Fuji Apple Salad
Published Sep 11, 2020, Updated Sep 16, 2021
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This delicious meal-sized salad is inspired by Panera’s fuji apple salad with fresh apple slices, gorgonzola, tomatoes, pepitas and a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Given how much I love salads, you might not be surprised to hear that I have tried pretty much every salad at popular fast casual restaurants. I basically survived off of Panera Bread‘s fuji apple salad during college and it’s still my go-to order when we happen to stumble upon a Panera!
Naturally, I set out to recreate my own version of this salad at home! I made a few changes so it’s not exactly like the Panera version, but it definitely tastes like a salad you’d get at a restaurant. And it’s the perfect salad for the beginning of fall/end of summer because it uses both apples and tomatoes.
Fuji Apple Chicken Salad Ingredients
- spring mix, romaine and/or baby spinach – any greens you have on hand will work, but I like using a spring mix, romaine and/or baby spinach
- Fuji or Honeycrisp apple – Panera’s version of this salad uses crispy apple chips, but I like the flavor and crunch that raw apples add so that’s what I’m using. I recommend using Fuji or Honeycrisp apples.
- grilled chicken breasts – see my note below about how to make the grilled chicken
- crumbled Gorgonzola – fresh gorgonzola cheese adds a ton of flavor to this salad! If you don’t like the flavor of gorgonzola you can swap it for your favorite cheese. Goat cheese or feta would be nice subs.
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes
- pepitas or toasted pecans – Panera’s version uses pecans, but I’m using pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for this version. Either work great!
- white balsamic vinaigrette
How to Make Grilled Chicken Breasts
I’m a big fan of grilled chicken breast on salads (I love my apple cider vinegar chicken), but I know that everyone doesn’t have access to a grill. If you don’t own a grill or simply don’t want to heat up your grill, you can make faux grilled chicken breasts inside on a grill pan!
Either way, you’ll want to season the raw chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper so they’re plenty flavorful. Preheat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat, spray or coat with a little oil and place your chicken on the hot surface. Grill for 7-8 minutes, flip and cook an additional 7-8 minutes or until no pink remains and the interior temperature of chicken reaches 165ºF. Let rest a few minutes before slicing to make sure the chicken stays nice and juicy.
You can use the chicken breast on the salad right away or make the grilled chicken in advanced, let it cool and store in the fridge until you’re ready to prep the salads. I personally don’t mind cold chicken breast slices on my salads.
Customize Your Salad
While this salad is super flavorful as is, there are some different ways you can customize it based on your needs:
- Dairy-free – skip the gorgonzola or use a dairy-free cheese crumble.
- Vegan – feel free to substitute grilled tofu or tempeh or roasted chickpeas in place of the grilled chicken and skip the cheese.
- Additional toppings – there are so many extra toppings that pair well with the flavors! Try adding avocado, dried cranberries or chopped dates, candied pecans or homemade croutons. I personally love this salad with chopped dates added!
Panera vs. Homemade Nutrition Facts
The ingredient list for Panera’s Fuji Apple Salad is 10 lines long of tiny font… I won’t bore you with the list but there are some recognizable words (like greens blend) and some not-so-recognizable (different oils, sweeteners and preservatives). As you can tell from the homemade version, we’re using real, whole food ingredients.
Panera’s salad comes out to be 580 calories – 36 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates and just 32 grams of protein. My homemade version is just 415 calories – 20 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates and a whopping 42 grams of protein! I’ll take the homemade version over Panera’s any day!
More Healthy Salads to Try:
- Grilled Salmon Salad with Peaches and Corn
- Pear Salad with Walnuts, Avocado and Grilled Chicken
- Spinach Blueberry Salad
- Superfood Salmon Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad with Grilled Lemon Pepper Shrimp
- Blackened Chicken Cobb Salad
- Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Fuji Apple Salad
- 6 cups spring mix, romaine and/or baby spinach (a blend is nice)
- 1 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, sliced or chopped
- 2 4-6 oz grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup pepitas or toasted pecans
- white balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
- Grill chicken breasts if you haven’t already. See notes above for how to grill the chicken. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance. Just keep grilled chicken breasts in the fridge until ready to prep the salad.
- Divide greens among two individual plates and top with remaining ingredients. Add dressing to taste and enjoy.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
this looks ao good. saving this to make later this week😋
Yay! Definitely come back and let me know what you think if you make it. 🙂
So yummy!! Love everything on your Insta!
We love this salad. We make it with the chicken for a week night dinner, or leave the chicken off and make it as a side. Everyone that we’ve made this for has loved it! Thank you for the awesome recipes!
Ahh, yay!! So glad this salad is a hit. Thanks for the review, Sara.
It looks so colourful and packed full of flavour!
I love this salad from Panera. I love it even more knowing that all the ingredients are fresh! This is a staple in our house. So flavorful and the homemade dressing puts it over the top.
Yay! So glad you loved this recipe, Kori. Thanks for the review. I so appreciate it!
excellent post thank you for sharing