Foodie Fridays: YumUniverse

Early in on adopting my mostly plant-based diet, I commented to my husband: I can’t imagine doing this if we were eating gluten-free too. But somehow, some way, cookbook author Heather Crosby has managed to do just that with her new title, YumUniverse. As part two of my Vegetarian Awareness Month coverage, I simply had to highlight this ambitious book that promises to skip wheat, dairy, meat, AND soy – making it pretty much the greatest book ever for anyone suffering from food allergens.

YumUniverseLike with many cookbook authors these days, Heather got her start writing a blog, the identically-titled YumUniverse, which literally has hundreds of recipes that follow the same principles that guide this book. Heather got started with a plant-based (et al) diet because she wanted to get off medication and teach her body to heal itself naturally. Since there weren’t too many cookbooks on the market that covered even one, never mind all of the self-imposed exclusions she set for herself, it didn’t take long for Heather to get busy in the kitchen and start concocting dishes that tasted good – and are good for the body.


YumUniverse Butternut Squash Soup

Like with Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, which I covered the other week, the thing that really impressed me with YumUniverse was how accessible the book was. When you hear of a cookbook that’s eliminated so many aisles of the grocery store, you may be thinking okay: she’s going to send me to some obscure health food store that’s not even in my community, let alone my town. Not the case. Take for example, a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. All you need is a squash, salt, pepper, soaked cashews, sage leaves, coconut oil, veggie broth, a shallot, and a Granny Smith apple. Presto, you’ve got a creamy, dreamy soap that simply floats down your throat. And if you’re already gluten-free to begin with, in the instances where slightly more specialized ingredients or gluten-free flour blends are called for, chances are you’ve already got them on hand.

Popped Amaranth BreadThe one thing I really appreciate about Heather’s whole approach in YumUniverse is that it’s not about labels. You have no idea how many ‘What the heck?’ looks I get or questions I have to answer about eating a plant-based diet. And to be fair, I was totally one of those people but I made the switch a few years ago. But I’ve never felt comfortable labeling myself as a ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’, or ‘pescetarian’ because I am actually all of those things, in different capacities. With Heather’s fuss-free, judgement-free approach to cooking, I simply feel like I’m enjoy good, clean food – like the surprisingly airy Popped Amaranth Bread you see above.

YumUniverse Mushroom Sausage FarinataI suspect anyone who picks up this cookbook will also be plenty pleased with the variety of recipes within. Heather doesn’t limit you to sad salads or endless bowls of soup. Instead, she brings in unexpected choices, like the Mushroom ‘Sausage’ Farinata pictured above, or Ginger & Pear Crepes, or even Skillet-Crusted Sweet Potato Gnocchi (yum – that  whole ‘YumUniverse‘ name is warranted).

As an extra treat for you readers, I’ve got a recipe from this YumUniverse – it just hit the shelves this week – to share with you. Enjoy!

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

10+ servings

Dry Ingredients
1 cup oat flour
1 1/4 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
3/4 cup Sucanat
1 teaspoon fine-ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup red apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
7 tablespoons unrefined, virgin coconut oil (gently warmed to liquid on the stove top if solid)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips, or vegan, gluten-free chocolate bar chopped into chunks
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet or two with unbleached parchment paper. (If you don’t have two baking sheets, bake in batches.)
2. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients and dump in any Sucanat that didn’t make it through the sifter.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients and then transfer into the dry ingredients bowl and fold the mixture in. Add mix-ins.
4. Scoop or roll out 1″ balls and place about 3″ apart on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 10–15 minutes and cool on a baking rack.


Using unbleached parchment paper, roll the dough into a log and freeze in an airtight glass container. Thaw, slice, and bake a cookie or two as you need them.

Try equal amounts of pecans or almonds instead of walnuts. Fold in 1/4 cup dried cherries or 1/4 cup toasted coconut for extra yum-factor.

Want to skip the oil? Use 1 whole apple instead of ½ and omit the coconut oil. The texture will be drier, but the cookies will still be very yummy.
Like I mentioned, YumUniverse is now available at fine booksellers nationwide. It makes a fantastic gift for anyone that’s already a fan of Heather’s website, but it also works as a cool gift for someone grappling with a new food allergy (or really, an array of them). Bon appetit! Oh yes, and I’ve got a copy to give away. Here’s how to enter to win it:

1) Leave me a comment by November 16, 2014 with a link back to the recipe on the YumUniverse site that you’d most like to try, as an intro to the types of recipes this amazing cookbook contains. While you’re at it, tell me why you’re keen on winning the cookbook too!

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around November 17, 2014 to select the winner(s), who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Ben Bella Books is the publisher of this book – and many other awesome plant-based cookbooks (and regular cookbooks too). Follow them on Twitter to find out the latest and greatest and Retweet one of their Tweets to your followers. Leave a link back to your Retweet in a separate comment below to earn yourself an extra entry into this tasty draw.

33 Responses to “Foodie Fridays: YumUniverse”
  1. Leah m says:

    I’d love to try the portobello wrap recipe
    I want this book since I eat gluten free and vegan and I’m always looking for new recipes to make!!

  2. Alison K says:

    The recipe on the YumUniverse site that I’d most like to try is her “Apple Pie” Kombucha SCOBY Candy, as my cousin has some mother to share. I’m keen on winning the cookbook in order to have a more plant based diet & these recipes look delicious!

  3. Alison K says:

    Bonus entry: following Ben Bella Books on Twitter and Retweeted one of their Tweets (AK @SoulSeeker0)

  4. Heidie Makes says:

    Hey! Thanks for inspiring recipes! 🙂

  5. dorcontest says:

    I would love this cookbook because I love finding new healthy recipes to enjoy. I would love to try the Apple Pie Chia & Buckwheat Travel Cereal
    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  6. I’m keen to try the Tomato, Onion & Kale Pesto Farinata at I started eating kale when I received it in my first organic grocery delivery. Since then, I’ve always included it in my order. It’s three years since my last home-made pizza before I got tested for allergies. I cook by the book from recipes I have at home or come across during an online search, modifying them to remove wheat. Afterwards, I post them online to share with their contributors or enter in a contest like this. That’s why a plant-based gluten free whole food lifestyle cookbook would be most helpful in navigating my new regimen of healthy living. Thank you for this chance!

  7. Julie G. says:

    I’ve recently discovered that I am gluten intolerant, so this cookbook would really help me develop a new arsenal of meals to cook. I’m keen to try the gluten free corn free baked tortilla chips recipe.

  8. Victoria Ess says:

    I’d love to try Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

  9. Susan Patterson says:

    My favorite recipe is also the Dairy-freeGlutenfree Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins – link back. http:/

  10. Sherry K says:

    I would like to try the Tomato, Onion and Kale Pesto Farinata. I am looking for gluten free as well as plant based.

  11. Sherry K says:

  12. cookie3 says:

    I’d love to try the quick Fig & Thyme Preserves, sounds delicious.
    2 of my nieces are now eating gluten free & sugar free because of allergies, etc. It would be nice to be able to feed them when they come to visit.

  13. Joan G. says:

    I’m looking to try the Asparagus Soup –

    I’m always looking for healthy new recipes and this cookbook looks like it has many.

  14. Marlene says:

    Wineberry Tarts with Toasted Almond Crust
    Love making & trying new recipes out. This tart would be great for the holidays.

  15. Katie says:

    Holy smokes I really couldn’t decide – there are so many amazing recipes! Ultimately I decided on the Golden Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad:

    I love cooking and am always interested in new healthy cook books for inspiration.

  16. Natalie SQ says:

    I would love to try the and I would love to get this cookbook to add more variety into my kitchen, I have been struggling to find easy yummy vegan dishes.

  17. ikkinlala says:

    I’d love to try these crackers:

    I’d love to win this cookbook because it would be great to be able to take things to potlucks that everyone could eat.

  18. aarone mawdsley says:

    I want to try the buckwheat noodle pad thai! Yum!

  19. if the receipes are new and creative i would love the book anr try thier suggestions!

  20. dabrowne says:

    Tried the walnut, chocolate chip cookies. Delicious!

  21. Sherri F says:

    I’d love to try the Vegan Chili with Gluten-Free Pasta

  22. Susan T. says:

    I don’t eat very much meat and I often struggle to get enough protein in my diet. The Chickpea Protein Burgers look like a great solution. This book would really teach me to eat better!

  23. Susan T. says:

    I’m @suekitty13 on twitter. My retweet:

  24. Angela Mitchell says:

    I’d love to try this recipe: Gluten-Free Penne Pesto with Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh and Artichoke Hearts

  25. aly3360 says:

    I’d love to win this cookbook because I have a girlfriend who has a lot of food intolerances. We love to get together for dinners, but sometimes we have a hard time meeting in the middle when it comes to making food we’ll both love and be able to eat. The Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins sound yummy. I’m all for pumpkin anything!

  26. Maegan Morin says:

    The Miso Marinated Portobello Wrap looks delish!

  27. Heather Arnould says:

    My twin teenage grand nieces are gluten intolerant and I am always looking for great recipes to share with them. This cookbook looks “yummy” and here is the link to the recipe I’m going to try:

  28. Aimee says:

    I’d like to try the asparagus soup. And I’d love to win this because my gluten free recipes aren’t very good

  29. Colleen Rose says:

    Walnut chocolate chip cookies

  30. Donna Doyle says:

    I would totally make first. I love pad thai and a gluten one would be awesome.

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