The Philly Cheese Fake

by Elizabeth Fiend

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Makes 4 sandwiches
(ok so there’s no steak and you don’t have to add cheese, but I do live in Philly…..)

Category: Vegan or Vegetarian Recipe

My vegetarian or vegan Philly Cheese Steak is made out of wheat meat, aka seitan, and is served up with plenty of red and green bell peppers, and caramelized onions. Make your own wheat meat or buy it ready made at the whole foods store. Other than the thin slicing (which is crucial to the taste) this sandwich is easy to make.

The original Cheese Steak was invented in Philly but is now available everywhere, because it really is a good tasting sandwich. I live right near the place that invented the cheese steak, “Pat’s King of Steaks.” (I can smell cheese steaks from my stoop.) So when the Food Network filmed a segment in my kitchen I figured I should made a vegetarian version.

The producer of “On the Road with Roker” asked a crew member to buy a “real” steak from down the street to compare with my sandwich. Taste tests all around and she proclaimed, my sandwich had more flavor!

My recipe is so YuMMY it’s actually featured in the Lonely Planet travel guide “Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.”

Ingredients:
1 lb of wheat meat (rinsed in a colander) sliced REALLY, REALLY, thinly
1 large green bell pepper, sliced REALLY, REALLY, thinly
1 large red bell pepper, sliced REALLY, REALLY, thinly
1 large onion (you guessed it) sliced REALLY, REALLY, thinly
4 long sandwich rolls (whole wheat if you can get ‘em)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
6 cloves garlic (more if you like)
1 tablespoon dried and crumbled sage
dash or two of hot cayenne pepper
8 slices orange American cheese (or vegan cheese, or no cheese)

Instructions:
Heat oven to 400 degrees
SPRAY a baking sheet with olive oil and throw the peppers, onion and wheat meat on it
MIX it up

ADD the remaining ingredients (except bread and cheese)
MIX it up
BAKE
for 15 minutes
TURN
it all around (and do the Hooky Pokey)
BAKE
another 15 minutes (or until vegetables are cooked to your liking)

SHAPE
the “meat” on the baking tray to the approximate size of your rolls

MELT CHEESE ON TOP
To get the most authentic flavor use the cheapest, most orange American cheese you can find. Are you a vegan? Can you get vegan cheese? OK, add it now, melt just for a bit cuz it gets weird (If you can’t find vegan cheese, it’s ok, really. Just go cheese-less).

LIGHTLY TOAST
the rolls while the cheese is melting
SERVE
the pros in Philly open the roll and use it to scoop up the steak
(only wimps use a spatula)

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