Tempeh Is The Ultimate Swap For Flavorful Cheesesteak Without The Meat

The Philly cheesesteak — which is filled with juicy steak pieces, gooey cheese, and vegetables — is an iconic sandwich, so it's only fair that vegetarians get in on the fun, too. For vegetarians who want to make their own version (or those who enjoy a plant-based meal from time to time), look no further than the tempeh cheesesteak.

Tempeh is a plant-based protein made from soybeans that have been cooked and fermented, then formed into a dense, cake-like form. It's a great food for anyone to utilize, even non-vegetarians, in part because of its nutritional value (tempeh is high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants). But, arguably, the most appealing aspects of tempeh are how it's super adaptable and holds flavor well, making it the perfect meat substitute for countless recipes. With the right seasoning and cooking method, tempeh can be transformed into a delicious imitation of the beefsteak found in the beloved cheesesteak sandwich.

How to turn tempeh into a cheesesteak sandwich

When it comes to meat substitutes, a lot of the success comes down to the seasoning. For tempeh cheesesteak, we like to use paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning (which typically contains some combination of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and red pepper flakes). Once the frying process begins, we suggest adding soy sauce to finish off the flavor. This step is essential because, without the proper seasoning, you risk the tempeh tasting a bit too bland. You may still notice that it's a meat substitute, but it'll be too flavorful for you to think twice about it. It's also important to cut it into thin slices and to fry sufficiently.

Once the tempeh is seasoned and cooked to perfection, fill the sandwich with your favorite toppings. If you're going for a more traditional cheesesteak vibe, add in mushrooms, onions, pepper, provolone cheese, and mayonnaise. However, your vegetarian tempeh cheesesteak will be just as delicious if you want to swap out a veggie or opt for a fancy aioli instead of the typical mayo.