When we were in Montréal last week, we went to La Banquise – a 24 hr Poutine Restaurant (somewhere between 11:00 pm – 12:00 am, because when in Montréal…) and we ate the best poutine. Of. My. Life! At least in my most recent memory. Now, there are a decent amount of vegan restaurants here in Vancouver that do offer vegan poutine, and yet, somehow they do not taste like the ones that you get in Québec. I could taste at La Banquise that they made their fries from scratch. I don’t know how they make vegan gravy at La Banquise, so I am going to go on my own gravy quest. And I am also going to upgrade their recipe by using Gusta cheese (the best vegan cheese I’ve ever had). You know you’ve got a great vegan cheese when your boyfriend digs through the trash to look at the ingredients and make sure that it’s actually vegan! I gotta say, when I saw on the menu that they use Daiya, I was a little put off, because I mean Daiya compared to cheese curds, c’mon! But nevertheless, La Banquise NAILED it. And hopefully I will too! In this recipe I am going to be baking my fries in the oven as I don’t have a deep fryer. It’s a little bit harder to get crispy fries using this method, but we will see how it goes. I mean, they’re bound to get a little soft smothered in gravy and melted cheese so I don’t really mind.
- 1 cup grated Gusta cheese or Daiya Mozzarella shreds
- 3 russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or olive oil, canola oil, whatever neutral cooking oil you prefer)
- 1 – 2 tsp salt (or more if you like really salty fries)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 2 tbsp vegan margerine or butter
- 2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp corn starch (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut potatoes into fries – I left the skin on mine because I prefer it that way, but if you prefer you could peel them beforehand. I cut mine to be about 1 cm thick.
- Pour in the oil, salt, cumin, chili peppers, and garlic powder over the fries and mix well so that all them are evenly are coated.
- Pro tip (optional) : refrigerate the fries for 1 hour. This was a bit of a pleasant mistake. I had to put the uncooked fries in the fridge for an hour or so while I had a rehearsal. A lot of moisture leeched out of them in the process and when I baked them they cooked up really nice and crispy and did not stick to the baking sheet.
- Lightly grease two baking sheets.
- Spread the fries evenly over two baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes, flipping them half way through.
- When the fries are about half done, grate your cheese and start the gravy.
- For the gravy, melt the margarine in small sauce pan.
- Stir in the flour to form a paste and add the soy sauce and the broth. Stir until there are no lumps. Let simmer for 3 mins
- If the gravy is too thick, add in one tsp of cornstarch and keep stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat while you assemble the poutine: start with a generous portion of fries in your favourite large bowl or plate, sprinkle grated cheese liberally and smother it all with large spoonfuls of gravy. Enjoy!