For those who aren’t entirely sure what poutine is, it is a very simple combination of French fries, squeaky cheese curds and gravy. The way you mix and match each of those three ingredients is up to you, although my Quebecois friends may not completely agree.
Gooey melted cheese and salty gravy slathered fried potatoes. It might sound like an easy thing to create, but let me tell you I have had some pretty sad bowls of poutine in my day. The cheese needs to be just right, squeaky fresh curds are the best; squeaky, because they literally squeak in your mouth when they come into contact with your teeth. The gravy can’t be too rich, too salty or god forbid to oily. The fries, crisp enough to hold up under all that gravy, but soft enough as to be still considered desirable.
You might think that sounds tasty, or you might think that sounds like a sloppy bowl of instant-regret. You would be right on either account, trust me.
In an effort to recreate a healthier version of this Canadian favorite, inspired mostly by the book I am currently reading, I bring you – a vegan version filled with happy healthy probiotic cultures and the most heady garlic aroma you could ever imagine.
What book you say? The sequel (of sorts) to Dr. Perlmutter’s Grain Brain – it’s called Brain Maker. It’s all about gut microbes, healthy microbiomes and the friendly bacteria that help to do basically everything for us. The superheroes of our bellies, if you will.
I’m in complete favor of healthy healing probiotic rich ferments! Whether that be downing a bottle of kombucha, squeezing up a batch of kimchi, culturing nut cheeses or feeding a ginger bug for homemade ginger ale. There are so many different ways to incorporate healthy bacteria into our bodies, and lucky for us – they are absolutely delicious!
This particular version as I mentioned is very much vegan – so no squeaky cheese curds. It is also essentially gravy free, no unhealthy oils or meaty bits in this poutine. Instead, there is a tangy “cheese” sauce made of hemp hearts, nutritional yeast and a few other delights. Delicious soft sweet potatoes are the main man in this poutine, leaving the regular Yukon Gold for another day. The sweet potatoes are sliced and baked with a touch of oil and some flaky grey sea salt, so they are not as crisp and rigid as the typical deep fried potatoes you might find in a restaurant. The trade off? Health.
Let’s not forget about those friendly ferments. Kimchi, sauerkraut and all other types of fermented vegetables have been atop plates the world over, for many many years. They are, in my opinion, the epitome of health. Adding in some naturally fermented pickles, krauts and mustards to your diet will transform your belly (and as I am learning in my book, your brain!) for the better. In the very least, get them into your diet for the digestive benefits. Come on, who doesn’t want improved digestive ability?
This marrying of a Canadian favorite and a Korean digestion enhancing healthful flavor bomb might seem a bit strange, but just close your eyes – right now, do it. Now imagine biting into a hot, soft sweet potato fry that has been seasoned perfectly with fragrant, garlicky, gingery and impeccably spiced kimchi – then you get a hint of a tangy & ever so cheesy hemp sauce. Ooh yeah. You know you’re down.
- Take charge of old unhealthy favorites and healthify them into nutrient dense innovations!
- Experiment with different flavors: sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, pungent etc.
- Invest some time in making your own sauerkraut or kimchi, buy a kombucha SCOBY or start up some coconut/dairy/water kefir for added probiotic benefits
- 1 Large Sweet Potato
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 Cup Kimchi
- ½ Cup Hemp Hearts
- ¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 2-2.5 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Water
- Preheat the oven to 400, wash and cut the sweet potato into desired shape
- Dot a large oven-proof dish with chunks of coconut oil, arrange sweet potato fries over top and sprinkle with salt - bake for 25 minutes or until soft then broil for a minute or two to crisp them up
- Blitz the hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, water and a pinch of salt in a blender until smooth, taste and season with more salt or lemon as needed
- To assemble, pile the sweet potato fries into two bowls, cover with about half a cup of kimchi per bowl (or as desired), drizzle with hemp heart cheese sauce.
- Enjoy immediately!