Better Than Panera Greek Salad

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That title is sort of blasphemous to me, for a few reasons. Firstly, I grew up in St. Louis, so I hold great allegiance to Panera (actually St. Louis Bread Company).  They have grown from a local restaurant with one location, to a well-known and loved national chain.  I also really really really (really!) like their Greek salad.  What I don’t like is the price {I still heart you Panera, don’t take away my rewards card}!

I stay at home and take care of 3 boys.  These said boys are killing our food budget.  What we don’t spend on clothing (as compared to three little girls), we make up for in food.  I cannot afford to eat out on a regular basis.  Not only is it not good for me, it’s so expensive!  But I digress.

Our garden is overloaded right now with tomatoes, for which I’m very grateful.  We also have had decent luck with cucumbers (the ones the deer and rabbits didn’t eat), and sweet bell peppers.  Let’s not talk about the green beans or the zucchini, may they rest in peace.

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The majority of this dinner is sponsored by our garden:

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Better Than Panera Greek Salad

Cheaper than Panera Greek Salad

:: Romain Hearts (approx 1)

:: Cucumbers (approx 1)

:: Red Onion (approx 1/4)

:: Green/red/yellow/orange Bell Pepper (approx 1 lg or 2 small)

:: Tomatoes of your choosing (I used Italian style & cherry)

:: Kalamata Olives & Olive Brine (to taste)

:: Feta Cheese, to taste (Paleo folks, I don’t know what to tell you.  A little of this makes your salad SING)!

Not Pictured:

:: Salt & Pepper, freshly ground

:: Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Red Wine Vinegar mixture, ratio of 4:1

Optional:

:: Grilled lean meat of your choice (we used grilled turkey breast)

Directions:

  1. Messily chop up whatever fresh veggies you have and want to add.  I would estimate that I use equal portions of the romain, cucumbers, peppers, & tomatoes (If your tomato are extra juicy, you could drain them).  Add onions, olives, & cheese to taste.  Toss.
  2. For the dressing, I use an oil/vinegar mixture that is in a separate container.  The ratio is 4:1, meaning 4 parts oil for 1 part vinegar.  Am I confusing you?  Try this: 1 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, which would mean lots of extras.  Or you could just do 1/2 cup of oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  Save any leftovers for a future recipe.  You don’t have to refrigerate, it’s just oil and vinegar.
  3. Once you’ve added the oil & vinegar mixture and tossed to coat, you are almost there.
  4. Pour a few tablespoons of Kalamata olive brine (the juice from the jar) into the salad, to taste.  if you don’t love olives, you could omit this or cut it back.
  5. Finally, salt & pepper to taste (remember, that brine is loaded with salt, so you probably don’t need much, if any salt).
  6. Enjoy.  Unless you have a family, you will have leftovers.  Consider saving some back before you put the dressing on the veggies.  Fresh dressing will make the whole salad less wilted and more crispy.

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My Oldest Son (age 9), declared,”This is my favorite salad ever.  Greek salad is much better than American salad”.

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My middle son (age 6) finds it tolerable and eats just enough to make sure he is allowed to partake in the crusty bread that accompanied this meal.

The youngest son…well he didn’t really love it.

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But I love him to pieces anyway, even if he would prefer a Panera bagel over my salad.

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I’m trying to tell myself he’s just upset because I forgot to dress him today and he has food on his face.  It’s surely not my cooking at fault here.

What’s your favorite meal at Panera?  Have you found a way to hack it at home?  I’d love to hear from you!  🙂

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4 thoughts on “Better Than Panera Greek Salad

  1. Pingback: Meal Planning Organization | Sarah And The Boys

  2. Pingback: 6 Months Of Blogging | Sarah And The Boys

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