Berry Avocado Spinach Pasta Salad – the perfect summer salad for easy lunches, potlucks, barbecues & parties. Best of all, this recipe comes together quickly with healthy greens, in-season fruit, chopped nuts and crumbled cheese.
There’s no better time of the year than patio season. Summers are pretty short around here so we try to spend as much time as we can outdoors. Trips to the park, outdoor picnics, family barbecues – to me, that’s what summer is all about.
This Avocado Spinach Pasta Salad is fresh, flavorful and perfect for lunch or dinner on a hot day. It’s loaded with all kinds of delicious ingredients like spinach, avocado, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped pecans and chopped chicken.
What I love about salads is how quickly they come together and you can customize them with whatever you have on hand.
HOW TO MAKE AVOCADO SPINACH PASTA SALAD:
- In a large bowl, add the pasta, spinach, lettuce and herbs. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar or a bowl and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and creamy. Add 1/3 of the dressing and toss to combine.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients: avocado, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon, chicken, crumbled feta (or blue cheese) and chopped pecans (or walnuts).
- Pour the remainder of the dressing over salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Can creamy pasta salads be made ahead of time?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, you get the best flavors when you allow the flavors of the dressing and the pasta to meld anywhere from a few hours to a day or two ahead of time.
However, for this particular pasta salad, I would recommend adding the fruit right before serving. This helps to avoid the watermelon and berries from getting mushy. However, the avocado doesn’t stand storing after it’s cubed, so prepare it just before serving.
You would still make the pasta ahead the night before and toss with about 1/4 – 1/3 of the creamy poppy-seed dressing. Right before serving, add the spinach, lettuce, fresh fruit, avocado and remainder of the dressing and give it a good tossing.
What ingredients to put in a pasta salad?
The beauty of a great pasta salad is that you can truly make it your own invention. Here some popular choices:
- Pasta – medium cuts of pasta like rotini, farfalle, or penne
- Vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olives etc.
- Fruit – strawberries, blueberries, apples, watermelon etc.
- Protein – cheese, shredded chicken, tuna, turkey, diced ham, etc.
- Dressing – Greek, Italian, poppyseed, balsamic
Have fun and mix and match to create a pasta salad you love!
Tips and tricks for making avocado and berry spinach pasta salad:
- Use fresh and quality ingredients if possible. Adding some garden herbs helps to liven the flavors up even more.
- Not a fan of chicken? No problem. Leave it out along with the feta for a vegan version.
- Cook your pasta to al dente, according to the package directions. Each shape of pasta has a different cooking time, so check the package for the exact time. Once finished cooking, drain and toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Toss a little bit of the homemade poppy-seed vinaigrette with the cooled al dente pasta then again with the remainder of the ingredients before serving to avoid the avocado and fruit from getting mushy.
More salads you might like:
Berry Avocado Spinach Pasta Salad - the perfect summer salad for easy lunches, potlucks, barbecues & parties. Best of all, this recipe comes together quickly with healthy greens, in-season fruit, chopped nuts and crumbled cheese.
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked rotini penne or farfalle work as well
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1-2 cups of green leaf or romaine lettuce chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or mint finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 medium avocados diced
- 1/2 cup cubed watermelon
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup chopped cooked chicken grilled or rotisserie (leave out for meatless version)
- 1/2 tablespoon feta crumbled optional for serving
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Combine pasta, spinach, lettuce and basil in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add the strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, avocado and cooked chicken (if using) and drizzle with the remainder of the dressing.
- Serve immediately with chopped pecans and crumbled feta, if desired.