23 August 2009

Second Facelift: Panera Bread's Chicken Chipotle Sandwich

I had originally wanted to choose a different protein than chicken, as I did a chicken pasta dish for the last facelift, but I have always been intrigued by Panera Bread. Many believe since it is a sandwich, soup, and salad joint that it is automatically healthy. One look at their nutrition information tells you something completely different!

So, I decided to choose the item with the highest Calorie count: the Chicken Chipotle Sandwich


Now, it's time for a facelift!


4 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast
2 slices Butterball Less Sodium Turkey Bacon
1/2 fresh poblano pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sprinkle of garlic powder
1 sundried tomato
1 tablespoon fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 slices Sara Lee "45 Calorie & Delightful" bread
2 slices Sara Lee Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese "Custom Slices" (approx. 20g)
1/2 cup baby spinach


Remove seeds and white flesh from the half poblano pepper and finely mince.

Rub the minced garlic, garlic powder, and minced poblano on all sides of one chicken breast. Let it marinate in the refrigerator in a zip-top bag while the prep continues.

Mince the sundried tomato and mix with the sour cream, mustard and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Cook the chicken.

Cook the bacon, slice as shown, and set aside with the chicken. Now, it's time to assemble!

In a medium-heated pan, put a slice of bread and top with cheese, then...




Spread the remaining bread with the sundried tomato spread, then...

Top the sandwich!

Toast on the opposite side, serve, and enjoy!


671 fewer Calories (-63%)
43g less fat (-78%)
9g less saturated fat (-59%)
0g trans fat (-100%)
35mg less cholesterol (-24%)
1869mg less sodium (-73%)
60g less carbs (-68%)
2g more fiber (+48%)
2g less sugar (-32%)
10g less protein (-10%)

Okay, okay, so I didn't exactly want to lower the amount of protein, but 44g is still a significant amount to have in one meal. Protein is very good for you, keeping you fuller longer, especially with fiber and water.

The original sandwich has no spinach, but I added it for nutrients and because I don't like tomato (which is on the original). Add whatever veggies you'd like! I don't think this sandwich is very spicy, so I think next time I'll use jalapenos instead of the poblano pepper.

When eating this, I couldn't stop thinking about how delicious it was. I probably took only 5 minutes to eat it because it was a very savory sandwich! I've never had the Panera sandwich, but just looking at the pictures, I must say that mine definitely looks better. If only I had a panini press, I could add some awesome grill marks to it!

Full recipe can be found here. E-mail me your meal suggestions to FastFoodFacelift@gmail.com or by leaving a comment in this blog. Thanks for reading!


  1. I'm not a marinating expert, so should we always marinate things in the fridge, even for a short period of time? It seems to me that would slow the marination process down, putting less flavor in the chicken...

  2. Turner - I actually marinated my chicken for a few hours to see if it enhanced the effects of the spice from the pepper, so I did not want to keep raw chicken out on my counter. Yuck!

  3. How did you manage to toast the bread without any added fat? I've tried making grilled cheese without butter or oil and it never looks like this.

  4. Yum!!!!! What time should I be over for dinner??? ;) Your new & improved sandwich looks 100x better... No comparison!! Well done!

  5. Mrs. K: Jecka would better be able to answer this regarding her own experience, but, I think that's part of the reason why you cook the chicken in the pan first. Even the leanest piece of meat is going to have a little bit of fat that will render off, and there's a legion of people out there that will tell you "schmaltz" is as good or better than butter for such things. Same reason why I have a couple containers in my freezer from the last time I cooked lamb or duck. A little goes a long way.