Top 5 Alternative Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Top 5 Alternative Healthy Breakfast Recipes 2021

Imagine waking up excited to make breakfast - it is possible!

You can fuel your body ready for the day by creating a delicious, healthy bowl of goodness. Chinese herbs are a fantastic ingredient to make an array of unique breakfast dishes, as they contain health boosting properties.

Here are our top 5 healthy breakfast recipes which are quick and easy to make:

1) Porridge with Dried Orange Peel (Chen Pi) & Dried Black Cardamon (Yi Zhi Ren)

Considered the ‘Marmite’ of breakfasts by some, porridge is usually brandished as a ‘Plain Jane’ dish, but here’s how you can transform something bland into a vibrant and colourful breakfast bowl:


Dried orange peel – 20g

Dried black cardamon – 5g

2 cups of porridge oats

3-4 cups of milk/water (your preference)

Pinch of salt

Quick Prep Instructions (Prep time: 4-5 mins - using microwave)

  • Put 2 cups of porridge oats into a ceramic bowl
  • Pour 3-4 cups of milk/water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt
  • Add the dried orange peel and black cardamon on top of the porridge
  • Place the porridge in the microwave for 3 minutes on the appropriate setting
  • Once this has finished, remove carefully (very hot)
  • For a slightly sweeter palette, add 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Enjoy!

On the Hob Instructions (Prep time: 7-8 mins - using saucepan)

  • Put 2 cups of porridge oats in a saucepan
  • Pour 3-4 cups of milk/water and sprinkle in a pinch salt
  • Boil together for roughly 4-5 minutes, stir throughout so it doesn’t stick to the saucepan
  • Once the porridge has thickened, add the dried orange peel and black cardamon into the pan
  • Mix the ingredients together and then remove the saucepan from the heat
  • Place the porridge into a bowl
  • For a slightly sweeter palette, add 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Enjoy!

What’s special about Orange Peel and Cardamon?

Dried Orange Peel (Chen Pi) is a fantastic herb with some great benefits to aid health & wellbeing. Oranges are renowned for its high vitamin C content, but the peel/skin contains great amounts of provitamin A, riboflavin, thiamine, calcium and vitamin B2. Legend has it, the more aged the peel, the more potent its therapeutic energy.

Dried Black Cardamon (Yi Zhi Ren) is a herb design to assist various digestive disorders. If you’ve ever experienced a painful stomach ulcer, this herb is a great way to suppress the discomfort. Whilst maintaining good heart health and aiding bloating/unwanted gas, Black Cardamon is a great differential ingredient to your morning munch.

2) Granola with Dried Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren), Dried Dogwood Fruit (Shan Yu Rou) & Dried Hawthorn Berries (Shan Zha)

Known as an energy-boosting powerhouse, Granola can be an excellent source of fibre to get your day underway in style! Here’s how to create a delicious granola, packed with flavour for a healthy kick:


Dried apricot seeds – 10g

Dried dogwood fruit – 10g

Dried hawthorn berries – 10g

Plain rolled oats – 300g

3-4 cups of milk (your preference)

Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Plain honey – 2 tbsp

Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Pinch of salt

Instructions (Prep time: 5-10 mins)

  • Mix the plain rolled oats and milk together 
  • Add the coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract and pinch of salt, then stir
  • Add the dried apricot seeds, dogwood fruit and hawthorn berries into the mixture
  • Place in the microwave for 2 minutes on the appropriate setting
  • Once completed, allow 1 minute to rest
  • Enjoy!

What’s special about Apricot Seeds, Dogwood Fruit and Hawthorn Berries?

Dried Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren) is a great addition to many breakfast dishes, not just granola. They possess a high content of essential fatty acids (omega 6s &3s, vitamin B17), and can assist in fighting heart disease and improving mental health. They are a versatile ingredient as you can eat them in both raw and prepared versions.

Used predominantly in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a natural anti-inflammatory, Dried Dogwood Fruit (Shan Yu Rou) is prized for its ability to cleanse the liver and improve energy levels. Taste-wise, they have been considered as a cross between a pumpkin and mango (very vibrant flavours). This herb is commonly used as a base for creating ketchups, frozen yoghurts and other fruity snacks.

Useful in a heart-warming tea in the winter months (there’s another recipe idea), Dried Hawthorn Berries (Shan Zha) have been quoted as an ‘very-ripe apple’ or a ‘cranberry alternative’. Known for their ability to suppress high blood pressure and control cholesterol levels, this medicinal herb has been previously used in raw form to treat boils and sores directly on the skin. Regularly available across Asia, North America and Europe, this berry is a crucial component for a health-boosting breakfast.

3) Oatmeal with Big Jujube Dates (Da Hong Zao), Dried Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou) & Dried Goji Berries (Gou Qi Zi)

Known commonly as ‘Oatmeal’ by our friends across the pond, this is a great breakfast idea for those looking to get their health benefits with little culinary expertise required. Here’s how to create our flavoursome herbal oatmeal:


2 big jujube dates

Dried longan fruit – 10g

Dried goji berries – 10g

Plain rolled oats – 300g

3-4 cups of water/milk (your preference)

Pinch of salt

Instructions for cooking on the hob (Prep time: 5-10 mins)

  • Add a pinch of salt to the water/milk, and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat
  • Stir in the plain rolled oats, then reduce the heat to low
  • Let the mixture simmer for around 5 minutes, allowing the liquid and oat to absorb (stir gently throughout)
  • Add in the big jujube dates, logan fruit and goji berries and mix
  • Once completely mixed, remove from the boil and rest for 1 minute
  • Serve and enjoy!

Instructions for microwaving (Prep time: 2-5 mins)

  • Add a pinch of salt to the water/milk, and stir in the plain rolled oats in a ceramic bowl
  • Mix in the big jujube dates, logan fruit and goji berries
  • Once completely mixed, microwave for 2 and a half minutes
  • Remove from the microwave, rest for 1 minute
  • Enjoy!

What’s special about Jujube Dates, Longan Fruit and Goji Berries?

Big by name and big by nature, the Giant Jujube Dates (Da Hong Zao) can aid weight loss while improving mental health and brain function. Sweet in taste, these juicy dates are a powerful antioxidant which can be used in fruity teas and desserts. Like the more commonly known date, they’re a tasty snack and can be consumed on their own.

High in Vitamin C, the Dried Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou) has been used as a general tonic to increase energy levels whilst boosting the immune system. Alternatively named as ‘Dragon Eyes’ for its appearance, this fruit can also be eaten as a sweet treat included in desserts and herbal teas.

Possibly the most well-known Chinese herb around, the Dried Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) is an excellent ingredient to support health and wellbeing goals. Prized for its versatility, this berry provides immune system support, contains anti-cancerous properties, promotes healthy skin and helps stabilise blood sugar levels. A simple and effective use for the Goji berry is to consume these in their raw form or making a delicious fruity tea.

4) Red Bean Congee – Dried Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou), Dried Lotus Seeds (Bai Lian Zi) & Rock Candy/Sugar

For those who prefer the sweeter things in life, and at breakfast time, this is going to be your go-to option. Making this dish is going to require a few extra ingredients, but we promise you it’ll be well worth the work! Ideal for those looking to prepare a large batch of Red Bean Congee for a few days. Here’s how to whip it up:


Dried adzuki beans – 10g

Dried lotus seeds – 10g

½ cup of sweet rice

½ cup of rock candy/sugar

8 cups of water

Instructions (Prep time: 10 mins – Simmer and Soak time: 4 hours)

  • Wash and drain the red adzuki beans and lotus seeds
  • Bring the 8 cups of water in a large pot to boil
  • Add the red adzuki beans and lotus seeds and mix
  • Simmer for between 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally until the beans start to separate/fall apart
  • Wash the sweet rice and add to the pot, then simmer for another hour while stirring occasionally
  • Once the beans have disintegrated into a soup-like texture, remove from the heat and stir in the rock sugar
  • Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge until fully chilled
  • Once chilled, serve and enjoy!

What’s special about Red Adzuki Beans and Lotus Seeds?

Being known for their rich nutrient content, Dried Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou) provide you with high levels of protein and manganese. They are beneficial for aiding weight loss, improving digestion health, plus fighting diabetes and heart disease. Easily adaptable to be used as a red paste, this ingredient can be used in several different dishes, such as soups, desserts and as a dim sum filling. In Asian countries, these beans are cooked to make a chocolate-alternative paste which is used to make cakes and desserts (sounds heavenly).

The vitamin kings of the Chinese herbal world, Dried Lotus Seeds (Bai Lian Zi) contain high levels of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins A, B, C and E. You’re able to eat these raw and cooked, they are popular in many medicinal formulas in the East. If we’ve swayed you to try these in another dish, they are a great component for an Asian style soup but remember to remove the shell beforehand!

5) Omelette with Dried Shiitake Winter Mushroom (Dong Gu) / Dried Shiitake Flower Mushroom (Hua Gu) / Dried Snow Fungus Mushroom (Mu Er)

Now, if you’re more of a protein-packed breakfast lover, you’re in the right place. We’ve got 3 different mushrooms which you can cook as part of this recipe, so the choice is yours. Here’s our spin on this classic ‘gym bunny’ favourite:


3 beaten eggs

1 tsp sunflower oil

1 tsp butter

Dried mushroom of your choice – 10g

Pinch of salt

Instructions (Prep time: 10 mins)

  • Season the 3 beaten eggs with a pinch of salt
  • Heat the sunflower oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium-low heat until melted
  • Pour the eggs into the pan and allow them to cover the pan surface
  • Cook the mixture for roughly 30 seconds, then make a line in the middle of the mix
  • Repeat once or twice more to allow the egg mixture to set
  • Fill the omelette mix with your choice of dried mushroom (our fave is Snow Fungus)
  • Fold in half gently once the omelette has been filled
  • Remove from the heat once thoroughly cooked
  • Enjoy!

What’s special about Shiitake Winter Mushroom/Shiitake Flower Mushroom/Snow Fungus Mushroom?

We can never get enough of Eastern mushrooms. A study conducted in 2015 found that people who ate an estimated two dried shiitake mushrooms daily for a month had a significant increase in their immune system markers. If you’re still unsure on which mushroom is best suited to create your protein-packed omelette, check out our comparison table below:

Type of Mushroom

Health Benefits


Dried Shiitake Winter Mushroom (Dong Gu)

·       Contains anti-cancerous properties

·       Boosts immunity levels

·       Supports heart health


Dried Shiitake Flower Mushroom (Hua Gu)

·       Protects against cell damage

·       Boosts white blood cell production

·       Contains anti-inflammatory properties


Dried Snow Fungus Mushroom (Mu Er)

·       Rich in fibre

·       High in polysaccharides

·       Improves brain, heart and skin health


Now that you’ve got a better idea of which mushroom is best suited for your ultimate omelette, feel free to add any of your other favourite ingredients to boost those flavour combinations. We’re in the mood for food!

For a re-cap of the culinary herbs used in these recipes, click the links below for more information:

Porridge Recipe - Dried Orange Peel (Chen Pi), Dried Black Cardamon (Yi Zhi Ren)

Granola Recipe - Dried Apricot Seeds (Xing Ren), Dried Dogwood Fruit (Shan Yu Rou), Dried Hawthorn Berries (Shan Zha)

Oatmeal Recipe - Giant Jujube Dates (Da Hong Zao), Dried Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou), Dried Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi)

Red Bean Congee Recipe -  Dried Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou), Dried Lotus Seeds (Bai Lian Zi)

Omelette Recipe - Dried Shiitake Winter Mushroom (Dong Gu), Dried Shiitake Flower Mushroom (Hua Gu), Dried Snow Fungus Mushroom (Mu Er)

Now you’re prepared with 5 healthy recipes ideas for breakfast, you can put those herbs to good use and create stunning dishes in the coming weeks. We’d love to see your take on these traditional recipes, so please send us your food pics to and we’ll feature them on our site!

For any additional recipe ideas using Chinese culinary herbs, click here.

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