Recipes by James Jessen, Bistro Di Buffalo  I  Photos by Taylor Johnson

We know what you’re thinking … a cheesesteak sandwich with no meat? Yes, and we’re certain that you won’t even miss it! This sandwich boasts a hearty portion of veggies, is smothered with the perfect blend of cheeses, and topped with an aioli that adds just the right amount of heat. Did we mention that you will not miss the meat? Because you won’t. But don’t take our word for it…

Summer Veggie Cheesesteaks with Spicy Calabrian Aioli

Veggie Cheesesteak


  • 2 bunches of broccolini
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 pasilla pepper, ribs and seeds removed, julienned
  • 4 slices red onion or green onion stalks
  • 4 ounces Havarti
  • 4 ounces provolone
  • 4 ounces burratta
  • Baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt


Lightly salt and olive oil brush the broccolini, zucchini, carrots, pasilla pepper and onions.

On a hot grill, chargrill vegetables, keeping them very firm.

Transfer veggies to a glass plate, cover and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small non-stick sauté pan, melt the Havarti, provolone and burratta  cheese slightly.

Slice baguette in half lengthwise.

Drizzle baguette lightly with olive oil and rub sliced garlic over entire cut surface (top and bottom), sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and toast until light golden brown, remove from oven until assembly.

Turn oven to broil.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the Calabrian aïoli on the bottom half of the baguette, arrange veggies and spoon semi-melted cheese over veggies.

All of this should be done on a sheet pan protected with a layer of aluminum foil for cleaning.

Broil to the desired coloring.

Place top on and cut into personal sizes. Serve with more aioli for dipping sandos and fries. Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Fries


  • 2-3 eggplants
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup dry grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup manchego cheese, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the ends from the eggplant, then slice lengthwise into 3/8-inch-thick slices.

Cut each oval disc into 3/8-inch strips.

Mix the bread crumbs, cheeses, Italian herbs, basil, salt and pepper on a large plate.

Whisk the eggs directly in the bowl.

Dredge the eggplant in the eggs, then transfer to the bread-crumb mix and toss gently to coat evenly.

Place the eggplant fries on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Drizzle evenly with the olive oil.

Spicy Calabrian Aioli


  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili oil
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

Use for sandwich spread as well as for dipping sauce for fries.