Breakfast Recipes That Enhance Beauty and Brains—Crafted by Candice Kumai

Photo: Candice Kumai
Intel straight from our hand-picked health squad of best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, and healthy-minded celebs who are leading—and shaking up—the wellness scene.

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. For the fifth and last week, the former model is sharing her top recipes to enhance your beauty *and* brains.

As you know, a good night's sleep is key to waking up looking refreshed and feeling your sharpest. But honestly, it doesn't always happen. Whether you were up late working on your side hustle, putting the final touches on a big work project, or up all night doing something else entirely, there are some foods you can nosh on in the a.m. to bring out that inner glow—and get your brain working.

Candice Kumai knows a thing or two about late nights. You don't film a season of Top Chef, write six (!) books—her latest, Kintusgi Wellness is out this spring—and travel the world without a few restless nights—okay, more than a few. Her shortcut to being bright-eyed and brainy: The breakfast recipes she shares here. From a smoothie loaded with antioxidants, omega-3 heavy miso avocado toast, and even chocolate almond butter protein bites that taste so delish that they double as dessert, your days of skipping breakfast or grabbing a bar on your way to work are over.

Keep reading for her go-to breakfast recipes to feel on-point all day.

Candice Kumai beauty shake
Photo: Candice Kumai

Monday: Wild blueberry avocado beauty smoothie

Serves 2

3/4 of a ripe avocado, pitted
2 cups wild, frozen blueberries
1/2 cup organic baby spinach
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp collagen
1 1/2 cups almond milk

1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

Candice Kumai miso avocado toast
Photo: Candice Kumai

Tuesday: Miso avocado toast

Serves 2

Coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray, for the skillet
2 slices of your favorite bread
4 tsp organic (red or white) organic miso paste
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
Pinch of tōgarashi
Pinch of gomashio 

1. Toast the bread: Coat a medium skillet with coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the bread slices to the skillet and toast on both sides, one to two minutes per side.

2. Slather a small amount of miso paste on one side of each slice of bread. Lightly spray the pan with extra cooking spray to prevent sticking. Return the toast to the pan, miso side down, for just a minute or two, until slightly golden.

3. Remove the toast from the skillet and transfer to a clean work surface. Top with avocado slices and mash with a fork, if desired.

4. Sprinkle with tōgarashi and gomashio. Serve immediately paired with matcha or genmaicha tea.

candice kumai berry quinoa breakfast bowl
Photo: Candice Kumai

Wednesday: Fresh berry quinoa beauty bowl & coconut cream with almonds

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa, amaranth, or gluten-free oats
Fresh sliced berries of your choice, such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
Unroasted almonds, sliced
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Place the quinoa, amaranth, or gluten-free oats into your serving bowls. Top with fresh berries, of your choice, followed by the sliced almonds, finish with coconut milk or almond milk.

2. Add a dash of cinnamon if you’d like, to help with cognitive function and memory.

Candice Kumai breakfast bar
Photo: Candice Kumai

Thursday: Turmeric beauty granola bars

Yields 12 bars

Coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray, for the baking sheet
2 cups organic rolled oats
3/4 cup raw sliced almonds
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened almond butter
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp spirulina powder (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with coconut oil or olive oil cooking spray. Spray or butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and set aside.

2. Spread out the oats, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for eight to ten minutes.

3. In the meantime, in a large saucepan over low heat, combine the brown rice syrup, almond butter, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt and cook, stirring, until heated through and combined well using a spatula.

4. Once the granola mixture has toasted, remove it from the oven, add the toasted sesame seeds, flaxseed meal, dried cherries, and spirulina powder, if using, and toss to evenly combine. Using the foil as an aid, transfer the granola mixture into the large saucepan with the wet mixture. Mix well with a spatula to coat evenly.

5. Once the mixture is well combined and slightly cool, pour the granola into the prepared baking dish and press it down firmly, to evenly distribute it in the dish. Let cool for at least an hour, or overnight.

6. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Candice Kumai breakfast bites
Photo: Candice Kumai

Friday: Chocolate almond butter beauty bites

Yields 12 bites

1 cup almond meal flour
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter
2 Tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp vanilla pea protein powder (optional)

1. Add all ingredients, reserving the chocolate chips, into a food processor and pulse until a finely incorporated meal appears. Stop food processor, carefully fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.

2. Using clean hands, roll firm bites into inch-and-a-half rounds. Be sure that the mix if firmly pressed together.

3. Serve immediately, or save in an airtight container for up to three days.

 Here’s how to transform your year in more ways, including keeping on track year-round.

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