By the Book: Vegetarian Cooking With Super Natural Every Day

By: Kirsten Vala
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I like blogger cookbooks, since it seems like the authors have reached success in the most democratic way possible – with the public voting through clicks and comments. Readers are drawn to their personalities and connect with their food sense, so it's only natural that the best bloggers should create more organized, sticky-note friendly versions of their favorite recipes. Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks fame published the James Beard-nominated cookbook Super Natural Cooking in 2007, an introduction to her Northern Californian vegetarian and whole foods cooking style. With Super Natural Every Day, her just-released, follow-up cookbook, she simmers down the same concepts into an approachable day-to-day, meal-by-meal collection.

I had fun reading Heidi's blog posts about putting together her second cookbook, from manuscript to cover selection and her eventual preview post with sample recipes. Heidi actually cooked and photographed the recipes in real time, as she was living her life and eating her meals, and the book came together nicely as a guide to every day cooking and eating.

Super Natural Every Day takes you through the day, from breakfast, lunch and snacks to dinner, drinks and dessert. The recipes in the book are all vegetarian and healthy. Breakfast includes staples like bran muffins and a new take on oatmeal; lunch is mostly salads and sandwiches, and snacks include some cool-looking dips. Dinner veers into tempeh territory, and many of the desserts are fruit-based. Along the way there are creative uses for veggies, whole grains and legumes (split peas, no soup!).

With just one flip-through, I was hooked on the lunch chapter – I cooked up three of Heidi’s lunches in two days, seduced by her salads of barely cooked veggies. My favorite was her Mostly Not Potato Salad (pictured above), a great spring or summer salad of bite-sized green beans, celery, cucumber and just a few potatoes tossed with dill, toasted leeks and a mustard vinaigrette. It’s a delightful lunch that could double as a nice summer cookout side.

Food blog followers did not lead us astray here, with their clicks and comments. Whether you're a vegetarian, a " Meatless Monday" convert or just trying to eat more healthy, wholesome foods, Heidi's recipes will be valuable additions to your every day meals.

Start cooking from Super Natural Every Day with this trio of lunchtime salads:

More cookbooks to try:
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