I’m probably going to receive a lot of hate mail for posting this! Most Philly Cheesesteak lovers are die-hard fans of the real deal and are not willing to change it up or accept an alternative option. And, I would have to say that I agree with them! Have you ever eaten a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich? I have and they’re delicious! But, when you just cannot cook steak at home and serve it to your vegetarian significant other, you have to find other means of enjoying the foods you love to eat. Hence, the vegetarian version of the classically delicious cheesesteak sandwich!
Dear Reader, I am not a vegetarian, and I do get to have a steak every two to three months, so trust me when I tell you that mushrooms – if sautéed properly and seasoned just right – can most definitely be a wonderful substitute for steak. Load that ‘steak’ up with finely sliced green peppers and onions, add a few other ingredients and then top it all off with loads of melted cheese atop a toasted bun, then you’ve got something to be lip-smackin’ proud of!
Historically, the sandwich was served without cheese, but eventually, provolone was added. For my version, I’m using a white old cheddar, because I love the stronger taste of the aged cheddar in contrast with the meatiness and pepperiness of the mushrooms.
Good just as it is, I’m never one to shy away from a side dish. But, when it comes to sandwiches, the best sides in my opinion, are the classic sides you can find on almost any diner menu – coleslaw, a pickle, French fries, or chips. You decide what works best for you and the guests at your dinner table.
- 4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 2 cups old cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 large crusty buns
- In a large sauté pan, on medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. Allow the butter and oil to heat up. When the butter has melted, swirl the pan around to ensure the ingredients are combined.
- Add the onions and mushrooms. Stir and sauté until the onions are caramelized and the mushrooms have taken on a deep brown colour.
- Add the garlic and green pepper. Stir and continue to sauté until the green peppers have lost their colour and have totally cooked into the mixture.
- Add the soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce and stir well.
- Continue to sauté on medium heat until the liquid has thickened.
- In the meantime, slice the buns lengthwise, leaving one side of each bun connected. Push the bun open and lightly butter each side.
- Place the buns on a baking sheet cut side up. Place under the broiler until a light golden crust has been achieved.
- Remove the buns from the oven. Split the mushroom mixture equally between the two. Pile the mixture high on the bottom half only.
- Top the mushroom mixture with the cheese and return the sandwich to the broiler.
- Keep a close eye on the cheese - since everything is already cooked, you will just want the cheese to be melted - not bubbly or browned.
- Serve immediately.