon neutral-tasting oil (such as avocado; can be omitted with varied results)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds or poppyseeds
- Wash romaine and chop romaine into bite-sized pieces. Wash strawberries and blueberries. Slice strawberries into bite-sized pieces. Dice pineapple into bite-sized pieces. If adding Mandarin oranges, strain juice from can.
- Combine all above ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle with pecans. Slice and add avocado.
- Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and whisk well.
- Pour dressing over salad and enjoy.