Philly Cheese Steaks- For Everyone!


A couple of months ago I took my darling husband down to Philadelphia to revisit some favorite places from when I lived there…the Ben Franklin Institute (a fabulous science museum, complete with giant, walkthrough heart), Eastern State Penitentiary (a museum now), and Reading Market, ending with South Philly and a genuine Philly cheese steak from one of the masters. It was incredibly tasty, but of course a mass of white bread, grease, and not-quite-cheese as well as flavor. I wondered if I could make a version that was equally delicious, but (1) healthier (2) vegetarian (3) vegan and maybe even (4) kosher. Yes, I could and did. Here’s the result – a great, quick meal, especially when you’re at the stove for 3 days straight getting ready for that big holiday meal.

The Bread: Use whole wheat flat bread instead of the empty, puffy white roll. The Co-op has two great ones right now. Nature’s Wrap whole wheat lavash is a big rectangular piece of flatbread. Cut it in half for two sandwiches. Rudi’s Bakery has a 7-grain wrap, circular. Again, cut each piece in half for two.

The Cheese: Use sliced cheese, cheddar or Swiss or American. Vegan Rice cheese comes sliced and melts beautifully.

The Meat: Thin sliced beef is the original flavor. Minute steaks are available from the Sunday Market  beef guy. The Co-op has sliceable chunks (sirloin, flatiron eye round), which you can cut into 1/8” slices. Hint: easy to slice when partially frozen. For vegans: Westsoy Seitan strips or Lightlife Smart Strips, steak style, are excellent.

The Recipe for 4

• Put 4 portions of bread in a very low oven. Put 2 slices of cheese on each slice of bread, sothat they melt.• Cut one large onion and one pepper into strips. Mince 1 or 2 garlic cloves. Sauté at medium heat until cooked. Add meat or “meat” to the pan. Use ¾ - 1 pound of actual meat, or 1 package of either meat substitute. Cook for only a minute. Divide pan contents into 4 portions and place I portion on each slice of bread. Roll the bread up around the contents. Use a toothpick to keep it rolled. It’s ready! Pretty and yummy!