Strawberries are in season here and it’s a happy time! I’ve been waiting for this moment to make this copycat of Panera’s strawberry poppy seed dressing. My patience was definitely rewarded and then some. This could easily be my favorite salad dressing of all time. Smooth strawberry flavor with just a bit of sweetness. White balsamic vinegar, while not as cheap as the dark version, is more mellow and adds a great tang.
I was curious what makes white balsamic vinegar more gentle than dark, so I Googled it. Turns out dark balsamic vinegar is aged for at least twelve years in barrels that have been fired and were previously used for other batches of balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is aged at least twelve years in new barrels that have not been fired or used before. That explains the cleaner flavor! It’s perfect in this copycat Panera strawberry poppy seed dressing.
After I use up this batch of dressing (read: tonight), I think I’ll try the same recipe but using raspberries instead. Or peaches. I think this same approach could work well with any good in-season fruit.
Also try my copycat of Chipotle’s Honey Vinaigrette.
Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
- 2 cups strawberries chopped
- ½ cup white balsamic vinegar or regular, but the dressing will be darker
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar or your favorite no-calorie sweetener
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients except the poppy seeds together in a high-speed blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
Nutritional values are approximate.