Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

I've been following Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog for several years now, and although I doubt I'll ever become a vegetarian, I do turn to her blog often when looking for tasty, healthy recipes.

She started her blog by cooking recipes from her favorite cookbooks, and now she's written several of her own: Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen and most recently, Super Natural Cooking, a 2007 James Beard Foundation Book Awards Nominee in the "Healthy Focus" category.

Although many of her recipes use ingredients you might not normally have or be familiar with, most recipes are fairly easy and approachable. Her first chapter, "Build a Natural Food Pantry," helps to break the ice for those of us who might not be familiar with ingredients such as amaranth flour or agave nectar.

I'm drawn most to her hearty, Asian-inspired recipes like "Otsu" (a noodle dish using soba noodles, tofu, cilantro and cucumber) and "Sushi Bowl with Toasted Nori, Avocado, and Brown Rice."

Since it's grilling season I think I'll try "Muhammara-Slathered Kabobs" next. It sounds intimidating, but it's basically a kabob with red onion, lemon, mushrooms, and tofu accompanied by "muhammara," a tomato, red pepper, and walnut-based dish along the lines of hummus or pesto.

If you're simply looking for a palatable way to prepare those "superfoods" you know you should be eating more of, Swanson offers simple recipes like "Grilled Broccoli" and "Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts."

Swanson's book is a great introduction to "super natural" eating and offers recipes for both the natural food novice and the seasoned vegetarian. Check it out!

In this "Elastic Waist" video you can see how to make Swanson's "Straw and Hay Fettuccine Tangle" recipe.