Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free

October 7th, 2013 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

I’ve always thought that diversifying is good advice in both financial and relationship investments. As wonderful as it is to have friends who like all the same tv shows, restaurants and books as you do – when you meet someone who can introduce you to a band that lights up your heart, take you to a trail that feels like home or push you take that first big step on a new path – it is truly a gift.

I have friends I ask to update my iTunes library, friends who always know where to pick up the dress I need for a big date and those I expect to fill my life with delicious, healthful inspiration. Ricki Heller is one of those people who has created a whole community around her brilliant way of feeding and celebrating everyone. And I truly mean everyone. Her recipes make it possible for people who are following a anti-candida diet, a gluten-free diet, a vegan diet, and/or an allergen-free diet to have their dessert and enjoy it.

Ricki has mastered her craft over many years of dedicated experimentation, motivated by her own dietary restrictions. Luckily, we are now able to benefit from her time-tested techniques for making decadent desserts through her new book, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about this amazing, allergen-free recipe resource, my friends have been raving about it since it hit the shelves (check-out reviews by Angela, Allyson, JL, Gena, Nicole, Dreena and Hannah). And if you’re reading this blog, I have no doubt you’re familiar with, an amazing on-line resource for delicious, healthful recipes.

I met Ricki soon after I moved to Toronto. She has been a great inspiration to me over the years, she has run a baking company, taught nutrition, wrote a blog (regularly!), self-published a book, and somehow found time to be a cornerstone in the blogging community. Ricki is one of the most generous, caring people I’ve ever met on the internet. But that’s not what you’re here to hear about…let’s get to the desserts.

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free is a stunning collection of recipes, the beautiful full-page photographs will make it nearly impossible to pick a place to start. And if you’re new to gluten-free flours, natural sweeteners and allergen-free ingredients, no need to fear, Ricki provides a comprehensive overview of tricks and techniques and guides you along with meticulous instructions to guarantee fantastic results for your time and investment.

I’ve been having a rather busy month, so I jumped right into playing with some of Ricki simplest sweets. Everything I made came together in mere minutes and provided for sensational snacking all month long. So far, I’ve tried:

The chewy, unctuous Coconut Macaroons that seem to be the talk of the blogosphere. They are so quick and easy to prepare, I think I could manage a batch to fill my lunchbox and keep me smiling.

A batch of the Easiest Almond Cookies, with a tiny bit of chocolate sprinkled on top (that’s just how I roll). To me, these cookies are perfect. They would pair well with a cup of tea, provide a delightful snack to share with your little ones and provide a whole -food way to satisfy your sweet-tooth. I really love cookies made with almond meal!
On a more decadent day, a pan of Raw Chocolate Fudge-Topped Brownies. I would proudly serve these spectacular sweets at a dinner party. The rich fudge layer really elevates the ubiquitous raw brownie to something truly special.
And finally, one of my favourite uses of ripe avocado, Decadent Chocolate Paté! Simple, creamy, chocolate satisfaction.

I still have so much to explore in this book. There are cupcakes, cheesecakes and pies to create. I encourage you to pick up a copy so that you can join in all the delicious fun.

Next up for me, and maybe for you is these Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies (thank you to Ricki and Sellers Publishing for allowing me to post the recipe).

Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies


  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 20 to 30 drops pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural smooth pumpkin seed butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, stevia, water, and vanilla until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the pumpkin seed butter, flax, flour, and salt and mix well to form a very thick sticky dough. Stir in the chips.
  4. Using a heaping teaspoon, scoop the dough and roll it into small balls, placing them about one inch apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm (or a silicon spatula).
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet about halfway through, until the cookies are light golden brown (the dough will lighten as the cookies bake). Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from the cookie sheet.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Ricki
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Lisa, thank you so much for these lovely words–and PHOTOS!! I’d say your give the book a run for its money!!

    I had no idea that you had just moved to Toronto when we first met–so cool! And I am really honored that you feel that way, knowing how much you are such a pillar of the vegan community here. Thanks so much for being part of the blog tour! xoxo Ricki

    • theveganlisa
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Ricki, I’m so glad you enjoyed the review. All the raves are much deserved.

      I feel very grateful that we both get to be part of this amazing community. It wouldn’t be the same without you.


  2. Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I LOVE the photos! And the desserts aren’t bad either 🙂

    • theveganlisa
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Thank you Judith!

  3. Posted October 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    What gorgeous pictures! And sweet treats! My copy of the book just came today and I haven’t had the chance to have a good look through it yet but am very excited to get in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing your review.

    • theveganlisa
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

      I hope you have fun playing with some new sweets! I’m really touched that you liked the photos. Have a fantastic day.

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