“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… The people who give you their food, give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

Some of my favorite memories of all time revolve around food. Everything from the creation of extravagant finger food buffets at my holiday events to cheap chips, salsa, and boxed wine with my girl Kyrstyn (we are addicted). Food memories are good memories.

I love spending time with people in the kitchen. During the holidays, my sisters and I would sing N’Sync Christmas around the kitchen island, helping with the creation of our traditional taco dinner. Some of the best conversations I have shared with my mother and step mother have been in the kitchen, covered in flour or sweating over the stove. I even got to enjoy a friendsgiving last year at my best friend’s place and laughed all day about the ridiculous amounts of food we made.


Even on this trip so far, I have enjoyed memories related to meals and time in the kitchen. I have taught my roommates how to cook, have laughed all night at our luck getting into an exclusive restaurant in Montenegro, and helped chop vegetables for a traditional Hungarian feast that was cooked on an open fire along the Danube river. I have cherished moments of dancing and laughing in my Lisbon apartment while eating what felt like buckets full of bread and olive oil with people I will treasure forever.

There is something about sharing a meal together, especially one that everyone has helped to create, that feeds my soul even more than my belly. This is why I could not refuse an invitation to a potluck-style meal at the home of new, local friends in Lisbon. We were promised a group of people from a vast variety of nationalities and cultures, all bringing a dish to the table. All we had to do was bring our own. I was sold!


I also love the opportunity to cook vegan recipes for people because it is fun to show off how delicious simple recipes can be. I decided on a pasta salad, so I would not have to keep it warm, and stuck with simple ingredients (especially because I did not want to go back to the store, ha).

This recipe was inspired by Emilie Eats.

Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad (vegan, gf)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 1 16-oz bag of vegetable pasta (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped tomatoes (I prefer cherry halves)
  • 1 cup (or more) chopped fresh basil
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Dressing:

  • 3-4 tbs balsalmic vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain the pasta and allow to cool. (I add a little olive oil and toss it around to keep the pasta from sticking together).
  3. In a small bowl, mix up the dressing ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, gently mix together the cooled pasta, tomatoes, basil, avocado, and dressing. Enjoy! (and share!)

See? Bringing a dish to a potluck or fun event does not need to be stressful or intimidating! How easy was that? Plus, it went over really well and I got to enjoy some of the leftovers for dinner later in the week. This would be great for meal prepping, as it holds its flavor and can be stored for a couple days.

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What kind of dishes do you love to share with friends? Do you have some rad memories around food? I would love to know in the comments below! (Even better if you can share the recipes!)

Salud, Taryn <3