Fruit feta green salad with candied pecans & poppyseed dressing is a Panera copycat recipe, with romaine lettuce, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries & oranges!
My sweet, long time friend Debbie and I had lunch a month or so ago at a local Panera Bread restaurant. We both ordered their chicken poppyseed salad, which had lots of yummy fruit in it! I came home after my lunch, determined to make this incredibly delicious salad at home, and came up with this recipe.
The restaurant serves the salad with toasted nuts on top (and chicken breast slices), but I wanted to change it up a bit! I made candied pecans to garnish the top of the salad, and left off the chicken. Also used my homemade poppyseed salad dressing, and this colorful and yummy salad was a HUGE hit! We made it a meatless meal, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve made this fruit feta green salad several times since then, as well. We’ve tried it with other salad dressings, as well. We took this salad with my poppyseed dressing on it (made to serve 10) to a potluck dinner recently, and it received very good reviews there, also! Here’s how to make 2 LARGE individual salads (we had them for our meal!).
Scroll Down For A Printable Recipe Card At The Bottom Of The Page
Make The Candied Pecans
Make the candied pecans first, or make them ahead of time, early in the day. They will need time to dry out after cooking, so plan ahead. Place pecan (or walnut) halves (or large pieces) in a large, non stick skillet. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and a tiny bit of water to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the liquid has dissipated, and the pecans are covered in a sticky glaze. Transfer the candied pecans to a piece of aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Separate pieces with 2 forks, and let them dry (at least 30 minutes).
Mix Up The Poppyseed Dressing
If making my homemade poppyseed salad dressing, simply mix the ingredients together, and refrigerate until ready to use. It only takes a few minutes to whip up, and I heartily recommend it! The dressing even has a tiny bit of red onion in it, which is also in Panera’s salad!
Prepare The Fruit and Feta
Cut and slice the oranges (I used blood oranges in these photos!), strawberries, and pineapple. Canned pineapple chunks can be used for convenience, but fresh pineapple tastes wonderful, too!
TIP: To cut the oranges so they look good in the salad, slice the peel off, from top to bottom following the curve of the orange. Cut all white pith off, then section and cut into chunks. Shown below is a Valencia orange.
Have the fruit prepped and ready to go, along with the feta cheese crumbles and the fresh blueberries.
Time To Make The Fruit Feta Green Salad!
Now it’s time to build these beautiful salads! Place the chopped romaine lettuce into individual salad bowls or onto salad plates.
Arrange the oranges, strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries around the top of the salad. Sprinkle the salad with the feta cheese crumbles.
Top each fruit feta green salad with some of the dried candied pecans. Drizzle your favorite salad dressing over the top, and serve! We enjoyed these big salads for dinner, as the main course! However, if you want the extra protein, add some cooked chicken breast slices! YUM!
What Kind Of Salad Dressing Goes With This Salad?
We think poppyseed salad dressing tastes the best with all that fresh fruit! We’ve enjoyed these salads several times already! My husband has tried Catalina dressing on his salad, and liked it, as well. I’ve tried this fruit feta green salad with a light balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, and it was good, too!
But we STILL think poppyseed dressing tastes the BEST! Ultimately, YOU DECIDE. These are just helpful tips, for your enjoyment of this delicious fruit feta green salad. There are some lovely poppyseed dressings available in most grocery stores, if that is more convenient!
Isn’t That A “Bee-Yoo-Tee-Full” Fruit Feta Green Salad?
I’m drooling already, just looking at it. We truly LOVED this delicious salad. Juicy colorful fruit, crunchy candied pecans, and salty feta, along with crisp romaine lettuce and tasty salad dressing make this one FANTASTIC salad!
I hope you will consider trying this recipe for fruit feta green salad with candied pecans! It is a perfect salad to enjoy on a hot, summer day! Have a great day, friends. Make it a GOOD one.
Looking For More SALAD Recipes?
You can find all of my salad recipes in the Recipe Index, located at the top of the page. A few favorites you might enjoy include:
- Cobb Salad
- Sesame Chicken Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Spinach Pear Salad
- Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken
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Fruit feta green salad w/ candied pecans & poppyseed dressing is a Panera copycat recipe, w/ romaine, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries & oranges!
- 10-12 pecans , roughly chopped or halved
- 1/4 cup water , use a little bit less!
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ Tablespoon poppyseeds
- 2 teaspoons chopped red onion
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups romaine lettuce , chopped
- 1 cup fresh strawberries , sliced
- 1 cup pineapple chunks , fresh (OR canned & drained)
- 1 medium orange , peeled, cut into chunks (use 2, if using mandarins)
- ⅓ cup fresh blueberries
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
Note: Make the candied pecans first, or make them ahead of time. They need time to dry out after cooking, so plan ahead.
Place pecan (or walnut) halves (or large pieces) in a large, non stick skillet. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and a tiny bit (approx. 3-4 Tablespoons) of water to skillet. Stir to combine. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until liquid has dissipated, and pecans are covered in a sticky glaze. Transfer candied pecans to a piece of aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Separate pieces with 2 forks, and let dry (at least 30 minutes-preferably more).
If making poppyseed dressing, mix salad dressing ingredients together until combined, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place chopped romaine lettuce into individual salad bowls or onto salad plates. Arrange the oranges, strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries around the top of the salad (and cooked chicken pieces, if using). Sprinkle salad with feta cheese crumbles. Top each salad with some dried candied pecans. Drizzle poppyseed dressing or your favorite salad dressing over the top, and serve!
NOTE: Caloric calculation does NOT include poppyseed salad dressing, since many types of salad dressing may be used.
Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!