Philly Cheese Steak – Vegan

Philly Vegan Mushroom Cheesesteak

(Makes 4 Sandwiches)


Philadelphia – Greek for Philos (Love) Adelphos (Brotherly)…The City of Brotherly Love. I love Philadelphia. The history, culture, museums, life…the architecture, buildings, infrastructure, sites. The Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia Museum of Art (don’t forget Rocky), City Hall, Independence Hall, Comcast Center, PSFS Building, PECO Building, SEPTA, Philadelphia Navel Shipyard, One Liberty Place, Franklin Institute, Please Touch, Boat House Row, African American Museum, Rodin Museum, Academy of Natural Science, Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul…Penn’s Landing, Penn Relays, Broad Street Run, Puerto Rican Day Parade, 76ers, Flyers, E.A.G.L.E.S., Phillies! Lincoln Financial, Citizens Bank Park, Fairmont Park, the Arts…public art, murals, graffiti, nightlife, Kimmel & Mann Centers, Chris’ Jazz Café, Philadelphia Orchestra, music, ballet…The motto: Philadelphia Maneto (“Let Brotherly love endure”)…William Penn, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Kevin Hart, Kevin Bacon, Joan Jett, Bradley Cooper, Kobe Bryant, Will Smith, Billie Holiday, Hall & Oates, Jill Scott, Sherman Hemsley, Questlove – The Roots, Grace Kelly, Richard Gere, Joe Frazier, Frank Rizzo, Charles Ramsey, Ed Rendell, John Street, Michael Nutter, Bill Cosby and Noam Chomsky…LOVE Park, Jewelers’ Row, Morris Arboretum, Walnut Street, South Street, Chinatown, Italian Market, Reading Terminal Market, Stephen Starr Restaurants, Le Bec-Fin, Amada, Four Seasons’, Vedge, Morimoto, Vetri, The Capital Grille, Serpico, Figs, Memphis Taproom, R2L, Volver, Warmdaddy’s, Ms. Tootsie’s…Tomato Pies, DiBruno Bros, Amoroso’s, Stromboli, Tastykake, Water Ice, Soft Pretzels and the Philly Cheesesteak!

Ah, the Cheesesteak…developed in the early 20th century and often debated of who originated this creation, which cheese to use or who makes the best. Pat and Harry Olivieri are typically credited for the invention. The cheese – originally popular with provolone, the Whiz of Cheez has now dominated since the 80’s. Pat’s, Geno’s, Tony Luke’s your guess is as good as mine on who makes the best. So try my take and uncover the vegan within. This version of the popular sandwich “wit whiz” of course and minus the beef/steak, milk, whey, caramel color, modified food starch, etc. is so simple with mushrooms, fried onions and a cheez sauce. The simplicity and amount of love will surely do Philly proud.

Alternatively, I do make a version with homemade seitan in addition to the mushrooms. Mom’s seitan recipe is a long process so that version of the recipe is best suited for another day.


2 (8-10oz) Pkgs White Button Mushrooms

4 Portobello Mushrooms

1 Medium Sweet Onion

3 Tbsp Canola Oil, divided

½Tsp Garlic Powder

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp fresh ground Pepper

½ Tsp Liquid Smoke (vegan friendly)

4 Hoagie Rolls (6 inch)

¼ Tsp ground Cumin, Optional


Cheez Sauce:


2 Small Baby Gold Potatoes

2 Small Carrots

1/3 Cup Water (use water carrots/potatoes were cooked in)

½ Cup Vegan Milk (Almond/Coconut blend)

3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

½ Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp Vegan Butter (Earth Balance)

¼ Tsp Turmeric

1/3 Cup Raw Cashews

½ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

½ Tbsp Soy Sauce

¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika



-Cook carrots/potatoes in saucepan until fork tender. Remove potatoes/carrots and reserve water – 1/3 cup.

-In blender – combine potatoes/carrots with remaining cheese sauce ingredients.

(Note: My cheez sauce recipe is not specific to this cheesesteak, which means you will likely have leftover sauce – store and use remaining sauce for another dish. This sauce is also great for nachos, macaroni, dip with veggies/chips or in a burrito).

-Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent about 3-5 mins. Add salt and pepper and continue to cook on low until golden but not quite caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove onions from pan and set aside.

-While carrots/potatoes and onions are cooking prepare mushrooms. Clean – wiping with damp cloth/paper towel, careful not to submerge mushrooms in water. Scoop gills from Portobello mushrooms and remove stems from buttons.

-Slice (6) of the button mushrooms and (2) of the Portobello mushrooms – then chop the remaining mushrooms.

-Sauté mushrooms in pan over medium-high heat in batches; cook for 5-8 minutes and remove from pan and set-aside after each batch. Add remaining oil to pan after half of the mushrooms have been cooked. (Note: Be sure to divide mushrooms and cook in multiple batches. If you throw all the mushrooms in the pan together at once they will get watery and steam up instead. You don’t want to over stir or season yet either. You’ll want mushrooms that have released their moisture and sizzle into a golden color).

-Once all the mushrooms have been cooked through return to pan. Toss with remaining seasonings and liquid smoke just until warmed through. Serve and top with cheez sauce then fried onions. Enjoy!

(Optional: Add 2 Peppers – poblano or green bell pepper. Seeds/Ribs removed then sliced and sautéed in pan after onions over medium-high heat until peppers are soft).


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