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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  1. I’ve been vegan for almost three years now, I used to think I couldn’t give up some dairy products.

  2. I’d consider myself to be about 99% vegan, but on rare occasions I do sometimes eat dairy (feta cheese, for instance). I’m looking forward to trying out some recipes that will give me that tangy pop that feta gives sprinkled on a salad or pizza! 🙂

  3. I am vegan, and when I was making the transition I thought I would have a hard time giving up chocolate. But honestly I was never a big fan of milk chocolate, and I have found some amazing dark chocolates, and my favorite local chocolatier just released a line of vegan chocolates that I cannot wait to try.

  4. Awww, Gena! Thank you so much for the beautiful, glowing review! I am so touched and so happy that you like the book. Big hugs!

  5. I thought it would be too hard giving up dairy. If you are committed it’s easy! I’m so happy to be vegan for 3 years now.

  6. I am not 100% vegan, and what’s holding me back is my other half. He is happy to consume lots of vegan meals, snacks, treats, etc, but he’s not ready to make the complete switch. While I typically just alter what I cook for him slightly (add a couple poached eggs or sausage on top of a salad), I sometimes get lazy and make a non-vegan meal for the both of us to save time. I know it’s a total cop-out, and I’m trying to be firmer in my beliefs. Luckily I have blogs like this to keep me on track and remind me that one should not have to apologize for being a healthy, balanced, compassionate person.

  7. I am not vegan but do enjoy trying vegan recipes.
    I’m just not there yet, for many reasons,but trying out vegan and raw recipes are certainly crowding out the other stuff.
    I’d love this cookbook to just add another tool to help me get there.

  8. I’d love to give this to my brother who is veg but not vegan. I think his reason is that he likes cheese too much.

  9. I am vegetarian. Living with two omnivores and the love of cheese, chocolate and eggs, keeps me from going all the way.

  10. I’m not vegan, but am really considering it. The biggest challenges for me is a carnivore husband (the idea of cooking 2 separate meals is overwhelming) and I am a runner, so I need to be sure I get enough protein. I also have digestive issues and allergies….beans, cabbage, onions….the list goes on…

  11. I struggle to get enough calories and fat in my diet when I eat only plant foods, so I get hungry too often.

  12. im vegan but my dad and brothers are not! they always say they can’t give up cheese and meat. i would love for this book to inspire them that they can!

  13. Honestly, I’m just not sure I am ready to be vegan, or to label myself anything. Though I do “lean in” pretty heavily towards plants. Funny, with all the amazing dairy free ice creams and amazing artisanal nut cheeses I don’t think I’d miss much there, and almost never eat real dairy anyway, but I would miss eggs.

  14. This sounds awesome. I think that the biggest thing for me is the variety of foods I could choose from. I am very picky and theres alot that I do not like.

  15. At home I’m vegan but it’s the social aspect holding me back to become vegan 100%. I find restaurants and dining at friends and family is difficult enough as a vegetarien. I know it’s possible, I just need to build up the courage.

  16. Our diet is largely plant-based; eggs, butter, occasional fish and holiday traditions are the big holdbacks but we’re eating less and less of those things as we try new options! We’re feeling healthier and happier so there’s definite improvement. This cookbook looks like a winner!

  17. I never had a problem. Animal products became repulsive once I found out what occurred to make them. I went vegan when I was 14!

  18. I never had a problem. Animal products became repulsive once I found out what occurred to make them. I went vegan when I was 14!

  19. Before going vegan I never thought I could give up feta or goat cheese. Now I’ve discovered cashew cheese and its wonderful!

  20. This is such a genius idea for a cookbook! We’ve all uttered that excuse. For me, it was cheese and fried/scrambled eggs. I thought I couldn’t live without those things. But it’s been so easy. I’m so glad she wrote this book.

  21. I am trying to move to a plant-based vegan diet. Cheese is my weakness. That and because I can’t eat wheat either, I find trying to find foods that are healthy, vegan, wheat-less incredibly difficult. I always give in and get items with cheese.

  22. I am mostly vegan. Every once in a while I have something that is not vegan. Still working on that! Thank goodness for vegan cheese and ice cream! And since I discovered homemade cashew milk, I am such a happy camper!
    Would love to win this book and try some recipes on my omnivore partner!

  23. I used to think that it would be hard to enjoy traditional meals with my family! And of course PIZZA!

  24. I am forever looking for new salad ideas, so I’d love to read her chapter on salads.

  25. I was looking at this book at B&N the other day, it looks fantastic. I don’t consider meself vegan, since I still wear and own leather, but I do eat a plant based diet. That hardest part for me is ice cream in the summer with my kids, it’s more than the food it’s the memories and excitment of going out for ice cream…need to replace that with another type of treat

  26. I used to think I couldn’t go vegan because I loved cheese so much, but I’ve been lactose intolerant for the majority of my life so I never ate it in large quantities to begin with. So after I cut out dairy and began the transition from vegetarian to vegan, I thought it would make social situations too difficult, and was annoyed by having to always explain WHY I’m vegan (since everybody asks). Eating out with friends is still a process, but I no longer care about being “that person” who has to ask for special treatment. Eating compassionately is more important to me, and I overcame my silly hesitations to become the vegan I am today.

  27. Oh my gosh, I WANT THIS BOOK SO BADLY!! I’m not vegan but I’m always curious if it’s something I could do. The only thing holding me back is that I am a very active triathlete who trains 10-20h/week. I’m nervous I wouldn’t get enough carbs/protein/calories to fuel my active lifestyle! But I would love some healthy recipes to help me try 🙂

  28. I’m not a strict vegan anymore, though I’d say about 80% of my diet is vegan and the other is vegetarian. For me personally, I’ve found that there are times when allowing myself to have things like dairy and eggs serves me better than trying to pretend I don’t want them. Having an ED history I like to give myself options and sometimes that means being a strict vegan and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Also, that salad recipe looks amazing!

  29. I’ve been vegan for 3 years, and I thought that giving up ice cream, pizza, and buttery baked goods would be impossible…But thanks to great vegan food bloggers like yourself, I’ve been able to find delicious substitutes without feeling deprived:)

  30. Oh my this salad sounds amazing! And I would love a copy of Kristy’s book! The hardest part for me was definitely cheese! The thought of “never” eating mac & cheese or pizza again was frightening! Of course this was before I knew about all of the wonderful alternatives. It’s easier than ever to be vegan, healthy, thriving & still indulgent from time to time!

  31. I have so many food allergies, for now, that going vegan has been difficult. This cookbook looks wonderful and like such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  32. I’m not vegan because not only do I love getting my protein from eggs and chicken…I love the taste of eggs and chicken. However, I consider myself a flexitarian; some days I eat vegan, some vegetarian, some days meat, some days no dairy, etc. Everything in moderation.

  33. I used to say “I could never be vegan, it’s so extreme!” It makes me cringe a little to type that now. I will celebrate my 3 year plantiversary in April and I can’t imagine NOT being vegan!

  34. I am a vegetarian and in fact am mostly vegan (like 90% of the time) but the one thing that keeps me from identifying as vegan is all the different secret/hidden ingrediants in all of the packaged food items…even if it is written on the ingredient list, its often in the form of some ridiculous unpronouncable word that no one knows what it is and even though I try to avoid packaged food like this, sometimes its hard to avoid and it can be intimidating and overwhelming

  35. I went vegan last year, almost buy accident. I didn’t think I could give up meats and dairy (born in raised in Wisconsin) and my sweet tooth is a big one. I’ve found awesome vegan recipes for just about everything I’ve wanted and most of the time they taste amazing!

  36. I always was afraid of what people would say when I told them I was vegan, so I was hesitant to become vegan at first. But now, people think it’s either super weird or awesome so I don’t care what people think 🙂

  37. My Mom is just loving Kristy’s book. So proud of her. It looks spectacular and I know it will really speak to people who are thinking about veganism but feel daunted by the change.

  38. Vegetarian now – I’d have a lot of trouble giving up eggs. This book looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try this recipe Gena!

  39. That salad looks great. I would love this book. I agree with others above, dairy yogurt was the last thing to go and I don’t like vegan yogurt as much as I did dairy yogurt . . . yet!!!

  40. I am vegan, and sometimes I still am nervous about eating outside my home. I’d rather make my own meals, but when I do go out to eat, some restaurants may serve me something cooked in butter and I just wish there was more awareness in the food business to certain customers’ needs. There is just so much I can ask the waiter about something on the menu before they become annoyed with all my questions.

  41. Seafood! Although there’s so good products out there which mimics seafood, they’re hard to find or super expensive.

  42. the last two non-vegan items to go during my transition towards veganism were fish and goat cheese/greek yogurt (not uncommon, right?). i can honestly say that the variety of a vegan diet, along with all of its alternatives has not left me craving either of these.

  43. Kristy has some amazing recipes on her blog! A copy of her book would be an amazing addition to my small (but growing) vegan cookbook library for the New Year 🙂

  44. challah (egg bread with honey) on shabbat was really hard to not eat when i was vegan (it is a ‘mitzvah’ for Jewish women to make challah). I now eat very little meat/dairy, but I do if I know it is a higher quality and make it myself.

  45. I just thought veganism was weird- but I think that’s because I didn’t know enough about it. I dont like dairy and I wasnt a big meat eater either so making the change wasnt tough– besides, getting potatoes back (after thinking they were the devil for a long time!) was worth it!

  46. I just thought veganism was weird- but I think that’s because I didn’t know enough about it. I dont like dairy and I wasnt a big meat eater either so making the change wasnt tough– besides, getting potatoes back (after thinking they were the devil for a long time!) was worth it!

  47. Giving up seafood would be tough. I also do a lot of grain-free baking which uses coconut flour (& in turn, a lot of eggs). So seafood & eggs would be the hardest give up.

  48. I used to think I couldn’t give up certain foods, but once I actually tried it I found out that I felt better afterwards! I’m following the path of what makes me feel best, and it looks like that’s pointing towards becoming vegan.

  49. I am vegan, I was always scared of being malnourished and of not being able to find anything delicious to eat.

  50. I used to think I could never go vegan because I would be limiting my food choices. Now I love experimenting and trying new recipes!!

  51. This sounds like a perfect cookbook for me! I am not vegan, even though my husband is! I do all the grocery shopping, so I shop vegan, yet I still find myself saying those silly things like “What about ice cream?!”
    I will buy this book even if I don’t win

  52. I’ve already heard so many good things about this book ~ and this recipe sounds really delicious and different from my usual salads. thanks for offering a giveaway!

  53. I thought it would be much harder to have to check ingredients in everything to make sure foods are vegan-friendly. This turned out to not be that big of a deal. It’s second nature to me now to check the back of a package of food for the ingredients list!

  54. I am vegetarian, but I am hoping to move toward vegan this year. This book looks fabulous!

  55. I am a vegetarian. The only thing holding me back from going full on vegan is my insatiable love for cheese…especially Feta cheese!

  56. Family push-back! But I finally learned to walk my own path and veganism has led me to a life filled with more peace and joy around health!

  57. I would say I’m about 90% vegan (and 100% vegetarian) – I keep a vegan kitchen & house, but the stumbling block is eating out. We don’t live in a huge town, and vegan dining out options are basically nil!

  58. I used to think I could never give up cheese. It was amazing after a few weeks, I completely stopped thinking about it!

  59. I never thought I would “go” vegan, then I had a heart attack . I had to take lipator for the cholesterol and a blood thinner and even had a mini bottle of “Nitro’ I had to carry in my purse in case of emergency. That was a wake up call for me! Now that I’ve been Vegan for going on 2 yrs, I am perscription free and have never felt better

  60. The only thing that held me back from comfortably being vegan was the age old question…”where will you get your protein?”

  61. This looks like a great book! I was pescatarian for a few years before deciding to eat an all vegetarian diet. After a year of that, I decided to become totally vegan (overnight, actually). I never used to want to be vegan because of the vegans that I knew that had nutritional deficiencies. The hardest thing to give up was definitely yogurt!

  62. It’s hard to imagine going vegan because I have really bad IBS and the fodmaps diet has been what has helped the most. A lot food prevalent in the vegan diet would give me major stomach issues.

  63. I’ve gone back and forth between veganism for awhile now, my love of cheese has always kept me from staying vegan

  64. I never thought I could give up fish. Other meats I never cared for so it was easy but I always felt like I would be hungry if I didn’t have fish in my meal. For a while I was a pescetarian for that reason. Then I got over it and rarely eat fish.

  65. i’m not vegan not because of hold ups, but i like certain animal proteins such as fish & eggs. they make me feel great and i love them for their nutrients 🙂

  66. Before I went vegan I thought it would be too expensive… but I have made it work! I spend less money on groceries/food expense now than I did as an omnivore.

  67. I’m a vegetarian. And lactose intolerant. So, basically, only eggs are what’s keeping me from being vegan. I just love a good omelette and don’t know if I could switch!

  68. I am vegetarian but not vegan. The biggest factor holding me back is that I like cheese and yogurt so much. I didn’t miss meat or fish at all when going vegetarian, though – it was more about whatever sauce it was associated with.

  69. I’m not vegan because I feel like cooking for my family would be really difficult.

  70. Hmm, I cook totally vegan at home but once in a while when I go out with friends or visit someone’s house I relax my standards a bit. So I guess the two biggest thing holding me back is that I don’t want to be difficult in social situations.

  71. The hardest part about going vegan for me is yogurt, even though there are good vegan options I haven’t found one that satisfies my greek yogurt craving!

  72. This salad looks amazing! As does the book! I am not vegan, but cook a lot of vegan meals. I probably eat 1-2 vegan meals a day. I would be most sad to give up artisanal cheeses!

  73. I love the sweet/salty combo and the different textures she has going on in this salad! Beautiful.

  74. Before I went vegan I thought I was going to miss hamburgers the most but it turned out that I loved vegan burgers more!

  75. Like so many others– Cheese!!! I really felt like not eating cheese would leave a hole in my heart. But I gave it up and I don’t miss it anymore. Plus, Kristy’s tofu chevre recipe rocks my world.

  76. I’m vegan. And the hardest things for me to give up were conventional sweets and ice cream. I learned to bake my own sweets and make my own banana ice cream, plus splurge on vegan versions once in a while from the store.

  77. I’m a huge fan of Kristy’s blog, & would be thrilled to win her new cookbook!