Mushrooms totally rock! And they play a starring role in this meatless Philly cheesesteak recipe. Although I am not a vegetarian, I definitely have started to recognize the value of a more plant-based diet. One of my goals for 2014 is to continue to work on incorporating more whole grains and vegetables into my family’s diet, and less meat and processed foods. This sandwich came about as part of that initiative! Portabella mushrooms are a great substitute in this recipe, and while they don’t taste exactly like the beef used in real cheesesteaks, this sandwich was a hit with the family and they didn’t even miss the beef! (The line “Where’s the beef” never came up, although I was expecting it, haha!) In fact, Thing 2, who is not a fan of most meat anyway, preferred these sandwiches over regular cheesesteaks.
One thing to be aware of is that mushrooms tend to cook down quite a bit, so you need to use lots of them to get a nice plump sandwich. Portabellas are a bit expensive, so I used 1 large portabella per sandwich, with regular button mushrooms for filler. I didn’t want to use all button mushrooms, however, because I think the firmer, meatier portabellas have a better texture for duplicating the look and feel of the real cheesesteak experience.
I don’t have any green peppers in my recipe, although you can certainly add them if you like. I have lived in the Philadelphia area for over 25 years now, and I can vouch for the fact that green peppers are not standard with real Philly cheesesteaks, contrary to popular belief! However, there definitely are lots of people that like to add green peppers to their Philly cheesesteak sandwich.
- 4 portabella mushrooms, sliced about ¼ inch thin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (use more if you like a lot of onion!)
- 16 ounces sliced button mushrooms
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 slices provolone or American cheese
- 4 hoagie rolls (6 inches or so)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place portabella slices on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender, about 10 minutes.
- While the portabellas are baking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
- Add the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the button mushrooms and stir. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender.
- When the portabellas are tender, remove them from the oven and add them to the skillet.
- Add the salt and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm.
- Place two slices of provolone on each hoagie roll.
- Optional: Place the hoagie rolls with cheese on a baking sheet and place in the oven (which should still be hot from the portabellas) for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese and lightly toast the rolls.
- Distribute the mushroom/onion mixture over the cheese and serve.