There are countless places in Philly where you can get a vegan version of the cheesesteak, many made with seitan. I'd rather use one of the "meatiest" vegetables around, portobello mushrooms. Because you slice the mushroom caps thinly, and they retain so much texture, they evoke the shaved beef so crucial to the traditional one.
Philly-Style Broccoli Rabe, Portobello and Cheese Sandwiches
Four 8-inch Italian sub rolls, split lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 portobello mushroom caps (gills removed), thinly sliced
Fresh black pepper
8 slices (8 ounces) deli American cheese
1. Use a teaspoon to scoop out most of the interior from each roll; reserve the bread crumbs for another use. Lightly toast the rolls.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute, then stir in the broccoli rabe, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until the vegetable is bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the vinegar, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the mushrooms; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their moisture, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Uncover; return the broccoli rabe to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low; shingle the slices of cheese over the vegetable mixture, covering the surface as much as possible. Once the cheese has melted (about 2 minutes), stir it into the vegetable mixture until well-blended.
5. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among the toasted rolls. Serve right away.
- Adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, (Cook's Illustrated, 2015).