As far as fast food goes, Panera Bread falls on the healthier end of the spectrum. The chain's got plenty of protein-packed salads, healthyish soups, and veggie-filled sandwiches. However, there's also that glorious case of pastries to tempt you, not to mention the baguette you can easily add to your meal for free. And hey, we've only got so much willpower.
Make things easier on yourself by cooking your fave Panera dishes at home. These copycat Panera Bread recipes are so close to the real thing you won't taste the difference, but you will have a much easier time keeping your wandering eye in check (looking at you, cinnamon roll). Plus, you'll save tons of moolah by making them at home.
The best salad on Panera's menu, IMO, is the Fuji apple salad. It's got grilled chicken, apple chips, red onion slices, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy pecans. With this DIY recipe, there's an option for a homemade dressing or a store-bought version; if you go the homemade route, make a big batch so you can enjoy the salad all week.
If your go-to packed lunch is a sandwich, it's time to upgrade your turkey and cheese or PB&J with this Panera classic. It's got the same grilled chicken, tomato, and cheese combo you know and love, and since you're making it at home, you can easily swap out the foccacia for a lighter bread if you prefer.
There's nothing quite as comforting as hot soup on a chilly day. This fall, you can make Panera soup from the comfort of your own home (meaning no venturing out in the cold). If you haven't tried this one at the chain, it's basically chicken noodle soup, but swaps out noodles for wild rice.
There's something about a Chinese chopped salad that just works so dang well. Fresh citrus, almonds, and wonton strips are a great balance of sweet, salty, and crunchy, and cilantro and chicken round out the salad's flavors. Plus, you can store the homemade dresing in your fridge for up to five days, so meal-prep Panera is officially a go.
I know, I know, it's not the broccoli cheddar, but this soup is totally unique. Who knew fresh lemon could taste so good in a soup? Mix onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and orzo into chicken broth and left the stove do its thing.
We gotta hand it to the chain: Panera majorly upgraded the #basic side salad. This Caesar recipe piggybacks off the popular power salad with its egg yolk, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice dressing, kale base, and shaved Parmesan topping.
Pro tip: This soup is only available during the fall at Panera, but you can enjoy it year-round now that you have a copycat recipe. Like the Panera version, it's filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin... we can smell the season from here.