Creamy Strawberry and Avocado Pasta Salad

Looking for something quick and filling? Maybe something you could bring to your next potluck BBQ? Look no further because this pasta salad is full of summer flavors plus whole grain goodness. Yum!

And normally when I see the word “creamy”, I assume there’s going to be some dairy involved but not here. The whole wheat pasta gets dressed up in mostly plants (hello veggies + nuts)! I think you’re gonna like this one, friends.

Creamy Strawberry and Avocado Salad, serves 4 as a meal or more as a side dish (see notes)

12 oz. whole wheat pasta (spirals or penne is great here)
10 oz. strawberries
1-2 avocados
1/2 cup sliced almonds

For the dressing:
1 avocado
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well and allow to fully cool. Sometimes I make the pasta the day before I plan to make pasta salad so I don’t have to wait on the noodles to cool off (as I think pasta salad should be served cold).

In a food processor combine one avocado, lime juice, garlic, salt, and honey. Pulse well. Add the oil slowly while the food processor is running, or if that isn’t possible (some food processors don’t allow for this), add it in 2-3 batches, pulsing well in between. The sauce should be like a thick salad dressing, think ranch or caesar. If it’s too thick (more like guacamole), then add some water to thin it out. Taste and add more salt if you think it needs.

What a crazy fun color right? It’s kind of secret-of-the-ooze looking here. (If you get that reference, then we’re real friends.) 🙂

Hull and slice up the strawberries. Chop up another avocado, or two if yours are on the small side. Combine in a large bowl with the pasta, then pour the dressing over everything and toss. Top with the almonds and poppy seeds, and you’re in business!

This makes a really fun side dish, but if you’d like to turn it into more of a lunch situation, then just top a big pile of salad greens with some of this. Yum! xo. Emma

Notes: If you use this as more of a meal (on top of salad greens), it will probably be more like 4 servings. But if you plan to serve this alongside a main course, like veggie burgers or grilled salmon, then it could go further to serve more like 6-8. Great for a potluck.

This is best the day it’s made, preferably consumed within 2-4 hours of making. The chopped avocado, as it’s prone to do, will begin to brown after a while. I had some of this batch leftover and tried covering it well and refrigerating to see how it was the next day, and although the flavor was still great, the pasta had dried out some and the chopped avocado was brown and not super appetizing looking. So you don’t want leftover with this one, FYI.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.