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Spicy Chopped Thai Chicken Salad (Panera Inspired)

This Spicy chopped Thai chicken salad is inspired by Panera’s Thai chicken salad. Chopped romaine, grilled chicken, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, almonds, cashews, and crispy wonton strips make up this loaded salad. Tossed in a salty, spicy chili sesame dressing. This is perfect for a filling summer salad, substitute the chicken for grilled shrimp or steak for a heartier meal.

Spicy Chopped Thai Chicken Salad (Panera Inspired)

Highlights of this Spicy Thai Chopped Salad:

  • Loaded with fresh veggies and flavor
  • Medium heat, spice can be customized
  • Panera Bread copycat recipe
  • Can be made ahead of time
  • Perfect for fresh summer produce
  • Grilled chicken make this salad more filling

This salad can be tossed together and made into Thai chicken lettuce wraps or can be made for an easy meal prep, put into separate containers and leave dressing on the side until ready to eat! Crispy wontons are so easy to whip up at home!

More topping ideas:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Thai basil
  • Hothouse cucumbers
  • Fresh coriander
  • Spring onions
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Fresh herbs
  • Red onion

Tools I used for this Panera spicy Thai salad:

Thai chopped salad being served

Grocery List & Substitutions:

Salad ingredients:

  • Romain lettuce, or substitute a spring mix
  • Green and red cabbage, or substitute Napa cabbage
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Grilled chicken, or use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green onions
  • Wonton strips, homemade or store-bought
  • Carrots
  • Almonds or cashews, could substitute chopped peanuts

Thai peanut dressing ingredients:

  • Sesame oil
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce

Homemade Thai peanut dressing is super quick to make, or substitute store bought spicy peanut dressing. You can always add more flavor to your dressing by adding black vinegar, chili pepper, sweet chili sauce, or fresh garlic! I like to garnish with plenty of sliced green onions and fresh limes.

If you like this Spicy Chopped Thai Chicken Salad (Panera Inspired), you’ll love these other copycat recipes…

Firebirds BLT Salad

Cracker Barrel Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad Recipe

Panera Bread Chicken Tortilla Soup

loaded Panera Thai chicken salad in a serving bowl

What is the best type of lettuce to use for this Thai salad?

A blend of romaine lettuce and cabbage is the best base for this salad. You need a hearty base that will withstand the toppings and dressing. You could also use Napa cabbage or kale for your base.

Can this Thai chicken salad be made ahead?

Yes! Combine everything except the dressing, wonton strips, and chopped nuts. Keep in an airtight container until ready to serve, then toss with the dressing and add your wontons and chopped nuts for garnish. I wouldn’t make the salad more than 2 or3 days in advance.

How do you make homemade wonton strips?

Homemade wonton strips are so easy to make. Take a package of refrigerated wonton wrappers and slice into thin strips. In a shallow pan heat a neutral oil, such as canola oil over medium-high heat. Once warm, add in the sliced and fry until golden brown and crispy, stirring often with tongs. Remove from the oil and let drain on a paper towel lined tray and season with salt.

chili oil in a bowl

Chili oil or chili crisps add a nice crunch and extra dose of heat and color!

Instructions for the Panera spicy Thai salad:

For the Thai peanut dressing:

  • In a bowl or mason jar combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, chili oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and peanut butter. Stir or shake to combine.

For the salad:

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the lettuce, cabbage, peppers, carrots, cilantro, and diced chicken. Top with dressing and toss well to combine, top with chopped almonds, sliced green onions, and wonton strips

Notes:

*See above for other topping ideas!

*This salad is best served immediately, if needed for later, prepare the salad but wait to dress until just before serving. Wonton strips do best at room temperature, if making the salad ahead of time wait to add wontons stirp until service.

crispy wonton strips on top of Thai salad

Spicy Chopped Thai Chicken Salad (Panera Inspired)

5 from 1 vote
Course: Salad
Keyword: Copycat Recipe, Lettuce Salad, Panera, summer salad, Thai salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 376kcal
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Ingredients:  

For the Thai Peanut Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chili oil
  • 2 tbsp Creamy peanut butter
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sesame seeds

For the salad:

  • 3 cups Chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups Shredded green and purple cabbage
  • 1 Red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 whole Carrots, peeled and shredded
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 8 oz. Cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 cup Chopped almonds or cashews
  • 1 cup Wonton strips, store-bought or homemade
  • Sliced green onion

Instructions:

For the Thai peanut dressing:

  • In a bowl or mason jar combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, chili oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and peanut butter. Stir or shake to combine.

For the salad:

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the lettuce, cabbage, peppers, carrots, cilantro, and diced chicken. Top with dressing and toss well to combine, top with chopped almonds, sliced green onions, and wonton strips

Notes:

*See above for other topping ideas!
*This salad is best served immediately, if needed for later, prepare the salad but wait to dress until just before serving. 

Nutrition:

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 376 kcalCarbohydrates: 32 gProtein: 18 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 3 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 10 gTrans Fat: 0.01 gCholesterol: 28 mgSodium: 1040 mgPotassium: 488 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 2775 IUVitamin C: 40 mgCalcium: 97 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

large bowl full of spicy Thai chicken salad

Did you make this recipe?

I would love to see it! Take a picture and post to Instagram with the tag @theheartylife and the hashtag #theheartylife – You can also leave me a question or comment below! If you’ve tried this recipe, feel free to give it a star rating on the recipe above.

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