(Note: this post was originally published on January 5, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
This is the second post in a series that I'm calling "Cauliflower is Bar Food". My mission: to take classic bar fare and reinvent it with cauliflower. The first was my Margarita Cauliflower, which is roasted in tequila and kissed with citrus. Up for today: Cauliflower Poutine!
Some of you are probably asking "what the heck is poutine??". It's actually a classic late-night snack from Quebec, Canada, but it has made its way down to Vermont (and elsewhere in New England). The premise is simple: fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Refer to the movie Super Troopers if you need an example (and if you want to poke fun at my home state).
Given that I haven't eaten meat in almost 25 years, I've actually never had poutine, and this makes me upset! I feel like I've been missing out. So my mission became to remake poutine in a way that is still super satisfying and indulgent, but more nourishing to the body than the original, and that is vegetarian and easily vegan.
My version of poutine has the same three elements, albeit with some twists. Instead of fries, I'm using roasted cauliflower. Instead of classic gravy, I'm using a vegan kabocha squash "gravy". I've kept the cheese curds since I'm a good Vermonter, but you can easily veganize this recipe by leaving off the cheese curds or using your favorite vegan cheese.
This cauliflower poutine has all the makings of the perfect bar food. It's rich, caramelized, salty, and indulgent. The curds are creamy and so decadent. The kabocha squash gravy is loaded with flavor and has the smoothest texture.
One important note. This recipe makes a lot of kabocha squash gravy, since a kabocha squash is generally pretty big. You can easily freeze any extra and use it on anything that would benefit from a creamy sauce (or, let's be honest, next Friday's cauliflower poutine date night, which seems to be becoming a thing in our house). You can also easily make the gravy ahead of time, which will allow you to pull the dish together more quickly on the day of.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
I think I've made this three or four times in the past couple months; we're obsessed. It's the most wonderful winter Friday night food. Come home after a long week, make a cocktail to sip on while you cook, and then reward yourself with the most decadent bar food that won't leave you feeling weighed-down afterward.
Cheers! Cauliflower is bar food!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
A much better-for-the-body version of the classic, this poutine riff uses cauliflower instead of fries and a kabocha squash gravy. It's plant-filled, can be vegan with one minor modification, and is just as satisfying as the original.