Thirteen years ago, a cooking-diva girlfriend of mine had her hubby deliver a huge bowl of fresh strawberry spinach salad to our house. I’ll never forget him ringing the doorbell and showing up with that big beautiful salad.
That day, I was a first-time mama with an intensely colicky newborn baby. It was scorching hot where we lived and our AC was down. I spent most of my waking and semi-waking hours trying to manage the Crazy Life on about 3 hours of sleep every night. Cooking homemade meals was simply not in my bag of tricks during that rollercoaster of a year.
Thankfully, we lived near some amazing friends. Every other night, someone brought over saving grace in the form of dinner. It’s one of the reasons I always bring meals for others during rough times. It’s a lifesaver not to have to think about cooking when you’re barely able to manage pouring a bowl of cold cereal…
I clearly remember that fresh strawberry spinach salad my friend brought over because: it was so healthy and fresh, it came with the yummiest poppyseed dressing, and my friend’s hubby actually forgot part of the meal at home and went all the way home and back again just to bring us the rest of the food. Despite our vehement objections.
We lived 25 minutes away. So that’s almost 2 total hours of commute time just to feed us. 💗
Talk about love in action, right?
So yeah, every single time I make, eat, or even see a strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed dressing, I think of my dear friends.
This Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad with Healthy Poppyseed Dressing is my most current take on the old classic. There’s still the spinach and berries combo, but we added grilled chicken, avocado, and toasted pecans for a boost of protein and yum.
We healthified the Poppyseed Dressing by omitting oil and using Greek yogurt for creaminess. It’s the best skinny poppyseed dressing around.
Here’s to precious friends in life who feed our bellies and souls.
And to 13-year-olds who have long outgrown colic but still keep us in the Crazy Life.
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Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad (Healthy Poppyseed Dressing)
For the Dressing:
For the Salad:
- 2 large chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup freshly sliced strawberries
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 1 semi-ripe avocado, sliced or cubed (sprinkle with lime juice to prevent browning)
- ½ cups candied walnuts or pecans, homemade or store-bought
- In a bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients with a hand-whisk until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a dressing container; chill until ready to use (can be made ahead of time.)
- Grease outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. Season chicken with a thin layer of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides, pressing to adhere. Grill chicken just until nice grill marks appear and no longer pink in center; do not over cook and remove immediately from heat once cooked. Let chicken rest at room temp at least 5 minutes; then slice into strips.
- In a large serving bowl, combine spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, feta cheese, and avocado slices. Pour desired amount of dressing onto salad and gently toss to combine. Divide salad into individual serving plates, topped with sliced chicken and candied nuts. Serve immediately.
Nutrition (per serving)
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