I'm no meteorologist, but I can confidently say that spring is officially here. Shorts and crop top weather means bye-bye soups and stews, and hello fresh veggies. If you're craving a big bowl of in-season produce, these avocado salad recipes are exactly what you need. Why avocados? Avocados are delicious and full of health benefits. Their monounsaturated fats are beneficial for both your skin and hair, help maintain lower levels of LDL (aka bad) cholesterol, and are full of fiber and protein. Plus, avocados are in season late March through September, so this is the perfect time to chow down on your favorite fruit. 

#SpoonTip: Many of these avocado salad recipes are accidentally vegan, and most can be made vegan with a few substitutions. All can be made gluten-free by substituting for gluten-free pasta or swapping for quinoa or rice. 

1. Avocado Chickpea Pesto Salad

I'm kicking myself for not discovering pesto earlier, because it's freaking delicious. I love the addition of cherry tomatoes in this recipe because not only do they add a pop of colour, but their sweet taste complements the saltiness of the cheese and pesto.

Vegan? No worries. Substitute the traditional pesto with this vegan pesto recipe and leave out the mozzarella balls.  

2. Black Bean Avocado Edamame Salad

As a vegan, beans are my BFF. I'd recommend topping this combo with your favourite balsamic vinaigrette for a tangy contrast to the sweet corn and the neutral taste of the avocado. 

3. Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

I'm always looking for new ways to add variety to my typical pasta and sauce routine. This pasta avocado salad recipe is perfect for packing on dates or picnics. Vegans, skip the bacon or substitute with shiitake bacon.

4. Chipotle Chicken Cobb Salad

Cobb salad traditionally involves egg, bacon, chicken, lettuce, avocado, and some sort of cheese. I love the unique route this recipe takes by incorporating grilled corn and strawberries, which immediately make me think of spring. 

5. Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad

Mediterranean-inspired dishes are AMAZING. Not only are they chockfull of healthy fats from olive oil and fish, but the Mediterranean diet is actually sustainable. This Mediterranean avocado salad recipe is no exception. Swap the pasta for couscous, quinoa, or brown rice to keep things interesting. 

6. Avocado Tuna Salad

Salads aren't typically associated with being high in protein, but this avocado salad recipe slays that stereotype. Serve with crackers, as a sandwich filling, in a pita or wrap, with couscous or rice, or on top of spinach. If you're vegan, use chickpeas instead of tuna. 

#SpoonTip: Season with salt just before serving to ensure the veggies remain crisp and fresh. 

7. Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta

Looking for a more traditional avocado salad recipe? You'll love this guy. The smoothness of the avocado combines with the crunch of walnuts and the saltiness of the feta to create a salad that's balanced both visually and in regards to taste. The quinoa adds protein and complex carbs to round out the meal. 

8. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Caesar Salad

Like the cobb salad mentioned earlier, people generally have an idea of what Caesar salad entails. This recipe, however, takes a unique approach by adding both avocado and lemon-marinated shrimp to give it a spring vibe. 

9. Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad

This salad is light and crisp, but skips the lettuce. Instead, cucumber and cherry tomatoes are used as a base. Cucumbers are an excellent spring vegetable because their high water content helps to hydrate you. 

10. Southwest Avocado Quinoa Corn Salad

Warning: you should make a huge batch of this Southwest avocado salad because you are about to become addicted. It tastes delicious cold or warmed, as a main dish or as a side, or sprinkled with some pumpkin seeds for an added crunch. Skip the cheese if desired. 

11. Red Berry & Avocado Spinach Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

Fresh fruit makes any spring salad 10x better. Blueberries and blackberries would be excellent additions as well. This salad comes with a recipe for homemade salad dressing, but if you're pressed for time feel free to substitute with your favourite pre-made vinaigrette.  

12. Salmon Avocado Salad

This salad is filled with nutrient-dense superfoods. Salmon is high in omega-3, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, and eggs are a complete source of protein. On its own, this avocado salad is a filling meal but would also be a unique lettuce wrap filling. 

13. Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado acts as an excellent substitution for mayonnaise in this recipe (it's a fairly common swap in vegan cooking). This chicken avocado salad is a great way to use up any leftover chicken or vegetables in your fridge. I would add some red peppers or tomatoes to the salad for some colour. 

14. Avocado Strawberry Caprese Salad

This salad is absolutely beautiful, with the rich reds of the strawberries complementing the green of the avocado and the orange of the tomatoes. Top with the tangy balsamic vinegar reduction just before serving for the best results. 

15. Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Cranberries

We'll finish on a more unconventional note with this recipe for vegan egg salad. The egg has been substituted for chickpeas and avocado for an equally creamy yet protein-packed sandwich. The addition of cranberries adds a touch of sweetness, which pairs well with the saltiness of the chickpeas.

Stock up on avocados, friends. Now that classes are done, it's an excellent opportunity to start experimenting in the kitchen. I can't wait to try these avocado salad recipes and Instagram my favourites.