Gwyneth Paltrow Beats #saddesklunch With Her New Cookbook

Photo: Ditte Isager

“Cooking is one of the greatest pleasures in life,” says Gwyneth Paltrow, “but sometimes, after a long day, it can feel like a chore.” Word.

Turning that around for worker-bees and busy parents is the focus of the celeb-entrepreneur’s chic new cookbook, It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook: It's strong in short, healthy recipes that are simple enough for generally exhausted people to make for dinner—and inspiring items to make for lunch. None of which need be stressed over, and many of which tackle the dilemma of #saddesklunch.

“This whole book naturally speaks to that contemporary, health-minded woman,” says Paltrow—one whose obligations outweigh her time, but (hopefully) not her desire to find pleasure in whipping up simple, flavorful food.

Where Paltrow's last book It's All Good focused on super-healthy dishes and elimination diet recipes, this one prioritizes ease, allowing a few cheesy chicken enchiladas among the gluten-free zoodles and low-sugar desserts. And it feels more relaxed.

For example, the Cauliflower Tabbouleh, one of her book's creative 125 dishes, “isn’t meant to be a grain-free replacement for the original," Paltrow told us, "but rather a fun, bright, re-invented twist that celebrates the beautiful texture and flavor of raw cauliflower.” It also does model the eat-the-rainbow approach. (Check it out, below.)

Photo: Ditte Isager

Paltrow's got a few tips to make her work week easier: She swears by a good dressing or two to make her typical lunchtime salad come to life. (There are several in the book that deliciously expand on the Green Goddess.)

And she advises salad play: “If you mix and match different proteins, lettuces, raw or grilled vegetables, beans, cheeses, and dressing (depending on your mood and what’s in your fridge), you end up with something filling, healthy and a little bit different every day,” she says.

There's also the magic of her multitasking Cilantro Hummus Recipe—it makes a great snack with beet chips but it’s also an awesome spread on collard wraps and a salad-transforming topping at work.

“None of the recipes are about dieting or deprivation (hence the enchiladas and prawn pasta)," says Paltrow. "It’s about finding new ways to make healthy food taste exciting and crave-able.” Even at your desk.

Here are a few inspiring, multitasking lunch recipes from Paltrow’s new book:

Photo: Ditte Isager

Vegetarian Collard Wraps

Vegan, Gluten-free, Under 30 minutes. Makes 1 wrap.

We like to cut the fibrous rib off the collard green leaf, but feel free to skip that step if you don’t mind a little more crunch.

1 large or 2 small collard green leaves
¼ cup Cilantro Hummus (scroll down for the recipe), or your favorite store-bought hummus
1⁄3 cup radish sprouts or other sprouts
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
8 slices English cucumber
¼ large avocado, sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay the collard green leaf flat on a cutting board, rib side up. Run the blade of your knife parallel to the cutting board, carefully slicing off most of the bulky rib while leaving the shape of the leaf intact.

Spread the cilantro hummus in an even layer over the middle of the wrap, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer on the sprouts, carrot, cucumber, and avocado and season the avocado with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Tuck the leafy end (opposite the rib end) over the ingredients to keep them secure, then roll up the wrap tightly like a burrito, leaving the stiffer ribbed end open.

Excerpted from the book IT’S ALL EASY by Gwyneth Paltrow. Copyright © 2016 by Gwyneth Paltrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  

Cilantro Hummus

Vegan, Gluten-free, Under 30 minutes. Makes 1½ cups.

I am firmly of the school that “cilantro is the best herb ever,” and I think it makes almost everything better, including hummus. If you are one of those people who hate cilantro (and therefore love dill, a random correlation I find is almost always true), skip this recipe or substitute parsley for the cilantro. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I highly recommend investing in one—they’re really affordable and make cleanup a cinch.

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of ½ large lemon, plus more as needed
1½ teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons tahini
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with ¼ cup water and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (alternatively, use a food processor). Adjust with more lemon, salt, or water to taste.

Excerpted from the book IT’S ALL EASY by Gwyneth Paltrow. Copyright © 2016 by Gwyneth Paltrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  

Photo: Ditte Isager

Beet Chips

Vegan, Gluten-free, Serves 4

These little snacks have all the crunchy, salty satisfaction of a potato chip and none of the guilt. Oven time depends largely on how thick your beets are sliced—so be sure to watch them carefully, and let them cool completely when they come out of the oven. They will crisp up as they sit.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets
2 medium beets, peeled or very well scrubbed
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
Kosher salt
Cilantro Hummus (scroll up for the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease two baking sheets lightly with olive oil.

Use a mandoline to slice the beets as thin as possible.

In a bowl, toss the beet slices with the rosemary, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt.

Arrange the beets in an even layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure that none of the slices overlap. If you can’t fit all the slices, use another baking sheet.

Place the baking sheets in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, bake for 10 minutes, then switch their positions and bake for another 10 minutes.

Let the chips cool on the baking sheets before eating. Eat plain or with the cilantro hummus for dipping.

Excerpted from the book IT’S ALL EASY by Gwyneth Paltrow. Copyright © 2016 by Gwyneth Paltrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  

Photo: Ditte Isager

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Vegan, Gluten-free, Under 30 minutes, Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Thea [my co-author] developed a couple of cauliflower “couscous” recipes while working on the annual GOOP detox this year, and I was instantly hooked. If you can find purple, yellow, or green cauliflower, they make for an especially stunning presentation. Well+Good note: add a dallop of the Cilantro Hummus or some protein for an amazing lunch.

½ medium head of cauliflower
1 small garlic clove, very finely grated or minced
Juice of 1 small lemon, plus more to taste
¼ cup olive oil, plus more to taste
A pinch of Aleppo pepper
A pinch of salt, plus more to taste
About ½ English cucumber, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh mint
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, thinly sliced

To make the cauliflower “couscous,” break the cauliflower into florets, then pulse in a food processor 10 to 15 times for 1 to 2 seconds each time. Stop when the cauliflower has been broken down into pieces the size of quinoa or couscous.

In the bottom of your serving bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and a pinch of salt. Add the cauliflower, cucumber, herbs, and scallions and toss to combine. Season with salt, more lemon juice, and olive oil to taste.

Excerpted from the book IT’S ALL EASY by Gwyneth Paltrow. Copyright © 2016 by Gwyneth Paltrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  

Want more Gwyneth? Check out Goop's white-hot, new skin-care line. (We also have the scoop on her wellness practices and beauty obsessions.)Want another easy way to think about lunch or dinner? Here's how to design a macro bowl...

Loading More Posts...