One of the hardest parts of being an adult is choosing what to prepare for dinner. It’s a seemingly inconsequential issue, I know, but it’s one we cannot run from. Even those who have been in the routine of cooking for years still face that elusive answer almost every day. Whenever we crave something in particular, those are the good days, because it answers that question for us. Yet on days when we don’t want anything in particular but the dinner hour looms closer, the decision becomes surprisingly stressful, especially as hangry moods set it.
For those who don’t like to cook dinners in advance, it’s crucial to have a backlist of recipes that take less than an hour to prepare for those last-minute dinner panics. Top of this list is usually pasta and canned sauce, quiche, grilled cheese (or a healthier version), leftovers, or whatever could be dug out of the freezer.
Here’s a new, healthier recipe for a last-minute dinner. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and about a half an hour to cook, so it fits perfectly under the “less than an hour to cook” deadline. It features all of the flavors of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and presents it in a lower-calorie, bright, and nutritious bell pepper.
Plus, this recipe could be tailored to suit individual tastes or food choices. The steak and provolone cheese can be substituted to make a dairy-free, vegetarian, or vegan meal. Whichever way you choose to prepare this recipe, it’s going to be delicious every time.
Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
Yields 4 servings
- 4 bell peppers, halved
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 16 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak, thinly sliced (*see notes for vegan substitute)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 16 slices provolone cheese (*see notes for vegan substitute)
- Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Place the peppers in a large baking dish and bake until they’re tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook until soft, for about six minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Add the steak, and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about three minutes until it’s well done.
- Stir in the Italian seasoning and set aside.
- Place a slice of provolone cheese to the bottom of baked peppers and top with the steak mixture.
- Top with another piece of provolone and broil the peppers until the cheese is golden, about three minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and serve. 
For vegan versions of the steak or cheese, you could use store-bought products for a quicker recipe, or you could use these substitutes:
For the Steak:
To make a meat-free version of this recipe, use firm tofu instead. First, drain the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels, sandwiching it between two plates, and placing something heavy like a book on top for a few hours to release the liquid.
Next, cut the tofu into strips and marinate it in soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, parsley, and thyme. Cook as directed in the above recipe. 
For the Cheese:
If you’ll like to make homemade vegan cheese, try this recipe that uses a cashew base.
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon + 1.5 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 teaspoon starch of your choice (such as tapioca, corn, or potato)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup water, separated
- Salt, to taste
- Soak the cashews overnight in a cup of water.
- In a saucepan, mix agar agar in a 1/2 cup of water and set it aside.
- Drain the water from the cashews, and rinse them really well.
- Add cashews to a food processor with the nutritional yeast, garlic, starch, salt, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water. Blend until the ingredients create a smooth paste.
- Add the cashew paste to agar agar mixture.
- Place this mixture into a pot and bring it to a boil on a low-medium heat until it forms a thick batter-like consistency.
- Quickly transfer the cheese mixture to ramekins. (This quantity fills one and a half ramekins.)
- Refrigerate the cheese for an hour.
- Carefully remove them from the ramekin and slice or grate as desired. Use in the above recipe as guided. (For more information on this recipe, see One Green Planet.)
- Lindsey Funston. Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers. Delish. https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a51551/cheesesteak-stuffed-peppers-recipe/ February 17, 2017
- Ashley Hankins. 6 Fantastic Marinades for Tofu That Will Make Your Taste Buds Dance. One Green Planet. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fantastic-marinades-for-tofu-that-will-make-your-taste-buds-dance/ 2018
- Sliceable Cashew Cheese. Charanya Ramakrishnan. One Green Planet. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/sliceable-vegan-cashew-cheese/ 2019
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