Best Darn Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Recipe 2023

July 27, 2022

vegan philly cheesesteak

Does the fragrance of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich smothered with melted cheese & stuffed into a hoagie roll mesmerize you, but you can’t eat it as you’re now a vegan?

You’re not alone.

Several people miss the taste of authentic Philly cheesesteak post turning vegan.

And there’s nothing wrong with it.

While opting for veganism and vegan food is ethical and environmentally friendly, it’s hard, especially when you can’t consume amazing mouthwatering dishes such as Philly cheesesteak.

However, you don’t have to go through that torment anymore because we bring you your authentic Philly cheesesteak in a vegan form.

Yes, you heard it right.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak is actually a dish highly popular among vegans that uses vegan alternatives for steak and tastes like magic.

If you want to learn more about the vegan Philly cheesesteak and how you can make it, read in full.

philly cheesesteak

What is Philly Cheesesteak?

The Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich, popularly known as the Philly cheesesteak, is one of the most loved food items among Americans, especially from Philadelphia.

It’s basically a sandwich that packs melted cheese and thin slices of beef in a long hoagie roll.

What is Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

With the emergence of veganism and its increased popularity, the vegan Philly cheesesteak came into existence.

The vegan Philly cheesesteak is a healthier and creamier option than the original one and also uses jackfruit (vegan substitute for meat), which makes it suitable for vegans.

Let’s now learn how you can prepare it.

What All Do You Need?

Here are the ingredients you need for the grand vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe: –

For the Vegan Steak 

  • Canned Jackfruit – Jackfruit has to be the star ingredient of the vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe. Because it’s replacing the steak here. You can buy the canned jackfruit online or from Asian markets or grocery stores. 
  • Bouillon Replacement (Better than Bouillon – No Beef Base) – You will have to have the vegan variety of Bouillon without any participation of beef here. Soaking the jackfruit in Better Than Bouillon will add a very similar flavor to the dish.
  • Tamari – Tamari is the famous Japanese soy sauce with added salt and umami. Also, it is a substitute for the common soy sauce.
  • Vegan Worcestershire Sauce – Remember, the standard Worcestershire sauce is made using anchovies (non-vegan fish food). So, buy only the vegan version.
  • Spices – You will need paprika, granulated onion, and garlic powder.
  • Tahini – This sauce will add stickiness to the body of jackfruit and is a source of protein in the dish.
  • Red wine – You will need red wine for it’s rich flavor. It adds the umami taste. Prefer to go for a dry red wine.  
  • Buns or Bread – Vegan bread is easily available. If you are into gluten-free and vegan bread, rolls or buns, you will still have a lot of options in the market.

what can you use in place of beef

What Can You Use in Place of Beef in your Vegan Philly Cheesesteak?

When it comes to swapping meat or beef while preparing the vegan Philly Cheesesteak, you can choose from these options: –

  • Seitan – Seitan, if you don’t know, is basically wheat meat. You can make it at home or buy the store-made one. There are different versions of seitan available in the market. If you want to make a vegan chicken cheesesteak, opt for the chicken flavor. If you are more into the traditional recipe, buy or make the beef flavor.
  • Veggie Crumbles – These are easily available in the market and, most of the time, precooked. All you need to do is dip them into the marinade and follow the recipe as described.
  • Tofu – A popular meat swap for vegans is Tofu. Take some extra firm tofu, press it tightly and cut it into thin slices. Follow the recipe as usual after that.
  • Plant-Based Grounds – Most of the plant-based grounds are uncooked. That is why it is better to read the instructions on their package, cook them and then put them in the marinade. Cook it again until the marinade sauce thickens for a better flavor.
  • Jackfruit – Some beautiful green, canned jackfruit will work excellently in replacing the steak in the vegan Philly Cheesesteak. Pick the one packed in either water or brine and not the one dipped in some syrup.

In this recipe, we have used canned jackfruit, but you can choose whatever you wish from the above options.

Note. Remember, do not go for the fresh jackfruit as it might not be suitable for the recipe we are talking about.

For the Cheesy Sauce

  • Raw Cashews – Cashews are one of the best ways to add that creaminess to gravy dishes or for making the velvety cheese sauce. You can soak all the cashews for a few hours for smooth blending and a cream-like consistency.

Pro Tip: Buy raw cashew pieces instead of spending money on the whole cashews. It will save you some money.

  • Vegan Butter – It gives richness to the sauce.
  • Sauerkraut – It is fermented cabbage that will add tanginess and salt to the cheese sauce.
  • Better Than Bouillon – Round out the sauce with the vegan Bouillon without the chicken base.
  • White Miso Paste – It adds a rich, creamy, and umami flavor.
  • Nutritional Yeast flakes – Inactive yeast is easily available in natural grocery stores. It will add cheesiness to your cheese sauce.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Toppings

  • Bell peppers and Onions – Sautéed onions and bell peppers in olive oil help maintain the original feel of the recipe. Bell peppers are, although not a topping in the traditional recipe in certain places, you can never go wrong with them. They elevate the taste and flavor and help fill the sandwich.
  • Olive Oil – Use olive oil or avocado oil (any vegan oil as per your preference) to sauté the veggies.

brown vegan meat

Step by Step Instructions for Preparing Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Jackfruit Steak for your Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

  1. Take the fresh or canned Jackfruit, clean and rinse well. Move it to a clean kitchen towel and dry it as much as possible. Twist the towel with the jackfruit inside to get the water/ brine out.
  2. Now place the jackfruit into a shredder or food processor and shred it until it is completely broken. If you don’t have a food processor, a simple knife can help.
  3. Place the dried and shredded jackfruit onto a warm skillet with oil. Heat it for some time until it turns brown and flip.
  4. Now, to the browned jackfruit, add: –
  • Water
  • Tamari
  • Spices
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • Red wine
  • No Beef Base Better Than Bouillon
  1. Combine the mixture, and let it simmer for about ten to twelve minutes until all the water has cooked off.
  2. Stir in the Tahini and let it fully mixed in with the jackfruit.
  3. Take another skillet, and heat it with some olive oil. Sauté onions and bell peppers in it for the sandwich filling.
  4. Take the buns or bread, cut them in half, butter them and place them on a warm skillet until browned and crispy.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Cheese Sauce Blend

  1. Blend the cashews, butter, water, nutritional yeast, Miso paste, Sauerkraut, No chicken base Better Than Bouillon.
  2. Transfer these ingredients into a soup pot and blend them on medium heat until you receive the smooth and velvety consistency of the cheesy cashew sauce.

cheese blend

Get Everything Together

  1. Top the sandwiches or buns with the vegan steak, creamy and cheesy sauce, onions, and bell peppers.
  2. Viola. Your Vegan Philly Cheesesteak is all ready to serve.

Why Should You Make the Vegan Philly Cheesesteak?

There are so many reasons we can state. But the most tempting ones are: –

  • It’s Meaty – Yes. It is deliciously meaty without meat.
  • The Cheese Sauce – It is homemade, made of clean and plant-based ingredients, and most importantly, so flavourful.
  • It’s Buttery – The flavor of butter in this recipe is revolutionary.
  • It is just so Satisfying.
  • It doesn’t take much time to make it. We assure you that every second of making it would be worth it.
  • Even if the dish is considered fast food, it consists of mainly healthy ingredients that will not affect your health the way its non-vegetarian counterpart might.
  • And if you are someone trying to convince your friend or family about how good this vegan food is, this is your chance!

Want to Add Your Touch?

Customizations and the personalized touch of your style is always the best option.

Here’s what you can do: –

Use Store Bought Vegan Cheese 

There is a range of vegan cheese options available in the market.

Adding more cheese will level up the game of your cheesesteak.

Change the Bun 

Instead of the bun, you can even opt for a toasted baguette or maybe roll all the ingredients into a burrito or make a taco.

Raise the Spiciness 

You can add some spicy pickled jalapenos.

Add Mushrooms 

More the veggies, more will be the health quotient.

So, add some Portobello mushrooms while you sauté your onions and peppers.

Make it Gluten Free!

If you are into gluten-free food along with being a vegan, don’t worry. You can: –

  • Go for gluten-free buns or bread.
  • Opt for tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • Use gluten-free plant-based grounds.
  • Use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.

How to Store the Leftovers?

We would recommend not making sandwiches of the entire mixture as it can be difficult to store them.

Also, the buns will get soggy, which spoils the taste.

Instead, it is better to store the leftover mixture and buns separately.

You can store the cashew cheese sauce, jackfruit, and sauteed veggies in separate containers in the refrigerator for about four to five days.

Reheat the stuff on the stove or in the microwave when using it again.

Remember, the cheese sauce will start to thicken in the refrigerator.

So, add a few tablespoons of water and heat the sauce to bring it to the optimum thickness.

You can also add some extra salt and pepper to balance the taste.

You can even use the leftover cheese sauce for other purposes, like as a dip for your pretzels or fries.

extra bonus

Bonus: Want to Try Something Else with the Leftover Vegan Philly Cheesesteak?

You can make super tasty tacos using your leftover vegan Philly cheesesteak.

Here’s how:

  1. Take some taco shells. You can either go for the hard tacos for more crunch or the corn tacos as per your taste.
  2. Tacos with slaw are always a good option. Cut some cabbage, lettuce, scallions, grated carrots, and whatever you want to add to it. Mix all the veggies with a bit of vegan mayo, salt, and lime. Slaw is ready.
  3. Seasonings are going to add the magic touch to your vegan tacos. You can go for the store-bought taco seasoning and lime juice. Just be creative with any seasoning of your choice. 
  4. Now take the vegan steak out of your refrigerator. Heat it in the microwave.
  5. Assemble all the ingredients, place the jackfruit meat or vegan steak in the taco shells, add the slaw with some guacamole on the top, and your tacos are ready to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Can the Sandwiches be Made Gluten-Free?

A. Jackfruit is gluten-free. And all the ingredients we mentioned are either gluten-free or have great gluten-free substitutes. But, if you are opting for seitan instead of jackfruit to substitute the beef part of Vegan Philly Cheesesteak, you might need to reconsider as seitan is wheat gluten. 

Q. What Can You Serve with the Vegan Philly Cheesesteak?

A. Although the Vegan Philly Cheesesteak is a complete meal within itself, you can prep some French fries. You can even make some soup or a side salad. That will also be a pretty good option.

Q. Can you Add Mayonnaise to Vegan Philly Cheesesteak?

A. Mayo is normally not vegan as it consists of eggs. But you can easily get the vegan versions of mayo in supermarkets. It is optional to add it to your cheesesteak as there is no presence of mayo in the traditional recipe. However, still, you can customize it as you want. We won’t tell no one 😉

Q. What is Jackfruit Meat?

A. Jackfruit is native to Sri Lanka, Southern India, Malaysia, Philippines and is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines. It is the largest fruit growing on a tree and is yellow or green in color, depending on its ripeness. Ripe jackfruit is sweet, fruity, and has a similar texture to that of a pineapple.

Q. Is Jackfruit Healthy?

A. Jackfruit is packed with loads of proteins. It has around 2.8gms of protein per cup and consists of potassium, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and Vitamin C. It even has flavonoid lignans known to reduce inflammation in the body. Also, a cup of jackfruit has far fewer calories than shredded chicken, beef, or pork. So, a perfect alternative to high caloric meat.

Q. Why Not Use a Ripe Jackfruit?

A. Always keep in mind not to use a ripe jackfruit in place of beef for your vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe. That is because the flavor is entirely different. Ripe jackfruit has a sweet flavor, and that isn’t what we want in our vegan meat. Canned jackfruit is young and very mild in flavor. That is our appropriate form of jackfruit to make vegan meat.

Q. How to Soften Your Cashews?

A. If you have a high-speed food processor or blender, there is no need to soak the cashews in water beforehand to soften them. However, if that isn’t the case, and you have a standard blender, you can go for either of the following ways: –

  • Drain the cashews in water for 5-7 hours to soften them up. When it is time to make the sauce, strain the water and continue following the recipe as usual.
  • Grind the dry cashews into a coffee blender until you receive a flour-like consistency. Now add them to your standard blender and blend.
  • Another way is to boil the cashews for a few minutes. It will soften them up. Now, you can drain the water and continue the recipe as it is.

Wrapping Up

If you’re vegan, you are making an amazing contribution towards saving the environment and animal welfare.

However, while saving the earth and animal welfare is important, your taste buds deserve justice, too, of course, in an ethical way.

Similar to the vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe mentioned in this blog, there are vegan alternatives for almost all dishes that use meat or eggs.

For instance, you can go for vegan macarons (please add the link to our blog here.), as the non-vegan counterpart contains eggs or vegan hot dogs, vegan cakes, and the list goes on.

So, always think of being vegan as a rewarding experience and not a daunting one.

Start by following the vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe and look for more, and you’ll eventually enjoy being a vegan.

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