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Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

5 from 2 votes

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This Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich features layers of my chewy beef seitan, caramelized onions, and my delicious cashew cheese sauce all on a whole wheat hoagie roll. You won’t miss the meat with this hearty, flavorful sandwich.

Overhead shot of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and french fries in a parchment lined basket.

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When you think about vegan sandwiches, Philly Cheesesteaks are probably not the first to come to mind. I mean, how vegan is a sandwich roll filled with chopped meat, gooey cheese, and fried onions?

Classic cheesesteak sandwiches have over 30 calories of fat and can be between 900 and 1500 calories per sandwich. Definitely not plant-based, and definitely not a health food.

But what if we could cut the level of fat and calories and eliminate all the animal products?

It’s definitely possible, and here it is! A vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe with a fraction of the fat and calories.

I’ve used my oil free vegan beef seitan sliced as thinly as possible for the meat. It’s piled high on my homemade hoagie rolls with some sauteed onions and smothered in my cashew cheese sauce.

These Philly cheesesteak sandwiches make a very satisfying lunch or dinner

What is a Philly Cheesesteak?

Two Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and fries in parchment lined baskets with bread rolls and bowls of cheese sauce and beef seitan in the background.

Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches originated in Philidelphia in the 1930s. Hot dog stand owner Pat Olivieri decided to make something different one day and threw some steak and onions on his hot dog grill, then scooped them into a bun.

A cab driver pulled up and asked him to make one for him. After trying it he told Pat he should stop selling hot dogs and sell the steak sandwiches instead.

In later years, Pat started adding cheese to his steak sandwiches, resulting in the Philly Cheesesteak. Common cheeses used in these sandwiches are provolone and Cheese Whiz.

Pat’s King of Steaks is still in operation by the Olivieri family to this day.

Ingredients for this vegan philly cheesesteak sandwich

  • Beef seitan – I used my Vegan Beef Seitan for this recipe. It’s a fantastic meat substitute, but you can also purchase prepared seitan in some health food stores.
  • Onion – white, yellow, or sweet would all work for this sandwich.
  • Cheese sauce – the ingredients for my Cashew Cheese Sauce are listed below. You can substitute your favorite cheese sauce or store-bought cheese.
  • Hoagie rolls – I made homemade Whole Wheat Hoagie Rolls (recipe coming soon!), but use any sandwich roll you like.

Vegan Cheese sauce ingredients

  • Raw cashews
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Hot sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Onion Powder

How to make a vegan cheesesteak

Begin be making the vegan cheese sauce. If you don’t have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, soak the cashews overnight. Then rinse and drain before using.

Place all the cheese sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Dice the onion and place it in a nonstick skillet that has been heated to medium heat. Saute the onion, adding a small amount of water to release it from the pan when it starts to stick.

Diced onions in a nonstick skillet.
Sliced seitan and sauteed diced onions mixed together in a nonstick skillet.

While the onion is cooking, slice the seitan as thinly as you can.

Once the onion is soft and beginning to caramelize, add the seitan to the pan and heat it, adding a small amount of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan.

Pile of sliced beef seitan on a sheet of parchment paper.
Sliced seitan and sauteed diced onions mixed together in a nonstick skillet.

Slice the sandwich rolls almost all the way through but still connected. Fill each roll with a pile of vegan cheesesteak filling. Then drizzle the cheese sauce over the seitan.

Serving Suggestions

My Baked French Fries or my Seasoned Waffle Fries would be wonderful alongside this vegan philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

Or pair it with a salad like my Vegan Caesar Salad, Vegan Coleslaw, or Vegan Potato Salad.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak FAQs

Can vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwiches be made ahead.

I wouldn’t assemble cheesesteak sandwiches ahead of time because the bread will get soggy. But all the parts of the sandwich can be prepared in advance. The bread, beef seitan, cheese sauce and sauteed onions can all be stored for several days.

What is a vegan Philly cheesesteak made from?

This vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwich is made from thinly sliced or shaved beef seitan, sauteed onions, and a creamy cashew cheese sauce.

What kind of cheese is used on a Philly cheesesteak sandwich?

Classic Philly cheesesteak sandwiches contain either provolone cheese or Cheese Whiz. I used a cashew cheese sauce in my sandwich recipe to mimic the Cheez Whiz, but without the many artificial chemical ingredients.

Here are more oil free vegan sandwiches:

Closeup shot of Philly cheesesteak sandwich and fries.

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Closeup shot of vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Teresa Sklenicka
This Vegan Philly Cheesesteak features layers of my chewy beef seitan, grilled onions, and my delicious cashew cheese sauce all on a whole wheat hoagie roll. You won’t miss the meat with this hearty, flavorful sandwich.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 320.1 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ to ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • rounded ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions
 

To Make the Cheese Sauce

  • If you don't have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, soak the cashews overnight. Then rinse and drain them.
  • Add all the cheese sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Start with ½ cup of water and add more until you reach your desired consistency.

To Make the Sandwiches

  • Dice the onion and add it to a preheated non-stick skillet. Saute over medium heat until the onion is soft and starts to caramelize. Add a small amount of water or broth when the onion starts sticking to the pan.
  • While the onion is cooking, slice the seitan as thinly as you can.
  • Once the onion is beginning to caramelize, add the seitan to the pan and heat it. Add a little water or broth if it begins to get to dry and stick to the pan.
  • Slice the sandwich rolls to open them almost all the way through but keep the halves connected.
  • Transfer some of the seitan and onion mixture into each sandwich roll. Then drizzle the cheese sauce over them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 320.1kcalCarbohydrates: 30.8gProtein: 32.7gFat: 9.9gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 1097.6mgPotassium: 489.9mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 10.4gVitamin A: 12.96IUVitamin C: 4.33mgCalcium: 73.93mgIron: 6.11mg
Keyword Oil Free, Philly Cheesesteak, Sandwiches, Vegan, Vegetarian
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By on June 13th, 2023

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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