I had never heard of poutine before moving to the Northeast. It’s a dish that originated in Quebec and is simply french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. I’m embarrassed to say that even though we’ve lived here for almost 3 years now, I still have not tried authentic poutine (although it’s on my bucket list!). And of course, Rabi can’t try it, unless he pops a few lactaid pills. So, when a Vegan, Gluten-Free Comfort Food cooking class was offered at the Co-op, specifically for learning a recipe for vegan, gluten-free poutine, I signed up.
Now, I’m not going to sugar coat it. This recipe takes a long time to put together, so plan on at least spending 2 hours in the kitchen. I don’t recommend making this for a weeknight dinner because of how long it takes. Rather, it’s a good recipe to make on the weekend, preferably on a rainy or snowy day when you just want to snuggle up on the couch with something warm, filling, and comforting. That said, the time it takes is totally worth it for a completely satisfying snack or meal!
There are three components to this meal: the herb-roasted potatoes, the butternut squash gravy, and the lentil crumbles. Together, these three components are delicious, but they can also be used in other recipes or combinations, so keep these recipes in your back pocket for other meals.
Ingredients and Directions:
Herb Roasted Potatoes
5 medium to large potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet work well)
Handful dried parsley or 1/2 a bunch fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
salt and ground pepper to taste
1/8 cup olive oil
Cut potatoes into thick slices or wedges. Toss in olive oil, then toss in spices. Roast in the oven at 450 degrees F on a cookie sheet for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Halfway through cooking, use a spatula to turn potatoes/loosen from cookie sheet to avoid the bottoms over-browning. Let cool on pan, then transfer to bowl.
Butternut Squash Gravy
1/2 of one large butternut squash
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup vegetable stock
about 1/4 cup coconut milk (or more to taste)
Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds to discard. You’ll only need 1/2 of the squash, but you could cook both halves at once. To do so, place cut sides down on a cookie sheet with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Place in the 450 degree F oven along with the potatoes and cook about 40-45 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced. When done, remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle the squash easily. When cool, scoop squash out of skin and into a bowl. Place half of the cooked squash into a food processor (you won’t need the other half of the squash, so save in the refrigerator for future use). Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until translucent. When ready, add the cooked onion and garlic to the food processor. Add vegetable stock and coconut milk to food processor. Process all the ingredients in the food processor until smooth like gravy. Add water or more coconut milk for a thinner consistency, less coconut milk for thicker consistency.
3/4 cup green or brown lentils
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp or more of olive oil
1 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
5 oz crimini mushrooms, minced
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tsp brown mustard
1/16 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup rolled oats (blended in a blender until roughly chopped)
Simmer the lentils in the water with vinegar for about 30 minutes or until lentils are done while the squash and potatoes are cooking. Remove from heat and let cool for about an hour. In a cast iron, warm olive oil over medium heat and cook onion, garlic, and celery until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Add sunflower seeds and keep cooking until seeds are brown. Add mustard, sherry, salt, pepper, and oats and mix together. Remove from heat and add lentils to mixture and combine well. Put the mixture on a cookie sheet and spread/pat out into a thin layer. Broil in oven on high for 5 minutes. Remove and flip mixture and re-spread on cookie sheet if necessary. Broil again in oven about 7 minutes. Remove and let cool.
To assemble the poutine, put potatoes on a plate, spoon butternut squash gravy over the potatoes, and top with lentil crumbles.
Just a note about preparing this recipe: this is a recipe that requires multi-tasking. I tried to give some directions above about how to work on multiple parts of each recipe as you go. Here is how I did it: I prepared the potatoes and squash for cooking, and then cooked both of them at the same time in the oven. While the squash and potatoes were cooking, I cooked the lentils. Then I chopped the ingredients for the lentil crumbles and prepared that recipe while the squash was cooling. Then lastly, I prepared the butternut squash gravy.