5 Weekday Beauty-Boosting Lunch Recipes From Candice Kumai

Photo: Candice Kumai

This January, as part of Well+Good’s (Re)New Year, famed plant-based and classically trained chef Candice Kumai is providing five weeks of healthy recipes to help not only transform your eating habits, but set you up for year-long success. Week One, she curated recipes specifically meant to clean your gut. Last week, it was all about power and energy—AKA meals that are as packed with protein as they are flavor. And this week, she's crafted a whole week of beauty recipes so you look and feel your best.

Sometimes, you leave the house feeling all great and glow-y, but then you sneak a peek at yourself late afternoon and you can't help but notice the bags under your eyes. What happened to the vibrance you radiated just a few hours ago? As any beauty guru will tell you, hydrating all day is key to looking fresh all day. That's why Candice Kumai crafted these beautifying lunch recipes full of water-containing fruits and veggies.

Leafy greens like kale paired with apple, grapefruit, and other sweet fruits will help you get your hydration fix outside of your water bottle—though drinking enough is still important. She also prepped all the meals to be love in gluten and dairy, two known inflammation causers. Oh, and of course there's lots of avocado mixed in, full of fatty acids and vitamins to keep skin moisturized.

Fill up on these delish meals to help keep your skin hydrated all day long. Chances are, you'll notice a difference both inside and out.

Scroll down for five beauty-boosting lunch recipes.

Photo: Candice Kumai

Monday: Spicy broccoli rabe with garlic and chili flakes

Serves 2

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 bunch broccoli rabe (aka rapini), chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal
2 six-oz packages savory baked firm organic tofu (firm or extra firm) cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes, more or less to your desired preference
1 cup cooked freekeh or farro
1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. In a large sauté pan, warm two tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until just fragrant, about five minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, increase the heat to medium, and cook for about two minutes.

2. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for two more minutes. Add the chili flakes and the cooked freekeh or farro and toss to coat. Cook for another three minutes to warm all through.

3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Serve hot!

Photo: Candice Kumai

Tuesday: Avocado grapefruit salad

Serves 2

For the salad
1/2 cup uncooked farro, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 of a 14-oz. can hearts of palm, drained and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1/4 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

For the honey "soy" vinaigrette
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp raw or manuka honey

 1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the farro and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until farro is tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Bragg liquid aminos, olive oil, and honey. Add the cooked farro, mixed baby greens, and hearts of palm to the bowl and toss well to coat with the vinaigrette. Gently fold in the grapefruit segments and top with the avocado slices. Serve immediately.

avocado toast
Photo: Candice Kumai

Wednesday: Matcha latte and avocado toast

Serves 2

For the matcha latte
2 tsp high quality matcha
2 cups just-under-boiling water
1 to 2 Tbsp coconut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

For the avocado toast
1 slice of your favorite bread or flatbread
1/2 avocado
Chili flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Tabasco or Sriracha sauce (optional)

For the matcha latte
1. Place your matcha powder in a high-powered blender. Add your hot water and coconut butter. Blend on low for a few seconds, then carefully bring to medium-high power. Blend for about 10 to 15 additional seconds.

2. Pour into desired serving cups and pour your fave almond milk into the side of the bowl to top off. 

For the avocado toast
1. Toast up your favorite bread or flatbread.

2. Add a few ripe avocado slices. Mash with a fork, if desired.

3. Sprinkle with chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt.

4. For some extra heat, add Tabasco or Sriracha sauce.

Candice Kumai kale salad
Photo: Candice Kumai

Thursday: Curly kale with tahini garlic dressing

Serves 2

4 cups kale
3 Tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Pour the dressing into a large bowl and add the chopped kale.

3. Toss to coat with your hands, massaging the dressing into the kale.

Candice Kumai kale Caeser
Photo: Candice Kumai

Friday: Kale Caesar

Serves 2

For the salad
1/2 bunch of Lacinato kale, whole leaves torn, stems removed
1/4 Fuji apple, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 avocado, cut into 1” cubes
1 Tbsp hulled hemp seeds

For the light Caesar dressing
1 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1. In a large mixing bowl add all of the light caesar dressing ingredients. Whisk well to combine.

2. Add the chopped kale and Fuji apple slices to the bowl. Toss well to coat.

3. Plate up the dressed salad and top with the avocado cubes and hulled hemp seeds.

Here’s how to transform your year in more ways, including how to build strong, healthy habits year-round.

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