I’m bringing this one back up from the archives to share with you today. Because I’m pretty sure we all need more of this salad in our lives.
I only have a handful of restaurant copycat recipes here on the blog. But after having ordered the Fuji apple chicken salad at Panera for nearly a decade, I decided a few years ago that it was high time to learn how to make it for myself. Because clearly, it must be a keeper if I’m still not tired of it after so many years. (The same goes for their French onion soup, which I’m convinced is made with some magical secret ingredient that makes it better than all French onion soups. I digress…)
The good news about this salad is that it’s really nothing fancy. Just a simple green salad made with dried apple chips, seasoned chicken breasts, and a white balsamic vinaigrette. Although I have to admit that I do use this salad as an excuse to make a batch of my favorite candied pecans to throw on top of it. I may use a few more of those than Panera. ;)
Here’s how to make it!
Well first off, here’s a photo I took of the salad back in 2011. It was when I was in my bright-solid-colored backgrounds stage, and when all of the walls in my house were painted bright colors.
Now I live in a loft with completely white and neutral tones, and I’m in a white-on-white photography stage. Coincidence?
Well, at least the salad has remained the same over the years. It’s literally overflowing with mixed greens, sliced chicken breasts, apple chips (the crunchy, not soft ones), gorgonzola…
Then it’s drizzled with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette. (Although if you can’t get your paws on white balsamic, traditional balsamic vinegar will also work well in the vinaigrette.) Panera’s version of the salad also includes tomatoes. But I happen to prefer this salad without, so I left them out.
Just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl and give it a good toss.
And then voila — a restaurant-quality salad is ready to go in the comfort of your own home.
Thanks, Panera Bread, for the inspiration on this one. It’s a keeper!
This Fuji Apple Chicken Salad recipe was inspired by Panera Bread, but is simple and delicious to make at home.
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 oz.) bag mixed greens
quarter of a red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups apple chips
1 cup glazed pecans
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup freshly-diced tomatoes (optional)
White Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2–3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
To Make The Salad:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then mist it with cooking spray or oil.
Brush chicken breasts with olive oil, then season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Or you can add your favorite seasonings.) Place on prepared baking sheet, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees and the juices run clear. Remove and let chicken cool for at least 10 minutes, then thinly slice or shred.
Toss the remaining salad ingredients together in a large bowl, and drizzle on your desired amount of vinaigrette. Toss and serve immediately.
This sounds delicious and is such a beautiful salad! Presentation is half the battle with getting my husband to eat salads :-D
This looks amazing… I want to have it for lunch!
I LOVE this salad. Thanks for the homemade version!!
I love that you make homemade versions of your favorite salads. I need to do that too, I find myself at Panera and Unforked way too often for lunch! I love this salad too. Beautiful photographs, Ali!
I’m chomping the air….see you do to me?
I made this last night and it was delicious. I think the restaurant must have mixed the cheese with the vinegrette to get that white dressing. This tasted just as good and I knew what was in there. Way less complicated than other recipes I found. My boyfriend finally admitted that salad can be dinner meal. Hallejuah! I did sub fig infused white balsamic and turned out great. I think apple cider vinegar might have worked also.
Ooooh interesting! Yes, I had noticed their dressing was a little bit whiter. I bet that’s it!
And cheers to salads for dinner! :)
What kind of apple chips did you use? The ones at Panera taste far better than any I’ve found and look exactly like the ones in your photos. Thanks for posting… definitely looking forward to making this soon.
I’ve used the Seneca brand that’s available at my grocery store (sold in the produce section under the apples). They’re nice and crisp and delicious.
Please help a beginner and let us know how you make those apple slices and what kind of apples you use. Also, as a beginner, how did you do the nuts. If I’m going to make this myself I don’t want to go to the store and buy dried apple slices…I might start off to the store and end up standing in line at “P’s). Thanks for posting a beautiful post.
She posted the pecans the post before this one :) They look amazing!!
How did you make the apple chips? I love the apple chips at pan era.
Your recipe looks so delicious! I never would have thought to add garlic to the dressing. I make a similar variation, but I use champagne vinegar instead of white balsamic. You can check it out here: https://www.inspiredwives.com/2012/11/apple-and-champagne-vinaigrette.html
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I am certainly going to try this twist.
One of my favorites to order in Panera! Saving this to make soon!
This is my faaavvvvoooriittteee salad from panera! Thank you! Cant wait to try it, yum! Gotta enjoy my salads and vegetables while I still can, before it is carb time for Chicago!
I only discovered Panera not to long ago, because we didn’t have it growing up in Canada. But, this just so happens to a favorite salad of mine! LOVE that I can make it at home now – pinned!
Well geez if the salad looked this beautiful at Panera I might actually order it!!! Stunning, as always.
Happy re-do of a re-do. And I’m a firm believer that our environment (white walls) influences our styling styles. :)
just ate this last week – thanks for the great recipe!
I bet it’s better!
I love this salad. I can’t wait to make it!
What a beautiful salad! I could definitely afford to eat a few more salads:)
Please tell me you had a wall that color purple! This is one of my favorite salads at Panera.
This is the only salad I ever order at Panera, its the best! So happy to be able to make it at home now..I always wondered about their dressing…it’s what MAKES the whole salad!
Where do you buy the crisp apple chips. I live in orlando fl
I buy them at the regular grocery store in the produce section. They are often located near the dried fruits, or sometimes near the apples. I’d ask the store employees if they’re not easy to find — they might be hidden. :)
Love those apple chips and candied pecans, salad perfection!
Delicious salad. If I wanted to double the salad dressing recipe how long will the salad dressing last in the refrigerator?
This looks great! I love Panera and this is one of my faves!
This looks amazing!! One of my favorite salads ever. I def need to make this asap! :)
This salad sounds and looks delicious! I really need to try it :)
Your version looks better than the Panera version and their version looks pretty darn good! Great salad and photos, Ali!
Your photography is just gorgeous. So crisp and clear and really just makes the food in the picture almost look 3-D; like you could literally just reach out and grab it! LOL. So nice.
I will def try to make this now. Thank you!! You’re posts are always so “kitchen inspiring” to me!
Thanks so much, Danielle! You just made my day! :)
I just made this for lunch. I thought it was even better than Panera (which I love). I used some left over cumin crusted chicken breast and used Trader Joe’s candied pecans so it came together in minutes. I’ll definitely be making this again and again. thanks!
Another great recipe by Gimme Some Oven! I just made and ate this tonight. :) It was so good and packed with flavor and crunch! Thanks for all of the great recipes you post. I’ve been having fun trying them and have loved all of them!!!
Did you know they now sell Panera Fuji Apple Dressing in the grocery stores? Just bought some yesterday, yum!
Great salad! Where did you get the apple chips?
Can I even tell you how excited I am that you’re sharing this! I travel for work and I seek out Panera wherever I go, mainly because it’s quick food that involves vegetables, unlike most fast food places. And this salad is my go-to! The dressing is something I’ve been coveting in my everyday life for so long… I can’t wait to put this together at home! Woohoo!
Thanks Michelle, we hope you enjoy making it! :)
Paneras fuji Apple vinaigrette is actually sold in grocery stores now so u can have the delicious authentic dressing at home too. It’s made with sugar, apple juice concentrate, cider vinegar along with oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon and some other stuff. I’d love to find a homemade version of the Apple vinegrette to save $. This is my favorite salad in the world!!
I love that you added ranch! I love easy recipes like this!
I’m in love with your blog. Happy New Year!
I love every ingredient used to make this delish salad; however, I always always request the salad maker hold the apple chips and instead request they slice up a freash apple to top my salad…..yum yum…..why eat dried fruit when we all know Panera has lotsa fresh apples behind that counter??!!! Try it and let me know what you think….
We think that would be delicious as well Kymmi! :)
Do you make your own crunchy apples ? If so -please share the recipe and process. ?
Hi BeBe! We just bought them, but they are super easy to make:
I can’t find any dried apple slices anymore. I used to buy them all the time. They were in the produce section with other salad toppings. All kinds of flavors too. Do you know where I can get them now. I really don’t want to have to make my own.
Hi Nadine! Hmmm, that’s so strange! We usually see them in little kiosks, hanging from those clips (in the fresh fruit section) and sometimes in the dried fruit and nuts aisle. We hope this helps!
Could you share how you made the apple chips? They look soo good, but I have no experience in making them yet! Thanks!
Hi Courtney! We just bought them, but there are tons of recipes for them online and they look fun and easy to make! :)
The apple chips and dressing really bring this salad together for me. I buy the Seneca apple chips which is what Panera uses and now I’m happy to hear you can buy the dressing :) Thank you for the candied pecan recipe, can’t wait to give that a try!
Awesome! We’re so glad you enjoy it! :)
Could you possibly suggest how to make this into a mason jar salad? I think it would be amazing to take for lunches
Hi Shana! You could definitely just layer everything in a jar and put the vinaigrette in a little tupperware container so the salad doesn’t get soggy. :)
I’m not a fan of the cheese used in the Panera recipe, but can I substitute something else in particular to go with it? Any recommendations?
Hi Jennifer! Yes, we think goat cheese, feta, or white cheddar would be fantastic in this. We hope this helps and that you enjoy the salad!
This is my favorite Panera salad of all time and I’ve been eating it for years.
Gave this recipe a try just for fun and WOW, this comes pretty close. I even went as far as to buy the white balsamic to make the dressing…even though it doesn’t look like the original dressing it comes so close in taste and brings the salad together. I also feel better knowing what’s in it and I can control how much I mix into the dish.
Best copycat recipe so far!
This was perfect. Everyone agreed it tasted like Panerai’s salad. I will definitely make this again.
Great recipe. My modifications: I bought Boars Head Chicken Breast and cut it into cubes. I added grapes cut in half. I omitted the cheese. I used walnuts instead of
Pecans. It was amazing!