philly cheeze “steak”

Do you ever crave comfort food on Mondays? I know I do–which isn’t saying much, because it seems that I crave comfort food always.

I’ve never eaten a philly cheesesteak, so in all likelihood, the recipe below will bear zero resemblance to any philly cheesesteak you’ve ever eaten. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my instincts were spot on and your bad vegan self can get down with cheesesteak once again! Regardless of how cheesesteak-y this meal truly was, I can tell you one thing: it was delicious.

I told my boyfriend that this recipe came to me in a dream, which is only half a lie: I was daydreaming about food at work and then this pang for something–I wasn’t quite sure what–hit me. Suddenly, A1 steak sauce sounded divine.

But steak sauce! you cry. That’s not vegan! In fact, it is. Though many steak sauces use Worcestershire, which isn’t vegan, this one does not. I’m finding more and more that the seasonings, rubs, and sauces we use to prepare meat–the very tastes I have always associated with meat–are incredibly meat, dairy, and egg-free much of the time.

I first discovered this when I had to try my hand at making a homemade taco seasoning because the storebought seasoning packet contained a milk derivative. I had no idea, before that fateful day, that I could season soy crumbles with anything to make them taste so meat-like. And then the light bulb turned on. Much like we season veggies to taste good, we season meat. Honestly, a decaying slab of dead flesh couldn’t possibly taste good without help. This sounds like a no-brainer, but for years, the tastes of certain spices and sauces were the taste of meat to me. I couldn’t tell you anymore what meat in its unseasoned state tastes like. Taco meat tastes like cumin. Steak tastes like A1, or cracked peppercorn. I’m starting to have some fun in the kitchen with this concept. A1! Not just for steak anymore!

Maybe what I created in the kitchen tonight was more of a simple “steak” sandwich, but I used a heaping amount of cheeze so I’m going with the philly cheesesteak theme.

Philly Cheeze Seitan
serves 2

2 sub rolls
1 package seitan
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 yellow onion, or onion of your choosing, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp veg oil for frying
a generous dose of A1 steak sauce
a generous amount of Daiya pepperjack cheeze
approx. 1 tbsp Vegenaise, spread on one side of each sub roll

Preheat oven to 400. Slice sub rolls in half lengthwise and set them aside on a pan. Slice your veggies and warm your oil in a frying pan. Sautee green pepper and onion in oil and garlic for a few minutes. Add crumbled (or sliced) seitan and continue to fry.

Add as much A1 as your heart desires.

When veggies are to your liking and seitan is heated through, scoop onto one side of each sub roll.

Add as much daiya as your digestive tract can handle.  Bake for 5-10 minutes until daiya is melted.

Spread a thin layer of vegenaise on the top portion of each bun, cut in half, and chow down!

Instead of the cheeze + vegenaise combo, you can be more ambitious than I was and turn your daiya into a cheeze sauce. You just need a little bit of earth balance, a little bit of plain soy milk, and a lot of cheeze.

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7 thoughts on “philly cheeze “steak”

  1. Melissa says:

    You make such a great point about how the meat dishes we love are really all about the spices!

  2. Yep, you are spot on about meat (and other foods, tofu comes to kind) being the sum of their seasonings. That is often how I approach talking about vegan dishes to carnivores. They aren’t giving up the FLAVOR of what they love, just the dead animal part! Thanks for making the point so well!

    • I’ll try that argument next time I’m engaged in conversation with a carnivore. The hurdle I find is that people refuse to even TRY tofu or other meat substitutes because of the stigma attached. It’s kind of like getting a kid to eat brussels sprouts. There’s this (very incorrect) school of thought that these foods are “gross” that prevents people from even being willing to try. The other argument I hear quite frequently is that people can’t get past the “texture” of tofu. I personally love the texture! But convincing a non-believer is very difficult indeed.

      • Oh, sistah, I know!! Tofu has such a bad rap. That is a tough one to overcome. Next time I’ll serve up a tofu chocolate creme pie without saying anything – until the “victim” devours it – and then I’ll spring it on them: THAT was tofu!!

  3. Mandy Smith says:

    Thanks for opening up a whole new realm of possibilities! Recently vegan, this revelation of the sauces and spices being the “taste” of meat is FABULOUS! I have always used steak sauce and dipping sauces for my meats, and like you, I probably don’t even know what the actual meat by itself even tastes like. I’m going to try this cheesesteak this weekend!

    • I hope you try it and I hope you like it! It’s a very rich meal, especially with all that added daiya “cheeze.” I think if I made it again, I’d go easy on the cheeze part. It kinda gave me a tummy ache. But it was very yummy–as comfort food always is!

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