Vegan portobello Philly cheesesteak

Made from massive mushroom caps, this meal for two whips up in a jiffy for under five bucks. While I've never had a cheesesteak in my whole vegan Manitoban life (despite Tim Horton's badly hoping to pull off recycled brisket paninis as cheesesteaks?), I pulled flavours from some interesting sources to embody a juicy, mock-beef taste.

Mushrooms are sliced as wide as your pinky finger, about 3/8", and marinaded in a slight bit of garlic, oregano, ground coriander, and the not-really secret ingredient: hoisin sauce.

A green bell pepper and a small white onion are marinaded in a shot of oil and balsamic vinegar to take the bite off.

Ingredients I // The "meat"
4 portobello mushroom caps
1/3 cup vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp Kikoman soy sauce
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 heaping teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
-- 2 tsp flour, set aside

Ingredients II // Peppers + Onions
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp  pepper

Ingredients III // Cheese sauce (optional)
2/3 cup cheese alternative (I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella style shreds)
1/3 cup soy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

A few buns, rolls, sub buns, etc. 
(I used a 12" submarine bun, sliced in half and toasted.)

Be sure to read the directions over beforehand, I've set them in a particular order so there's no time wasted and you can get these on a plate post-haste! Essentially, you will slice and marinade your mushrooms, slice and marinade your peppers/onions. Create the cheese sauce while these marinade. You'll then fry up your peppers/onions in one pan, your gently squeezed steaks in another.

Start by prepping the mushroom steaks. Flip the mushroom caps over, use a spoon and scrape the, ugh, gills out. (This is without a doubt the most irrational dislike I have for any vegetable.) Pop the stems of and quarter them, no use in wasting those! Awful mushroom lashes, however, can gtfo. Place all of Ingredients I - minus the flour - in a large, non-reactive bowl and cover tightly with cling wrap. Give the bowl a good few shakes to get the marinade evenly displaced. Set aside / place in fridge. The flour will be added in later, to just the marinade, so hang tight.

Next, slice up vegetables in Ingredients II and place in a small non-reactive bowl. Add in remaining ingredients in this batch. Cover tightly with cling wrap. Give the bowl a good few shakes to get the marinade evenly displaced. Set aside / place in fridge.

Let the two bowls sit in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. 

In this time, prep the optional cheese sauce. Place all ingredients, except the flour, in a small pot or pan. Cook on medium-low until bubbling. Add in flour. Whisk and whisk until flour is incorporated into cheese sauce. Continue cooking on medium low, taste test to ensure flour is cooked out (this takes about a minute). Once cheese sauce is ready, place in a small bowl.

Turn your stovetop onto medium-high. Pour peppers and onions into your non-stick pan or skillet. 

Do the same in another non-stick pan or skillet for the mushroom steaks. However, be sure to give the mushrooms a slight squeeze and let the juice fall back into the bowl they marinaded in. 

I cooked both the veg + the mushroom steaks for about 7 minutes. Toward the tail end of this 7 minutes, whisk the 2 tsp flour from Ingredients I into that bowl of mushroom steak "au jus". Once there are no more lumps, pour into the pan of mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms no longer look floury/cloudy and have a bit of a gloss to them.

Toast your rolls if you like. Place the mushroom steaks on first, followed by the peppers/onions, and top with optional cheese sauce.

Slow Cooker Borscht for 2-4.

Quite alright for your 2qt slow cooker, and serves 2-4 for about $2. 

1 large beet (yielding approximately 1 1/2 cups), peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes or shredded
1 small onion (yielding approximately 3/4 cups), chopped
2 potatoes (yielding approximately 1 1/2 cups), chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp fresh dill
1 1/2 cups water + pinch of salt or vegetable broth

Place all ingredients in your slow cooker on high for 4 1/2 hours, or, on low for 8 1/2 hours. Taste test to ensure the beets are soft yet a little firm, and no longer crunchy.

Season as needed, I added a bit of salt and pepper at the end.

Optional: Place 1/3 to half of the solid ingredients in a blender with a small scoop of the brother. Blend. For a bisque, blend all until smooth.

Optional: top with a variety of garnishes such as dairy free sour cream, cashew cream, lemon juice, vineagar, more fresh dill, etc! Pictured is Tofutti Better than Sour Cream and fresh dill.