Top 5 recipes from Heidi Swanson's 'Super Natural Every Day'

For my 25th birthday, I bought myself two cookbooks: Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking and Heidi Swanson's newly released Super Natural Every Day.

Cover of Super Natural Every DayI don't think I could have made two better purchases. Both cookbooks are fabulous, but Heidi's book is the one I've found myself cooking out of more thus far. In case you're unfamiliar, Heidi is the master behind 101 Cookbooks, and has previously published two cookbooks (Super Natural Cooking and Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen). She has an excellent flare for creating healthy vegetarian recipes that are delicious, satisfying and nutritious. Heidi's recipes routinely hit the spot, and for this very reason she has readily become one of my favorite, and most trusted, cooks.

When it comes to vegetarian food, Heidi knows what she's doing.

I discovered Heidi and her blog a year or two ago, but began to visit it religiously since vowing to cut down on my sugar intake and cook more whole, natural foods. Most of my previously favored food blogs showcase scrumptious food, but their recipes are far too rich, and far too sweet for me to cook from anymore (Deb from Smitten Kitchen, I love you dearly, but am talking to you). Sure, recipes can be adjusted, and from time to time I'm happy to make healthy tweaks, but it's also nice to cook a recipe from top to bottom knowing it came out exactly as it was intended.

I'm a recipe girl. Many cooks are brilliant at making up recipes from scratch, or improvising here and there because they have good instincts on what goes well with what. I'm not one of those cooks.

Given my desire to stop tweaking previously loved recipes into somewhat healthy ones, I have found Heidi's third cookbook, Super Natural Every Day -- or "SNED" so I endearingly refer to it -- to routinely please my palate and my waistline. At this point I've cooked 2/3 of the recipes in SNED, a rarity for me since most cookbooks I cook from are rented from the library, so I usually only cook 2-5 recipes from them at the very most.

While it was hard to choose, here are my top five favorite recipes from SNED:

(Most of these I have made several times, but in a flurry of job hunting, I haven't had time to blog the recipes or pictures. While I plan on doing so in the future, I have included links to other bloggers who have in the meantime.)

  1. Toasted Kale & Coconut Salad with Sesame Oil  - Heidi takes minimal credit for the recipe, and gives the kudos to a farmer at her neighborhood market for envisioning this dish. Whomever thought of it, doesn't matter, because this is the most delicious grain salad I have ever had. You cannot go wrong marinating kale in tamari, baking it, and then tossing it with coconut and your favorite whole grain). I wasn't the only one who liked it, as my meat loving brother and pops ate three bowls each.

    (See the recipe on Sparrows and Spatulas)
     
  2. Rustic Cabbage Soup  - soup is my comfort food of choice, and given how much I love Heidi's vegetarian split pea soup, I was quick to make this soup. Simple and full of flavor, this surprisingly hearty cabbage soup is perfect for when the shekels are low and the skies are gray.

    (Although not the exact same, see a very similar recipe on 101 Cookbooks)
     
  3. Avocados & Mustard Seeds - Remember when I raved about that avocado chimichurri bruschetta? I'm still bonkers for that dish, but this avocado spread tops that one. Perhaps I could combine the two...

    (See the recipe in Heidi's pre cookbook release sampler pack)

  4. Fruit Salad - I grew up in a household where fruit salad meant opening a gigantic can of fruit cocktail mix and drowning it in instant banana pudding. You can imagine my delight when realizing fruit salad is meant to taste less like box-sweetened sugar and more like well, fruit! Heidi optionally advises sprinkling some freshly chopped mint atop the fruit, and you'll be damn sorry if you don't because I felt this made the salad.

    (Recipe was no where to be found, but I'll blog it soon enough)

  5. Black Pepper Tempeh - In my meat eating days, I had a thing for chicken teriyaki. Since becoming a vegetarian, I had avoided all teriyaki-like recipes figuring it was just a meat thing. Not only is this the most flavorful way i have had tempeh, it's also a nice way to fulfill a teriyaki craving in a vegan dish. Not to mention, this cooks quickly and re-heats like a champ.

    (See the recipe, a similar adaptation, over on Art & Lemons)

Honorable mention:

  1. Mostly Not Potato Salad - (see the recipe on Cooking Channel)
  2. Black Bean Salad - (couldn't find the recipe, but here's a picture from Tartlette)
  3. Honey Rose Tapioca Pudding - (see the recipe on honey & jam)
  4. Black Sesame Otsu - (see the recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

Well folks, you get the idea: I love this cookbook and will continue to cook from it. Anticipate seeing me post my experiences with the recipes from the book sooner than later. If you feel like picking up a copy of SNED for yourself, you can order it from a billion different places online, or I've even seen it for sale at Costco lately.

Lastly, given how much I've enjoyed SNED, I have decided I'm definitely going to buy Super Natural Cooking the next time I want to reward myself.

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Amy - June 24, 2011 12:26 PM

Ashley, I recently leafed through this one briefly at the book store the other night and was very tempted to take it home! Is it mostly vegan or are there some vegetarian dishes as well? btw, i'm really excited about that toasted kale salad! I will be making that this week :)

Ashley - Freshly Vegetarian - June 24, 2011 4:59 PM

Hey Amy! If you do end up buying, you won't be sorry. Definitely make a few of those recipes above, or a few off of 101cookbooks.com if you haven't already, as that will give you a good feel for the recipes you can expect from the book.

I would say the recipes are about half vegan, half vegetarian -- and most of those recipes that are vegetarian can be tweaked to be vegan. The beauty of Heidi's approach to food is that almost all of her recipes can be adapted and still turn out well. I don't eat eggs, and try not consume too much dairy, so everything I've made of hers has turned out nicely using egg substitutes and alternative milks (sometimes I'll use whole milk, depending on the recipe).

Keep me posted on how the recipes go, and if you end up getting the book!

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