Natalie Portman: ‘I’m vegan, a lot of people think we’re eating alfalfa in the corner’


Natalie Portman is in Australia preparing for Thor: Love and Thunder but she took a break from training to call in to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Obviously, the conversation turned to the pandemic because, duh, how does that not come up. Natalie admitted to riding the same roller coaster as the rest of us. However, on those days that she is inspired, Natalie has been posting vegan cooking videos on her Instagram, began a book club and bought a woman’s soccer team for Los Angles. Okay, maybe she’s slightly more inspired than I am on those ‘good’ days.

On the training for Thor
I had months of pandemic eating baked goods and lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself. I’m super tired after working out and [tired] during and dreading before.

On her cooking videos, Jimmy says she should do a show
I feel like I don’t have a lot of skill. I feel like If I can do it, anyone can do it. [I like] sharing those things because I’ve gotten a lot of great recipes from Instagram and people that I follow. It makes it easier now that we’re cooking every meal.

I’m vegan and a lot of people think we’re like eating alfalfa in the corner. I like showing that there’s really delicious easy things you can do at home that your kids will eat that are plant-based. I’ve been lucky enough to learn a lot from other people I admire.

On how her book club happened
I started sharing what I was reading and what I love. It’s great getting feedback and getting to read alongside people. It’s an awesome opportunity to get to meet some of the authors that I really love by getting to interview them for the book club. It’s an easy pretext to talk to people I look up to.

On bringing a women’s soccer team to LA
It’s so exciting. A group of us became really passionate about women’s soccer because we have the best players in the world in the United States in the most popular sport in the world. We got together and we are bringing Angel City FC the women’s soccer team to LA in 2022. We are super excited to celebrate these incredible athletes. It’s the first female-led, female-investors I think of any professional sport.

[From The Tonight Show on YouTube]

I checked out some of her cooking videos after watching this segment. They are called Natalie’s Table and she FaceTimes with some name chefs as they make a recipe together, kind of like Selena Gomez’s show. Only, as Jimmy points out, Natalie definitely knows what she’s doing. Her chopping skills smoke mine and she is a much cleaner cook than I am, the area around my stove always looks like a murder scene. But she lists her recipes in her captions, and they aren’t too far reaching for a home cook. Plus they sound and look delicious. I think a lot of folks, myself included, are trying to incorporate more plant-based dishes into our diets so this is a great resource. Like Natalie said, there are some general misconceptions about vegan cooking and this is a good way to make it more approachable.

I have not checked Natalie’s book club out yet to see if our tastes are similar. Apparently, she interviews authors as well, which would be interesting. I’ve been reading a lot lately and miss our book discussions here, so I’m hoping to get something like that started – maybe on Instagram? Anyway, if you watch the segment below, you will see that Jimmy, as he mentions the book club, ever so briefly lifts up a book. That is, in fact, Natalie’s book, Natalie Portman’s Fables. She has rewritten a number of classic fables with current day sensibilities and it was released on Tuesday. I enjoy fables and fairytales so I would be curious in Natalie’s interpretation. As soon as I stop feeling guilty for having wasted my pandemic in light of everything Natalie has done during hers, I’ll go check it out.

Here is Natalie’s segment:



Photo credit YouTube and Instagram

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33 Responses to “Natalie Portman: ‘I’m vegan, a lot of people think we’re eating alfalfa in the corner’”

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  1. Esmom says:

    Great post. I rarely ever think abut Natalie Portman but here I am now interested in her recipes, her book club and her book.

    I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and gradually have gone almost totally vegan. It wasn’t really a conscious choice but more just following where my tastes and cravings and aversions led. It’s not a chore but I guess with any kind of cooking people can get into a rut. So I’m hoping to get some inspiration and maybe, finally, get the rest of my family to eat less meat.

    • Nikki* says:

      Have any sites or cookbooks that have EASY, tasty recipes for a crowd of 8-10?? I have no experience, and am cooking Thanksgiving for 2 vegetarians and a vegan.

      • Smoothie says:

        Shannon Martinez is one of the best vegan chefs I’ve come across so check out her books or recipes. Dozens of really great recipes and YTubers on YouTube sharing recipes you can scale up.

      • katie says:

        check out the Mississippi Vegan (Timothy Pakron)- he’s amazing and makes really tasty substantial food.

  2. chicken tetrazzini! says:

    Vegan offerings have come a long way in the last few years and you don’t have to compromise on taste as much. I do throw cheese on my Beyond Burgers, but I’m from Wisconsin and I’m trying! I used to roll my eyes at the sanctimonious eaters, but now that the world is on fire, eating more sustainably is how we should all be trending. My friends own a vegan brewery and expanded to a vegan deli and it’s starting to really take off even during the pandemic. They’re basically the only ones in their city doing it, so they’re paving the way and I, as a non-vegan, would definitely try some of their offerings

    • Betsy says:

      Properly pastured cattle actually help to bury carbon and carbon negative, farts and all, which I was interested to find out on the documentary Kiss the Ground. That’s the only kind of beef we get (my friends are ranchers, so that’s how I buy it). But that’s a very specific type of beef and not at all what most people purchase.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        The problems with promoting pastured cattle as a solution to carbon are primarily that 1.) pastured cattle operations will never ben able to scale up to the extent necessary to provide for a population of America’s size (since they are by definition more labor intensive than CAFO operations (concentrated animal feed operations, aka factory farms) and 2.) the labor intensity of a pasture operation renders the price of the meat they produce out of range for the majority of the population.

        Listen, pastured raised cattle is better than factory farmed cattle. If one had a choice, it is certainly the better choice (and I say this as a 20 year vegetarian). But it cannot be the solution. We need to accept that meat consumption, overall, is doing a ton of damage and we are going to have to eat a lot less of it. Reducing consumption, in reality, will allow better animal agriculture to exist, because it will reduce the demand that created the factory farm in the first place. There is also the uncomfortable realization that the ability to even afford high quality meats like pastured beef involves a degree of privilege that the majority of people on Earth simply do not, and likely will never have.

    • Smoothie says:

      Veganism is the biggest food trend right now. All the mega-multinationals in food are getting in on it in terms of processed products. I like the idea of Just Egg etc but all that plastic packaging – they should set up a reusable-packaging system with one of those zero-waste circular-packaging companies.

      • derps says:

        This is so important. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but we do eat less meat than we used to for our health and the health of the planet. We want to keep increasing how much of our diet is plant based. But, oh, the over packaging of some of these new or trendy brands! It’s just cringe sometimes and anger-inducing other times. Ridiculous that unhealthy food that is bad for the planet as well as people is sometimes more sensibly packaged when I know the company is on the record not giving a crap about the environment.

        We hope to end up almost vegetarians – saving meat for holidays or after someone has been sick. If things keep going the way they are (I’m in the US), we will surely achieve our goal from poverty and just not being able to afford meat.

  3. Millennial says:

    Those are some really great, healthy vegan recipes. We are vegan too, but much more into vegan comfort foods, haha.

    Eating a vegan diet is really one of the best things we can do for the planet, and eating a local vegan diet is even better, though much harder with the current industrial food system. I would definitely buy her cookbook if she made one!

  4. Aurora says:

    So she’s in Australia? It seems like pandemic is isn’t affecting celebs at all. I’ve seen tons of pap pics of them traveling freely and vacationing in other countries where I thought COVID-riddled Americans were currently banned.

    • cassandra says:

      She’s working on a film set-most countries are allowing travel for work.

    • Ash says:

      I gotta say that as an Australian in Europe who is literally not able to enter my own country due to our government’s policies at the moment, this pisses me off no end.

      Good luck with your movie, Natalie, I’ll just be over here not meeting my no-longer newborn nephew.

      • lanne says:

        you do know that it not Natalie’s fault, right??

      • Ash says:

        Completely – and fair response, my comment was a bit snarky 🙂 It’s just very frustrating seeing yet another celeb get in when there are apparently 35,000 citizens who cannot.

        Just something to keep in mind when everyone talks about how amazingly Australia has done during all this (ref: the story about Kate Walsh today).

    • SKF says:

      She’s in a two week quarantine right now in Australia. She wouldn’t have been able to enter for leisure purposes, they are allowing exceptions for non-Australians who are necessary for large projects that inject money and create jobs. So the Nine Perfect Strangers and Thor cast and crew members have been given special exemptions. It seems unfair because there are Australian citizens who can’t get home right now (limited numbers of entries allowed per week into only two airports; flights rare, expensive, and frequently cancelled; two weeks compulsory hotel isolation that now has to be paid for by the traveller at a cost of about $3k). I do understand it though, we desperately need to jump-start our economy again. And there are many people in the arts who need jobs right now that these productions will provide a portion of.

  5. Ky says:

    I don’t think a lot of people realize how incredible plant-based cooking can be… I’ve actually become a much better cook since going vegan and cook much more interesting food than I used to.

  6. manda says:

    Omg! I am one of the few people that LOVE Thor I and II, and it’s because of his relationship with Jane Foster! I am so excited that she will be coming back to the story. Fingers crossed her intern Darcy is involved as well. I just loved those characters.

  7. Snowslow says:

    Vegan for me is the norm and has been for years. Delicious food, with lots of variety as opposed to the 3 types of meat you can choose from.
    I can’t imagine cooking in any other way. Well, except when I travel.
    I just came back from my first trip after the pandemic (for work) to France. They organised a dinner for me and when I reminded them that I was vegan they said they’d call the restaurant so that they have something for me. Super nice.
    In the restaurant when I asked what I was going to eat they told me in a smug way they’d “prepared me something”.
    As if I was a child and didn’t have to right to know what I’d be eating.
    Vegan is synonym for “doesn’t like to eat” I realised, and then I looked around at a bunch of dead animals on plates with some potatoes and two green leaves. While I ate roasted potatoes with fries (I kid you not) and a cabbage salad.
    And that’s how unsustainable we still are.
    I mean if you want to hunt (sustainably) go for it, but our oceans are depleted. There is jelly fish everywhere, no tuna, no mackerel, no sardines. Nothing. And there they were with a plateful of poor scallops.
    And don’t get me started on fish farms etc.
    This is about keeping ecosystems alive.
    Sorry, long rant but it just bothers me to no end seeing cognitive dissonance about freakig keeping the humans species alive and with it many others that are slowly disintegrating, including flora.
    And yes, people do think we eat alfalfa in a corner, unpleasurably.
    I eat crepes with chocolate almost every morning (made with wholewheat flour and oat milk); I just ate delicious plant based sausage rolls with quinoa and a carrot, apple, and cabbage salad and tonight we’ll eat a beautiful chickpea curry with couscous and make some banana bread for tomorrow’s brekkie. It’s all quick and easy to make. A stir fry is quick and delicious, a salad is the easiest thing to make in the world… I mean, it’s not trying to settle in Mars this vegan cooking thing…
    Again, sorry for the rant. I only ver talk like this with my vegan friends because also, like men did with women before, to shut us vegans up there will be always someone to say that we’re preachy, morally righteous and whatnot. When usually it is always a non-vegan that starts the conversation: what on earth do you eat, we’re asked all the time…
    Phew. Glad I got this off my chest. Thanks guys! 🙂

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      I feel the same way @Snowslow! Rant away!

      • Snowslow says:

        🙏 I gotta say it felt good @Lady Baden-Baden
        So true @JanetDR
        *in a low tone* the doctor of wrote a book called How Not to Die and I really am disappointed for it – it approaches the “clean eating” way to tap into people’s fears and it is also a little biased apparently. But you’re right the nutrition aspect is so important and I am too happy to provide info if asked but usually it’s just to make me the butt of the joke… But not always!

    • JanetDR says:

      Yes to not being the one who brings it up! I’m not vegan, because cheese still calls my name but have been vegetarian for almost 40 years. I ‘m not interested in proselytizing, but don’t mind steering a genuinely interested person in the direction of some good resources. But usually people just want to justify their choices to me and I wish they would stop.
      Speaking of good sources, is great for the latest research if you are looking for health reasons, versus planetary. (It may get me off cheese yet! 😂)
      It’s sad that I still have to expect that I can’t just order off the menu in many restaurants. Not that I’m going anywhere… But maybe someday.

  8. Sarah says:

    I’d forgotten about the football team (you know, with 2020 already being 2546 years long), that’s fantastic. Keep it coming Natalie.

  9. liz says:

    My 16 year old is a vegetarian (since they were 5, this is not a phase). With the pandemic, we also started to do a lot more plant-based cooking for the entire family. Dinner last night was a chickpea & tomato stew that Hubby & I loved. It was a vegan dish – olive oil, onion, garlic, red pepper, canned yellow plum tomatoes, chickpeas and a ton of spices (cumin, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon . . . ). Tonight is likely to be mushroom risotto.

    I will be very, very hard pressed to give up real cheese or the milk in my coffee. But I can go months without red meat or pork. I’ll have to check her recipes and see what looks good.

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      I thought I’d never be able to give up milk in my coffee either – until I gave oat milk a go. Have you tried that? Now much prefer it to cow’s milk. I’m with you on cheese though. There are some decent substitutes but nothing that beats the real thing for me. Sigh.

      • Snowslow says:

        Nothing replaces cheese unfortunately. I was a big lover of cheese but stopped eating it for health reasons. When I tried it a few years later, I could only feel the fat and disliked it. Very weird feeling. The thing is, once you alter your food habits, your palate changes and you no longer react pleasurably to the same things. I started liking things I didn’t like and the smell of grilled meat repulses me now whereas 10 years ago it was the very smell of heaven to me.

        re: oat milk – it is so easy to make! We make it every other day. You just need very cold water, rolled oats and a blender. There are lots of Youtube videos that teach you how.

    • Smoothie says:

      If you’re not sensitive to soy, a good quality organic soy milk can be very creamy and goes really well in coffees. Coconut cream also a good sub as it’s also very creamy. Otherwise you can always make your own cashew cream – that could be the ultimate in creaminess.

  10. Irene Harvey says:

    enjoyed your rant. agree 100%. i also related to the punitive treatment meted out by your french hosts–the same thing has happened to me at my sister’s, lol. please keep on speaking out. it’s more important than ever.

  11. Hanah says:

    She’s so good! I’ve been following her for years, and she inspires me to be a better person. She’s one of the reasons I became a vegan 😍

  12. Jaded says:

    I still eat seafood and poultry, but gave up beef/pork/lamb a decade ago. That being said we still eat vegetarian half the time and I’ve found that even my seafood/poultry consumption has gone down. I made a portobello mushroom bourguignon the other night for company and they were amazed that something without beef could be so good. I always have home-made hummus around and make really tasty black-bean burgers. Even vegetarian paella is great – I use roasted asparagus, red peppers, red onion, green and chick peas with lots of saffron, garlic and cumin. I’ll occasionally throw in some shrimp and mussels if I’m in a seafood mood.

    So kudos to Natalie – the less meat we eat the healthier we’ll be and so will the planet.

  13. Lissdogmom02 says:

    I follow her on Instagram, she has a roasted cauliflower that looks really good II’m going to try.