Here in Philadelphia, we’re serious about our bread. It’s what helps make Pat’s and Geno’s the legendary joints that they are. And the subtle differences between the rolls of the two South Philly fames only fuels the fire heating up the rivalry among these two. While I’m not one to dive into Philly’s mainstream cheesesteak scene, you can catch me in another part of South Philly chowing down on the occasional vegan cheesesteak at Blackbird. Even this joint knows its bread.
If you have quality ingredients on your hands, dinner doesn’t have to be difficult. And for these vegan, Italian-inspired babies, it’s all about the bread. A crisp, crusty exterior hiding a soft, airy core is what you’re aiming for. That yeasty smell should still linger on the outside with an aroma* that deepens when you cut into the heart of the bread.
To achieve this optimal, chewy goodness, you have to go with the standard white flour roll. Obviously, I’m generally a whole wheat kind of gal, and have enjoyed some pretty impressive WW loaves. But when it comes to that light, chewy consistency needed for the perfect Italian Hoagie, it’s worth the occasional whole wheat sacrifice.
My search for the perfect hoagie roll led me to Philly’s Italian market, where I was able to snatch two of these rolls for less than a dollar! From there, the rest of this meal was effortless. I went with my favorite soy sausage, sauteed up some fresh veggies, and served it with a colorful side of red cabbage and spinach salad. Stick with fresh, veggie-loaded sides to offset the whole wheat swap, and you’re golden.
*(If you want to take the aroma-factor to the next level, bake your own bread, and you’ll concurrently fill your house with that heavenly, breadalicious fragrance…but the process might also add a little of that difficulty factor back into the kitchen that we were trying to avoid, so save it for a lazy-but-not-so-lazy Sunday.)
- -1 large onion, sliced
- -2 medium bell peppers, sliced
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -2 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
- -3 Italian-flavored soy sausage links
- -3 crusty, Italian rolls
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add pepper and onions, and saute 3 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to saute until onions and peppers are tender.
- Meanwhile, lightly coat bottom of another skillet with olive oil. Add sausage, cooking until each side is browned.
- Cut rolls in half lengthwise, and brush insides with olive oil. Place one sausage per roll and top with cooked peppers and onions.
- Serving suggestion: Serve alongside Spinach and Cabbage Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette.
*Serving suggestion: Serve alongside Spinach and Cabbage Salad wtih Shallot Vinaigrette