This quinoa avocado salad is a delicious and hearty bowl full of stress relieving foods! It’s drizzled with a zesty cocoa vinaigrette.
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 quinoa avocado 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 quinoa avocado salad):
- Raw cacao
- Citrus: orange or lemon
- Greens: spinach or kale
How to make this quinoa avocado salad
What did we come up with for our Chopped challenge with stress relieving foods? We created this quinoa avocado salad bowl! For this quinoa avocado 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 quinoa avocado salad! 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 quinoa avocado 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.
Step it up a notch! Make this salad with Grilled Avocado.
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?
This recipe is…
This stress relieving quinoa avocado salad 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 quinoa avocado salad, here are a few of our favorites:
- Veggie Burrito Bowls
- Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce
- Vegetarian Cobb Salad
- Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Baked Falafel Salad Bowl
- Superfood Salad
- Tropical Mango Salad with Grilled Shrimp
- Homemade Dolsot Bibimbap
- Green Goddess Tortilla Bowl Salad
- Go Green Bowls with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- Vegetarian Quinoa Bibimbap Bowls
- Chickpea Fattoush Bowls
This quinoa avocado salad is a delicious and hearty bowl full of stress relieving foods! It’s drizzled with a zesty cacao citrus vinaigrette.
For the quinoa avocado 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the dressing: Juice and zest the orange. In a bowl, vigorously whisk together all ingredients. Makes 1 cup; store refrigerated.
- 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.
- Peel the carrots, then cut them into long, thin strips with a vegetable peeler. Dice the pepper. Slice the avocado. Thinly slice the radishes.
- 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).
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Quinoa Bowl, Avocado and Quinoa, Stress Relieving Foods, Quinoa, Cocoa Vinaigrette, Spinach, Greens, Healthy, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
About the Authors
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 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.