California cheesesteak

California cheesesteak

This California cheesesteak is a favorite sandwich in our home. Kenny created this recipe when we were living in the Bay Area. He quickly browned thin slices of steak and piled them on slices of sourdough bread. With melted pepper jack cheese and fresh avocado on top, we dubbed this the California cheesesteak.

California cheesesteak

Before the angry comments pour in, let me distinguish this recipe from the beloved Philly Cheesesteak. I love Philly Cheesesteaks. The combination of thinly sliced rib eye, buttery soft bread and unctuous cheese are culinary perfection. I wouldn’t dare mess with the original.

The California cheesesteak is based on me and Kenny’s love for steak and an homage to our life in the Bay Area. Our recipe uses classic San Francisco sourdough, topped it with thinly sliced steak and peppers. The melted pepper jack cheese adds a bit of heat while the creamy avocado highlights the best of California produce.

To cut time in the kitchen, I grilled the onions and bell peppers on a sheet pan. If you’d like to have more control over sautéing the vegetables, you can cook them stove top with some oil.

This sandwich is meant to be eaten with a knife and fork and preferably with a bright acidic salad to compliment the meat. Enjoy!

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California cheesesteak

California cheesesteak

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  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos


  • Avocado or olive oil spray
  • 3 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced (you can also use green bell peppers but the other colors are sweeter)
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • Salt (I used fine sea salt for this recipe)
  • 2 pounds skirt steak
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 46 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 46 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 2 avocados, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray the sheets with avocado oil spray.
  3. Scatter the sliced bell peppers on one baking sheet and the onion on another.
  4. Spray the bell peppers and onion with avocado oil spray. Place in the oven (with the bell peppers on a rack above the onions) and roast until the vegetables are cooked and roasted, 30-40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven every 10 minutes to toss for even cooking.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, place the skirt steak in a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
  6. When the vegetables are roasted, sprinkle both with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Combine the onions and peppers onto one baking sheet so you can use the other sheet for toasting the bread.
  7. Remove the steak from the freezer and cut the long skirt steak into 2-3 inch chunks.
  8. Thinly slice each chunk of steak, across the grain.
  9. Lay the meat out on a large plate and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and onion powder.
  10. Heat canola oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  11. When the oil is hot, add the meat (in batches) and cook until browned and caramelized in places, 3-4 minutes.
  12. Brown the meat in 3-4 batches so as not to crowd the pan.
  13. Transfer the browned meat to a clean plate and continue until you’ve cooked all the mat.
  14. Place the bread on the same baking sheet you cooked the peppers on. Spray the tops with avocado oil and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  15. Top each slice of bread with steak and a slice of cheese.
  16. Transfer the open face sandwiches to the oven until the cheese has fully melted, 8-10 minutes.
  17. Remove the open faced sandwiches from the oven, top with the peppers and onions and slices of fresh avocado. Serve hot with a knife and fork.
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