The best salad recipe

Last weekend, two of my mom’s best friends threw me a shower in Asheville where I grew up. It was the most fabulous time – it’s always weird opening gifts in front of people that you more or less asked for, but everyone keeps telling me that’s what I’m supposed to be doing! We had it at my mom’s friend Lelia’s family cabin, which is so charming and authentic and amazing, full of old timey treasures. Andrew’s church threw us both a shower a few weeks ago, too, and that was our first ACTUAL wedding event and was so thoughtful. We have two more showers coming up in the next month or so and I am thrilled, mostly because that means I get to spend some time with people I love! And get dressed up and eat yummy food, too – can’t forget that part.

Speaking of food, the whole point of this post is that at my shower last weekend in Asheville, there was a salad that was    t   o      d   i   e     f   o   r. I mean TO DIE FOR. So delicious, fresh, light, but filling. It was packed with nutrients and it was so good I went for a second plate of salad instead of meatballs and sausage balls (well, maybe I snuck a couple more of those on my plate, too. Don’t judge me – this is my time!).

This, this is the salad. Strawberry avocado chicken pasta salad. You’ve got your healthy fats, fruits, veggies, protein, carbs, and dairy – the whole gang in one recipe! I followed the recipe exactly, except my avocados weren’t quite ripe enough, so I only used one before giving up. The creamy balsamic dressing is so easy to make and so worth it. My sister helped me whip this up last night for lunches this week and it did not disappoint.

(spiffy salad dressing container not mandatory)

Some tips:  1. Make sure you have a BIG bowl to mix all this in. This is a big salad that makes 8 servings. 2. I would wait to add your dressing before you eat the salad if you are planning on having single servings – if you’re serving it all at once at an event, then I would toss it the night before or the morning of! 3. I used goat cheese, because…goat cheese. It’s my favorite in the world. 4. I forgot to buy pecans, so I used a mix of walnuts and slivered almonds that we toasted up in the pan real quick. 5. Finally, the mason jars look great in a picture, and I know they seem to be all the rage on Pinterest for salad lunches, but I hated eating my salad out of it. In fact, I ended up dumping mine out onto a plate at school!

still into my la croix

I never thought I’d go on so much about a salad, but here I am. Perfect for lunches,  a side dish, a party dish, or even a complete dinner (I certainly wouldn’t judge you if you toasted up some bread to go with it). Thanks to my mom’s BFF, Aunt Judi for finding this gem and serving it up! I feel like I have a new recipe to add into my mix of solid crowd pleasers. On a side note, I did learn something new about Andrew when he got into his salad at lunch today – the man doesn’t like strawberries?! Who am I even marrying?! But to be fair, I don’t like watermelon and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called un-American for that. Oh, well.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know if  you make it and love it as much as I do!

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