Cheese steak sandwiches are sacred in my family. Ask my parents or siblings and each of them would rank a good steak and cheese sub above almost everything else—including Thanksgiving dinner. And that’s no disrespect to Turkey Day; there’s just something soul-satisfying about a parchment-wrapped sub stuffed with seared steak, sweet onions, peppers, mushrooms, and melted provolone cheese.
I couldn’t even begin to ballpark how many I’ve eaten. But the tough part about loving them like I do is that “steak bombs” are kinda-sorta “calorie bombs,” too. In moderation—no problem. In regular doses, though—not the best. Thankfully, my brilliant, talented, and funny friend, Serena Wolf—blogger behind Domesticate Me—has made a delicious lighter version.
Her version of a proper Philly cheese steak sandwich goes heavy on the veggies (onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms), omits the famous Cheez Whiz in favor of provolone cheese, and even cuts down on carbs (and calories) by advising that you scoop out some of the bready insides from your hoagie rolls before filling them. I never would have thought of this step, and I have to say, I didn’t end up missing the extra dough, and neither did Daniel!
Verdict: They live up to every cheese steak lover’s fantasy.
This recipe comes straight from Serena’s new cookbook: The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty. In it, she tackles typical “dude” foods—basically every rich, indulgent food you could ever want—and makes them over with a healthy twist. Think nachos, pizza, cheeseburgers, buffalo chicken, cheesesteaks…there are 125+ drop-dead delicious recipes in this book.
I love so much about this cookbook, but Serena’s funny, down-to-earth attitude is my favorite part. Throughout the book, she offers plenty of real talk, tips, and advice to help dudes—and those who love them—start cooking and eating healthier. She proves that meals made with better-for-you ingredients can be just as satisfying and just as fun as every classic comfort food or takeout favorite.
Despite the “dude” in the title, The Dude Diet is truly for everyone. I love it, Daniel loves it, and we’ll be making meals from it all.the.time.
Lighter Philly Cheesesteaks
- 1 pound top round steak
- 1 ½ bell peppers seeded and thinly sliced (a mix of red, green, and yellow peppers)
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 large portobello mushroom caps
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Four 1-ounce slices provolone cheese
- Four 6-inch whole wheat sub rolls
- Place your top round steak in the freezer for 20 minutes. (This will make the beef so much easier to slice.)
- Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Remove the stems from each mushroom cap and use a spoon to scrape off the brown gills on the underside. Slice the caps in half and then slice each half crosswise. Set the vegetables aside.
- Remove the steaks from the freezer and slice it across the grain as thinly as you possibly can.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the steak and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet, return it to the heat, and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook until tender and lightly browned (but not mushy), 7 to 8 minutes.
- Return the steak to the skillet and stir in the Worcestershire and soy sauces. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Reduce the heat to medium, place slices of provolone on top of the steak and vegetables and allow it to melt completely. (This should only take about 2 minutes, tops!)
- Slice your sub rolls three-quarters of the way through and hollow out their insides, leaving a ½-inch shell. (You won’t miss the extra bread, I promise.)
- Divide the cheesesteak filling among the four hollowed-out rolls. Serve warm.