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Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,912 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Everyone knows that whole foods are much healthier than refined ingredients, but few know how to cook with them in uncomplicated, delicious ways. Using a palette of natural ingredients now widely available in supermarkets, Super Natural Cooking offers globally inspired, nutritionally packed cuisine that is both gratifying and flavorful. With her weeknight-friendly dishes, ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Ten Speed Press
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  4,912 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
UPDATE (6/24/2013)

Mung beans: life-changing.

Heidi Swanson encourages her readers to experiment, using new things, or old things in new ways.

I grilled two really large oyster mushrooms that I had lightly coated in olive oil, salt, pepper and dried sage. Chopped them up and added them to sauteed Lacinato kale, golden beet greens, diced Medjool dates and shallots. I added some syrup that I make but you could use agave nectar instead. Then I added some already cooked mung beans that I had. Some sea
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
While I live with Heidi and this is completely biased, I did test many of these recipes and have definitely eaten every one at least once. For a novice cook like myself, the food is not difficult to make, is interesting, diverse and satisfying. The cumulative effect of eating from this book and the food found Heidi's site over the course of several years is I feel great and enjoy food more than ever.
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: newbie naturals, a.k.a. wannabe hippies; cooks who are getting bored with their current repertoire
Recommended to Abigail by: Meghan Armstrong
The book assumes, as the title indicates, that you already desire to cook natural, minimally processed, whole, healthy foods (and that you are probably vegetarian). If you're not yet sold on natural cooking, please put this book down, go read Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food and/or Food Rules) and come back when you can appreciate what this book wants to tell you [although nothing has yet convinced me to be vegetarian, but I now buy better meat]. Helpfully, this book also assumes that you do ...more
Susan Howson
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: foodies
This cookbook is really inspiring and informative; it really makes you reexamine what you're eating and seeing how much of it you could make into food that actually benefits your body. Something about the way it's organized irks me though - it's not really a leaf-through kind of book and there aren't that many recipes. Also, Heidi gives good advice for slowly substituting natural sweeteners and leaveners etc. into your cooking instead of the gross, gross white flour and sugar that we're used to, ...more
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you have only one cookbook in your house, this should be the one. The recipes are fulfilling in every sense of the word; beautiful to look at, wonderful to eat, splendidly friendly to prepare, and the food leaves you nourished and satisfied.There are acouple of ingredients that are tricky to find if you don't have access to cosmopolitian culinary shops, but with a little creativity there is always a fix. Great graphics, after all what is a cookbook without visual flair? This book stays front ...more
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This cookbook is by the blogger behind 101 Cookbooks which is one of my absolute favorites. I have received so many really good recipes from 101 that I just had to have this cookbook.

The recipes have won over even the most hard-core nonveggie, non-organic, non-anything-healthy people in my life. Every meal cooked from these recipes is greeted with: Oh my goodness. This is really good. I need this recipe. Is there more?

Need I say more?

Only that you will like the blog and this cookbook. The way
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adventurers
Shelves: cookbooks
Again, I am unable to add stars.
Here: *****

I love Heidi Swanson and have been a huge fan of her blog, 101 Cookbooks, for many years. This cookbook is for those of us who would, if presented with the opportunity to make either chocolate chip cookies, or mesquite chocolate chip cookies, would claim territory over the mesquite chocolate chip cookies without batting an eye (I made 'em, I loved 'em). I don't use this cookbook everyday--I use it on weekends after cleaning the kitchen, which upon being
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of my favorite cookbook finds ever, for a variety of reasons. First--it's beautiful. The graphic design and photography are gorgeous. Second--it's split up in a different, but more logical way--for example, recipes by food color, nutrition, etc., rather than by meat, bread, etc. Third--the recipes are all easy, relatively cheap, healthy, and awesome. One of the best soba noodle recipes I've ever made. This is the way I try to cook all the time at home, but perfected. Swanson ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I have been reading a lot about healthier foods and whole foods, and have been looking for a good cookbook to give me ideas on meals I can make. The book that I REALLY want I cannot get from our library, so I have book looking into others and this is the first one I tried. I really like that the author of this gave lots of information on healthy foods and what they're good for. I think this book may be better suited for a more experiences cook, someone that already has a good amount of knowledge ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Even if you never cook a single recipe from this book, it' worth owning. If not for the info on natural grains and flours and sweeteners, then for the sheer beauty of the book. It's the kind of cookbook you keep on your nightstand next to your novel du jour. The kind that inspires you to spend half a day at the farmer's market, and the other half in your kitchen, celebrating beautiful, natural, colorful foods.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Full of easy healthy recipes and beautiful pictures.

I have not followed a single one of the recipes word for word, so I can not comment in that regard. But, I find this book great for motivation and direction when I'm not feeling particularly inspired to cook healthy foods or I had a new ingredient I wanted to incorporate into a basic dish.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I like that this book assumes that you want to cook healthy - she doesn't lecture you, or bog you down with how she came to cook this way.

The book is broken down into 5 fairly basic healthy eating principles - eat the rainbow, use natural sweeteners, etc that are not intimidating at all. She has some very different, good salads ( like the split green bean one), and the ginger-amaranth shortbread was also great. I liked her explanations and notes, and found them to be helpful.

If you're looking
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed cooking her recipes. Simple, beautiful and nutritious recipes.
Jill Rusin
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully photographed.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ok, I really love this cookbook. It has some amazing recipes in it, but more importantly it gives information on substituting flours and oils. Gives nutrient information and a helpful guide to put healthful choices in your pantry. Avoid canola oil, which changes nutrient content when heated, use flaxseed oil, almond oil or many, many others. Keep whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour because you can substitute it for all purpose flour (which has almost zero nutrients)and gain ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
This author has a blog called 101 Cookbooks that I stumbled upon one day. She posts simple vegetarian recipes, mostly using in season produce from the farmers' market. Now, she lives in San Francisco, which makes me insanely jealous because the local food scene there is amazing...apricots, pomegranates, almonds, oranges...Makes a WI girl just drool thinking about all the goodies at the market there. I would call her style of cooking 'California Cuisine', light, healthy, fresh meals.

After reading
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-buy, food-cooking
I've tried several more recipes from this book, all to great success. However, in none of the cases did I follow the recipe exactly, substituting chicken broth for vegetable and chicken for tofu, green curry paste for red, linguine for udon. But all of the dishes were delicious, and her ideas are inspiring. This is going on my "to buy" list.
So far I'm loving this cookbook. The design is beautiful, the recipes are approachable, and her philosophy isn't dogmatic, like a lot of whole
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
As opposed to a traditional cookbook with a slew of recipes, this cookbook is primarily focused on how to integrate and substitute in whole and comparatively less common ingredients for their heavily processed and ubiquitous counterparts. It suggests mixing in nontraditional grains and fats, as well as exploring the inclusion of a handful of ayurvedic spices, traditional herbal remedies, etc. This cookbook brings a core number of solid recipes to bear for the curious cook, or for the person ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
For the adventurous cook (and artsy paper lover- lots of gorgeous colorful prints on thick paper) who wants to try baking with whole-grain flours (mesquite, amaranth, quinoa), branch out to natural sugars, and add more whole foods to homemade meals. I liked the Crunchy Apple and Cabbage Salad (enjoyed it for a few days without getting tired of it!), and hope soon to try the Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus, toasted Pine Nuts, Feta and Spinach. (I have a feeling the Sweet Potato Spoon Bread and the ...more
Stephanie Bostic
Aug 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'm a huge fan of 101 Cookbooks, so I went to buy it and was a little sad when I ended up not doing so. (Although I sat in the bookstore and read much of it. Did not intend to do that.) Somehow, it seemed like the recipes she chose to include were the ones that did not appeal to me.

First, too many involved gluten (can't have) or simply ingredients I don't like. Second, the tone of the book seemed much preachier than her blog. Finally, the beautifully simple or elegant recipes were less present
Andrea Avalon
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book about some of the more common healthy food staples and how to use them in tasty recipes. What I found special about the book was its fusion palette. I really enjoy using tastes from all over the world and Swanson consistently employs the more easily available nonstandard american spices and flavor techniques in her recipes; a kitchen expanding treat. She has a great teff wedge recipe, very polenta like but without the mega-agra-corp corn and an easy homemade power bar recipe! The ...more
Joy Weese Moll
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
The passages describing ingredients were really useful. The descriptions included both health benefits and how the ingredient could be used. That's the kind of information I want to become a more creative cook.

Although I get her objection to canola oil, we've worked way too hard to lower our saturated fats to go back to butter for baking and higher temperature sauteeing now.

The recipes seemed fussy to me right now -- every one had either a new ingredient (which was okay since that was the point
Theryn Fleming
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
In Super Natural Cooking, readers of Heidi's blog, 101 Cookbooks , get more of what they've come to expect: her photography, the way she puts each recipe in context (what inspired it or how it came about or who it was made for), and of course her recipes, which are frequented by salads, soups, bowls of grains and veggies—and baked goods, esp. cookies!

I think the target audience for Super Natural Cooking would be people who are already cooking, but who want to incorporate a wider variety of
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have made a few recipes from both this cookbook and Super Natural Every Day. Honestly, without them in front of me I can't remember which recipes were from which cookbook...but they have all been good, so that's saying something. I'm not sure I have made any of these recipes as written though. I have substituted an ingredient here or there, but I don't think that makes a big difference when it comes to Heidi's recipes, because her cooking style is very much "use what's on hand." She gives ...more
Calee Spinney
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best healthy cookbooks I've ever seen. Sure, the ingredients are daunting the first time you flip through (I received it for my birthday and promptly shelved it for months after perusing it the first time), but the simplicity of the recipes makes the extra effort of finding the ingredients worth it. I have never been unhappy with any of the dishes I have made. This is a great gateway cookbook to get you cooking with more natural ingredients, making more items from scratch, and ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the best vegetarian cookbooks I've ever used. The recipes are clear, well-written, and oh-so-tasty. Most of recipes require ingredients I actually have in the pantry, compared to some vegetarian tomes that seem to use nothing but exotic (unavailable, expensive) stuff. With Heidi's recipes, if I don't have an ingredient on hand, it's usually available in our local stores. She suggests ingredient alternatives, too, which is always helpful. Note - I originaly found Heidi online ...more
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Heidi has a recipe for BAKING POWDER.

The tone is a little different than 101cookbooks, clearly more heavily edited and so a little less friendly. It's also organized a little strangely, in large vague categories. This doesn't matter that much, though, since the book is really informative, open, and plain-spoken. You never want a threatening cookbook, especially since so many people have complexes about food and food production in the US. This one makes you think that amaranth is just another
Jul 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
this is a beautiful cookbook (she is a photographer as well) and i like almost everything i have made from it. i definitely recommend it, however i still frequently go to her 101 cookbooks website and get recipes from there. My only quibble with Heidi is that she has all these delicious recipes for farro, which is ridiculously expensive! another thing i really like about her recipes is that they seem very easy to amend and substitute, so i use them as a base and then add stuff based on what is ...more
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I'm still exploring this cookbook, but as a long-time somewhat reader of Heidi Swanson's blog, I just love her approach to cooking and food. The photos are stunning as well. Some of my favourite recipes to eat come from her. While all the recipes are vegetarian, and can be veganized easily, as most dairy is used as some sort of garnish or accompanying item, some of her recipes are totally better with cheese. There. I said it. There was a farro and asparagus recipe that would have been PERFECT ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Glad I tried the library's copy of this first, its an interesting read but I know myself well enough that I will never make anything out of this cookbook. (for example - i'm in a part of the midwest where 'whole foods' and CSA farms are beyond rare. and we just don't see grains like amaranth and teff on a regular basis out here. it's corn corn corn soybeans corn.) But i liked the IDEAS involved with some of her recipes, like cutting potatoes hedgehog style, for example.
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