Balsamic Roasted Vegetables + a Giveaway

balsamic roasted vegetables

I remember when I first fell upon Meghan’s website.  It was right after I’d fully stepped into trying to be healthier with my food choices. Making smoothies almost daily, adding more plants to my plate and the like. I had decided on a whim that I was going to do a raw (read: cold) food challenge. For one month. During February (read: coldest month of the year here in Canada). It wasn’t one of my wiser decisions, but I worked it out. :)


About 2 weeks in, I read somewhere that Demi Moore ate only 75% raw and I was like, ‘ohmygosh, I have options.' So needless to say, the last few weeks of my month-long raw food challenge during the coldest month of the year, in Canada, turned into making sure there was at least one serving of raw something with every meal. 


Anyhow, as I searched for recipes and inspiration for said self-induced challenge, I fell upon Meghan’s site. I read a bit of her story and it resonated with me. Her falling seriously ill in Africa was me in Paris. Her dealing with countless doctors (and no solid answers), causing her to take a key role in managing her autoimmune disease, was mine too. Her working in a field that didn’t speak to her was also me. And, and, and…..the rest is history. I ended up taking a culinary nutrition program at her nutrition school and later became one of her program coaches.


Fast forward to today. Meghan was kind enough to send me two copies of her latest book, The Undiet Cookbook. This book is for you if you wanna add more plants onto your plate without compromising on flavour. It’s a plant-based, gluten-free book with 130 recipes displayed with loads of vibrant photos. All hoping to inspire you in the kitchen.


What I enjoy about Meghan’s recipes are they’re simple to prepare with often a short list of easy to find ingredients. It’s a beautifully designed book with everything you need to get you through your day - breakfast, drinks, condiments, mains, sides, and of course, dessert. 


I’m keeping one book for myself, but I’m giving away the second one. Right here. Today.

balsamic roasted vegetables

I’m also sharing one recipe from this gorgeous book here with you - Balsamic Roasted Vegetables. Such a great way to use up the heartier winter vegetables. Because when it’s cold outside sometimes you want something warmer than a salad on your plate (case in point - my story above). ;)


The Giveaway

*TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY* of Meghan Telpner’s The Undiet Cookbook, please leave a comment below (be sure to include your email addy in the comment form) telling me about your favourite plant-based meal or dish. Contest closes 6pm EST Friday, November 20, 2015. One winner will be selected at random. (Contest is open to those with a Canadian mailing address only.) xx

balsamic roasted vegetables
balsamic roasted vegetables


Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Serves 4–6 as a side



  • 4 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4-5 loose cups Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, outer peel removed, and cut in halves or quarters
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, avocado oil, or organic ghee
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)


Make It Like So

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place all the veggies, including the onion and garlic, in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil and salt. Transfer to a glass roasting pan or a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and mix in the balsamic vinegar, and stir vegetables around. Sprinkle the walnuts over top and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the veggies are tender.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


My cooking notes on this dish:

If you can tolerate walnuts, add them in. For me, they made the dish. They give a good crunch against the softness of the vegetables.

Ghee was the winner for me in terms of fat. The rich flavour of ghee can’t be beat in my opinion. I used avocado oil one time as well. Also good. I didn't have the chance to use coconut oil but I’m sure it works well here too.


A Word on Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is one that I love. I’ve become a bit of a purist with it, or rather a purist with a budget. I like the consistency to be slightly thick, with a taste slightly more sweet than it is vinegary.


To get this type of balsamic vinegar, look for a really short ingredient list. One with only two items - grape must and wine vinegar. (Ideally in that order too.) If grape must is the first ingredient, it’ll taste slightly more sweet and be a touch more viscous than if grape vinegar is the first ingredient. 


Cheaper balsamic vinegar varieties will include other ingredients. Ingredients like gums, flavours and colouring. These are added to create the must-like consistency and colour. If gluten-free is your goal, make sure whatever balsamic vinegar you choose is without caramel colouring.  This colouring is often made from a barley malt, making it not gluten-free. 

Earl Grey Infused Lavender "Cheesecake"

earl grey lavender cheesecake

I honestly can't remember the very first time I tasted lavender. I think it might've been in a macaron or some French pastry (pre gluten free days) in Paris. It had a taste that was entirely new and different to me. And it was a taste I'd grow to long for. 


In North America it's not often that you get to enjoy lavender in anything. So do yourself a favour and make this. The combination of flavours is such a treat. 


Should I admit how many times I've made this raw cheesecake in the last few weeks? It's probably best I don't. ;) It was all in the efforts of tweaking + perfecting a recipe. :)  

earl grey lavender cheesecake


Now you know when I say cheesecake I'm using the term loosely. This cake is free from dairy, free from soy and (as always) gluten free.


What gives the cake its creaminess and cheesecake like consistency are the cashews. I love working with cashews. Soaked and drained, cashews create a creaminess that mimics (very well) the consistency of many forms of dairy, like a soft cheese. The flavour is incredibly mild and undetectable. You could really use cashews in any recipe that calls for creaminess. This comes in handy when you're taking a break from dairy but still want a rich creamy taste.


Aside from the amazing consistency, there are definite nutritional benefits to soaking nuts (not to mention grains + legumes) before using them. I would cloud this post if I packed everything in here, so I'm going to save the nutritional lesson for a future (very near future) blog post. 

earl grey lavender cheesecake

For now I leave you with this beautiful raw cheesecake recipe to try. Apart from the soaking, It takes minutes to put together. The most difficult part of the recipe is waiting for it to set so you can dig in. ;) 

Now I'd love to hear from you. In the comments below, share with me some of ways you satisfy that cheesy craving while on a break from dairy. 

earl grey lavender cheesecake

Earl Grey Infused Lavender "Cheesecake"

serves 8


3/4 cup walnuts (raw)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

3 medjool dates, pits removed

pinch Himalayan rock salt



2 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut oil, lightly packed

1 Tbsp earl grey tea leaves 

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 Tbsp dried lavender leaves

1/4 vanilla bean pod, cut lengthwise, seeds scraped

a good pinch of Himalayan rock salt


How to:


  • Combine all four ingredients together in a food processor. Process until well blended + the crust holds together when pinched. 
  • Press crust into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. 
  • Set aside


  • Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. 
  • Stir in earl grey tea leaves. 
  • Let infuse over low-medium heat for about 7 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes. 
  • Add drained cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, lavender, vanilla seeds, salt + coconut oil tea infusion to high powered blender. 
  • Blend until smooth. 
  • Spoon the filling onto the crust. 
  • Refrigerate for minimum 3 hours to let the cake set. 

Note: If you're pressed for time you can soak the cashews for 3 hours (minimum). I do find the consistency comes out better when the cashews have been soaked overnight. You can also freeze the cheesecake (minimum 30 minutes) to set.