Vegan Philly Cheezsteak

I was inspired recently by my friend Julie of the Little Kitchen to try a vegan version of another American Favorite Sandwich, the Philly Cheesesteak. I don’t know if I would have thought to make a Vegan Philly Cheezsteak on my own, but that’s what friends are for. Right?

Vegan Philly Cheezsteak is another vegan version of America's Favorite Sandwiches!

I began with tofu. but not just any tofu: Slow-Baked Tofu with all the right spices. That combined with an Avocado Aioli, sautéed veggies, Daiya’s Vegan Cheddar Jack Cheese, on a crusty hoagie loaf, this vegan sandwich was was bound and determined to be a winner. And it was.

It really, really was.

Some of the best sandwiches begin wrapped in aluminum foil and baked in the oven to allow the cheese to melt just right.

I wrapped all that together in some aluminum foil and baked it in the oven, allowing the ingredients a hot and happening place to get to know one another a little better. That’s important in a sandwich.

Opening up this Vegan Philly Cheezsteak sandwich provides a great reward!

These are not your run-of-the-mill, make every day kinds of sandwiches. Although you could if you wanted to. It takes a little time in preparing them, but they are well worth the effort.

Quotes for Life - Sometimes it's the things that don't seem easy, that are the most worth the effort. Namely Marly

I’m a big believer in the notion that the best things in life require a little work. That’s why I wouldn’t make this sandwich every day, but it makes a great Friday night date night meal. Oh, how I love Friday night date nights!

Namely Marly presents a vegan Philly Cheesesteak Recipe with slow-baked tofu and an avocado aioli.

That’s when I pull out all the stops! Right now we’re in the middle of Wimbledon tennis. No, we’re not playing in it. (I know, hard to believe, right??  But we are watching it. Tennis is the one sport we stop everything to watch!

Except right now we’re also in the midst of some unstoppable circumstances. Family reunions. My hubby had his reunion via a cousin’s wedding in Iowa. I was disappointed not to go but I had extenuating events on my end. My own family reunion was going on right here in Kansas City…the same weekend!

Why does everything have to come at the same time?

Knowing this was all about to come down and that we would all soon be heading in different directions, I decided to make these Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. A sort of coming together of the family before the craziness.

A great family date night meal Vegan Cheesesteak with Daiya Jack Cheese

The results? Cheesy, garlicky goodness. Perfect for any special family meal. And now we have a leftover sandwich or two just waiting to be eaten. Let the craziness begin!

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Prep Time: 90 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 medium green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅓ cup Bragg (or soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar (if you don't have rice vinegar, substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup red and/or orange sweet bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup onions, cut into long strips
  • 1 cup mushrooms, washed and dried
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • Dairy-free white cheese (mozzarella or Monterey Jack)

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 200F. I used my convection oven for this because it has a timer on it, but any oven will do.
  2. Press the block of tofu with a clean dishtowel to remove the excess liquid. Slice the block in half and from there make thin slices, to resemble steak strips.
  3. Prepare the marinade. Add the chopped green onion, garlic powder, Bragg (or soy sauce), oil, agave nectar, and vinegar to a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until ingredients are combined, but are still a little on the chunky side. Pour a little bit of the marinade in the bottom of a baking dish. I used a pyrex 2-quart (7 X 11") dish. Then place tofu strips on top of the marinade. Cover with a bit more marinade and add another layer of tofu strips until you get to the top. I use a criss-cross pattern to lay the tofu to allow for maximum marinade coverage (MMC). MMC is important. There will be a test…next week!
  4. Once you've laid out all the tofu strips, tilt the dish this way and that (slowly) to allow the marinade to saturate all the tofu. You can even use a spoon and allow the marinade to pool on one side of the dish and pour it across the middle of the tofu where it's needed.
  5. Place the dish in the heated oven and bake for 1 and a half hours. I know. That's a long time, but set a timer and walk away. Go paint your nails. Get a message. Have tea and coffee with friends. You know, all those things you do on a given day. If you use an oven with a timer, you don't have to rush back; the tofu can sit in the oven as it cools down.
  6. While you're waiting you can prepare the veggies by placing a skillet over medium-high heat. Pour some olive oil in the bottom of the pan and then cook the red peppers, onions, and mushrooms until tender and caramelized along the edges. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  7. You can also prepare the Avocado Aioli by mashing one avocado with 1 teaspoon garlic. Set aside.
  8. Once the tofu has been good and slow-baked, brown them to give them some color. Using the same skillet as you used with the vegetables, place 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add several slices of tofu at a time and cook until browned on one side, then turn them and brown them on the other side. Feel free to pour any extra marinade over the top of the tofu as it's cooking. That just adds extra flavor. Repeat this step until all the tofu has been browned. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  9. Heat the oven to 250 F and tear off four slices of aluminum foil and have them ready to place your sandwiches on.
  10. Place one bun on each strip of aluminum foil. Spread both sides of each bun with the Garlic Avocado Ailio. Now add several pieces of the Tofu Philly Cheesesteak slices to each hoagie bun and top with sautéed veggies, and 2-3 slices of the vegan cheese.
  11. Wrap the sandwiches in the foil, place them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or so.
  12. Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. These go great with baked potatoes on the side. Oh heck, why not live a little and have these sandwiches with potato chips or french fries if you want.
  13. If you don't eat them all, then store them in the fridge in the foil. That way when you're ready to eat, you simply put it in the oven and bake at 250 for 15 minutes or so until everything is nice and warm and melted again. Ahh, life is good.

Enjoy!

Posted 2 years ago by Marly on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 · Permalink

22 Responses to Vegan Philly Cheezsteak

  1. These look so amazing, Marly!!! Love them! I love baked tofu…I’m going to have to try your recipe! xoxo

    • Thanks Julie! Especially for providing the inspiration in the first place.

  2. Love how you transformed these!! They look amazing!

    • Thanks, Aggie! It’s definitely one of our new favorite vegan sandwiches. Sigh. I get all sentimental just thinking about it!

  3. 2000F? Should that be 200? – I just want to make sure, because I have VERY bad luck w/ cooking Tofu and I really want to try this.

    • Hi Kevin. Thanks for your comment! What a crazy mistake! Thanks for pointing that out – the post is now changed to show 200F. Of course, if we cooked it at 2000F, it certainly wouldn’t need to be slow-cooked. But I promise, the slow-cooked version is definitely worth the wait.

  4. Marly you always make me hungry!

  5. You make vegan so appetizing! This looks amazing and my mouth is watering… I’m featuring this in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and it’s always fun to be following along with your creations…

  6. Marly, that looks fabulous! I didn’t know this was possible. :)

    • Sometimes I think just about anything is possible in a vegan world. I haven’t yet figured out a good vegan angel food cake…but give me time!

  7. Love that you took this traditionally heavy sandwich and made it vegan!

    • Thanks, Marla. I love how your recipes do the same. Healthier versions of traditional favorites – that’s what we’re all about!

  8. Funny, I was in Philly two weeks ago today enjoying my first Philly Cheesesteak! This looks fantastic! :)

    • Oh, I bet that was delicious! Somehow I think having a vegan Philly Cheesesteak in Philly automatically gives it bonus points in the taste category. Yumm!!

  9. These sound to die for! I’m from Philly, and if they would open a vegan cheesesteak place, I could finally take part in all the hype. Especially if they came topped with avocado aioli. Yes please!

  10. I just made these and they were ooey gooey and amazing. One suggestion is to make sure your hoagie rolls have a crisp exterior. Ours were too soft, so the next time we will make sure we get crisper bread to fill them with. Maybe it was the size of our rolls, but they made 6 sandwiches instead of 4 and we used 2 onions instead of 1 so there was more of a balance between the two. I had planned on serving some Carribean Black Bean soup with them, but we were full with just the sandwich alone. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Love your changes and suggestions. I agree that these sandwiches are filling, but that soup sounds mighty tasty!

  11. Yummm! I’m British so I’ve never had a cheesesteak but I think I must try this vegan version! It looks amazing!

  12. Wow. Marly, this looks incredibly delicious! I’m not a strict vegan but I do eat a lot of vegan food. I love the fact that this sandwich hits all the right boxes – deliciously filling, warming and indulgent whilst also being pretty healthy (as a version of cheesesteak!). Thanks for the recipe. I’m definitely going to make this next time we have a ‘Friday night date’. Great idea :)

  13. Shannon Walsh

    i just made these and it was worth the wait. I accidentally grabbed cubed tofu and couldn’t find the wedge cheese so I used shredded mozz and chef. But it tasted amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I love this recipe too. In fact, it seems like a perfect way to ring in the new year…I may be making more soon myself!