Friday, November 5, 2010

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Poutine!

Like any real Canadian, before I was a vegan, poutine was one of my favourite foods. For any of you readers who are not from Canada and have not heard of it, poutine is fries covered in fresh cheese curds and gravy. A heart attack waiting to happen? Possibly. But it would be the most delicious of heart attacks.

Sadly, one of the downfalls of veganism is a distinct lack of adequate poutine replacements. Last week, when I was in Kingston, we walked by a place called "the Poutine Place" at 343 Princess Street. Its sign boasts of organic burgers and smoothies. I looked at the menu, searching for a veggie burger and was shocked to see that there was a vegan poutine on the menu!! With veggie gravy and soy curds, there was nothing that would have kept me from ordering one of these wonders. I had heard rumours of vegan poutine in Montreal before, but I've also heard rumours of ghosts, fairies, and easter bunnies. But here it was. And I have to say, it was pretty good. Did it taste like real Canadian poutine? Meh. Was it fries smothered in gravy, a cheese-like substance, and decidedly unhealthy? Absolutely. Win. The thing the cheese like substance was lacking was the melty, stringy, get stuck to your chin gooeyness that usually accompanies poutine.

Enter Daiya.

Glorious, glorious Daiya. I was in Tara Natural Foods in Kingston a few months ago, chatting with the sales clerk, when he asked me if I had ever tried Daiya cheese. He, like me, had all but given up on vegan cheese, but informed me that vegans everywhere were going bananas for this stuff. I excitedly bought some, brought it home, and made the best vegan pizza I had ever eaten. I was in love.

So after my vegan poutine experience, I have decided to have a go at making my own for the first time in over 3 years. I found this gravy recipe a few years ago which I absolutely love (I use a little gravy browner when I make it). The first time I tasted it I immediately thought of poutine sauce (a particular kind of canned gravy you can find in Canadian supermarkets). Salty, tangy, and oh so good on potatoes, this gravy recipe has become a stand-by for holiday feasts. Pair it with some mozza style daiya shreds and some hand-cut homefries, and you've got yourself the perfect vegan poutine.  Seriously, seriously tasty.  This poutine was as close to perfect as vegan can deliver.  Make it.  Love it.

Best Ever Vegan Poutine!


  1. ohh, i wish this post had been up when i was in kingston for skate canada! now that lotus-heart-blossoms has closed and windmills has gone crazy with their prices, i tend to stick to the sleepless goat when i'm in k-town. i never had poutine when i lived in canada in my pre-vegan days, so i wouldn't be able to compare daiya poutine to the "real" stuff, but i would have loved to try some vegan poutine ... ah well. on my next trip, for sure.

    can you recommend any other vegan hotspots in kingston? thanks!

  2. Great to hear from a fellow Vegan and Eastern Ontario blogger. I was lamenting just today while wandering aimlessly around Princess wondering what to eat (I settled for a veggie sandwich from Pan Chancho). I really miss Lotus Heart Blossoms. I will definitely check the poutine out though.

    Greermcgill - I've only had luck finding coincidental vegan at the many yummy thai and sushi places that are around.

  3. Daiya is quickly coming to many stores that sell natural foods, so be sure to check ones where you live. I had until this weekend only found it in one store here in town, but this weekend spotted it in my favorite grocery store.

  4. I'm SO sad that Lotus Heart Blossoms is gone. Their coconut battered tempeh was to die for! It's a dish I've been meaning to re-create for a while now.

    One of my favourite restaurants in Kingston is Mango; a thai restaurant on Princess, between Bagot and Montreal.

  5. ashley, we've been chatting on twitter about finding a vegan poutine, and up comes your blog. several of us were very happy to see it, but since it does not appear you are on twitter, let me thank you for this post. some of us are going to have a go at this as well, and you inspired us. :-) cheers!


  6. Hi Brian! So glad to have inspired you! I'm sure a well made vegan poutine will go a long way to alleviate your crabbiness :)

  7. I miss poutine too! Definitely going to try that place and pick up some Daiya to make my own at home (and tacos!).

  8. I love Daiya Cheese!!! I found the cheddar at our grocery store here in Simcoe, Ontario, and I cannot believe how scrumptious it is! Love it on pasta, tofu scramble, many things! Being Vegan is the best choice I have ever made, and your blog is terrific! Thanks so much!