Panera Bread is lighting it up with new dishes including an updated BBQ Chicken Salad! I got this new salad as soon as it came out and had to come home and make a Copycat version right away!
But don’t worry – there’s definitely some ways you can take some short cuts to making this super quick – because that’s essential for me when I’m making dinner after a long day at work.
What’s in Panera’s BBQ Chicken Salad?
Layer citrus-marinated Chicken and black bean and corn salsa on top of romaine lettuce then toss with BBQ ranch dressing, topped with pickled red onions, frizzled onions, and drizzled with apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce.
Panera Short Cuts
This dish – as most of the salads at Panera – has a bunch of little components. So here’s the short cuts I take to make it a 10 minute dish!
- Chicken – I always use the Mojo Criollo marinade because their chicken is in a citrus marinade – it’s cheap and readily available (Iberia or Goya brand is great)
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa – I just use a store bought version – if you don’t feel like buying one – you can just add some canned corn and canned black beans
- BBQ Ranch Dressing – this is easy – take your bottle of ranch and add in some bbq sauce! I used the same BBQ sauce later in this as well – I went with a thick Kansas City BBQ Sauce from Kroger.
- Pickled Red Onions – the same recipe I have for no-cook fridge pickles – do just a jar of red onions only! You will use them ALL THE TIME!
- Frizzled Onions – who has time to frizzle an onion – whatever that is?! I bought fried onions in the salad fixins area
- Apple cider vinegar BBQ – guess what? I have 6 bottles of BBQ sauce in my pantry – none were apple cider vinegar-ish. So I took that Kansas City BBQ and added some apple cider vinegar – it was identical!!! (I know because I got extra sauce when I ordered so I could taste test later!)
The moral of the story – don’t feel like you have to “from scratch” everything! Use quality ingredients and you’ll be fine. And I promise – my chicken tastes better!
What to serve with Panera’s BBQ Chicken Salad?
Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad
- Lay out a slice of parchment paper and place chicken breast on top – then fold over parchment. Pound chicken breast lightly to even thickness
- Marinate chicken breast in Mojo Criollo marinade at least 60 minutes
- Air Fry Chicken at 350 for 10-12 minutes until temp is 160 degrees (or bake your chicken breast – but AF is the juiciest!)
- In two bowls – you'll prepare your dressings: – in one bowl, mix 1/4 cup bbq sauce with apple cider vinegar– in second bowl, mix 1/4 cup bbq sauce with ranch dressing
- Tear one head romaine lettuce between two bowls
- Top each bowl with with salsa, pickled onions, crispy onions and dressings (bbq and bbq ranch)
- Slice chicken breast and split between two bowls
- Squeeze 1/2 lime over each salad and serve