Copycat Panera Ancient Grain, Arugula and Chicken Salad


Back when I was younger, you would have never found me in a restaurant eating alone.  But now, it is something I look forward to.

A few times a year, usually on a Friday night, I will leave Greg at home with the kids and I will head out to run errands and get dinner.  When this happens, I almost always end up at Panera.  Panera is usually quiet at night and I can just sit down and eat in silence.  It is actually amazing.

What do I love at Panera?  Everything.  But I usually end up getting a salad.  Panera salads are always an amazing balance of flavors and textures.

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed the ancient grain, arugula and chicken salad with my “choose two”, and I loved it!  I thought I would try to make this at home!

I don’t always buy arugula.  Arugula is almost a little spicy and light.   Plus, I loved the addition of the ancient grains to this salad.   The addition of the ancient grains made this salad a meal, not just a salad.

For my ancient grains, I actually just used quinoa.  And I cooked my quinoa in my instant pot.   Did you know that cook time for quinoa in an instant pot is just 1 minute?

I also used leftover chicken from the night before.  You can get frozen chicken breast for salads, or even just get a rotisserie chicken to keep in the fridge.

Copycat Panera Ancient Grain and Arugula Salad 

Makes 1 salad


2 cups of Arugula

1/8 cup of cabbage, cut into long skinny strips

1/8 cup of apple slices, cut into thin slices

1/8 cup of cooked ancient grains- I used quinoa

1/8 cup of grapes, chopped

1/4 cup of cooked chicken pieces

1/4 cup of pepitas, or pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar dressing

pepper to taste

White Balsamic Vinegar dressing 

1 part white balsamic vinegar – you can use regular balsamic vinegar too.

1 part olive oil

1 part maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

Method:  In a bowl, place arugula, cabbage, and apples and mix with salad tongs.  Arrange grapes, chicken, ancient grains and pumpkin seeds.  Mix dressing in a bowl or salad dressing container.  drizzle dressing on top and top with freshly ground pepper.

This was seriously delicious!  I love finding new and easy salad recipes!  I might even like my copycat better than the original!


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