True to my word (although a day late) I divulge the secrets behind the best Philly cheese steak I’ve ever had. Admittedly I’d only had a few in my pre-vegetarian days, but when we found ourselves with an abundance of fresh and local bell peppers and a limited pantry of groceries, I knew cheese steaks (or cheese non-steaks, as D has named it), were in our future, and they did NOT disappoint!
I perused quite a few vegan cheesesteak recipes, but since cheese is one of the few ingredients that keeps us vegetarian instead of vegan (Almond Milk and flax eggs are a staple in our house), I knew I wanted to keep the cheese, but this is easily adapted to vegan if needed.
Vegetarian Cheese Steak adaptation (or more aptly named, a Philly wrap)
onion, sliced into thin slices
bell pepper, sliced into thin slices
garlic, chopped finely
tempeh, cut into VERY thin slices on the bias (for you meat eaters, think of cutting a cut like flank steak)
vegan Worcester sauce
white and black pepper
smoked paprika (or regular paprika and chili powder)
sandwich thins or pita
Heat oil in a saute pan and cook onions and peppers over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring to prevent charring. Lower the heat to low, add about 1 teaspoon of Worchester, and cover the pan-let it sit for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent and soft. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add some more oil and the chopped garlic, sauteing just 1-2 minutes until the garlic begins smelling sweet. Push the peppers and onions to the sides of the pan , then gently add the slices of tempeh and more Worchester, plus salt, paprika, and equal amounts of white and black pepper. Continue to cook until the tempeh has absorbed the color of the Worchester and is warmed thoroughly. Top with the cheese of your choice, then cover the pan to let the steam melt the cheese.
Heat the pita or thins until warm and soft, then uncover the pan of peppers. Fill the bread with the peppers, onion, and tempeh, then fold/wrap to keep the filling in. Cheesy but healthy, entirely filling, and a good, balanced meal. It took less than 40 minutes from the time we conceptualized the meal to the time we sat down- completely doable on a busy work night! Best of all, you get the textures and flavors of a cheesesteak without the guilt, health risks, or unnecessary antibiotics of beef!