First of all, apologies for not posting for 2+ weeks. Computer has been out of action, but I bought a new charger and am now catching up! I have a few recipes from the past few weeks that I am ready to post about, so I’ll attempt to post twice this week to make up for lost time.
In just two short months, I will be finished with my term of service through AmeriCorps and moving back to Salt Lake for at least a month while I figure out what I want to do next. So far, I’ve been looking at a few dietitian jobs, but what I really want to do is a long-term international service trip. We’ll see how that pans out, but I’m a go-with-the-flow type person and tend to just figure things out as they happen. I know everything will work out for the best in the end.
Anyways, during my month off in August, my family will be taking a trip to Montreal and Ontario, Canada to visit some relatives I have neither met nor heard of prior to this trip. Nonetheless, I’ve never been to Canada, so I am pretty excited! . Also, my AmeriCorps bestie, Kelsi, will be moving to Montreal after our term of service is over for an awesome job she got. What an amazing coincidence! I am so looking forward to visiting her in Canada! I also recently finished How I Met Your Mother (highly recommended!) on Netflix, so Canada has been infiltrating itself into more than one aspect of my life.
Whenever I plan a trip, the first thing I do is look at airfares and compare prices. After that’s done, I focus on the food. I think trying local foods is my favorite thing about traveling. I plan what I am going to eat months before I even depart! From what I have seen online, Canada is very vegan-friendly! I used the site HappyCow.net to look for restaurants that had vegan-options, and there were plenty of places to choose from. In my research, I also found this Buzzfeed list of classic Canadian foods. Most of them are not vegan, so in the next few weeks, I am going to attempt a few vegan versions of these classic foods!
This first recipe is poutine (pronunciation), a dish of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It’s a very versatile dish, and some restaurants have variations using different cheeses and also with meat added on top. Luckily, this recipe can also be easily adapted to be healthier and vegan at the same time!
In this adaptation, I used baked sweet potato “fries” for added vitamin A. The gravy was a mixture of vegetable broth, coconut oil, and cornstarch. Then, I decided to be lazy with the cheese and bought Daiya shredded “cheese”. It tastes great and almost like the real thing! Lastly, I made this for Kelsi’s lunch one day, so I packed in in a mason jar with the gravy on bottom to prevent the fries and cheese from becoming soggy. I think it’s quite genius.
Recipe: Vegan Poutine with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from Fettle Vegan
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil or vegan butter
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour of choice (gluten-free if needed)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- Nutritional yeast, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley, for garnish
- Vegan shredded cheese of choice (Daiya is a good one!)
- Fries: Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Spray cut fries with olive oil or cooking spray and layer on lined baking sheet. Bake fries for 40-50 minutes, tossing baking sheet every 15-20 minutes to rotate fries. Note: Some recommend soaking sliced potatoes in water for an hour before spraying and baking for better texture.
- Gravy: While fries are baking combine cornstarch and water in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, melt coconut oil and add in flour. Stir for 5 minutes, until mixture begins to brown. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add broth to gravy mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and add cornstarch mixture. Simmer until gravy thickens (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Add nutritional yeast and other desired seasonings when finished.
- Assembly: Salt and season fries immediately after baking. To serve immediately, throw fries on a plate, top with a ladle of gravy and a handful of cheese, then top with parsley. If packing for lunch, layer components in a mason jar in the following order: gravy, cheese, fries, parsley, then more cheese if desired. Microwave jar without lid for one minute to melt cheese.
I had some leftover gravy after making this, so I tried the recipe using roasted carrots as my “fries”. I just threw baby carrots in the oven at the same temperature for about 30 minutes, and they tasted great with the gravy!