Bangin’ Vegan Bulgogi Cheesteak Recipe


You heard of tex mex, right? Well, imagine a Korean baseball player Shin Soo Choo had a sandwich-love child on a lunch break at Gino’s in Philly, and there is the Bulgogi Cheesesteak. Fusion cuisine  goes beyond borders, it’s a little like the free-jazz of the food world. One must fully understand the rules of each cuisine in order to break them and create new and interesting flavors and textures. My challenge is to not only make a kick-ass vegan version of one of the top 10 american sandwiches, but to make it healthy, not too hard with a little research and some clever swaps.

So what about understanding both sides of the story?

The cheesesteak. I had one of the famous ones in Philly, waited 45 minutes in line for steak-ums on white bread with cheeze whiz at a premium of $7, needless to say I was disappointed.  The cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century “by combining frizzled beef, onions, and cheese in a small loaf of bread,” according to a 1987 exhibition catalog published by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I find nothing appetizing about “frizzled beef”.  Most places will use cheeze whiz, provolone or white cheddar to hold together the globby mess.

I am not against Cheesteaks, in fact on a road trip through Connecticut, and friend brought me to Kruaszer’s, and I couldn’t seem to get enough. Who would know the best cheeseteak would be in CT?  Freshly baked bread, globs of sauce and heavy amounts of cheese…. not to mention the next day my pee would smell like garlic. Pure heaven, but looking back at these photos, I can see why my eating habits had me about 20 pounds heavier.


Bulgogi literally means “fire meat” in Korean, which refers to the cooking technique—over an open flame—rather than the dish’s spiciness. Usually made with beef, the term is also applied to variations such as dak bulgogi (made with chicken) or dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork), although the seasonings are different

Bulgogi is made from thin slices of prime beef marinaded with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, pepper, sesame oil and sugar.  Possible add-ins are shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, scallions and onions.  Some regions serve it over a bed of cellophane noodles and others over rice.


Cleveland, Ohio serves it up on a whole wheat hoagie, because we’re classy.


Let the fusion of late night comfort food between the east and west begin…



  • One block very dense extra firm tofu frozen, thawed and drained, or 2 handfuls shitake mushrooms and 1 package seitan
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 average sized onion, sliced
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh grated ginger (grate fine, otherwise you may end up with unpleasant chunks of ginger in your bulgogi.
  • 2/3 cup wheat free tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tbsp organic sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup shredded pear, skin and all or 1/2 cup apple sauce


-Chop all your veggies and thinly slice your seitan, tofu, mushrooms or any combination of the aforementioned delicacies.

-Mix the last 8 ingredients (you know, for the marinade!) on the list in a shallow bowl or pan.

-Place your tofu, seitan or mushrooms in the bowl with the marinade and cover with the veggies. Make sure that everything is covered by the marinade.

-Cover and refrigerate overnight. 8-15 hours is best.

-Remove the goodies from the marinade with a slotted spoon and fry in a hot skillet or pan. Pour enough marinade to lightly cover the goodies. If you want to go the traditional route, you can BBQ them on a grill with some foil, but my iron skillet works just fine for creating a nice char and carmelization.

-Let cook until most of the marinade has reduced, and the bottoms of the goodies are a nice caramel brown. Flip over tofu strips and cook until other side turns brown. Continue to cook until all of you normal vegan goodies have transformed into delicious Korean bulgogi goodies!


Now for the cheesesteak part.

-1 whole wheat roll (I used sourdough because I am a bread snob)

-daiya mozzarella, or 1 slice low fat provolone if that’s your game.

-1 teaspoon reduced fat veganaise

– handful baby spinach

Cut the roll lengthwise and hollow out the center, creating a little boat to stuff all your goodies in. This not only reduces calories, but I think just makes the sandwich more aerodynamic. Lay cheese on the bread and place in a toaster oven until the cheese is slightly melted.  Spread the veganaise on the bread, spoon in some bulgogi and cover in spinach! I enjoyed mine with baked sweet potato fries!




Mango Tofu Curry


I finally know that spring has arrived by the arrival of beautiful Mango all around Cleveland’s China town. Every year I celebrate by eating fresh mango, having it drip down my chin and hands…. But this year I have decided to go with a savory thai dish, but I will admit some of the mango did not survive the chopping process.

1 ripe mango – peeled and cubed
1 small pack of firm tofu – chopped
1 crown of broccoli – chopped
1/2 pack of mushroom – cleaned and chopped (I used shitake mushrooms)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium onion – chopped
1 cube ginger – paste
2 cloves garlic – paste
2 green chillis – slit
few sprigs of basil – chopped
1/4 tspoon – cinnamon and clove powder
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Saute the tofu pieces until they turn golden brown and set aside.
Saute the rest of the oil with bay leaf, basil leaves, green chillis, ginger and garlic paste for a couple of minutes until  fragrant.
Add the onion and stir fry till it turns translucent.
Add the broccoli and mushrooms and saute it together for a few minutes.
Add the mango pieces and cook on a low flame till the pieces turn tender.
Add coconut milk, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and cook on low for for 5 -6 minutes.
Add the cooked tofu and cook for another 7-8 minutes till they all mix together.
Garnish with fresh basil and serve with rice.

Killer BBQ Tofu


Remember watching Doug on Nickelodeon? Remember the greatest band that never was, The Beets. Every time I make this dish I have their hit single “Killer Tofu” stuck in my head. I got this recipe from my friend Julia”s personal cook book while on a field trip to her apartment’s humble kitchen. All of her recipes are gems, and might I say, works of art.

Julia also gave me an amazing tofu-trick! Freezing the tofu, then thawing it gives it a spongy texture, allowing it to soak up lots of liquid (in this case some finger lickin’ BBQ).

Also, feel free to use wooden skewers and long strips of tofu to achieve a wonderful party snack. Just place the wooden skewers in the tofu as you arrange them on the baking sheet.

So here is the final recipe for the tofu:

-2lbs of tofu cut into 1/2 inch strips (frozen and thawed)

-2 tablespoons oil

-1/2 cup water

-2 tablespoons peanut butter

-1 tablespoon soy sauce

-1/2 teaspoon garlic

-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients but the tofu together, then Place the tofu on a cookie sheet with oil. Press the liquid mixture lightly into the tofu and bake at 350. Bake 15 minutes, flip, then continue the baking process for another 15 minute. Lather them up with some BBQ sauce (recipe below) and bake for another 10 minutes for some finger licking BBQ. The end result should look something like this…

Lip smacking BBQ sauce recipe:

-2 tablespoons oil

-1 medium onion

-2 cloves garlic

-1 cup tomato sauce

-3/4 cup brown sugar or sucanat

-1/2 cup mustard

-1/2 cup water

-1 tablespoon molasses

-1 tablespoon fresh parsely

-1 teaspoon allspice

-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Saute’ the onions and garlic in a medium sauce pan until translucent then add everything but the apple cider vinegar and soy sauce. Bring this to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Add the remaining 2 ingredients and simmer for another 10 minutes.

UNSTOPPABLE Vegan Mac n’ Cheese


Mac and cheese is enjoyed all over the world, long before Krap, I mean, Kraft, got their paws on it. Its popularity in the United States has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson serving it at a White House dinner in 1802, although a spontaneous and diffuse appearance of the dish is more likely. It has been popular in the United Kingdom since the Victorian era. Here is my take on a soul food version of the popular dish. It’s also a nice way to sneak in veggies to unsuspecting children, or in my case, my dad.

  • 14 ounces macaroni noodles (feel free to substitute brown rice pasta for a gluten free version)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric (this is a natural way to turn it yellow)
  • 1 cup soymilk (or any other milk substitute)
  • 8 ounces tofu
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (I like Earth Balance Soy-Free)
  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup grate-nuts cereal (optional for a crispy crust, also try subing bread crumbs)

Boil the water and add the noodles once the water has begun to boil. Turn of the flame and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until Aldente. Strain and wash lightly with cool water to stop the cooking process.

Mix the tofu and the soymilk in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the tahini, tumeric, mustard, red pepper, garlic paste, and nutritional yeast. Fold the mixture with a spatula or large spoon until well blended.

Place broccoli, noodles and peas in a large skillet or casserole dish and mix well with your hands.  Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix well, making sure not to miss the corners.  Top with tabs of margarine and sprinkle with grate nuts or bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.