Don't be put off by its grotesque appearance. It's really very good, and a French-inspired favourite of most Canucks. In my high school cafeteria, it was the number two seller next to slurpees. It's on the menu of pretty much every cafeteria and diner in Canada, I think, but never a veg version! We affectionately called it "heart attack on a plate" in high school, since all poutine is is fries, gravy and a massive amount of shredded cheese.
Here is my healthier vegan comfort food version!
1) Prepare a layer of your favourite brand of (hopefully tras fat free) oven fries according to package directions, or if you have the time (which I didn't) make your own by cutting up some spuds, tossing them in oil and baking them at 400 F till crispy.
2) Slather fries in your favourite vegan gravy. Here, I used this one, but I also enjoy the shallot gravy from Garden of Vegan. If you're really tight for time, you can use gravy from a can or mix too.
3) Top fries with shredded monsarella soy cheese, or any other kind of cheese you have lying around the fridge.
Eat it! Don't wuss out and use a fork, I firmly believe one should always make a mess of oneself when eating poutine.