Consider this a homemade version of the Panera Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken, one of my favorite salads. It’s delicious, it’s healthy, and it’s pretty enough for entertaining. Aside from making my own apple vinaigrette and using fresh apples instead of dried apple chips, the ingredients are identical: a mix of lettuces (romaine, arugula, and radicchio), red onion, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, roasted chicken breast, and pecans.
For the chicken, I picked up a rotisserie chicken at the market and chopped up the breast meat, because when you have a 4-month-old baby, you take the easy route when you can. (That reminds me: how long do you think I can go on using the excuse that I have an infant? I was thinking of something like another 2 to 18 years but let me know.) You could always roast your own chicken at home!
And if you’ve never made your own vinaigrette before, this recipe would be a great starter. The base is a classic vinaigrette (vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper), with apple jelly added for a touch of sweetness and a subtle hint of apple. Don’t have apple jelly? Don’t worry—honey would make a fine substitute. The vinaigrette will keep for three days if you cover it and store it in the refrigerator, (just whisk it well before using or put it in a mason jar and give it a good shake). It also happens to get better the longer it sits.
Homemade Panera Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 teaspoons minced shallot (optional)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple jelly (or honey)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper pepper
½ large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups arugula
1 head radicchio, chopped
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
2 to 3 apples (any kind you like), cored and sliced
12 ounces rotisserie chicken breast (or any chicken breast you like), chopped into 1-inch pieces
½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl or small glass jar with a lid, combine the vinegar and shallot and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the oil, apple jelly, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended or put the lid on the jar and shake for about 20 seconds. (The vinaigrette will keep for three days in the refrigerator. Shake well before using.)
In a large bowl, toss the chopped romaine, arugula, radicchio, and sliced red onion. Divide among 4 plates or bowls and top each one evenly with the apple slices, chopped chicken, crumbled Gorgonzola, and pecans. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons dressing over each salad and serve.
Nutrition Information & Notes:
1 serving of salad with dressing:
411 calories, 25g carbs, 22g fat, 31g protein, 302mg sodium, 15g sugar
1 serving of salad WITHOUT dressing:
325 calories, 19g carbs, 15g fat 31g protein, 278mg sodium, 10g sugar