This month, Oscar-winning actress, mother, and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow follows up her first two cookbooks, My Father’s Daughter and It’s All Good, with more GOOPy goodness, in the form of It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook. It’s got everything Paltrow has become known for: lots of Asian-inspired flavors, superfoods, and beautiful photos of beautiful people in beautifully styled situations. As Chief Creative Officer of Goop.com, her lifestyle website, Paltrow has tested, tasted, and developed her fair share of recipes. Here’s what we love about the domestic goddess’s latest offering.
Sincerity. The cookbook’s introduction is more a call to action (or, rather, a call to chilling out on all the action) than fluffy rehash of her brand. It’s a well-written, sincere affirmation of the GOOP philosophy that life is for living, not doing, and we could all stand to simplify. It reflects Gwyneth’s own anxiety and frustration with a too-tightly packed schedule.
The GOOP Pantry. As expected (and acknowledged), It’s All Easy calls for some ingredients that are, to put it mildly, not so run-of-the-mill—frozen dragon fruit, kuzu root, nori sheets. Luckily, there’s this thing called the Internet, and many previously hard-to-find ingredients (coconut oil, chia seeds, kimchi) can be found these days at even the boxiest of big-box grocery stores.
Bacon! As an omnivore afraid that Paltrow’s vegan-leaning dedication to healthy eating would preclude recipes with meaty flavor, I’m pleasantly surprised. There are many vegan and vegetarian recipes in It’s All Easy (as well as gluten and dairy free), but Paltrow’s not afraid to top egg-free Vegenaise aioli with bacon in her recipe for a Fried Egg Sandwich, an absurdity I wholeheartedly embrace. For the clean-eating image she promotes, the cookbook suggests the actress is more of an equal opportunity eater than expected. She’s not afraid to tuck into some burrata (mozzarella and cream) every once in awhile, which is a virtue in my book.
Easy(ish). Assuming you don’t have a part-time sous chef, plan to build some extra time into your prep. Zucchini doesn’t spiralize itself, and you’re not going to want to skimp on the three kinds of herbs included in the chopped salad. The Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Pho I tested took more than the estimated 30 minutes, but it was delicious and simple, a winner that has been added into my regular rotation.
Useful Tips. The test kitchen tips appended to some recipes, as well as the Basics chapter, are truly useful, including info on the best way to clean clams and on which brands of coconut milk that will actually separate for the Coconut Whipped Cream. If you’ve never learned how to perfectly boil an egg, check out page 244.
Kid-friendly. Gwyneth’s kids, Apple and Moses, are darling little copies of Paltrow and her former husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. In their matching cable-knit sweaters and Hunter boots, the children grace both the cookbook’s photos and its recipes in the form of kid-friendly suggestions and tweaks, like serving the Breakfast Crepes with Nutella and banana (Moses’s favorite). I have a hard time believing a 9- and 11-year-old clamor for Poke Bowls and Grilled Squid, White Bean, and Fennel Salad, but Chicken Enchiladas, Turkey Meatloaf, and Pita Bread Pizzas are sure to be a hit at the family table.
To-Go-Go. Being busy often means taking food on the go and grabbing a pick-me-up when the afternoon slump hits. Paltrow addresses both with portable recipes that can be taken along to soccer games—or in the car on the way to your meeting with Joss Whedon. The Collard Wrap and mobile Noodle Pots (just add hot water) are brilliant, and Avocado Toast is a genuine lifesaver.
It’s All Easy hits shelves April 12, and is available for pre-order now.