- Gwyneth Paltrow has written five cookbooks which feature a range of healthy recipes.
- I tried making Paltrow’s smoothie bowl, grain bowl, soup, and potatoes.
- I loved the smoothie bowl and the grain bowl but found the soup to be boring.
- The potatoes were just OK.
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Gwyneth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand, Goop, has become a popular website, a luxury skin-care line, and an online shop. Paltrow has also established herself as something of a successful chef, with five well-known cookbooks under her belt.
I’ve owned Paltrow’s fourth cookbook, “It’s All Easy,” since it came out in 2016, and in the last two and a half years, I’ve made approximately one thing from the book (a very simple overnight oatmeal recipe). The rest of the time, I’ve thumbed through the pages, simultaneously amused at how extravagant some of these “easy” recipes are and annoyed that I spent my own money on it and have never really used it.
“It’s All Easy” is supposed to be full of recipes that are, well, easy, but that’s not always the case. For example, one of the things Paltrow suggests for unexpected guests is mixed seafood with sherry and saffron. The first dessert recipe is balsamic-macerated berries with cashew cream. Neither of these sounded very simple or attainable to me.
Still, I found myself once again feeling intrigued by her latest release, “The Clean Plate,” which is supposed to be full of recipes that are designed for a lifestyle of clean, healthy eating, something I do aspire to on my own on a daily basis. So, when I had the chance to test out a few recipes from the books, I figured, why not? Here’s what happened.
Recipe 1: I made the pitaya bowl from “It’s All Easy”
The pitaya bowl, which is a smoothie bowl packed with tropical fruits, has always stood out to me in this book. I love smoothies, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
The ingredient list isn’t too long, although at first, I wasn’t sure where I would find frozen pitaya packs (also called dragon fruit). I ended up having to head to my local health food store to buy them. The recipe also calls for either homemade or store-bought gluten-free granola, and I opted for store-bought (I used Bear Naked’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut).
Making the smoothie was quite simple, if not a little time-consuming. You blend the smoothie ingredients together, then cut up the rest of the fruit to place on top of the bowl. The end result was a very aesthetically pleasing bright pink bowl of tropical fruits that looked like it was created specifically for Instagram.
Fortunately, it also really did taste as good as it looked. It was sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet, and it was just really pleasant to eat – I could almost imagine I was on a beautiful tropical island instead of stuck inside my house in New York on a cold and windy February day. The downside was that because it is literally just all fruit, it’s not super filling. I was hungry for more breakfast relatively soon after eating it.
The other downside was the cost. For me, buying all of the ingredients came out to $US36.13. Now, this is obviously a ridiculous price for one bowl, but I will say that you can make a few more pitaya bowls using them – really quickly, though, since most of that stuff is perishable fresh fruit.
Verdict: Very good and worth it if you love fruit. I found this to be delicious, very nice to look at, and kind of fun to put together. I personally would – and already did – make it again.
Recipe 2: I tested out the crunchy spring veggie grain bowl from “The Clean Plate”
As a huge fan of veggie grain bowls, I knew I had to try this lunch recipe from “The Clean Plate.” It’s packed with healthy vegetables and seemed pretty simple to make. I also don’t think the ingredients are anything absurd: I was able to find almost everything at my local grocery store without having to go to the more expensive health food store. The only thing I couldn’t locate was a watermelon radish, so I settled for regular radishes instead, which aren’t nearly as nice to look at but get the job done.
I found this bowl super simple to make. You can make it with either quinoa or brown rice (I used brown rice) and you can add poached chicken as an option (I don’t eat meat, so I left it out). The only step I changed in the recipe shaving the asparagus. My asparagus spears were really thin, and I felt like the shavings just weren’t going to be enough, so I cut them instead.
It took less than a half hour to throw this together, and then I ate it for dinner. The consensus? I loved it. It actually had a lot of flavour for something so healthy, and it just had a nice, fresh taste to it that I enjoyed. I liked it so much, in fact, that I saved the leftovers and ate it again the next day. It also wasn’t too costly to make, which was a nice plus.
Verdict:Excellent. I will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation of dinner recipes. Highly recommend.
Recipe 3: I tried the zucchini and leek soup from “It’s All Easy”
I have a soup obsession, so when I saw this vegan option in Paltrow’s cookbook, I decided to try it out … with some hesitation. My initial thoughts were that it looks good, but also kind of… plain. But after my success with the grain bowl, I figured I’d give it a shot anyway.
The nice thing about this soup is that it has only six ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen. It’s also easy to make and doesn’t take very long. You sautée the veggies on the stove, then mix them up in a blender. For something like this, I would normally use my immersion hand blender, which I typically find easier to do than moving hot soup from the stove into a blender, but Paltrow suggested using a Vitamix to make it the “creamiest, most delicious vegan soup imaginable.” I have a Vitamix, so decided to try it.
She was right: The Vitamix did make the soup, which is essentially just zucchini, leeks, and water, much more creamy than I would have thought it could be. But she was also wrong, in my opinion: This was far from the most delicious vegan soup I’ve ever had. Instead, I found it to be kind of bland and boring, and, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, it just tasted too much like zucchini. I know, I know, it’s a zucchini soup, but I don’t know – I just thought it might have some other flavour than watery green squash, and it didn’t.
Maybe it was the fact that it was mixed with water instead of vegetable broth? I don’t know, but it just felt like it needed something else.
Verdict:Not a fan. If you like flavour, you’ll want to add more spices. I didn’t even reheat the leftovers, and I love leftovers.
Recipe 4: I opted to make the crispy potatoes with lemon and parsley from “It’s All Easy”
When I decided to make the zucchini soup for dinner, I figured I would need something else on the side to actually feel, you know, fulfilled by my meal (and I was right), so I decided on the crispy potatoes. They seemed easy enough and the ingredient list was super manageable.
Basically, you boil potatoes, smash them a bit when they’re done, then pan-fry them until they’re crispy. It’s not the easiest potato recipe in the world, but I also wouldn’t ever call it hard, so it works.
I thought the potatoes, which are covered in lemon, sea salt, garlic, and parsley, would be super tasty, but in my opinion, they were just OK. They were good and I enjoyed them, but I don’t know if I would make them again because they weren’t anything incredible or truly impressive to me. At least they gave me something else to eat other than the soup.
Verdict: Just OK. They seemed to lack a little flavour, somehow, but they also weren’t terrible.
So will I make more Paltrow recipes in the future?
Probably, to be honest. I definitely want to make more recipes from “The Clean Plate,” since I really enjoyed the veggie grain bowl the most. While some of Paltrow’s recipes are a little too extravagant for me, I think there are a few that are manageable enough to make for actual easy meals, and I’m always down for that.
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