Here’s the best vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe and the only one you’ll ever need! Layers of vegan meat in a beefy marinade and creamy vegan cheese; it’s so good.
This stove-top recipe is as tasty and as easy to make as the classic version. Made with a fantastic meat substitute, the savory flavors and bold seasonings bring this recipe to life.
As a cheesesteak connoisseur, I am crazy about this recipe. It’s one of my favorite options for a casual lunch if I can have friends coming over. Even my meat-loving friends go crazy for it. Don’t forget a side of French fries!
If you’re looking for other vegan lunch ideas – try my baked falafel patties or this basil pesto pizza.
Why you’ll love this vegan Philly cheesesteak
- It’s packed with flavor: The combination of spices, sauces, and veggies used in this recipe gives it a delicious savory flavor that is real comfort food.
- It’s customizable: You can customize this recipe to suit your taste preferences by adjusting the seasoning, adding more veggies or toppings, or using a different type of bread.
- It’s satisfying: Despite being vegan, this Philly cheesesteak is still filling thanks to the combination of protein-rich soy curls, sautéed veggies, and delicious bread.
- Meal-prep friendly: You can make a large batch of this vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use, making it a convenient option for meal prep or quick and easy weeknight dinners. It’s also a super easy cooking process. I love making these if I want to spend time with guests instead of in the kitchen – for game day, for instance.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil: This is used for cooking the veggies and searing the vegan steak strips. You can substitute it with another high-heat oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil. Vegan butter will work, too.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce: This is a key ingredient for adding a tangy, umami flavor to the vegan Philly steak. Look for vegan versions at health food stores.
- Soy sauce: This adds a salty, savory flavor to the vegan Philly steak. Use tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
- Garlic powder: You can swap it with minced fresh garlic if preferred.
- Onion powder: You can substitute with minced fresh onion if that’s what you have.
- Oregano: You can switch it up with dried basil or thyme.
- Ground cumin: This adds a warm and “meaty” profile to the vegan Philly steak.
- Balsamic vinegar: Adds a lovely color and tang.
- Liquid smoke: This adds a smoky flavor to the vegan Philly steak.
- Soy curls: This is the vegan cheesesteak element. It’s made from whole soybeans and can be used to create a similar texture to steak. It’s important to use a high-quality brand to get the best texture. Butler Foods and Bob’s Red Mill are both great options for this faux meat. Seitan beef or tofu are the more common alternatives to soy curls in this recipe.
- Bell peppers: Red and green bell peppers for flavor, color, and texture.
- Sweet onion: Adds sweet oniony goodness.
- Hoagie rolls: These are traditional long rolls used for making Philly cheesesteaks. Look for vegan options at your local bakery or use a gluten-free alternative if necessary.
- Vegan cheese slices: There are some great vegan cheese options that melt well for your vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe. Try Violife, Follow Your Heart, or Daiya. Vegan Provolone cheese is a great choice. You could also make a vegan cheese sauce! Nutritional yeast is another way to add cheesy flavor to your Philly cheese steak.
Pro tips and tricks
- Choose the right vegan cheese: Make sure you find one that melts and oozes beautifully.
- Slice the veggies into thin strips: So they cook faster and evenly, resulting in a better texture and flavor.
- Don’t overcook the soy curls: Soy curls can become tough and chewy if overcooked, so be sure to cook them just until they’re heated through, on medium heat.
- Toast the hoagie rolls: Toasting the rolls adds an extra layer of taste and texture to the vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. You can toast them in a toaster or under the broiler for a few minutes.
- Don’t skimp on the sauces: The vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and liquid smoke all add important flavor to the dish, so be sure to use them all as directed.
- Use a cast-iron skillet: A cast-iron skillet distributes heat evenly and can help you achieve a delicious caramelized crust on the veggies and soy curls. Add a splash of water if the veggies are cooking too quickly.
- Prep your ingredients in advance: To make the cooking process go smoothly, prep all of your ingredients in advance and have them ready to go before you start cooking.
Variations and add-ins
- Mushrooms and onions: Add in some sliced, charred portobello mushrooms a meaty texture and umami flavor. King mushrooms are another great option, as are button mushrooms. Caramelized onions (or sauteed onions) are gorgeous with the mushrooms. A little vegetable broth is a great way to season these mushrooms.
- Jalapeños: For a spicy kick!
- Vegan mayo: Spread some vegan mayo on the hoagie roll for an extra creamy texture.
- Vegan aioli: Add some Garlicky goodness!
- Avocado: Slice up some avocado and add it to your vegan Philly cheesesteak recipe for a creamy, healthy addition.
- Vegan bacon: Crumble some vegan bacon on top of your Philly cheesesteak for an extra smoky, savory flavor.
- Vegan sausage: Chop up some vegan sausage and add it to the mix for an extra boost of protein.
- Vegan pesto: Spread some vegan pesto on the sub roll for a fresh, herbaceous flavor.
- Tofu cheesesteak: This is another super popular Philly Cheesesteak filling – also considered the real deal by vegetarians.
Make ahead instructions and storage
You can prepare the veggies and the soy curls ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. When you’re ready to make the Philly cheesesteak recipe, reheat the veggies and soy curls in a skillet over medium heat. Finally, proceed with the recipe as directed.
Leftover vegan Philly cheesesteak can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place the cheesesteak in a skillet over medium heat and cook until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but this may affect the texture of the veggies and soy curls.
Vegan Philly Cheesesteak
Vegan Beef Marinade
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Vegan Beef & Veggie Ingredients
- 8 oz soy curls
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
- 4 hoagie rolls
- 8 vegan cheese slices
- Place Soy Curls in a medium mixing bowl, cover with warm water, soak for 8-10 minutes to rehydrate, then drain excess water and set aside.
- Make the marinade in a large mixing bowl by mixing olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, ground cumin, salt, Balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke, and black pepper.
- Add the soy curls to the marinade and mix until well-coated. Leave it for 5-10 minutes.
- Over medium heat, prepare a non-stick skillet by adding one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Next, the onions and bell peppers into the pan and stir them around until they're evenly coated with olive oil. Then, reduce the heat to a medium-low setting. Proceed to cook the onions and peppers while stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until they develop a pleasing caramelized texture—season with salt and pepper to your liking. Once done, remove the onions and peppers from the pan and set them aside.
- Add the soy curls to the preheated pan and allow them to cook for around 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges have crisped up and turned golden brown, then season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the vegan Philly cheesesteak by placing the vegan beef mixture and melted vegan cheese on the toasted hoagie roll, top with onions and peppers, and serve immediately while hot and gooey. Pair with a side of crispy French fries or fresh salad, if desired.
Can I use a different type of protein instead of soy curls?
Yes, you can substitute soy curls with seitan, tofu, or even sliced portobello mushrooms. Remember that the cooking time and texture may vary depending on your chosen protein.
Can I make this vegan Philly cheesesteak gluten-free?
Yes, you can use gluten-free hoagie rolls or bread and substitute the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce with gluten-free alternatives. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.