A twist on a classic American recipe, with plenty of veg and gooey melted cheese, these Tex-Mex vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches are the perfect easy hot lunch!
I love making vegetarian versions of otherwise meaty dishes. Just because we vegetarians don’t eat meat, we can still enjoy all sorts of delicious foods. These vegetarian cheesesteaks are a great example – and not only did I make my version vegetarian, I also added a Tex-Mex twist (since I can’t resist anything Mexican-inspired!).
What’s a cheesesteak sandwich?
If you’ve never heard of a cheesesteak, it’s an American dish (specifically from Philadelphia) that usually involves meat and veggies smothered in melted cheese, and served in a roll.
These are definitely not authentic cheesesteaks. My vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches are actually two steps removed from the usual recipe, because not only did I make them veggie, I also used spicy Mexican cheese to give them a Tex-Mex vibe.
If you’re from Philadelphia, please don’t hate me for changing your beloved sandwich so much. Take it as a compliment – I’m now convinced that all sandwiches are improved by a layer of gooey melted cheese (not that it required much convincing).
How to make vegetarian cheesesteaks
These vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches only take about 20 minutes to make, and they’re well worth the (minimal!) effort.
Start with some onions, mushrooms and peppers, cut into thick, meaty strips. Cook them off in a pan, then melt that beautiful spicy cheese over the top.
You could add some vegetarian ‘steak’ strips too, if you like. I generally prefer vegetable-based meals, rather than using lots of meat replacements, but either way works great.
Then, just scoop the whole lot up into your favourite kind of roll – I used a crusty baguette.
I adore anything Tex-Mex, so I used some smoky spices to give these vegetarian cheesesteaks a bit of a twist. I also used some Mexican cheese for a bit of extra spice.
(well, I say Mexican cheese… I’m sure it’s not actually Mexican, but it’s called Mexicana, so I guess that’s what they’re going for)
The cheese I used is pretty spicy, so I mellowed it a little with some gouda as well. It’s the best of both worlds – creamy gooeyness from the gouda, and sharp spiciness from the Mexicana.
Feel free to use whatever combination of cheeses you like to get to your preferred level of heat – you can switch up the spices on the vegetables too. And don’t forget some fresh avocado and a dollop of sour cream on top to help cool everything off again!
Gooey cheese, spicy vegetables, crusty bread – these Tex-Mex vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches are the ultimate easy lunch.
Tex-Mex vegetarian cheesesteak sandwiches
- 2 individual baguettes or submarine rolls
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- 1 bell pepper, thickly sliced (I used red)
- ~ 6 medium mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 slices spicy cheese
- 2 slices gouda cheese (or other mild cheese)
- To serve: fresh avocado, sour cream (optional)
- First, prepare the rolls if necessary. I used part-baked baguettes so I cooked them in the oven until crusty. You can also use soft submarine rolls, if you prefer. Slice them lengthwise.
- Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan, and add the sliced onion, pepper and mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until very soft. Add the cumin and paprika, and mix well.
- Divide the vegetables into two halves in the pan, making the piles vaguely the same shape as your rolls (i.e. two long, thin piles of veggies). Top each pile of vegetables with a slice of spicy cheese and a slice of mild cheese. Turn the heat down to low, and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for another couple of minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Scoop each pile of vegetables into one of the rolls, and serve with fresh avocado and sour cream if desired.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1 sandwich, not including optional toppings.