Gwyneth Paltrow's Avocado Toast Recipe Is Better Than Yours

You know those movie scenes when some gorgeous person walks by and the world starts moving in slow motion? That’s what happened to me when Gwyneth Paltrow showed up in my workout class a few years ago. I swear the woman was like a blonde gazelle-unicorn hybrid that floated across the hardwood floor with ease, grace, and understated confidence. By the end of our 60-minute session, I was dripping in sweat and Gwyneth just glowed, her high cheekbones ever so slightly flushed — and her hair was still perfect.

Fucking Gwyneth, I fumed to myself as I stomped out of the class. But you know what? That’s on me. It’s not Gwyneth's fault that she’s beautiful, athletic, and glowy. She’s just a woman who is living her life to the fullest — acting, winning an Oscar, running her own business, writing, investing in other businesses, singing, dancing, guest-starring on TV shows, and raising a family. So, really, Gwyneth is the ultimate #girlboss, and someone I look up to when I'm not swearing under my breath.

GP’s most recent accomplishment is her new cookbook, It’s All Easy. This book is just what we need: 125 recipes that can be made in the time it takes to order Seamless. I got on the phone with Gwyneth to ask her all about it — and what her eating-and-cooking routine was like before she was the multi-talented magnate she is today.

It turns out that — between tolerating cramped apartments with shitty kitchens, dealing with roommates, braving cooking disasters, frequenting 7-Eleven, and ordering in on nights when cooking is too much — GP really is just like us. Oh, and be warned: She’s about to seriously up the avocado-toast game.

Elettra Wiedemann: Tell me about your first kitchen away from home — what was it like? Were you always into cooking, or did you use your oven for sweater storage?

Gwyneth Paltrow
: "When I first moved out, I was in college, and there was a little kitchen there, but I didn’t really use it. I made coffee, though! But that was pretty much it."

EW: Did you ever have a small apartment or a less-than-ideal kitchen that you had to teach yourself to cook in?

GP: "Absolutely! I had a little apartment in Venice, CA, and I had a roommate and that is really when I started cooking. Of course, there was no internet and I had no cookbooks, I just had my grandmother’s Bolognese recipe written down and a few recipes from my dad that I was trying to master. But I remember my worst disaster was I wanted to make eggplant Parmesan, and I had no recipe for it. So I go out and I buy eggplant, Parmesan, and tomato sauce, and I literally sliced the eggplant and put it in the tomato sauce and cheese over it and... I mean, I didn’t sweat the eggplant, I didn’t fry the eggplant, and it turned out to be the most bitter, acrid, most disgusting thing. It was horrible. Oh my god."

EW: What were your go-to easy meals that you learned in your 20s that you still carry with you today?

GP: "In my 20s, I really perfected my roast chicken, which to me was like my fast food, in a way. I remember, I would be on movie sets in the middle of nowhere and I would come home from work and cook myself dinner. So I always had a few really quick recipes, whether it was my chicken, or making a quick pasta with a quick sauce, or a salad. Still today, salads are a huge part of my eating life — I eat salad every day for lunch and like to vary what’s in it."

EW: What is something that you ate in your 20s that you can’t imagine ever eating now?

GP: "I remember being in college and always stopping at 7-Eleven and getting a pack of Camel Lights and a giant, huge Diet Coke — like one of those vats! Like an ice-bucket-sized Diet Coke. And they had these nachos at 7-Eleven — oh my god, so gross! I would get the nachos, the Diet Coke, and cigarettes, and that’s what I would have all the way back up to Santa Barbara."

I would get nachos, Diet Coke, and cigarettes, and that’s what I would have all the way back up to Santa Barbara.

EW: What is your favorite recipe from the cookbook?

GP: "God, that’s so hard. There are some miso-glazed turnips that are incredible. And there’s also a one-pot clam dish that is amazing. There’s also a lot of fun breakfast recipes, like overnight oats, and stuff like that, so that in the morning you just don’t have to deal. I also expanded on avocado toast — I did a version that is almond butter, avocado, and bacon. Everyone thought I was crazy, but then they ate the whole thing. It’s so good."

EW: What’s your idea of a fast meal?

GP: "We focused more on ease, rather than time. We wanted the recipes to be around 30 minutes, but if something had to simmer or bake for longer… As long as it didn’t have a ton of ingredients and wasn’t complicated to do, we included them in the book. I didn’t want to cut recipes out if it didn’t make the 30-minutes-or-under thing, because there are occasions in life where, you know, it’s a weekend, you’re watching the kids and hanging out, maybe catching up on emails, and it’s not taxing to have something in the oven for an hour or so. So I would say, most of it is fast, but all of it is easy."

EW: You are such a busy woman — how often do you actually cook?

GP: "When we lived in London, I cooked every single meal. But since we moved to L.A., I have so much going on, I cannot cook the way I used to. But I always cook on the weekends. I’ll do like quick things and snacks, like guacamole and quesadillas. My kids really love it when I cook for them, and so whenever I have time, I do. And on the weekends, I cook all their meals. But it’s really hard — having a full-time job and two kids, and making it all work… But cooking, for me, is so relaxing and so grounding, and I miss when I can’t do it for a few days in a row."

EW: A lot of people are really addicted to Seamless and takeout. And it’s great to have easy, fast recipes, but what advice do you have to motivate people to actually get in their kitchens and cook for themelves?

GP: "You know, of course there are going to be nights when we’re going to order in food. Just the other night, I was completely exhausted and I ordered in Japanese on a delivery app. But I think there is something so nice and self-nurturing about making something for yourself, even if it’s really simple. There is a ritual of being in your kitchen, getting your hands dirty, and quickly frying something up, or making pasta. Even if you’re using a jar of sauce — that’s great! You’re making it, it tastes different, you’re invested in it differently, you know that there’s not a ton of hidden sugar and MSG. It’s always going to be healthier when you make it for yourself."

EW: We all have some kind of comfort food and/or drink for when we’ve have a really bad, stressful week — what is yours?

GP: "I love pasta with a slow-cooked turkey ragu, or some kind of thick, slow-cooked tomato sauce with sausage, or something. Fried food is my number one: like a fried clam roll and french fries, or fried shrimp with french fries, that will take away all my woes. And, I like either an Old Fashioned or a vodka martini — yum."

A fried clam roll and french fries or fried shrimp with french fries will take away all my woes.

EW: What is your pantry staple?

GP: "Anchovies. Because they are my secret ingredient in so many things. They add so much richness. And people don’t even know that anchovies are in what I am making. I am not, like, layering them on crostini, and freaking people out. But I feel like they add such a deep layer of flavor. I use them in dressings a lot and in my sauces a lot. But anchovies are my luxury ingredient. The staple is really dried pasta — all my kids want to eat it, it’s my depressed food. So, pasta is always in there, too."

EW: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your food lifestyle?

GP: "I think that there’s a misconception that some of my ingredients are hard to find. Like when my last book came out, some people were like, 'What the heck is this?!' But really, it’s one trip to Whole Foods. And you’re substituting ingredients that are much healthier for you, and better for your gut health. And also I think because I tend to push the boundaries and push ideas a little bit… Like, for example, in It’s All Good, I had the Korean Gochujang chili powder — and I remember someone was like, 'What is this?! This is impossible!' And I was like, it’s really not, and I promise it’s pretty easy to find, and that it will transform any dish you’re making."

EW: What’s your most vivid food memory?

GP: "My dad made the most incredible pancakes. He would make them every Sunday. My godparents would come over, and my best friend — it was this famous thing. He had to make the batter the night before with fresh buttermilk and it was this whole ritual. And the smell was so specific. I feel like that’s my most indelible food memory — my dad’s pancakes."

EW: What’s your favorite kitchen hack?

GP: "My kitchen hacks are all about prepping stuff. Like, if I have to chop a little bit of an onion for a recipe, I’ll chop the whole thing, and measure it out, and store the rest in a Ziplock in my fridge; so later, when I need more onion for another dish, it’s done already. And my kids always want guacamole, so if I have the ingredients chopped up in a bag, it cuts the time in half. I’ll also do things like slow-cook a tomato sauce on the weekend, and stick it in the fridge, and make meals throughout the week. Like stick the sauce in my Vitamix with some cream to make a soup, or use it on pasta. I also always have boneless chicken breasts in the fridge, because you can make so many things — a quick chicken soup, chopped salad with chicken, or chicken fingers. So I guess my kitchen hack is about using the weekend to think about what I need, and then stocking the fridge and prepping, so that I have flexibility throughout the week."

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