Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Ingredients

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As our featured author this month, Heidi Swanson shared a few of her favorite recipes starring some of her go-to ingredients. Fans of her blog, 101 Cookbooks, and book, Super Natural Every Day, won’t be surprised to learn that her recipes start with whole, minimally processed ingredients. Here, Heidi dives deeper into the foods you see in the recipes, explaining why they’ve become staples in her cooking repertoire. 


Oatmeal: Oats are of those gateway whole-grains, particularly rolled oats. Oatmeal is a crowd-pleaser ingredient, especially when baking or brunch is involved. One tip: if you have recipes you like that call for rolled oats, you can experiment with other “rolled grain” substitutions — there are rolled five-grain blends available, or you can make your own blends (for example, a blend of rolled oats and rolled quinoa).

Recipe: Baked Oatmeal


Seasonal produce: I decide what to cook based on what looks great at the market. I seek out food that looks like it has vitality and freshness, then I try to emphasize and retain that in whatever preparation I settle on. Correspondingly, a lot of my recipes are easily adapted to accommodate whatever is seasonal. So, for example, you can certainly make the baked oatmeal (above) with blackberries or blueberries if you prefer, or do a version with sauteed apples (this time of year). Or, I might work some winter chicories into that kale salad.

Recipe: Mostly Not Potato Salad


Millet: Millet is a quick-cooking whole grain that, when added raw, lends a delightful crunch to baked goods — I add it to muffins and quick breads. It’s great combined with a bit of egg and flour, shaped into a patty, and pan-fried. Or, if I’m cooking rice, I’ll add a few tablespoons to the raw rice, and cook them together.

Recipe: Millet Muffins


Kale: I use kale a lot. It’s readily available year-round here (and in many places), and is the sort of nutrient-dense ingredient I do my best to work into whatever I’m cooking throughout the week. De-stemmed and shredded, I add it as a finishing component to stir-fries or soups. Toasted and crumbled, it’s an easy addition to rice bowls or other grain-based salads.

Recipe: Kale Salad


Lentils: I use lentils constantly. They’re protein-dense, so if I have a lentil based meal I’m not hungry thirty minutes on. Lentils are also one of those ingredients that weave themselves across many cultural cuisines, so it’s fun to experiment with the different traditional preparations. You see different varietals used in soups, salads, ground into seasonings, used in daals, as the foundation for dosa, and on and on. I feel like I’ll never exhaust the different ways to use lentils.

Recipe: Green Lentil Soup

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