Cheesesteaks have been on my mind a lot lately. With friends in Philly joining in the recent Best Vegan Cheesesteak contest, and then reading about all of the cheesesteaks Jasmin Singer ate before going vegan in her book Always Too Much and Never Enough, I’ve found myself with a hankering for a cheesy sandwich.
I ate a lot of cheesesteaks in my younger years. Well, what I ate could probably barely pass for what we know as a cheesesteak, but that’s what I called it. My mom frequently bought frozen Steak-Umms, which were easy enough for a teenager to heat up. I would cook the thin slices of “meat” and then put them on a roll with American cheese, and that would be my meal.
Of course, I gave those disgusting sandwiches up after going vegetarian during college. There was a point in the mid-2000s when Tofurky was making cheesesteak-style slices, and I would cook them up and serve them with Tofutti cheese on a bun. Those sandwiches weren’t much better than the ones I ate as a teen, but there was a certain nostalgic quality to them.
Since then, I’ve had cheesesteak sandwiches at various vegan eateries. Most of them have been seitan-based, and all of them have been much tastier than those Steak-Umm sandwiches from my meat-eating days. With all of the recent talk about cheesesteaks, I’ve been thinking about how tasty a mushroom version would be, so I went ahead and made one.
As far as I know, traditional cheesesteaks aren’t made with spicy peppers, I wanted a little kick to my sandwich. If you’re sensitive to heat, just omit the jalapeno and red pepper flakes. With the combination of meaty mushrooms and creamy cashew cheese, these tasty sandwiches have become a lunchtime favorite for me.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rings, optional
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- Four sandwich rolls
- 1 cup Cashew Cheese Sauce
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms, red bell pepper, jalapeno, salt, black pepper, onion, garlic, and red pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are fragrant, soft, and browned around the edges.
- While the vegetables are cooking, slice and toast the rolls.
- Divide the mushroom mixture evenly among the four rolls. Top with the cashew cheese. Serve immediately.