Cooking from Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Every Day"

Heidi Swanson has one of the most popular and well-regarded food blogs on the web, 101 Cookbooks. Her simple, whole-food, vegetarian recipes and lovely photographs garnered such a following online she published a book in 2009, Super Natural Cooking. Now she's following that up with a companion volume, Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen.

From the introduction:

This book is a glimpse into my everyday cooking, wtih the hope that some of what inspires me will inspire you as well.

I resisted the urge to include over-the-top, special-occasion productions...Instead, I kept a simple notebook over the past couple years of my favorite everyday preparations--ones I revisit often. The recipes are rooted in whole and natural foods, typically feature a handful of seasonal ingredients, offer some inkling of nutritional balance, and (broadly speaking) come together with minimal effort.

Chives: ChivesChivesSuper Natural Every Day is divided into chapters by meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner, Drinks, Treats, and Accompaniments. Nearly every recipe is accompanied by a close-up, enticing photo. Both ingredient lists and directions are brief, and suggestions are included for substitutions and seasonal variations. Those who need precision might be frustrated by the way some amounts are represented in the recipes, such as "a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese" or "Big squeeze of fresh orange juice." But this casual approach and Swanson's chatty style are likely to reassure new and recent cook-at-home converts, encouraging them to experiment, substitute, and follow their tastes.

Since receiving the book (I liked Super Natural Cooking so much I pre-ordered it), I've made a handful of the recipes. Some have been better received than others, but Swanson's simple, natural approach is appealing to me, especially as summer approaches. I look forward to trying more.

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Millet Muffins, adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
(Makes 12 muffins)

(For a sweeter muffin with toasted millet, try the recipe from The Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook)


2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup raw millet

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 cup plain yogurt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted then cooled

1/2 cup honey

Grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, honey, and lemon zest and juice until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, spooning a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each one, filling it to a bit below the rim.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the muffin tops are browned and just barely beginning to crack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn the muffins out of the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

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White Beans and Cabbage, adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

White Beans and Cabbage (Serves 4)

My sons ate this, though they said they didn't like it, which was an improvement over the recipe for Chickpeas and Dandelion Greens, which they flatly refused to even try. I topped the leftover white beans and cabbage with a fried egg for lunch the next day; it was delicious.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed and cut into tiny cubes

1 large shallot or 1/2 onion, minced

One 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups (8 ounces) very finely shredded green cabbage

fine-grain sea salt

a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and a big pinch of salt. Toss, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through and browned on each side, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the shallot or onion and beans. Let the beans cook in a single layer for a couple minutes, until they brown a bit, then scrape and toss again. Cook until the beans are nicely browned and a bit crispy on all sides.
  3. Stir in the cabbage and cook for another minute or until the cabbage loses a bit of its structure. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan to taste.

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Green Lentil Soup: Green Lentil SoupGreen Lentil SoupGreen Lentil Soup, adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
(serves 4 to 6)


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

Fine-grain sea salt

1 bunch fresh chives, minced


  1. Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.
  4. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives.



Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple, Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative's newsletter on health and wellness, and for her own blog Girl Detective. Her last post for us was"Two New Projects from Victory 44's Erick Harcey."