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in the kitchen with: heidi’s roasted strawberries

by Kristina Gill

Today I’m really excited to have a recipe from the very newly released Super Natural Every Day cookbook by Heidi Swanson, author of 101cookbooks blog.  When we asked her which recipe from the book was her favorite, she chose Roasted Strawberries..  The first strawberries are showing up in markets now so hopefully this gives you time to plan for peak season!  For a savory recipe from Heidi click here, or other strawberry (vegan!) recipes, visit our archives.  To learn more about Heidi’s book and have a chance to win a copy, stay tuned later today! -Kristina

About Heidi: Heidi Swanson takes pictures, writes cookbooks, and loves to travel. She maintains a recipe journal at 101cookbooks.com where she cooks with natural foods and shares inspiration from her San Francisco kitchen. Her latest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, was published by Ten Speed Press this April.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Roasted Strawberries

8 ounces / 225 g small to medium strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon port wine
A few drops balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the middle of the oven.

It is important to use a rimmed baking sheet or large baking dish for this recipe—you don’t want the juices running off the sheet onto the floor of your oven. If you are using a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper.

Cut each strawberry in half. If your strawberries are on the large side, cut them into quarters or sixths. Add the berries to a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Pour this over the strawberries and very gently toss to coat the berries. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast for about 40 minutes, just long enough for the berry juices to thicken, but not long enough for the juices to burn. Watch the edges of the pan in particular.

While still warm, scrape the berries and juices from the pan into a small bowl. Stir in the port and balsamic vinegar. Use immediately or let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

makes about 1/2 cup / 5 oz / 140 g

Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”  Photo credit: Heidi Swanson © 2011

Why Heidi chose this recipe:

I included a recipe for Roasted Strawberries in the back of the book. It’s the kind of thing that has become a quiet staple in my house when strawberries are in season, so I’m looking forward to the next few months of berries at the market. They are so simple, and the booze and balsamic spike makes them just a tad unexpected and special. I slather the strawberries on the Rye Biscuits and Millet Muffins from the book – but they’re good on toast, ice cream, sandwiches, over goat cheese….I like things like that – flexible, easily adaptable.

Suggested For You


  • Safe to feed the children? I’m just asking because of the wine added at the end (I have a 16-month old, too young?)

  • is it just me or do those mashed up strawberries look like blood and guts?…just sayin!

  • This sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing, Heidi! I know what I’ll be doing with all those strawberries that fill the markets in a few weeks :)

  • Heidi, those strawberries look just luscious. I’m always torn between eating summer fruits just as they are and doing something in the kitchen with them. It looks like your recipe might be able to bring these two tendencies together. The strawberries still look like strawberries–fresh but a little dressed up!

  • Love this, roasted strawberries!
    Simply naked dessert options. I am a Southern girl already oozing with sweetness, so not big on desserts! These
    strawberries paired with goat cheese
    would be phenomenal!

  • These look really tasty – would this work with other soft fruits too do you think? I might try my hand at some raspberries… maybe less balsamic.

  • Roasted Strawberries! Such an unusual idea but one that looks extremely tasty! Can’t wait to try this out (maybe even this afternoon). Thanks!

  • OMG I thought for a second it was like… chunks of dead person :P HAHA Gotta stop watchin so many zombie movies!!

  • @Melany and @Jenny: Well we do regularly post recipes using human blood and organs, so I can’t blame you for thinking that this was another one of those recipes!

  • I love the uncommon in cooking. Will definitely try this. Good idea for gift giving.


  • yum I just made this. going to put it on biscuits later, but I just put some on half a glazed donut and ohhhmyyy…..

  • Why would one want to roast strawberries? They are a present by nature, perfect little fruits you just have to eat…

  • I have to be mean and say that this was NOT the best photo. Looks really repulsive.

    • vic

      i don’t think you “have” to actually. i’ve heard people say that as an excuse for harsh comments for almost 7 years now and i’m long overdue for responding to that sentiment.

      no one “has” to be mean. i doubt there’s someone leaning over any commenter’s shoulder saying “DOOO IT! Be mean!” if you don’t like something, that’s fine by me and you’re always welcome to voice disapproval, dislike or any other negative emotion here. but if you admittedly think you’re being mean, maybe it’s a good time to stop and think if there’s a constructive way to voice your distaste for something. and please don’t use “i have to” as a way to preface something mean. you don’t have to- no one does.


  • I actually thought that the picture looked really beautiful and visceral. I plan to make these soon and eat them with baguette and chocolate butter! Yum!

  • Yes, you are correct- it was a poor choice of words. Therefore: my comment is :
    these berries are looking smeared and messy, ok, I totally understand what you are doing with the mechanics of this dish, and yes, you are totally correct in roasting as a way to bring out the ultimate in flavor. Just the naturalness of this photo was not optimal for the presentation of roasting a berry- people will not get it. The colors are beautiful, but the message is carnage.
    I just get tired of gooshie reviews and no one says anything constructive, like the emperors new clothes. I am sorry I started off on the wrong sentence. To me, this just looked a mess. But it was a good idea (and is truly delicious, with any veg or fruit roastable!)

    • vic

      “I just get tired of gooshie reviews and no one says anything constructive”

      i agree that constructive comments are helpful and good to have in the mix. we do have them here if you read the comment section regularly, though i agree it would be nice to have more of them. i’m glad you came back and were able to express your opinion in a way that was constructive.


  • The photo might be off-putting to some, but oh boy did it stick in my head! Just came back to this recipe three weeks later because strawberries are gloriously in season now and I’m planning to make these to have with biscuits for breakfast tomorrow. I cannot wait to taste them!

  • I’d like to weigh in here on what Vic has included in his constructive comment. Because I “chose” this photo, in a way, I’d like to provide my perspective and rationale for running it.

    The primary reason I chose the recipe/image, notwithstanding this was Heidi’s favorite recipe from her book is that I like the image. (I could have told her it doesn’t really work for the column– which in fact is the case probably more than 75% of the time we receive submissions).

    Why do I like the image? It’s real. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking for personal consumption and for this column. Food goes in the oven looking “recognizable” and comes out often in quite a different form, once it has caramelized, browned, softened, expanded, shriveled, twisted, melted, bubbled, blistered, baked, broiled. The way it looks when it comes out of the oven may be its final form, or an intermediate step on the way to the final dish.

    When I choose photos, or do the photography for a recipe, I have the choice of putting a nice shiny perfect blemish-free image or a realistic image (yet stylish)– something that I believe readers will identify with when they attempt the recipe in their own kitchen.

    In this case, I believe that Heidi’s picture reflects exactly what her strawberries look like after they have been through the cooking process she has outlined, and the image conveys the syrupy booziness she seeks in the final product. It is what readers who attempt the recipe should expect, if they want to get the strawberries the way Heidi has described she likes them. Do I think that our readers got that? Yes.

    Are there other ways that Heidi could have shown “roasted strawberries”? Of course. Would they have rendered the same idea she describes in the header notes? Probably not as well as this.

    I don’t expect everyone to like the food or the photography we have on this column and I respect the differences of opinion. I did however want to take the time to explain a bit about how I approach the photography aspect of the recipes here.

  • I’m laughing at the controversy because it was just so lost on me. I think that strawberries look phenomenal and bookmarked the recipe and have just now come back to it based on the photo alone. To each their own.

  • I thought the photo looked delicious… I made this recipe because of it. and these strawberries ARE delicious. Will be making them again for a Mother’s Day brunch pancake topping.

  • Well, so much cerebral stuff here!! All points taken, I guess I can say this:
    I work with cattle. If I find one dead one morning, it is often not pretty. But it is “natural”, however, the steak we all go out to eat that night can be a moment of reflection. Or the eggs I gathered, and remembering the 6 foot snake in the coop also enjoying said treasure……well…..and all the blood oozing out of a fresh caught fish as you clean it, do I need to put that on the dinnertable too?
    I am saying even though it is realistic and natural, you as a cook/chef must present the dish with care and effort to be appealing. There is so much realistic take it or leave it out there. I guess I am too old for this bunch. Realistic is good, but eating and food photography has morphed into a scientific illustration instead of culinary dreamland.

  • I made this recipe last night and the strawberries turned out a little too puffy/squishy – like strawberry pie filling. It was delicious, but based on the picture they should end up a little drier (I would certainly like them drier, stickier, more carmelized). Do you think a lower temp and longer cooking time might get me there? Maybe letting the strawberries come to room temp first?

  • Don’t worry about the photo because I think the taste is more important. I hope I can make this delicious. Oh well, gotta try

  • I love Heidi Swanson’s work and I really thought this recipe would be delicious based on all the premium ingredients in it (maple syrup, x-v olive oil, fine sea salt, port, balsamic vinegar) but you know what? I made it last night and while it was decent it wasn’t nearly as delicious as some strawberries I roasted a year or so ago in a much simpler and less spendy fashion. Just a touch of sugar (either white or brown works) and a little lemon zest and juice worked way more magic than all the top-shelf ingredients that this recipe calls for.

    Disappointed with this unnecessary use of port and maple syrup (and blew some lovely strawberries on this to boot) but I still love plenty of Heidi’s other recipes.

  • @Slow Lorus – Though I would certainly understand your frustration if you bought the ingredients expressly to make this recipe, the quantities of the ingredients used are so minimal ( a few drops of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil ) that I’m surprised, and truly very sorry, you felt it was a waste.

  • @Kristina — I had all the ingredients in the house but they’re still premium ingredients that I felt could have been put to better use. And while 2 TBS of maple syrup and 1 TBS of port or good olive oil doesn’t break the bank I think it’s necessary to recognize that all these ingredients aren’t getting any cheaper no matter how small the amounts called for. But my real disappointment is that I found that these top shelf ingredients detracted from the strawberries instead of complementing or enhancing them.

    I’ll go back to the simple approach when roasting strawberries. But I bet a judicious drizzle or pinch of any of the ingredients in this recipe after they’re roasted would indeed be delicious.

  • I didn’t have port wine so substituted honey wine (mead) to good effect. Since 0ne of our household is a recovering alcoholic I added wine before baking. (Also the only balsamic vinegar on hand was infused with cinnamon. It was delicioius.)

  • I tried this recipes with cherries last night, and while I think the cherries needed a bit more time in the oven, the result was quite tasty.