You know Ali Larter as Brook Taylor-Windham (the famous fitness instructor accused of murder) from Legally Blonde, from the TV show Heroes, and yes, ahem, from her famous whipped cream scene in Varsity Blues.
But to her friends and family, Larter is the chef of the household, always in the kitchen cooking for guests and writing recipes for her lifestyle website, AliLarter.com (she also authored a cookbook, Kitchen Revelry, in 2013).
“When I started modeling as a teenager, I would go live in all of these random places,” she says. “Food was how I connected with people and made friends. As I moved into acting, it was how I stayed grounded. I find such joy and peace in it.”
Now living in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and two kids, Larter’s still at it, cooking for her family, acting, and rocking a healthy life with lots of hiking and hot yoga.
Here’s what she’s whipping up between scenes, now. —Jamie McKillop
How would you describe your cooking style? I don’t like overly complicated dishes. I probably like things too salty, and punched up and sloppy and messy and fun. I like things to be easy. I don’t have time for anything else, and I know most women don’t either.
So true. How does healthy eating play a role in your cooking? A lot of my recipes I make two ways. For example, I’ll make ricotta meatballs for a weeknight dinner, and I’ll put prosciutto in one sauce and leave it out of the other for people who don’t want the fat. For me, I either eat it or don’t eat it at all. It’s never just one slice of pizza. But the next day I’ll stick to green juice and salad.
Is there anything you don’t eat? I used to stay away from dairy, but I’m back to having a full-fat cappuccino. For me, there’s no point in having one without the whole milk. And I don’t eat a ton of sugar, but I always have fresh fruit like berries and mangoes.
You have so many great veggies on the bottom. What do you use them for? Broccoli and corn are a hit in my house. My kids will do anything for corn. I also always have homemade hummus and pesto, so I sop it up with the vegetables. It’s such a good snack to grab.
And what do you do with the gorgeous watermelon? Another thing for grabbing and going. People come over and always want watermelon by the pool. And for the adults, we mix it with a little vodka in the blender…
Yum! How about the almond milk? I don’t like whole milk in anything but a cappuccino. I use this if I have cereal or oatmeal, or make a pancake batter. I do a lot of healthier baking with it, too. I still have cheese, also. I love whipping ricotta cheese for my meatballs, or doing it like a whipped cream with honey and adding berries and toasted pine nuts on top.
So good! What’s a typical lunch at home for you? I would probably say an omelette. I eat a lot of eggs. I’d do that with a mixed green salad, or a lentil salad. And I’m also a big fan of leftovers.
Does that mean you cook dinner regularly? I would say four nights per week. If not, there’s this great place down the street we order chicken salad from, and Sugarfish [sushi] delivers now, which is one of my favorites.
What are some other healthy snacks you grab? The hummus and pesto with veggies is a big one. I also love chia seeds and coconut water. When I was pregnant, it would be a chocolate bar slathered in almond butter. Now, it’s a banana slathered in almond butter, but I still have a little dark chocolate every day.
For more information, visit alilarter.com
(Photo: Ali Larter)