When I asked my Vegan Dining Companion (V.D.C.) what foods he missed most specifically as a male vegan, his almost immediate answer was cheesesteaks. After my initial worries that my V.D.C. was a closeted bro subsided (I breathed into a paper bag for a few minutes), I decided it was time to make my V.D.C. feel like a V.I.P. Or at the very least the M.V.P. for the Toronto Blue Jays. (Inside joke? They’re terrible?) So I set off to the
dreamlab my kitchen to whip up some brave new ideas eat some peanut butter from the jar and I think I came up with something pretty much delicious.
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, three things. First off…really? Second, you may remember my initial foray into vegan cheesesteaks. I took the obvious, seitan-induced route and it was good but I’ve learned so much since then. Like salt. I learned about salt.
So this vegan cheesesteak, just like Passover, is different from all other vegan cheesesteaks. It’s also wrapped up in collard greens. Just like Passover.
(Really? You read this shit?)
Using not fake meat and not fake cheese takes significantly more creativity and inspirational Pinterest pinning. Mushrooms are a wonderful meat substitute if you’re not entirely sure what meat tastes like but you know it’s supposed to taste delicious and you have a vague understanding of the general concept/coloring of meat. Mushrooms are meaty by definition, tasty by duh. Shiitake and portobello mushrooms are my personal favorites, admirably taking on a meaty texture if properly encourage. (I believe in you! I’m talking to vegetables in a pan! Sanity, thy name is Molly!) Also, mushrooms are brown. Like steak. Steak is brown. (Expertise!)
Using a cheese sauce that isn’t just melted pre-made fake vegan cheese also sets this vegan cheesesteak apart from its contemporaries. By nature vegan cheese substitutes rely heavily on nuts and healthy fats. Cashews are perfect for such occasions, the softness of the nut already almost buttery to begin with. They blend the smoothest and, unlike almonds, can be pronounced in the most pretentious of ways. Did someone say “cuh-shoo”? You did? Get the fuck out of my office. You’re fired. (The internet is my office now. Pack up your internet things and go.)
Set those nuts up on a hot date with nutritional yeast and some cornstarch and you might as well be eating Cheez Wiz without the whole masochism part. It’s a great quick snack, insanely low in calories, surprisingly high in plant-based protein and enough fiber to keep the net-carbs at bay. They kind of remind me of what I imagine McDonald’s snack wraps are like or something. Whatever, it’s 1am and I am strongly considering eating one. Help.
VEGAN CHEESESTEAK…COLLARD WRAPS
makes 4 big wraps
*makes enough sauce for 8 wraps or 4 heavily doused wraps (nutrition facts based on the 8 moderate cheezed option
(adapted from The Veggie Muse)
- 1 ounce cashews
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- half a medium onion, sliced into strips
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 3.5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 6 ounces sliced portobello or baby Bella mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ to 1 teaspoon gravy master
- ½ to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (totally optional, just another meaty flavor booster)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ground pepper (to taste, I like mine pretty peppery)
- salt to taste
- some collard green leaves
Make dat sauce…
Purée all your ingredients til smooth. Toss in a saucepan and heat up over low heat. Stir stir stir as it thickens. You’re done when you sauce-thickened say you’re done.
Make dat not-meat…or something. Fuck I don’t know…
Spray a big pan with some cooking spray. Cook your onions until softened and getting to the translucent stage. Add the peppers, maybe another spray or two of cooking spray, and cook a few minutes more til the peppers soften some. Add the mushrooms and let everything cook in the mushroom juices. Add the nutritional yeast, gravy master, liquid smoke if you’re using it, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Cook! Meatify! Rejoice! But mostly watch that open flame!
When your mushrooms and onions and peppers are browned and/or softened and the liquid sorta almost all absorbed, remove from the heat.
When you’re ready to assemble your wraps, bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare another large bowl of ice water. Drop a collard green leaf into the boiling water and blanche it for a minute or two. With tongs, transfer the leaf to the ice water bowl. Repeat. Plop some of the mushrooms mixture down in a blanched collard green leaf. Cheez sauce that motherfucker. Wrap. B-bop. Eat.
high in protein! low in carbs! even lower in net-carbs! low fat! great macros for dayz!
(18g carbs/8g protein/2g fat/7g fiber)