janet @ the taste space

Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato & Giveaway for But I Could Never Go Vegan!

In Book Review, Favourites, Sides on December 4, 2014 at 7:24 AM

But I Could Never Go Vegan.Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Rob is away this week for work. He likes to update me on his day-to-day life…. like what they serve for breakfast at work, especially when it is unusual like Brussels sprouts. I would be excited about that, too! I have had Brussels for breakfast once, when we used them in this curried dill tofu scramble. Turns out I had just made Brussels sprouts as a vegetable side and it was so good, I could possibly consider eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I mean it includes all good things: roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato, both in a sticky tangy-sweet glaze courtesy of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. I like how the nutritional yeast adds a tackiness to the marinade and thickens it up, helping it to coat all the vegetables. I opted to skip the dried cranberries and I excluded them purely on principle. I had a sneaking suspicion that fresh/frozen cranberries would be surreal in here. I included them in this Balsamic Curry Roasted Vegetable dish and their tart juiciness would have complemented the dish well.

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

The recipe is courtesy of Kristy’s new cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan!I have been a long-time reader of her blog, where Kristy creates the creative recipes and her husband, Chris Turner, takes the most gorgeous photos. (You totally know he gets the credit for the top photo).

Kristy’s book is a cute foray into vegan cuisine. She aims to convince you that will not be lacking anything while munching vegan-style. Each chapter was created with recipes targetted to bust vegan myths: All Those Special Ingredients are Way More Expensive; I Could Never Give Up Cheese!; Where Would I Get My Protein?; Tofu Doesn’t Taste Like Anything; Vegan Cooking is Too Hard; Where’s the Beef?; Just Thinking about Salad Makes Me Yawn; What About Brunch?; Fake “Foods” Freak Me Out; It’s All Rabbit Food; Not Soup Again!; I’d Miss Pizza; Can’t I Be Pescatarian Instead?; My Friends Won’t Want to Come Over for Dinner; No Way. I’m Italian (or Southern/German/Mexican/French); But I Hate (Insert Vegetable Here); I Don’t Want to be Left Out at Potlucks and Family Get-Togethers; You Can’t Bake Without Butter Or Eggs; Wait, Is Chocolate Vegan?; But I Scream for Ice Cream.

Yeah, she definitely covers her bases! Her recipes span the simple and easy (see below) but also mostly on the elaborate side: Potato Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage Crumbles, Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese, Pretzel Dumplings with Mushroom-Sauerkraut Gravy; Salisbury Seitan Phyllo Pouches with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. I may be wrong but I only recognize a few recipes from her blog: Spinach Artichoke Soup, Chickpea Sloppy Joes and Jackfruit Tuna Salad Sandwich. There may be others, but those were the ones I recognized and previously bookmarked. These sprouts and sweets are similar (and likely improved) from her Cheesy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli dish. I am certainly looking forward to cooking through these recipes. One can not help but to be inspired by the photography and recipes.

Recipes spotted elsewhere:

(Vegan) BBQ Bacon Burgers

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about the hardest that prevents (or used to prevent you) from becoming vegan. The winner will be selected at random on December 15, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens and Virtual Vegan Potluck.

Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato

Author’s note: There’s no bigger hater of brussels sprouts than my husband. That said, he goes for seconds and thirds of this recipe. Roasting brussels sprouts is the key to converting nonbelievers, and coating them in a sweet, tart, and savory balsamic sauce is the key to bringing them back for more.

Olive oil spray
5 tablespoons + 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar, divided
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (Janet’s note: best to use a heat stable oil like melted coconut oil)
1 tablespoon liquid aminos
1/4 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast
18 to 20 brussels sprouts
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/3 cup (45 g) dried cranberries (Janet’s note: skipped, but I think fresh/frozen cranberries would be fabulous)
1/3 cup (130 g) chopped pistachios, optional (Janet’s note: skipped)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with olive oil and set aside (Janet’s note: I needed 2 pans). Mix 5 tablespoons of the vinegar with the maple syrup, oil, liquid aminos, and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Trim the brussels sprouts of any dirty, yellow, or wilted outer leaves and rinse. Trim the stems off and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Add the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes to the large bowl. Toss to coat every piece with the sauce.

3. Pour the contents of the bowl into the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, toss to recoat in the sauce, and bake, uncovered, for 20 more minutes.

4. Meanwhile, to make the glaze, bring the remaining 1/4 cup vinegar to a boil over medium (not high) heat in a small pot. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

5. When the vegetables are tender and caramelized, add the cranberries, pistachios (if using), and glaze; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

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. www.theexperimentpublishing.com

Top photo credit to Chris Miller


  1. Finding a good non dairy yogurt that was not too sweet would be for me the hardest thing about going vegan.

  2. Hi Janet:
    The hardest part (I am ‘mostly’ vegan now…but do enjoy eating fish still from time to time) is going ‘out’ and trying to find something I can eat – for example I’m going to a xmas party tonight and I’ve paid for a ‘prime rib dinner’ which I had to in order to attend…I inquired prior to the party, but the chef is unable to accommodate my request for a vegan dinner:(

    I too like the idea of fresh cranberries – so you would just add them at the end right? I want to make this for xmas dinner! Looks yummy.

    BTW…you work at a very progressive spot it sounds like…brussel sprouts for breakfast? So great:))

    Thanks for including this for the next giveaway! Thanks so much!!
    Good luck to all

    • Hey Sherri, I would actually add the fresh cranberries straight to the roasting pan. As they roast, they get a squishy sweet-tart flavour that would work well with this marinade.

      As for progressive breakfasts, that only a perk for Rob. And only when working at a different office, so it seems. Regular homemade oatmeal is what I eat everyday at home. 🙂

  3. One word: cheese!

  4. Can’t give up my eggs. Nothing else is problem.

  5. I am mostly vegan but free pizza and cake at work still trip me up every time!

  6. My obstacle is ensuring balanced meals and enough protien for the entire family.

  7. I love Kristy’s blog and I’m sure her book is equally amazing. I’ve been vegan for a very long time but the hardest thing to give up was yogurt of all things (this was back when non-dairy yogurt wasn’t yet available).

  8. Thanks Janet for this wonderful giveaway !!! I’m also a fan of Kristy’s blog, so her book would be a great addition to my kitchen 🙂 Yumm !!! Thanks for sharing the Brussel Sprout recipe that looks very good !!!

    Ohhhh my hardest thing is definitely the seafoods…Geez !!! Very difficult to end that craving…!!! My family and surrounding being not very supportive of my food choice is also an obstacle. I’m the only “veggie” in the area and I’m still considered like an allien…hi hi !!!

  9. Those brussels look scrumptious. At home I’m perfectly fine, but I trip up when going out to dinner.

  10. I’ve yet to encounter an issue when I follow my bodies intuitive guidance. Whatever I feel moved to receive as nourishment at any given moment is exactly what will sustain my physicality and align my essence to the highest version of myself (certified organic, alive, thriving nutriment). 😉

  11. There were brussel sprouts here this morning, too, but I went for the fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt. They had peaches!!!

  12. I made something similar to this earlier this week, inspired by a friend! Delicious. I swing vegan in a lot of ways, but that poultry protein keeps me coming back.

  13. Diary is the hardest part to give up.

  14. The hardest part is definitely cheese.
    But those brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are pretty much making me forget about cheese. Yum!

  15. Yes, dairy is a difficult one! Also, prepared/convenience foods that contain one tiny non-vegan ingredient like whey powder (why would you need that in a vinaigrette salad dressing is a mystery to me).

  16. Cheese! Meat was easy thanks to all the amazing replacements on the market. I’m.still very disappointed by vegan cheese substitutes. Maybe Kristy’s cookbook could help me out with that!

  17. The hardest part for me was getting over the feeling that it just wasn’t fair…I’d grown up taught that animal foods were not just OK, but needed for health. To realize that disease processes in my body were fueled by animal foods consumption…I had all sorts of emotional layers to work through.

    Hardest food, probably cheese. Funny how now, four years later, the odor of cheese is almost nauseating o me.
    Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  18. When I went vegan over 20 years ago, the hardest part was eating out.

  19. It is easiest to be vegan when I am making things for myself, but I still find myself incorporating fish once in a while and dairy (specifically Greek yogurt). The hardest part to becoming fully vegan would be having to find a compromise with my family, specifically my brother who I cook with once a week (leftovers for lunch!). He loves his chicken. Unfortunately beans and other legumes are just not enough for him.

  20. Before going vegan, I used to say that veganism was too extreme for me. And I was addicted to cheese. Now I think those excuses are dumb and dumber!

  21. I already HAVE to be red meat, dairy and egg-free because my digestive system does NOT like those three; they go out faster than they come in. Anywhoooooo….I think the hardest part is the “vegan lifestyle” aspect. It’s hard to determine which products and clothing are truly vegan friendly. Oh, and for me, my hatred and the undigestibility (for me) of coconut makes dairy substitutes extremely difficult! Yaaargh!

  22. So excited for this book! Hardest thing was probably just the larger carnist culture that prevented vegan info from reaching me until the age of 14.

  23. I couple of years ago, I would have said cheese. Then I became (or possibly discovered that I was) lactose intolerant. Problem solved. Well, made easier anyway.

  24. No specific food kept me from going vegan – actually, discovering I was becoming allergic to dairy products is what started my transition from vegetarianism to veganism, and compassion did the rest! The hardest part was (and sometimes still is) eating out: figuring out satisfying solutions for everyone in all circumstances is not always easy…

  25. My love of cheese and ice cream were common excuses that I used to use.

  26. I am mostly vegan but occasionally I will have dairy or eggs if I’m eating out. But this January I’m doing a month of 100% vegan foods and hopefully it will stick.

  27. The hardest part about going vegan are sentimental family ties to food and my mom’s well-meaning caring nature…she offered me holiday dishes from my childhood for Thanksgiving, but they had butter and cream in them. She understands why I want to go full vegan (and I promised myself I will after Christmas) but as we are a foodie-family, “vegan” is a pretty foreign concept to them. I cook all vegan for myself, it’s just navigating all the vegan beers and wines and mystery ingredients when I go out with my friends and family that can be difficult. I don’t want to be a pest, but I want to stick to my values, so that it will have to be!

  28. yogurt and cheese

  29. I used to think I could never go vegan because I didn’t want to give up cheese and frozen yogurt. Turns out my life is pretty great without them, plus there are plenty of fine alternatives 🙂

  30. I love a good roasted vegetable recipe! And all those chapter titles are the cutest!

  31. I’ve become a recent convert to brussels sprouts lately. And I’d have to say I couldn’t go vegan, mostly because of the cheese.

  32. I have one egg every other day for breakfast. The chickens are pasture raised and it is definitely reflected in the price. But I’ve heard that Hampton Creek is coming out with a scrambled egg substitute and I can’t wait to try it!

  33. […] had a good run of giveaways there. I was considering whether I could do an entire month of giveaways but quickly discounted that by […]

  34. Whoa Janet! This looks amazing! I want to include this recipe in a list of holiday recipes and I’ll direct people back to your site! For anyone that has trouble going vegan, I encourage them to read the China study and/or watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. I had the hardest time going plant based until I watched that. Life changing in such a good way! And for anyone that can’t give up the cheese because “Well, they aren’t killing the cow.” there is a very informative article put together by One Green Planet called “How the Dairy Industry has Unnaturally Altered the Life of Cows.” Also remember to go easy on yourself! Instead of being all or nothing, do your best! If you slip up, just get right back up and keep going. Any effort will make positive changes!

  35. […] Balsamic-Maple Brussels – Kristy Turner, Care of Taste Space […]

  36. Sadly, I’m not eligible to enter the giveaway but I was one of Kristy’s testers for the book and it is amazing. She’s such a great cook coming up with the best vegan recipes. My mum [none of my family members are vegan or even vegetarian] even requested I make another batch of the chocolate truffles for my aunt’s birthday. Winner!

  37. I’ve been vegan for over 20 years. When I first wanted to go vegan, when I was a teenager, my parents were very worried that I wouldn’t be healthy enough. I tried to hide the fact that I was vegan, but they figured it out about 5 minutes later! They very soon came around and realized that I was a healthy vegan and now my parents are practically vegan themselves!

  38. I adore brussels and this is a fine way to serve them up. Most of my main meals are vegan, but for me, giving up cheese would be the hardest thing about a strictly vegan diet.

  39. The hardest part for me in the beginning of becoming vegan was going to social events, especially wedding-related events. I felt I had to be polite and eat what was offered to me.

  40. […] The Taste Space (running through 12/15/14): https://tastespace.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/balsamic-maple-brussels-sprouts-sweet-potato-giveaway-for… […]

  41. CHEESE! Oh my goodness I am in love with it. I’m not sure I will ever make the jump from vegetarian to vegan because of this. I would love to find an awesome alternative.

  42. Alternatives to dairy. That’s something I really have trouble with. Yes, there are soy products and I really like them, but all of them in the regular supermarkets are fermented, which is quite bad for your health. I could go to a bio store to find unfermented soy products, but the prices there are way to high for my budget at the moment.

  43. The hardest thing for me was my family; from proving to them that we are made to be vegan to showing them how delicious vegan! food is, they finally came around (mostly;))!

  44. Cheese alternatives were the hardest thing to find…I had no problem giving up meat and other dairy, I preferred the vegan stuff already. But now I’ve found some cheese products I love, and all is right in the world!

  45. I live in a household of busy omnivores, and social engagements are difficult. but i have been eating less and less meat and dairy, and i will get there eventually.

  46. I thought I could never totally give up seafood.

  47. I was ready before my husband by about a year and although I could have made it work cooking for us, I was too lazy. Once he saw Forks Over Knives he said ‘Let’s do it’ and we did. Going on two years and we are both happier for it.

  48. I think the biggest concern I have had about going all the way vegan is the fear of missing out on some important nutrient that is only in animal foods..the cookbook looks awesome, wonderful recipes..I love the Brussels Sprouts recipe, wow!

  49. I thought I could never give up baking and cheese. .. Now I bake vegan and I enjoy better non-guilty “cheese”
    Love it!

  50. The hardest thing delaying my switch to veganism was definitely cheese, same as for so many people. Laziness was also a bit of a problem; I always thought it would take putting extra thought and work into cooking, but I haven’t really found that to be the case.

  51. The tricky thing for me about veganism is always having to prepare my own food (I like cooking, but not every meal). I like it when I find recipes that are easy or that I’d want to eat for several days in a row.

  52. cheese! specifically, pizza! I love love love love love the taste of pizza, but I eventually decided that it was more important to help protect animals than to eat a pizza that tastes exactly like how I’ve come to think of pizza!

  53. Finding enough complete protein sources is my biggest vegan challenge.

  54. The hardest part about being vegan is not over stocking on fresh fruits and vegtables. I used to shop once a month and very little spoiled because I ate preservative ladened garbage and not real food. That stuff doesn’t even taste like food to me anymore. I shop more often but I am actually spending a lot less.

  55. I am totally vegetarian, never tasted meat in my life. But I love milk products so for me it is very difficult to leave milk, cheese etc.

  56. […] The Taste Space’s Review + the Recipe for the Balsamic Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Pota… […]

  57. […] Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato from JL Goes Vegan Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato from The Taste Space BBQ Bacon Burgers from Olives for Dinner Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast […]

  58. […] Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato Section: But I Hate [Insert Vegetable Here] Recipe: Taste Space This recipe I gave to my husband to cook when I worked a late night. It seemed easy enough for him […]

  59. […] I hope you aren’t sick of cookies yet, because if there was one way to share vegan yumminess, it would be through desserts. If you have been trying to eat vegan during January (aka Veganuary), I have the perfect cookbook for you: But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!. Kristy Turner’s second cookbook, following the success of her first cookbook But I Could Never Go Vegan! (you can see my full review here). […]

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