Mayim Bialik, the star of NBC’s Blossom, and more recently, playing the role of Sheldon’s “girlfriend” on CBS’s hit TV show, the Big Bang Theory, has been vegetarian for the past 16 years of her life. “It was a combination of compassion and affection for all living creatures in their life and death, environmental concern about the impact of raising animals, health, and reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals,” says Bialik about what inspired her to eliminate meat from her diet, eventually influencing her to turn totally vegan last December. The UCLA grad currently lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons, and enjoys whipping up vegan family meals most nights of the week. In a recent Q and A, Bialik gives me the lowdown on everything from her favorite vegan treats to her most anticipated holiday indulgence.
Granny smith apple or pineapple
Favorite veggie to cook with?
I love the challenge of greens: collards, chard, bok choy…
Fav. veggie to munch on raw?
Favorite vegan packaged snack?
The amazing, totally unhealthy Israeli snack: Bissli, onion flavor.
Salty or sweet?
Favorite on-set lunch?
The Big Bang craft service goddess makes me avocado, tomato, red onion, vegan bacon and soy cheese on a toasted english muffin. Heaven!
Favorite restaurant? Favorite dish to get there? Real Food Daily‘s vegan ruben and their fauxstess cupcake is the perfect meal.
Best breakfast you’ve ever had?
Vegan breakfast in restaurants is hard, so I make chocolate chip pancakes and a green smoothie at home for my “best” breakfast.
Your go-to brand for vegan ice cream? I like rice dream but I’m not such a big ice cream person… they make a chocolate ice cream sandwich that I prefer to straight ice cream.
Cooking or dining-out?
If you enjoy getting in the kitchen, are you more of a baker or a cooker? Wow…both!
Any specialties that you whip up in the kitchen?
Cashew “cheese” is our easiest, biggest healthy hit. Our boys love it on crackers and if you add dried oregano, it becomes ricotta for lasagnes, spanikopita, etc.
If you had to choose, tofu or tempeh?
I’m new to tempeh so I’d say tofu since I know it better.
Do you have a favorite soy product aside from tofu/tempeh?
We are loving seitan in our taco salad lately. We buy the slices and sautee them in a little oil and that’s all.
What’s the holiday indulgence you look forward to the most?
For Chanukah, eight days of fried latkes with vegan sour cream. And we make vegan sofganyot (israeli doughnuts) too.
Is Tofurky on your holiday menu or something else to take its place?
We had Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving. Chanukah requires no Tofurky. My father-in-law and his wife celebrate Christmas and they make sure there is salad and raw veggies for us.
Mayim Bialik’s Raw Cashew Cheese
Soak 2 cups raw cashews in water a least 2 hours
(you can also use macadamias or hazelnuts, but soak those overnight)
Put the soaked nuts into a food processor and add:
-2 tbsp. chopped rosemary
-2 tbsp. chopped basil
-2 tbsp. chopped chives (or scallions)
-2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
Blend until very smooth and enjoy.