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Super Simple Vegetarian Poutine Recipe to Boost a Crummy Day

Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD

Life can be tough, and we all have those crummy days when everything seems to go wrong. During such times, there’s nothing like indulging in some comforting, delicious food to lift our spirits.

If you’re a vegetarian or just looking to explore meat-free options, we have the perfect recipe for you.

Allow me to introduce vegetarian poutine – a mouthwatering twist on the classic Canadian dish. Bring together golden fries, ooey-gooey cheese curds, and a savory gravy that will make your taste buds dance.

Get ready to treat yourself to a super simple, yet incredibly satisfying meal that will turn your day around in no time!

What is Poutine?

Poutine is a Canadian dish that consists of fries, gravy, and cheese curd. Essentially a bar food, poutine is meant to be served with a cold beer.

I first heard about poutine on the Food Network and thought it looked pretty good and, honestly, pretty easy to make. It sounds like the perfect comfort food! 

Traditionally, the gravy in poutine is made with beef broth but is otherwise vegetarian, making this an easy recipe to modify. And because this recipe is so simple, there’s lots of room to add whatever topping sounds good to you.

Ingredients

Vegetarian-friendly fries:  This is meant to be a super easy recipe, so I used frozen fries.  However, if you have a favorite fry recipe, go ahead and use those instead.

Cheese curds: Think of cheese curds as the precursor to cheddar cheese.  They are generally available in grocery stores. However, if you can’t find them, choose another cubed, hard cheese to replace them with. 

Vegetarian gravy: Gravy is actually super easy to make, so I did make this from scratch. You could also buy a “just add water” packet. Just make sure there aren’t any sneaky animal products in it. 

For this easy homemade vegetarian gravy, I used butter, flour, mushroom broth, soy sauce, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, and that’s it!

Optional add-ons and toppings: use your imagination!  I think caramelized onions and mushrooms would be great on top.  Or maybe you’d like a vegetarian ground beef alternative.

But those add to your cook time, and this is a super simple comfort food recipe, so I didn’t add any optional toppings, other than some green onions I already had cut up in the fridge.

Instructions

Making the Fries

Cook your fries according to the package directions. 

I like to use a crisper tray if using the oven, but they come out even better when done in the air fryer.

I’ve found that because you’re going to smother the fries in mushroom gravy, these are better slightly overcooked so they’re extra crispy. Otherwise, you’ll end up with soggy fries.

Making the Gravy

Start by making a basic roux.  Melt the butter in your saucepan, then add the flour. Whisk together until the flour takes on a light golden color.

Add the broth and simmer until it thickens to your preferred gravy texture. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients.

When first learning about poutine, most of the recipes I found called for balsamic or apple cider vinegar.  As much as I love vinegar in a sauce (I have at least 6 different types in my pantry), I really didn’t like it in this recipe.  

So I chose to use soy sauce instead. Feel free to sub with balsamic vinegar if you want.

Assembling the Vegetarian Poutine

Place the fries on your serving tray.  Evenly spread the cheese curds over the fries, then top with the gravy. That’s it! Let sit for about 5 minutes so the hot gravy can soften the curds.

If your fries are done first, I don’t recommend adding the curds before the gravy is ready. If you do this, the curds will melt on the hot fries rather than soften, and you’ll lose some of the awesome texture variety that makes poutine so good.

I added green onions on top of the gravy. You obviously skip this or add other toppings. 

Vegetarian poutine on a round white plate with a silver border, on a white marbled countertop

Vegetarian Poutine

Turn your frown upside down with our easy veggie poutine! Boost your mood on tough days with this comforting recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian, Comfort
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 406kcal
Author: Jenn

Equipment

  • medium sauce pan
  • air fryer or elevated baking sheet

Ingredients

  • 16 oz frozen shoestring french fries
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1.5 cups low sodium mushroom broth or vegetable broth
  • 5 oz white cheddar cheese curds crumbled to bite size pieces

Instructions

  • Cook fries to package directions. I prefer to use the air fryer, but you can do this in the oven as well.
    frozen fries in a black square air fryer basket
  • While the fries cook, melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
    Melted butter and flour in a pot to make a roux for gravy
  • Once the butter begins to foam, add the flour and whisk together. Cook until the flour darkens to a light golden brown.
    roux bubbling in a stainless steel pot
  • Slowly stream in broth, as you constantly whisk the mixture.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced by about 1/3, around 10-15 minutes.
    Thickened vegetarian gravy for poutine in a stainless steel pot
  • Take the gravy off the heat, add the soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ground pepper, and mix well. Do a taste test and see if you need salt or if you need to adjust seasonings to your preference. I like a peppery gravy.
  • When the fries are done, spread on a large serving tray or on individual plates in a single layer.
    french fries and cheese curds on a white circular plate with a silver border on a white marbled counter top
  • Sprinkle evenly with the cheese curds and smother with the gravy.
    Vegetarian poutine on a round white plate with a silver border, on a white marbled countertop
  • Allow the gravy to soften the cheese for a minute or two before digging in.

Nutrition

Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 778mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 140IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 214mg | Iron: 1mg

*Nutrition Facts are an estimate only. Differences are expected when making substitutions for any ingredient or when different brands are used.

*We may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links on our site. These commissions help support our work in providing valuable content to our readers. Thank you for your support!

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Making the Most of a Crummy Day

It’s important to remember that sometimes food serves a purpose other than nutrition.  Food can provide comfort when we are stressed or upset, aid in celebrations at birthdays, weddings, and graduations, build community, express our religion and or culture, or even just plain taste good.

While I strongly believe that we should have effective ways to cope with negative emotions, there are times when food is what helps us to get there.  Emotional eating is always bad, but should also never be the only way we manage stress, sadness, anger, or any other emotion really.

That being said, there are physiological reasons that foods that contain both fat and carbs are often the go-to comfort foods. Think mac ‘n cheese, ice cream, cake, and chips.  

These foods trigger our brain’s reward system, making us feel better almost immediately.  We get a cascade of neurotransmitters that improve our mood, potentially allowing us to better utilize our coping mechanisms. 

Furthermore, if your comfort food of choice is a family recipe, you are likely to experience happy memories associated with that dish as well.

Remember that providing your body and your mind with what it needs is the first step of self-care.  We need to fuel our brains before we get much out of that relaxing face mask. Indulging in cooking a fatty, carby meal, and then enjoying it without guilt is self-care.

A caveat though.  While comfort food can make us feel better now, to feel good consistently and long term, we do need to eat mostly in a healthful manner. So this isn’t an excuse to avoid your veggies, beans, fruits, and whole grains!

Conclusion

Next time you find yourself facing a gloomy day, remember that a warm plate of vegetarian poutine can be the ultimate mood booster.

With its hearty blend of crispy fries, gooey cheese curds, and savory gravy, this comforting dish has the power to turn things around. Embrace the simplicity of our recipe and take a moment to nurture yourself with the goodness it offers.

Whether you’re a committed vegetarian or simply exploring meat-free options, this super simple vegetarian poutine recipe will become your go-to remedy for those crummy days. So, grab those ingredients, get cooking, and let the delicious transformation begin!

Your taste buds and your mood will thank you for it. Happy indulging!

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