Grilled Chicken and Fruit Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing

by Michelle on June 3, 2010

Two summers ago, I went to visit Christie in Rochester and she was raving about the Strawberry, Poppy Seed and Chicken Salad at Panera Bread. It seemed simple enough to make at home, and since she had just given birth and eating an entire meal out was a bit difficult, we went to the grocery store and picked up chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, walnuts, lettuce, and poppy seed dressing. (The Panera version uses pecans, but we both prefer walnuts, so we made the switch.) We cooked the chicken on the grill and then added it to a salad made with the rest of the ingredients. It was delightful—the perfect meal for a sweltering summer evening. When I returned home, I made the salad again for Johnny, who ranked it as one of the top meals I’ve ever made for him, so I knew I was on to something. Once the weather began to warm up this year, he asked me when I’d be adding the “salad with the chicken and fruit” back into our dinner rotation. The answer, my dear, is tonight. Strawberries are in season and plentiful and I picked up some fresh spinach, which I used as my base, though you can use whatever type of lettuce you like.  While I prefer fresh pineapple, the thought of carrying a whole one home in my overflowing grocery sack and then cutting it up was not appealing, so I used canned. You can too. I won’t tell anyone. Trader Joe’s makes an excellent version of poppy seed dressing, but if you don’t have one nearby, look for Brianna’s Rich Poppy Seed dressing at your grocery store. It’s delicious.

I marinated chicken tenders all day in barbecue sauce, cooked them on my grill pan, and added them to the salad:

Oh summer bounty, how I love you!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

christie June 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm

This is funny because JUST yesterday I heard a Panera commercial on the radio that said the Chicken and Strawberry Poppyseed salad was back on the menu – I damn near crashed my car! I was so excited. Then, I replayed an unpleasant memory in my head. Last year I finally got to Panera to get the salad and it must have been September or something because the girl looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Oh…we don’t have that anymore.” (As she tossed her hair and smiled that cute teenager smile.) I almost cried. I guess I wasn’t in the mood to make it myself. It’s been a while and you’ve got me in the mood! Yeah!

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Tes June 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Everything looks delicious. That bbq chicken on salad is really make me hungry.

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