Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Almond Chicken Salad as Good as the Restaurant Kind

There's a Panera restaurant right by my bank so when I have a royalty check from my publisher to deposit I have lunch there.  I love the Napa Chicken Salad sandwich but for the price, I can make that at home and I know I'm not getting any ingredients I'm sensitive to.  So I did. The bread is homemade gluten free, but you can use any bread you like.

 As for the chicken salad?

Here's what's in the Panera version

Citrus & pepper chicken, sea salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, sugar, dry lemon peel, spices, dehydrated rosemary, dehydrated basil, paprika, vinegar, tomatoes, dressing, rosemary extract, mustard oil], fresh red seedless grapes, lettuce, celery, sliced raw almonds, salt, black pepper.

Not too bad actually. They don't tell you what the "dressing" is so I don't know if it has soy, which I do not tolerate well.

Knock off Panera Chicken Salad Recipe

One skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced or "chicken" veggie protein
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup red grapes, quartered
1/4 cup Just Mayo brand dressing (egg, soy, and gluten free but if you want a really clean mayo - make your own *)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2  and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar or a few drops of honey
1/4 teaspoon EACH onion and garlic powder
2 pinches of Italian seasoning (I used Tuscon Sunset by Penzy)
dash of salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely slivered almonds

Mix and chill garnished with lettuce or lettuce and tomato. makes 4 small/medium sized sandwiches.  I served on Sesame Semolina bread which is what Panera uses, but mine came from Medici Bakery on 57th in Chicago, a block northeast of the University of Chicago campus.

*Easy Clean Olive Oil Mayo

Note:  Salmonella is always a risk with raw egg yolks however studies have shown that it's very rare in chickens that have been raised on small farms, pastured to eat as nature intended.  I get my eggs from a friend that has chickens on their small hobby farm.  Fresh is also important.  To determine if an egg is fresh, bring it up to room temperature and check for cracks - there should not be any.  Roll the egg on a flat surface, it should wobble.  The yolk and white should be firm and not break easily.  If it doesn't pass these tests, so not eat it.  If I can't get pastured eggs through a farmer I know or co-op, I use the "Just Mayo" brand.

1 egg yolk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh, not bottled)
1 tsp vinegar (I use white or ACV)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon
a dash of sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

In food processor blend everything but oil, then SLOWLY drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing.  Chill before serving.


  1. Looks delish! Not too many breads I don't love!!


  2. That looks so good. I love chicken salad on a croissant. I'm gonna try this.


  3. That looks so good. I love chicken salad on a croissant. I'm gonna try this.



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