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9 Best Panera Bread Salads to Order

Panera Bread, a Chain of Fast Casual Restaurant

Enjoy a nutritious and colorful salad from Panera Bread for a satisfying meal. This post will delve into Panera’s garden-fresh menu and highlight the best salads that elevate the standard for a filling and healthful meal. Renowned for its inventive recipes and dedication to using premium ingredients, Panera Bread provides a wide range of salads designed to entice the senses and nourish the body. Every bowl is filled to the brim with a symphony of colors, textures, and vibrant flavors, ranging from the crisp and flavorful Greek Salad to the refreshing Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. We’ll be highlighting the top Panera Bread salads in our investigation, appreciating their flavorful combination, balance, and freshness. Come along with us as we explore Panera’s salad selection, helping you to find and enjoy the healthiest and tastiest salads on their storied menu.


Green Goddess Cobb Salad With Chicken

Green Goddess Cobb Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

The Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken is one of the best Panera salads because of its classic mix of hearty ingredients. You’ll get antibiotic-free chicken mixed with kale, arugula, red leaves, red onions, and grape tomatoes for an ultra-healthy green and red base. But the best elements of this salad are the more flavorful (and fattier) toppings of Applewood-smoked bacon and fresh avocados. Of course, you can’t have a Cobb salad with hard-boiled eggs, and it’s nice to feel assured that the ones in this salad are cage-free.


Caesar Salad With Chicken

Caesar Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

Panera’s Caesar Salad with Chicken is a classic combination of romaine, chicken, parmesan, and Caesar dressing we are all familiar with. But perhaps what makes this salad stand out among other caesar salads – besides the antibiotic-free chicken – is the homemade black pepper focaccia croutons. I usually don’t care too much for croutons in a salad because they just feel like an unnecessary filler. But in Panera’s caesar salad, they’re the main character!  They are crunchy, tasty, and add a highly flavorful element that keeps me from adding too much caesar dressing.


BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad
Source: Instagram

Finding a good BBQ chicken salad isn’t as easy as finding a good Cobb or Caesar, but Panera gets the job done with their delicious BBQ Chicken Salad. On a bed of fresh romaine lettuce, you’ll find corn salsa and black beans that add a little sweetness and texture to the salad. Then, the onions add a nice sharp flavor, while the chicken gives it that hearty, filling factor. But the best part of this salad is, unsurprisingly, the tangy, zesty BBQ sauce made with apple cider vinegar. It’ll transport you to your favorite southern BBQ spot while allowing you to stick to your diet. This is the perfect salad for lunch if you want something safe but not too basic. 

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Asian Sesame Salad With Chicken

Asian Sesame Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

If you’re looking for a more nutty flavor, go with the Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken. This healthy dish includes heart-friendly ingredients like toasted almonds and sesame seeds. With that, you’ll get some Asian-inspired flavor with the help of cilantro, wonton strips, and a delectable Asian sesame vinaigrette that will have you licking your fork. The best part is, as with all of Panera’s salads, you can get this one with antibiotic-free chicken – and a free French baguette!


Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad With Chicken

Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

The BBQ Chicken salad isn’t the only one at Panera with a tasty mixture of black beans and corn. The Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken is a fan-favorite due to its bean and corn salsa as well as other flavorful ingredients like fresh cilantro, feta, and avocado. Plus, instead of cheddar or pepper jack, as you might expect, Panera includes feta cheese on this salad for an unexpected but highly-welcomed twist! I love that they put these Southwest-inspired ingredients on a bed of arugula because it gives the salad a nice peppery flavor. And, of course, the Chili-lime Roja Ranch Dressing ties everything together for a creamy, exceptional finish.


Greek Salad

Greek Salad
Source: Instagram

The Greek Salad is one of the healthiest and lightest options at Panera, with the feta cheese, black olives, and Greek dressing being the main heavier ingredients. This salad is true to its name, including a Greek-inspired combination of grape tomatoes, red onions, black olives, and feta cheese. It would be more authentically “Greek” if there were green bell peppers instead of lettuce, but I appreciate the bed of romaine and how it ties all of these robust flavors together. Additionally, I can dismiss the lack of bell pepper due to the inclusion of pepperonici, a tasty golden Greek pepper similar in taste to banana peppers.


Fuji Apple Salad With Chicken

Fuji Apple Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

Panera’s Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken doesn’t just come with any old apples. As its name implies, it specifically includes Fuji apples, a popular type of apple known for its sweet flavor and enjoyable texture.  The apples are not fresh but in chip form, which I don’t mind. The apple chips add a particular crunch to the salad without adding too much moisture you might get from a regular apple-based salad. In any case, the real star of the show in this salad is the Gorgonzola cheese. There’s just something about this cheese blended with the apple flavor that is to die for! Red onions, pecans, and grape tomatoes add both a dynamic flavor and a complex texture. Finally, I appreciate how the white balsamic apple vinaigrette adds additional apple flavor to the mix if the chips aren’t cutting it.

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Strawberry Poppyseed Salad With Chicken

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad With Chicken
Source: Instagram

If the apple salad sounds sad to you because you’d prefer natural fruit in your salad, you’re in luck. Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken includes real strawberries, fresh blueberries, citrusy mandarin oranges, and tangy pineapple for a sweet, fruity, and colorful addition to your green bowl. All of this fruit lies on a bed of Romaine lettuce. I greatly appreciate the addition of pecans for a crunchy texture and poppyseed dressing to meld the fruity and nutty flavors together. This is a great meal for those hot summer days where you want something light and refreshing. 


Panera Citrus Asian Crunch Salad With Chicken

Panera Citrus Asian Crunch Salad With Chicken
Source: Pinterest

If you’re looking for an Asian-inspired salad, but sesame seeds and wonton strips aren’t your favorites, you might opt for the more intensely flavored Citrus Asian Crunch Salad with Chicken. The carrots, edamame, and pickled red onions provide a fresh take on salad toppings. At the same time, teriyaki sauce adds a touch of sweetness, and the tangerine soy-ginger dressing finishes the salad with a memorable kick. Instead of the chicken breast used in other Panera salads, this one comes with seared chicken thigh, which is a nice touch. Chicken breast might not have enough flavor to compete with these other strong ingredients. Plus, I love that this salad is not on a bed of standard greens but a potent mixture of all of my favorites in what they call a “Power Vegetable Blend.”

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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