Roasted Broccoli & Apple Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing from Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! (Plus a Giveaway)
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But I could never go vegan collage

I’ve been reading Keepin it Kind, the fabulous vegan food blog authored by Kristy Turner and her husband, Chris, pretty much since the blog got started. I was immediately drawn in by the scrumptious, satisfying recipes, but I was even more compelled by Kristy’s honest, unassuming, and compassionate voice. Her tagline is “kind food, kind world.” I love the idea that vegan food can create a kinder world, and I believe with all my heart that it’s true. Now that I know Kristy in person, I can tell you that she embodies her own kind messaging in every way. She couldn’t be warmer, sweeter, or more passionate about food activism.

Now Kristy has written a book, But I Could Never Go Vegan!, and it is every bit as delicious and enticing as I knew it would be. It’s also brilliantly constructed, witty, and a perfect resource for the new vegan–or for those of you who are trying to persuade a reluctant family member or friend to give vegan food a chance.

The title of the book pretty much says it all: Kristy echoes that sentiment that all of us (longtime vegans included) uttered at one point or another. I myself said these words, or something like them, when I first learned what a vegan is (I think it was “oh my god, I could never do that”). Nearly eight years into life as a vegan, having savored every recipe and every discovery and every bite of food, I actually can’t imagine not being vegan. But it’s so important for all of us who write about vegan food and lifestyle to remember that, from the outside, it really does seem like an insurmountable leap.

Thankfully, Kristy’s book is a perfect antidote to all of the skepticism that greets vegan living. The book is cleverly designed into twenty chapters, and each of those chapters bears the title of a common excuse not to adopt a plant based diet. A few of my favorites include “All Those Special Ingredients are Way More Expensive,” “I Could Never Give Up Cheese!” “Where Would I Get My Protein?” “Where’s the Beef?” “I’d Miss Pizza” and “Can’t I Just Be a Pescatarian Instead?” The chapter then includes a collection of recipes that help to break down the excuse — like creamy cashew blue cheese in the “I Could Never Give Up Cheese!” chapter, falafel tacos in the “Where Would I Get My Protein?” chapter, or a jackfruit tuna salad sandwich in the “Can’t I Just Be a Pescatarian Instead?” chapter. Ingenious.

What Kristy understands so well is that we are all deeply attached to food–not just to eating and drinking, but to very specific dishes and recipes and the memories they evoke. When you’ve been vegan for a long time, it’s hard to remember feeling as though cheese was a dealbreaker (I know I felt that way at some point, but I can’t relate to the sentiment anymore at all). But those feelings are potent and strong, because food cuts right to our hearts. Kristy also understands that, when we realize that there are fantastically tasty and authentic plant-based alternatives for nearly any favorite dish, it’s an incredible revelation. Her book is a testament to that process of discovery.


One of Kristy’s chapters is entitled “Just Thinking About Salad Makes Me Yawn.” One of my favorite tasks as a vegan cook is to show people how show-stopping and incredible a great salad can be, so this chapter struck a very fond chord. I wanted to share one of my favorite of Kristy’s meal-worthy salad recipes: her roasted broccoli and apple salad with lemon-tahini dressing. It’s incredible, and I know you’ll all love it.

But I Could Never Go Vegan.Roasted Broccolli & Apple Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing-1

Image by Chris Miller

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Roasted Broccoli & Apple Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing from Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan!

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Yields: 4 -6 Servings


Roasted Broccoli:

  • 2 medium bundles broccoli roughly 2 pounds or 1,000 g
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast


  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • A couple dashes of garlic powder


  • Up to 1 batch Tempeh Bacon crumbles optional (see this recipe from Kristy's blog)
  • 2 to 3 cups 60 to 90 g baby spinach
  • 1½ to 2 apples cored and diced (choose a tart but sweet variety, like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
  • 3 celery ribs sliced
  • ½ medium red onion very thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup 95 g dried cherries
  • ½ cup 75 g roughly chopped almonds (preferably roasted, but raw will also work)


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Chop the broccoli into small florets and slice the stems thinly. Place in a bowl and toss with the tamari and maple syrup. Add the nutritional yeast and toss again. Spread the broccoli on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl or cup, use a fork to whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. If you are using the Tempeh Bacon, cook the crumbles now.
  • Place the cooled broccoli in a large bowl and add the spinach, apples, celery, onion, dried cherries, and almonds. Toss until fully combined.
  • Divide the salad among serving bowls. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the Tempeh Bacon on top, if using.
  • Variations: To jazz up the salad a bit, try marcona almonds (a sweeter, plumber type of Spanish almond). If you’re in a rush or want to lighten up the salad, skip roasting the broccoli. Instead, steam for about 5 minutes and rinse in ice-cold water. Dry it off and it’s ready to use!
  • Credit line: Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

I also want to give a lucky CR reader a chance to discovery Kristy’s work for his or herself. Kristy’s publisher, The Experiment, has graciously offered to share a copy of the book with one Choosing Raw reader (US and Canada only). Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, readers. And endless gratitude to Kristy and Chris for showing us all that kind food and a kind world are so much easier and more attainable than it seems.


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Categories: Recipes, Salads, Meal Sized Salads
Method: Oven
Ingredients: Broccoli, Tempeh
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan

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  1. My mouth is just watering looking that “boring” salad.
    I totally said I could never go vegan… that seems ages ago. Love the sound of this book and I’ll definitely check out their awesome sounding blog =)

  2. I thought I wouldn’t be able to find food while eating out…wrong! 🙂 Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  3. Thanks for this giveaway !!!
    Ahhhh…the seafood, especially lobster. Very, very difficult…!!!

  4. Well, I was not held back from going vegan by anything in particular: I was vegetarian and veganism wasn’t really on my radar yet. The transition happened when I realised I was becoming allergic to dairy products. I stopped those, and not long after that, started reading vegan blogs and decided to complete the transition – which wasn’t very hard at that point.

  5. I looked at this book over on Amazon. Would love to add to my cookbook collection!

  6. Right now I have one egg every other day from pasture raised chickens. But once Hampton Creek comes out with Just Scramble I’m hoping that will be the end of eggs for once and for all!

  7. The thing that made me less than 100% vegan is when I ate out I would sometimes have food with dairy and/or eggs. But since the beginning of this year I have cut out dairy and eggs completely.

  8. This book sounds perfect for us! My husband is very not-vegan, but he does a lot of the cooking and is comfortable cooking mostly vegan. He’ll just separate into two pots when he wants to add something else. So finding more options for him is really helpful. He likes to try new recipes, and struggles to find things that are vegan but appeal to him (although he is starting to learn that vegan food is awesome). This book sounds like it would fit the bill!

  9. I never thought I couldn’t go vegan. As soon as I made the decision, it came very easy. I will say that eating while traveling & eating out in general have been perhaps the most challenging.

  10. Before going vegan I never thought I’d be able to because I thought it was unrealistic and difficult. And because I loved ice cream so much. I had no idea vegan ice cream is even better!!

  11. I want to make sure that I would know how to do a vegan diet right and stay healthy before I would decide to take the leap.

  12. My biggest hurdle is my husband. We eat vegan from time to time, but he gets to a point where he wants meat.

  13. I thought I could never give up ice cream! I used to eat it every day in the summer (oops…). Then, I started blending frozen bananas, peanut butter, cocoa, and soymilk. I like it EVEN MORE and, it’s healthier and cheaper!

  14. I loooove my yogurt<3 but besides that, my diet is mostly veggies. I looove roasting veggies!

  15. Before going vegan 5 years ago, I use to think, “where am I going to get my protein?” Ha ha ha!!! If I only knew of all the yummy vegan options then, I would have gone vegan a lot sooner.

    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  16. I’m always trying different cheeses from my favorite cheese shop. That’s why it would be hard for me to go vegan. Additionally, I eat hard boiled eggs for fast protein.

  17. I used to think I’d miss cheese and yogurt too much before I went vegan. When I finally gave it up and learned about all the different ways to make vegan mac ‘n cheese, and about the wonders of nutritional yeast in general, I wondered why I hadn’t gone vegan sooner.

  18. Yogurt – I never thought I could find a good substitute but there are so many good ones out there! I love your cashew banana yogurt recipe Gena in your book.

  19. I thought it would be too difficult. For all I knew, even if people didn’t eat meat, people were supposed to eat dairy products and it seemed that all foods had animal products in it. Glad I have learned all about the great substitutes out there to eat compassionately and for better health!

  20. Before I went vegan, I didn’t think I could give up seafood. I didn’t even like seafood that much but I was convinced I needed the protein!

  21. Kristy’s book sounds amazing and perfect fit for where I am in life right now ~ a newer vegan in a non-vegan family (yes, cheese is a deal breaker for them!). This broccoli & apple salad recipe is going on this weeks meal list! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. Confession: I am an AVID and PASSIONATE food blog follower (including this one, obviously!), but have never commented before. It makes me so nervous!

    BUT…I really would love to have this book. Why? Because I recently decided to make the leap to veganism after 13 years as a lacto ovo vegetarian! Woo! I got a bunch of nutritional yeast and called it a day…but I’m still trying to compile awesome, group-friendly recipes for all of my college-age, vegan-doubting friends. This looks perfect!

    I’m sorry for the long post, but thank you for all of your inspiring posts and amazing recipes! One stop here feeds my mind, body, and soul. Truly!

  23. The main thing holding me back from being vegan is my husband. Not like he would ever “forbid” us being vegan — i love him to death, he’s my best friend — it’s just that we live off his salary (and its a tiny one) and he likes animal products :/ he’s very flexible and will eat any vegan concoctions i attempt (and or fail at……the “orange chicken” cauliflower dish i made was an absolute mess and he devoured it even though it tasted AWFUL) and has given up dairy milk and many other things for me. So I figure I can compromise back 🙂

  24. This blog has been so beyond inspiring to my recovery of disordered eating. All the recipes are amazing!

  25. I am not vegan, but I do eat vegan from time to time. I think my biggest hurdle is the lack of options when dining out

  26. Before going vegan, I definitely thought cheese would be the hardest thing to give up. Turned out it was just figuring out how to avoid dairy and eggs in store/restaurant baked goods. Now I just bake for myself. And make grilled cheese with the Field Roast Chao cheese 🙂

  27. I hated cooking before I was a vegan. Now I love it! It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind.

  28. Prior to going vegan, by biggest mental hurdle was cheese. And yogurt. And the fear of appearing rude in social food-related situations. I did not want my hosts to think I was ungrateful or rude because of my dietary restrictions. Since going vegan I realize that pretty much no one minds when I bring my own dish, as long as I am willing to share. Also, friends are often willing to experiment with cooking vegan recipes themselves so I don’t feel left out.

  29. This looks absolutely delish! I’d love to show my skeptic friends that veganism is as creative, simple, and yummy as this book makes it appear!