My vegetarian poutine recipe swaps out the beef gravy for a delicious mushroom gravy full of umami flavor.
Crispy, golden fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and smothered in mushroom gravy make this poutine recipe a keeper! This is pure comfort food, so grab a fork and dig in.
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What is poutine?
Poutine is French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. The gravy is usually a meat gravy, mostly beef, sometimes chicken or duck and it is pure comfort food. This poutine recipe is topped with a mushroom gravy, making it a great meat-free option.
I was introduced to poutine as a kid visiting my family in Newfoundland. It was one of those life-altering experiences. I was in heaven from that very first bite.
How to make homemade vegetarian poutine gravy
My gravy recipe is vegetarian because of the butter. To make a vegan gravy for poutine, use a non-dairy alternative.
To get a really intensely flavored mushroom gravy, I save the stems from the mushrooms and make a stock with them. If you don’t have the time (or desire), buy a quart of mushroom broth.
Mushrooms will take anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes to cook down. It will depend on your mushrooms, the size of your pan, how hot your pan is, etc. They will release quite a bit a bit of liquid, so be patient and let it cook until most of it has evaporated.
Next, the garlic and butter are added to the pan. We’re building layers of flavor.
Then, we’ll sprinkle a bit of flour over them and add the stock. Whisk everything together and let it cook until thickened into a silky mushroom gravy.
Are disco fries the same thing as poutine?
Disco fries are covered in melty mozzarella and a thicker brown gravy, so not exactly, but close. The biggest difference is the cheese. Poutine uses cheese curds that, although they hold their shape and don’t become a melted mess of cheese, do soften and get a little gooey.
How to make proper fries at home
To make really good fries, you have to follow a few simple steps. One that often gets overlooked by the home cook is cooking the potatoes twice.
But, first, we need to prepare our potatoes. The easiest way to cut potatoes down into fries is to cut thick slices or planks from the potato. Then, cut the plank into pieces to make the fries.
Then, we need to rinse or soak the potatoes. This helps to remove some of the starch. I usually rinse the potatoes a few times and/or soak them if I’ll be making them the next day.
Once they’ve been rinsed well, pat them dry. You don’t want to add wet potatoes to hot oil – the oil will pop and you could get burned.
The first cook on fries is done at a lower heat, around 300°F, to allow the potatoes to partially cook. Then, they are removed from the oil, drained and plunged back into hot oil (400°F) to get golden brown and crispy.
Remove the fries with a spider (skimmer). Drain the crispy fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal).
Vegetarian Poutine Recipe
This is something that I would serve to friends. It’s a great snack to have for game day or if you’re celebrating Canada Day.
When making this vegetarian poutine at home, I keep it pretty traditional: fries, cheese curds and gravy. That’s it. Keep it simple.
If you really want to be extra (I can identify with that), go all out with the toppings. One of the best poutines I’ve ever had was in Vancouver and it was over the top.
It had so much goodness on it and was topped with the most perfect egg I’ve ever seen, so yeah, sometimes more is better.
Poutine bar ideas
Speaking of over the top, a poutine bar is the perfect way to do this at home.
One of the most important things that generally gets overlooked, is having things at different heights. That is what makes a table really stand out.
When I used to set up tables for catering events, we used to use all kinds of props to put food at various heights.
I love using these round wood slices as trivets for hot items. You could also stack a few of them on top of each other and set napkins or silverware containers on them.
The most basic poutine is fries, cheese curds and gravy. The photo below is everything you’ll need for this recipe – potatoes, mushrooms, butter, garlic, flour, cheese curds, salt and pepper.
If you want to add some extras, or make a poutine bar, this is a great place to start.
- cheese curds
- shredded cheese/vegan cheese
- caramelized onions
- fried shallots
- green onions/scallions
- chopped parsley
- sautéed mushrooms
- fried eggs
- vegetarian meatballs
- Freshly made french fries/sweet potato fries/potato chips
And there you have it, friends! Everything you need to know to make vegetarian poutine at home.
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- 2 extra large russet potatoes (about 2 lbs. total)
- 1 cup white cheese curds
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (also known as baby bellas)
- 1 TB olive oil
- 3 TB unsalted butter
- 3 TB all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more, if you like garlic)
- 2 cups mushroom or vegetable stock (homemade or store-bought) **see note
- salt & pepper to taste
- oil for frying (canola or peanut recommended)
Make the gravy
- In a medium sauté pan, cook mushrooms in 1 tbsp. oil. (They will shrink quite a bit while cooking).
- Stir occasionally while cooking over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in garlic and butter, stir frequently to keep garlic from burning. Mushrooms will start releasing their liquid, keep cooking until liquid has been reduced to a few tablespoons.
- Sprinkle flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Whisk in the stock, reduce heat and keep whisking until gravy is smooth and thickened.
- When gravy has reached desired consistency, remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Make the fries
- Using a sharp knife, slice potatoes into planks and then into fries.
- Place in a bowl of cold water. Soak the potatoes for a few minutes. The water will get cloudy, drain and rinse again. (This is removing some of the starch from the potato)
- Once the potatoes have been rinsed a few times, drain them and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a large, deep pot, add enough oil to fill about halfway up. (I use a big stock pot for this)
- Heat oil to 300°F, using a thermometer if you have one, to take the temp of the oil. You want the oil to simmer, not a rolling boil.
- Once oil has come to the proper temp, GENTLY slide in half of the potatoes.
- Using a wooden or metal spoon, move the potatoes around in the oil to ensure even cooking. Cook for 5 - 6 minutes, then remove from oil using a spider (skimmer) and drain on fresh paper towels. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
- Increase oil temperature to 400°F/200°C. Carefully lower fries back into the hot oil for the final cooking. Oil should be at a full boil. Carefully move them around in the pot so they brown evenly.
- Once they are deep golden brown, remove and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt immediately.
- Top fries with cheese curds, then cover with mushroom gravy. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
*You can make a quick mushroom stock by simmering the mushroom stems in water for 30 minutes.
**The most important thing to remember when working with hot oil is to stand back, add the food to the pan going away from your body, not toward you.
***Place potatoes in gently. Do not drop them in, you could potentially get splashed with hot oil and that's no fun.
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Serving Size:1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 483mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Post originally published 5/14/2013, most recent update 9/30/2020