Orchard Harvest Salad (Panera Copycat)
Chopped romaine lettuce tossed with sliced pears, dried cherries, pecans, gorgonzola cheese, diced chicken and homemade cherry balsamic vinaigrette. Copycat recipe of the seasonal Orchard Harvest salad from Panera Bread.
Servings: 1 large entree salad
For the cherry balsamic vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup cherry preserves
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- pinch salt and pepper
For the orchard harvest salad:
- 6 ounces romaine lettuce chopped
- 1/2 pear sliced (or 1/3 cup diced pears)
- 1/4 cup gorgonzola
- 1/4 cup pecans roasted and salted
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 chicken breast cooked and diced
- 2-3 tablespoons cherry balsamic vinaigrette
I recommend starting this salad by making the dressing first. Place balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Then, continue to cook until vinegar has reduced by half, about 8 minutes.
Add cherry preserves to vinegar mixture and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and place into a medium bowl to help it cool down. While it's cooling down, prepare the salad by adding all the salad ingredients (except for the dressing, of course) in a large bowl.
Add canola oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to the cherry mixture and whisk vigorously until the oil and vinegar combine. I strained my dressing to remove the cherry chunks, but that's no necessary if you don't want to. Add a couple tablespoons to salad mixture and toss together. Give the salad a taste and add more dressing, if needed. Serve immediately.