Alicia Silverstone cooking with her family. (Photo: Amy Neunsinger)
Alicia Silverstone might be best known for her role as Cher Horowitz in the 1995 hit ‘Clueless’, but it’s her vegan activism that still has us buzzing about her. In 2009 she released “The Kind Diet”, a guide for adopting a plant-based diet. In honor of Earth Day, Silverstone is sharing her insights with us, as well as a few of her favorite vegan recipes.
Having British parents, I grew up on breakfasts of toast covered with cheese, tomatoes, or baked beans—and those days aren’t entirely over. Whenever we visit my parents, my husband Christopher and my mother make this awesome vegan version of the traditional English breakfast.
If you like your greens sautéed, it will make the dish a little heavier but totally delectable. Spinach tastes great with garlic and lemon juice. Add vegan bacon, sausage, and hash browns to make it a royal feast.
Traditional English Breakfast
A vegan English breakfast that carnivores and vegetarians alike will love. (Photo: Rodale)
- 1 tomato
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Earth Balance butter
- 8 button mushrooms, halved
- ½ bunch kale or spinach
- 1 can vegetarian Heinz baked beans (the most authentic but they contain sugar) or a healthier brand 4 slices French baguette (I like sourdough)
- 2 slices vegan Cheddar cheese (optional)
- Preheat your broiler.
Cut the tomato in half. Sprinkle the cut surfaces with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, then top with a small amount of butter. Arrange the tomato halves on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and slide under the broiler for 3 to 6 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the tomato halves from the broiler, but leave the broiler on.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through but still firm. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat water in a steamer to boiling, then steam the greens just until tender, 4 minutes for kale and 2 minutes for spinach. While the greens cook, heat the beans in a saucepan.
Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet under the broiler for 1 minute. Flip the bread slices, top 2 with a slice of cheese, and return to the broiler until the bread is golden and the cheese melts. Butter the other 2 pieces of toast, if you like. You should be sort of dancing between all of these steps, as you want to keep everything warm and have it all ready at the same time.
Place the pieces of toast on each of the serving plates and top each slice with a few mushrooms, some kale or spinach, and a tomato half. Ladle the baked beans on top of the toast. Eat it all together. Delicious.
Gingered Green Beans with Hijiki
Alicia Silverstone’s recipe for Gingered Green Beans with Hijiki. (Photo: Rodale)
If hijiki and arame were siblings, hijiki (a brown sea vegetable that has been a part of the Japanese diet for centuries) would be the big brother and arame (a sea oak known for it’s use in Japanese cuisine) the shy sister. Hijiki is bigger, more mineral-rich, and has a stronger taste—it’s also amazing for you. Alternate between brother and sister (¼- to ½-cup servings) week to week. As you get acquainted with this recipe, you can add more or less green beans.
- ½ cup dried hijiki
- 1 tablespoon shoyu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup onion, halved and sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 2 cups fresh green beans
- Juice from 2 tablespoons grated ginger
Serves 2 to 4
Place the hijiki in a small bowl, and cover with hot water. Soak for about 30 minutes, then drain and rinse in a colander to rid the hijiki of any remaining grit.
Combine the hijiki with the shoyu and water to almost cover in a saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the water has nearly evaporated, about 30 to 40 minutes.
While the hijiki cooks, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and saute for about 4 minutes, or until translucent. Cut the tips from the green beans, and add to the onions. Cover and cook until the green beans are tender-crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the hijiki and ginger juice. Mix well, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer to marry the flavors. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Vegan chocolate peanut butter cups by Alicia Silverstone. (Photo: Rodale)
Back in the day, I was obsessed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Now I make this healthier version and they are way better. In fact, I think they are the most ridiculously delicious things in the entire world. Look for graham crackers that are naturally sweetened or low in sugar (Health Valley makes a good one), and store the leftover crackers or crumbs in an airtight container for future use.
- ½ cup Earth Balance butter
- ¾ cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened and unsalted)
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares
- ¼ cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
- 1 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips
- ¼ cup soy, rice, or nut milk
- ¼ cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. (If You Care makes unbleached liners made from recycled paper.) Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups.
Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Top with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.