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The How-To Guide: Copycat Panera

Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Egg

It seems like forever ago that I was able to steal away an hour (which, naturally, ended up being only 40 minutes due to some misbehavior issues #KidsRule) and I went to Panera Bread with my laptop to do some brainstorming.  I didn't want to eat too heavy, and as a vegetarian I felt like my options were limited to a vegetable sandwich, which can get pretty boring after the umpteenth time.
So without thought I ordered the Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl with Cage-Free Egg and let me tell you something - my tastebuds were in gastronomical heaven!  I rushed home and wrote down what I could remember of the ingredients, and later checked out the full list of ingredients and nutrition from Panera's website.  
That's how I was able to fill in the flavor gap from the original recipe over at The Balanced Berry.
Now, I'm not a food blogger, by any means.  I'm also not a photographer.  I'm a mom; a very busy mom who has to feed her family in between drop-offs, pick-ups, shopping for groceries and the home, and the all-time favorite, cleaning - all while sharing 1 car with full-time-working-night-student-husband.
So when I find a hit like this, you better believe I'm going to share it without too much concern for how my pictures look :)  This hearty and flavorful soup will definitely be making the rounds on our dinner menu this Winter, and I hope you'll give it a try, too!
So, for kicks, here's the picture from Panera's website:
On to the recipe.
  1. ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  2. 1 small Onion, chopped
  3. 1 clove Garlic, minced
  4. 1 cup brown Lentils (⅓ cup dry cooked in 1+ cup water until almost tender)
  5. ¼ cup uncooked Quinoa (I love to use 365 Super Grains from Whole Foods)
  6. ¼ cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
  7. 1 can diced Tomatoes
  8. 4 cups Miso Broth
  9. 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  10. 1 Bay Leaf
  11. 1 tsp Paprika
  12. Dash of Cayenne
  13. Salt & Pepper to taste
  14. ½ cup fresh Spinach, roughly chopped
  15. ½ cup fresh Kale, roughly chopped
  16. 1 fresh Lemon, sliced
  17. 2 hard-cooked Eggs (or, 8oz cooked Chicken if that's your thing)
I know what you're thinking: How the heck am I expected to make a soup with that many ingredients?!  But, please, keep reading and see how SIMPLE it really is!  Your belly will thank you, I promise :D
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, sauté for a few minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant but not burned or colored.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients, except for the greens, lemon, and eggs.  (See what I was saying??)  
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until grains and lentils are thoroughly cooked.
  4. After ladling into bowls, top with some chopped greens, a halved egg (or some chicken), and one slice of lemon.  
  5. Jab your lemon slice a couple of times to release the flavor.
  6. Devour.
And, as usual, if you dare to try (you won't regret it), please share your experience and/or pictures on the SC Facebook page!
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