Overhead close-up shot of three portabella cheesesteaks on a white plate

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when in Philly, do as the Philadelphians do—and that’s exactly what I did when I visited Philadelphia for a work conference a few years back. I pulled up to a cheesesteak stand, told the guy behind the counter to give me an “authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak,” and proceeded to devour the whole, greasy, amazing thing in about three seconds flat.

It was totally delicious and totally worth every bite. If you have a trip to Philadelphia scheduled and want to try a cheesesteak, GO FOR IT—but cheesesteaks definitely aren’t the kind of food I’d put on my “eat this everyday” list. What I would put on my everyday list? My healthier vegetarian portabella cheesesteaks made with marinated portabella mushrooms and sweet red bell peppers!

Overhead shot of ingredients for portabella cheesesteaks - portabella mushrooms, red pepper, onion, Swiss cheese, hoagie buns

Overhead shot of portabella cheesesteaks, open-faced and uncooked

These babies have been in heavy rotation in our dinner menus ever since my trip to Philladelphia. Portabella cheesesteaks are one of my husband’s favorite dinners (especially when served with a side of crispy sweet potato fries).

Now, a “real” cheesesteak usually uses either provolone, American cheese, or Cheez Whiz—which you could definitely use here—but I prefer the added flavor of Swiss here. It really helps elevate these portabella cheesesteak sandwiches from roadside stand to dinner table-worthy.

Overhead shot of portabella cheesesteaks, open-faced and cooked

Of course, these marinated peppers, mushrooms, and onions aren’t just at home in a hoagie bun. They’re really good on top of a pizza. I also love them on top of salads, and with just a few tweaks (like adding cumin and chili powder), you’ve got an amazing vegetarian fajita filling! Enjoy!

Overhead close-up shot of three portabella cheesesteaks on a white plate

Portabella Cheesesteaks

Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Flavorful marinated mushrooms stand in for beef in a vegetarian version of a Philly favorite. You won’t miss the meat at all in these Portabella Cheesesteaks!


For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

For the sandwiches:

  • 4 large portabella mushrooms, destemmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 hoagie buns (whole wheat or white), sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted (optional)
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese


  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, toss to coat, and allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Once the mushrooms are done marinating, transfer them to a large skillet, along with the marinade. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender but still chewy and have released most of their liquid.

  3. While the mushrooms are marinating, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the peppers and onions. Cook and stir frequently for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, lowering the heat slightly if the onions begin to brown.

  4. Preheat the broiler and arrange the halved hoagie buns in a broiler-safe pan. If desired, brush the cut sides of the buns with melted butter. Pile peppers and onions on the bottom half of each hoagie bun. Top with the mushrooms (leaving excess liquid behind in the pan) and a slice and a half of cheese.

  5. Broil for 3-5 minutes, checking frequently, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the top halves of the buns are golden brown. Put the top bun halves onto the sandwiches and serve hot.


If you have Montreal steak seasoning on hand, you can use one teaspoon of that in place of the black pepper and spices. Reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon to compensate for the salt in the steak seasoning.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 688Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1010mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 23g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I love to take the whole mushroom, marinated with olive oil, balsamic and spices, grill stem side down for a few minutes with onions, peppers and cherry tomatoes heating and getting soft around the mushroom. When you flip the mushroom over, pile all the veggies into the middle, add some cheese ( I like monterrey jack ) cover till the cheese melts. yum….no extra carbs and calories from the bread, although I do love bread.

  2. This is an older recipe, but you linked back in your weekly menu plan and I had to look as we had portabella mushrooms in the fridge. OMG, these were delicious!! My husband and I both loved them, and I know they will become a regular feature on our mealplan!

  3. These were SO GOOD! I’ve never had a true Philly Cheesesteak, but I can’t imagine I’m missing much. Even my boyfriend’s brother who “does like mushrooms” loved these.

    1. AWESOME! So glad you guys liked ’em. You should have a “real” Philly at least once in your life. Although that one time was definitely enough for me. 😛

  4. I love this idea! I only eat meat about two times a week, so recipes that are great substitutes help when it comes to preparing dinner! Thanks for the idea!!

  5. Just finished dinner, Portabella Cheesesteaks, they were wonderful. I followed your recipe to a “T” for my daughter and I, for Greg’s I added some Philly steak slices. They were incredible. Thanks again for the recipe.

  6. Tried this recipe last weekend, it was awesome! I could tell boyfriend didn’t really want to try it. So, I ignored him and made him one anyways, you know, for his own good. He loved it! He said, “you can do that again” which is among his highest culinary praise. Thanks!

  7. OMG…..this looks DELISH!!! Man your food looks great! I wanna eat like that!!! I love mushrooms!!! So this is a great idea!!

  8. OH YUM. I am not a fan of mushrooms (or, I wasn’t… I haven’t eaten mushrooms in YEARS), but this post made my mouth water! I think I may have to try something like this to see if I still hate mushrooms. Maybe I just needed a new way to prepare them!

    1. Craig used to hate mushrooms, but I stopped that trend in it’s tracks. 😛 It helps when it is covered in cheese.