Cauliflower Poutine with Vegan Squash Gravy


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(Note: this post was originally published on January 5, 2020. It has since been updated with new photos and some adjustments.)

Cauliflower Poutine: the Ultimate Comfort Food

Are you excited to try one of my absolute favorite comfort dishes? Are you happy to learn that it's full of veggies and whole food ingredients, doesn't involve frying, and is easy to make? This cauliflower poutine is a winter comfort food favorite in our house and I can't wait for you to try it.

This post is part of a series here on the blog that I'm calling "Cauliflower is Bar Food". My mission: to take classic bar fare and reinvent it with nourishing, fiber-rich, delightfully versatile cauliflower. If you love this concept as much as I do, you'll definitely also want to check out my Margarita Cauliflower, Maple Salt and Vinegar Cauliflower, and Furikake Cauliflower.

Bowl of healthy, vegetarian cauliflower poutine

What is Poutine?

Some of you are probably asking "what in the world 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).

How to Make Vegetarian Poutine or Vegan Poutine

Classic poutine is far from friendly for plant eaters. However, to make a vegetarian poutine, you just need to make one swap: the gravy. Here, I use a delicious, delightfully savory, and easy squash gravy that you'll want to put on everything. The gravy gets some of its savoriness from nutritional yeast, which is naturally vegan and loaded with good-for-the-body B vitamins. To make a vegan poutine, you'll need to make one additional swap: the cheese curds. Coarse crumbles of vegan cheddar work well if you have access to them; otherwise, feel free to omit the cheese, use some cubes of tofu (they won't melt in the same way, but it will still be tasty), or use dollops of vegan ricotta or even plain yogurt for the same creamy feel.

Cauliflower poutine served with vegan squash gravy

Cauliflower Poutine??

My vegetarian poutine recipe makes one additional swap that's highly non-traditional: I use roasted cauliflower instead of fries. Using cauliflower keeps this version much lighter and lower-carb, plus cauliflower is loaded with great fiber and vitamins. Roasting the cauliflower also allows you to use significantly less oil than frying potatoes, so it's an all-around nutritional win.

There's one other huge benefit of using cauliflower over fries: cauliflower doesn't get soggy. We all know that fries, especially thin ones, can become a soggy mess in a matter of minutes. This cauliflower poutine can easily sit out for a while and can even be reheated if needed, so it's great if you're having friends over.

Close-up of cauliflower poutine with dripping squash gravy

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here's what you'll need for this vegetarian / vegan poutine 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.

  • Sweet onion
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash puree. You can use whatever you have on-hand, either homemade or store-bought. This recipe will work fine with canned butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato for ease. It works best with a homemade puree of a dense, creamy squash like kabocha.
  • Nutritional yeast. This healthy flavor powerhouse is a fermented yeast product that has been dried. It has a fabulously savory, almost cheese-like flavor but is vegan. It's also loaded with B vitamins. You'll use nutritional yeast, affectionately known as "nooch", to add flavor to the vegan squash gravy. I highly suggest stocking it in your pantry, it's especially awesome on popcorn. However feel free to omit it if you can't find it; the gravy will just be a bit less complexly flavored.
  • Cheese curds or vegan cheese substitute. If you're from New England or the Midwest, you may be able to find cheese curds at your farmer's market. Irregular chunks of cheddar will work fine too. For vegan poutine, use a vegan cheddar if possible; otherwise, use dollops of vegan ricotta or plain yogurt, or omit the cheese entirely.
  • Fresh rosemary and/or thyme. Traditional poutine doesn't generally have fresh herbs. However, I like adding rosemary and/or thyme for a little pop of freshness and nice color.

Healthy vegetarian poutine made with cauliflower

Closing Thoughts

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 squash gravy is loaded with flavor and has the smoothest texture. I think this vegetarian poutine (or vegan poutine, if you want) is such great proof that comfort food or bar food doesn't have to be heavy, fried, or devoid of veggies.

This is the most wonderful winter Friday night food, don't you think? Come home after a long week, make a cocktail to sip on while you cook (perhaps my Ginger Bee's Knees?), and then reward yourself with the most decadent bar food that won't leave you feeling weighed-down afterward.

Cauliflower poutine on a plate, shown with squash gravy and a fork

Share It!

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.

Suggested Pairings

Apple Thyme Old Fashioned

Ginger Bee's Knees

Savory Pumpkin Hummus

Spicy Ginger Sweet Potato Dip

Kabocha Squash Dippers

Cauliflower Poutine with Vegan Squash Gravy

A much better-for-the-body version of the classic, this vegetarian poutine riff uses cauliflower instead of fries and a healthy squash gravy. It's plant-filled, can be vegan with one minor modification, and is just as satisfying as the original.



  • Small sweet onion
  • Oil of choice for roasting and sauteeing
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • Large head of cauliflower
  • 1.5 c squash or pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 c cheese curds, cheddar chunks, or vegan cheddar chunks
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Dice the onion and add it to a medium-sized pot with a dash of oil and generous salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the onion over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until soft and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Cut the cauliflower into florets of approximately the same size for even cooking.
  5. Lay the cauliflower florets on an oiled sheet tray in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast the cauliflower for about 30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  7. When the onion is done, add the pureed squash (or pumpkin) and nutritional yeast. Blend it with an immersion blender (or by transferring to a traditional blender) until a thick, creamy gravy develops.
  8. Simmer the gravy over low heat for another 10-15 minutes after blending, or until the cauliflower is done. Add a dash of water if necessary to keep the gravy from sticking to the pan.
  9. Once the cauliflower is cooked, lay it out on a serving platter. Top with cheese curds, squash gravy, and finely chopped rosemary and thyme, then serve immediately.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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sara Tercero
June 7, 2022
What an absolutely brilliant idea! You are so very creative with your recipes!
February 15, 2022
I’m with you … cauliflower makes great bar food! We’ve never made or eaten poutine before, but this looks like a great place to start! If there is too much extra kabocha gravy do you think it could be thinned down and used as soup?
February 16, 2022
Suz- Awesome question, I love that!! I think extra kabocha gravy could totally work as soup. I actually have something like that here; you can find it under "Creamy Vegan Kabocha Squash Soup". I'd probably add some herbs to the gravy to jazz it up a bit, assuming it would be standing on its own as a soup. We also like to use the extras as a sauce over a bowl-type meal.
May 7, 2020
Saw this mentioned in Midd Magazine. So creative! Can't wait to try.
May 7, 2020
OMG love!!! I'm veggie and have never been able to try poutine either!
February 20, 2021
Do you think butternut squash would be ok? I can never find the rarer ones at our store.
February 23, 2021
Becca- I think butternut will be ok. It's not as sweet or as rich as kabocha though. Kabocha just has such a unique texture! You might blend in a handful of cannelini beans for some extra body to compensate.