Enter the YumUniverse book giveaway at bottom of this post…


Creamy Broccoli and Red Pepper Macaroni from Yum Universe, werved with spinach salad and chopped tomatoes.

YumUniverse_Cover_RGBGuess what just came in the mail?

One of the nice things about being in the publishing world is that not only do I get to rub shoulders with some of the best authors in the business, but I also receive lovely gifts such as fresh-off-the-press books for review.

This brings both of us a distinct advantage.

I, of course, get to see the books right out of the gate, so that I can report back to you.

And you have the advantage of early peek as well as an opportunity at winning the book giveaway!

Yum Universe

The latest book to cross my doorstep from the publisher of The Plant Based Journey, BenBella Books, is Heather Crosby’s delectable YumUniverse:  Infinite Possibilities for a gluten-free, plant-powerful, whole-food lifestyle.

Primarily a plant-based cookbook, this gorgeous gem in paper binding is rich in beautiful photographs, interesting graphics, and tips and advice for plant-based living.

Heather is decidedly enthusiastic, gregarious, and colorful – and it all comes across in her book in stunning and energetic visual display.


Broccoli and red peppers are sauteed before adding to the cooked macaroni and adding the sauce. I tossed in some mushrooms, too.

Which recipe should I make first?

After browsing through the book, exploring recipes and other content, then came the task of deciding which recipe to make and report back to you about.

I decided on the Creamy broccoli and red pepper macaroni.

First, because it looked absolutely delicious in the book photo (see photo from the book below) – the cheese sauce used in this ‘mac and cheese’ style recipe is just about an exact match for what I’ve made before as sauce on pasta, grains, vegetables – you name it.

Yet the presentation with the bright green broccoli and the red peppers (a personal favorite) were too inviting to pass up.

Besides, hubby Greg adores all things pasta (he’s Italian) just about as much as he loves potatoes in any shape or form (he’s human).

This dish did not disappoint.  It’s perfect as at home comfort food yet also would be an obvious choice for potlucks, get togethers, or guest night.

The recipe called for coconut oil, yet made it clear that this was optional.  I just replaced it with a splash of vegetable broth. It also called for gluten-free macaroni (one of the themes of the book is gluten-free) but I went with regular wheat macaroni.

I also found that the rich sauce looked like it was going to go a lot further than the suggested amount of noodles and vegetables, so I halved again the macaroni, doubled the broccoli, and tossed in some mushrooms, and it was still well-sauced and plenty flavorful.

The Recipe

Creamy Broccoli & Red Pepper Macaroni WEBCreamy Broccoli & Red Pepper Macaroni

4+ Servings

Straight from YumUniverse:

This is a highly addictive salad thanks to the kick, the crunch factor, the freshness, and the lovely colors. It’s easy to prepare and holds up in the fridge for a few days if you have leftovers.

2 cups gluten-free macaroni noodles
1 teaspoon coconut oil*
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 cup broccoli florets
1–2 tablespoons water
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil*
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 cup cashews, soaked
1 clove garlic
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2–3 drops liquid smoke*
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Blend together all sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.

3. While noodles cook, place 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a skillet heated to medium and add diced red bell pepper. Stir often for 7 minutes.

4. Add broccoli and water to skillet, stir, cover and steam for 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Return to the noodles. If they’ve finished cooking, drain and rinse and return them to the pot. Mix together cooked and rinsed noodles, veggies, and sauce over medium heat. Season with fresh-cracked pepper and more salt to taste if necessary.

YumUniverse_Book_Release_Invitepsst! Swap mushrooms for broccoli, or add mushrooms to the mix.

You can use applewood-smoked salt for the salt called for in this recipe if you aren’t using liquid smoke.

Top this recipe with Almond Crunch Kale Chips (in the book) for a healthy non-breading texture that’s outta this world.

More from Heather Crosby

Heather has quite a robust website with lots of resources and features.  You can find out more – and snap some valuable book pre-order bonuses – by visiting her at Yum Universe.

And if you’re anywhere near Chicago, you must pop into her book release party that sounds like it’s going to be a smash!

How to Enter The Book Giveaway

Multiply your chances to win by quickly completing entry tasks! Post your response to the question below in ‘replies'(required), and give a thumbs up to connecting on facebook and twitter (if you have already, simply check ‘yes’!).

The question to which to respond for the giveaway is:

What is you favorite plant-based, Fall comfort food?

You can enter through Sunday, November 2 – the winner will be selected on Monday, November 3rd.

Thanks for playing along, and I can’t wait to read your replies!


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