After having a lackluster Philly cheesesteak during a recent layover in Philadelphia, I’ve been craving a lighter version of this famous sandwich. For a change this week, I used beefy portobello mushrooms instead of steak.

Mr. Squid also added some lightly sauteed strips of deli ham into the mix. The key for a really good Philly–besides ditching the Cheez Whiz–is to prepare each fixin’ individually. So saute the onions and peppers, remove from pan; saute the portobellos and then mix everything back together.


Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-5


4 portobello mushrooms, cut into thin strips

2 sweet peppers, cut into thin strips

1/2 white onion, cut into thin strips

4-6 ounces Fontina or Muenster Cheese in slices

4-5 hoagie buns

5 deli sliced ham slices, cut into thin strips (optional)


1 tablespoon oil, divided

2 tablespoons chicken broth


  1. Bring 1/2 tablespoon oil (I like grape seed) to medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saute pan. Cook the onions and peppers until just softened; remove from pan.
  2. Saute the portobello mushrooms in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil until just softened.
  3. Add the pepper and onion mix (and ham, if using), back into the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the cheese slices on top of the mixture. Add in the chicken broth and cover the pan so that the cheese is melted.
  5. Add the mixture into the cut hoagie buns.
  6. Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.

Kids’ reactions: My teen LOVED this meal. My middle child who is usually a big mushroom eater wasn’t quite sure what to make of this sandwich, but she ate about half of it without saying too much. My youngest said she didn’t like the peppers; I’m working on that…

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