Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad Bowl

This avocado quinoa salad is a delicious and hearty bowl full of stress relieving foods! It’s drizzled with a zesty cocoa vinaigrette.

Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad | Stress relieving foods

Survey: when’s the last time you felt stressed? Is it right now? Was it at work, when a client came to you with an unrealistic deadline? Or at home when your kiddos are refusing to nap to give you some peace and quiet? Life is full of potentially stressful situations. But did you know there are stress relieving foods that can help? This avocado quinoa salad bowl is full of stress relieving foods: keep reading for the recipe!

Related: 10 Easy Quinoa Recipes

What are stress relieving foods?

At one point in my life I got myself a pile of stress management books. Ironically, it was stressful to figure out how to find time to read them! While I didn’t make it through all of the books, I do remember learning that we have the power to control our reactions to stressors. I was used to being reactive, hoping that my increased heart rate and inability to draw boundaries would magically vanish one day when there were somehow no more stressors in my life. Perhaps once this or that in my life fell into place, I would no longer be stressed. So…that un-stressful time in life? It hasn’t happened yet. But the lesson that has stuck with me: not only can we learn to recognize our stressors, we have power over our reaction to them.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Our friend Katie, a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach passionate about nutrition, came to us with a challenge. Could we create a recipe with the best foods to eat in times of stress? She gave us a list of ingredients, Chopped-style. Of course, we couldn’t resist the challenge, and especially the tie in to replenishing nutrients in times of stress! Here are a few of the stress relieving foods she gave us to work with (which resulted in this avocado quinoa salad):

  • Avocado
  • Raw cacao
  • Almonds
  • Citrus: orange or lemon
  • Cauliflower
  • Greens: spinach or kale

Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad | Stress relieving foods

How to make this avocado quinoa salad

What did we come up with for our Chopped challenge with stress relieving foods? We created this avocado quinoa salad bowl! For this avocado quinoa salad recipe, start with a large, deep bowl: add greens, quinoa, protein (nuts, seeds, beans, tofu), various raw and cooked vegetables, and a tasty dressing. As with any quinoa bowl, we focused on incorporating a variety of colors and textures.

Whether it’s the huge bowl or the explosion of flavors and textures, but we couldn’t get enough of this avocado quinoa salad bowl! The most unique element is the cocoa vinaigrette dressing. Using raw cacao and orange, it adds an earthy complexity to the salad that made us thoughtfully savor each bite. If you don’t have raw cacao, you can use cocoa powder instead. This avocado quinoa salad is a colorful, cheery bowl meal that makes you feel like a million bucks — and the quinoa makes it filling enough for a main dish. Even better, it’s full of stress relieving foods! So it’s a stress reducer too.

Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad | Stress relieving foods

Stay tuned for later this week where Katie will share in a new Healthy + Whole post more about foods to eat in times of stress and stress coping techniques. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you — how do you manage stress?

Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad | Stress relieving foods

This recipe is…

This stress relieving avocado quinoa salad bowl is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

Looking for bowl meal recipes?

Looking for bowl meal recipes? Aside from this stress relieving avocado quinoa salad bowl, here are a few of our favorites:

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Stress Relieving Avocado Quinoa Salad Bowl


1 Star (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This avocado quinoa salad is a delicious and hearty bowl full of stress relieving foods! It’s drizzled with a zesty cacao citrus vinaigrette.


Ingredients

For the avocado quinoa salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 radishes
  • 16 cups spinach leaves
  • Kosher salt

For the cocoa vinaigrette (makes 1 cup)

  • 1 orange (4 tablespoons orange juice + zest)
  • 2 teaspoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa (or use our Instant Pot quinoa method): Place 1 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot, and simmer where the water is just bubbling for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. (Check by pulling back the quinoa with a fork to see if water remains.) Turn off the heat and let sit covered to steam for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of water with some ice cubes. Cut the cauliflower into florets. When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower and boil for 2 minutes, until just tender. Remove the florets and place in the cold water for 1 minute, then remove to another bowl.
  3. Make the dressing: Juice and zest the orange. In a bowl, vigorously whisk together all ingredients. Makes 1 cup; store refrigerated.
  4. Place ½ cup almonds a dry skillet and toast over medium low heat, shaking often, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  5. Peel the carrots, then cut them into long, thin strips with a vegetable peeler. Dice the yellow pepper. Slice the avocado. Thinly slice the radishes.
  6. To serve, place spinach into large serving bowls. Top with the quinoa and vegetables. Sprinkle with kosher salt, then toasted almonds. Drizzle with the cacao citrus dressing (reserve unused dressing for future use).

Keywords: Quinoa Bowl, Avocado and Quinoa, Stress Relieving Foods, Quinoa, Cocoa Vinaigrette, Spinach, Greens, Healthy, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

13 Comments

  • Reply
    Tori
    October 26, 2015 at 5:58 am

    This looks amazing and I had no idea that all of these foods could help reduce stress. The fact that you made them all come together so flawlessly into one meal is very impressive! That cocao vinaigrette is genius!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    October 26, 2015 at 8:44 am

    The name of this recipe alone makes me feel calm and nourished. ;-) I really love how you brought all of these ingredients together in a bowl and topped with a special vinaigrette. Thanks for being up to the challenge!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    October 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

    That cacao vinaigrette has got to be the most creative dressing I’ve seen! It sounds so good. I’m definitely not stressed at the moment but certainly don’t need to be to eat a bowl like this! Yum!

  • Reply
    Erica
    October 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Beautiful. Bowl foods really make the best kinds of meals, don’t they? Love this, it totally inspires me to get out there and eat fresh foods despite the busy med school hours! So thank you! :)

  • Reply
    Allyson
    October 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Right now I’m going through a lot of stress at work. I recently made a career change as a professional cook, and love what I do- and end up putting in way more hours than I intend to. I keep going back and forth, because I enjoy my work, and the more I learn now the more opportunities will be available later, but I worry that I’m prioritizing work over relationships- agh! I try to combat stress by getting together with friends, making regular dates with my husband, and staying healthy- which isn’t always easy working in restaurants. This looks like just the type of thing I like to make at home to combat the foie gras pancakes and whisky shots that sometimes happen at work.

  • Reply
    Bethany @ Athletic Avocado
    October 26, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    This bowl is overflowing with nutrients and flavors! I love the cacao citrus vinaigrette! Looks amazinG!

  • Reply
    Taylor
    October 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Very intriguing idea! By the way I love the why, when, caveats info! :)

  • Reply
    Michelle (Supper With Michelle)
    October 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I could certainly use a bowl of this right now. Looks divine! And that dressing…yummm!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    November 2, 2015 at 7:25 am

    I made this bowl this weekend and it was so satisfying. The citrus cacao dressing is out of this world amazing, and I see myself making it over and over again. :) Thanks again for collaborating on this project…so fun!

  • Reply
    Peggy May
    December 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Where do you get raw cacao?

  • Reply
    Sandra
    June 5, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Not only is this a gorgeous bowl of goodness, but so many foods that help reduce stress! I’m in! I am a huge fan of the benefits of raw cacao. Making a salad dressing with it is genius!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      June 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Oh thank you! It can’t be bad when eating dinner also helps you destress, literally :) Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Jessica Flory
    July 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    We loved this meal! Delicious :)

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