Chopped Cheese Sandwich
The chopped cheese sandwich is a New York classic! This vegan chopped cheese starts with plant-based ground beef smothered with melted cheddar and finished with your favorite burger toppings.
The Philly cheesesteak is a regional sandwich that’s now beloved throughout the United States. But the chopped cheese? It’s a NYC staple that’s just starting to get attention elsewhere. That’s a good thing if you ask me, because chopped cheese is irresistible!
What Is a Chopped Cheese?
Chopped cheese is a New York City favourite made with griddle-cooked ground beef mixed with onions and melted American cheese, then served on a hoagie roll. It’s very similar to a cheeseburger in flavor and ingredients, but the key differences are that the meat is loose rather than formed into a patty, and it’s served on an oblong roll rather than a round bun.
There’s debate about exactly where in NYC the chopped cheese originated—many say it was first made by the Blue Sky Deli in Harlem—but these days, it’s found in bodegas across the city.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Here’s why this chopped cheese is destined to become a favourite:
- Quick and Easy. There’s really nothing to this recipe! Plus, the loose vegan ground beef cooks up much faster than a patty.
- Delicious. If you love a classic burger, then you’ll love a chopped cheese too!
- Vegan. While there are now many vegan bodega options in NYC, if you aren’t local now you can make one yourself.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Hoagie buns – in a pinch you can use hot dog buns.
- Vegan butter – Store-bought or homemade vegan butter.
- Vegan mayonnaise – Buy your favourite brand or make your own vegan mayonnaise.
- Vegan cheddar cheese – I used Violife.
- Vegan ground beef – I used Beyond Meat.
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped lettuce – Save yourself some prep time and buy a bag of pre-chopped lettuce or grab some from your grocery store’s salad bar.
How to Make a Chopped Cheese Sandwich
Here’s how simple it is to make a vegan chopped cheese sandwich:
- Prepare the buns. Slice the buns in half. Toast them lightly, then spread a tablespoon of ketchup on one half and a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the other.
- Cook the onion. Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, or until softened.
- Cook the vegan beef. Transfer the onion to a small bowl, then cook the ground beef in the skillet according to the package directions.
- Finish the vegan beef. Add the onion back to the skillet. Stir it in with the beef and break up any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon.
- Melt the cheese. Add the sliced cheese on top of the beef mixture. Cover the skillet, turn off the heat, and let the steam melt the cheese.
- Assemble. Divide the meat mixture onto the halves of the buns with the mayo and add the lettuce and tomatoes to the other halves. Press the two halves together and serve.
Tips for Success
These hints and tips will help you achieve chopped cheese perfection!
- Toast the buns in the skillet. When toasting buns, you want the tops to remain soft, which means popping them in the toaster oven won’t work because it will toast both sides. The best way to toast buns is in the skillet before you start the rest of the recipe.
- Don’t skip the mayo. It will help keep your chopped cheese filling from falling out!
- Use a vegan cheese that melts. This is also important for keeping your filling together. Some vegan cheeses are better melters than others.
Just like a traditional veggie burger, there are endless ways to make this chopped cheese sandwich recipe your own.
- Add some heat with hot sauce or pickled jalapeños.
- Sauté the onion with sliced mushrooms to work in some extra veggies.
- Top your chopped cheese with pickles or relish.
- Swap the vegan ground beef with crumbled tempeh for a less-processed version of this recipe.
Chopped cheese sandwiches are best served warm with a side of chips or fries. You can use store-bought, but if you’re feeling ambitious, try my Air Fryer Veggie Chips, Sweet Potato Fries, or Air Fryer Shoestring Fries.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover chopped cheese filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Warm it up in the microwave or in a skillet, then assemble your sandwiches.
Can Chopped Cheese Sandwiches Be Frozen?
Chopped cheese filling can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.
More Vegan Sandwich Ideas
- Vegan BLT Sandwich
- Caprese Sandwich with Parsley Pesto
- Vegan Pulled Mushroom Sandwiches
- Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich
- Vegan Quinoa Cauliflower Burgers
Enjoy friends! If you make this chopped cheese sandwich, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Chopped Cheese Sandwich
- 4 hoagie buns
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, 30g
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 4 slices vegan cheddar cheese, sliced in half (used violife)
- 1 small onion, sliced, (4 oz/115g)
- 0.8 pound vegan ground beef, used beyond meat (350 g)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped lettuce, 75g
- 2 tomatoes, sliced (250g)
- Cut the buns in half and toast lightly. Spread 1 tablespoon of ketchup on one half and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on the other.
- Melt butter in a pan, add sliced onion and cook on medium, stirring a few times. Onion should get soft and caramelize slightly, this will take about 3 minutes. Remove it from the pan.
- In the same pan cook vegan beef according to the time stated on the package.
- When ready add onion back to the pan and break the beef with a spoon into small pieces. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Add sliced cheese on top, cover with a lid, turn off the heat and let the cheese melt for a few minutes.
- To assemble, place 1⁄4 of the meat and cheese on top of each bun half covered with mayonnaise.
- On the other half place chopped lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
- Combine two parts together and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.