Quebec Vegan Dishes – Jewish Exponent

Beet tartare. Photo by Keri White

I had a great trip to Quebec recently.

I highly recommend this getaway as a place that is relatively easy to reach while still having an authentic feeling of being in a foreign country. The city is beautiful, clean, friendly and accessible.

Although there is a thriving food scene, excellent museums, and plenty of culture, there is no significant Jewish community in Quebec. According to my guide, trade historically went up the river. As many Jews were merchants and business owners, they followed the economic opportunity to other cities, such as Montreal and Toronto, where there are larger Jewish communities today.

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I had several excellent meals during my trip, one at a trendy restaurant called Don Vegan (donresto.com) – a hip, trendy place where I was one of the very few over-30s guests. But I didn’t blame them; the cocktails were excellent, and I really enjoyed my “beetroot tartare”.

I also had a fantastic meal at Chez Boulay, (chezboulay.com) a farm-to-fork (French-Canadian lingo for farm-to-table) place that focuses on hyper-local ingredients prepared with a French twist. . There, I tasted spectacular carrots. The chef roasted them “in their soil”, which quite transparently generated an eye roll from this food writer, then cleaned them, shaved off a few bits that became crispy carrot chips and reduced mashed the green
carrot tops with mustard to create a delicious sauce.

My version is much simpler – I skip the ground and use parsley for the sauce, although when the farmer’s market offers carrots with their greens I’ll probably give the Chez Boulay version
a whirlwind.

Beet tartare
For 2

This version, created in my kitchen, is not vegan. It uses Worcestershire sauce, which contains small amounts of anchovies. If a vegan dish is required, there are vegan versions of the sauce available in some markets or from online vendors. Alternatively, you can use soy sauce, balsamic vinegar or miso paste mixed with water (ratio 1:1).

I prefer to boil whole beets for about 20 minutes, until tender, then peel and cube them. Some more patient cooks roast the beets, wrapped in foil, at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes, and that’s fine, too.

This dish is best served chilled, so prepare it a few hours before serving. I like it on a bed of lightly seasoned arugula with a few slices of toast or Melba rings. Don Vegan served it topped with a giant caper, which was aesthetic but not necessary if your home kitchen doesn’t have a spare pot lying around.

2 beets, cooked, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, white and green parts
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1½ teaspoons of capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.

Quebec roasted carrots with mustard sauce
For 4 people

1 pound carrots, whole
and not peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup whole grain mustard
Extra fresh parsley
or garnish

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the carrots on it in a single layer. Toss the carrots with 1 tbsp oil to lightly coat them and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the carrots in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and beginning to brown in spots.

While the carrots roast, mash the parsley with the mustard and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Taste and, if necessary, add salt and pepper.

When the carrots are cooked, place them in a shallow bowl and drizzle with the mustard sauce.

Serve garnished with a few sprigs of fresh parsley, hot or at room temperature.