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Vegan French Dip


The ICONIC Los Angeles Sandwich, but VEGAN!


The French Dip is one of my favorite sandwiches, and this is the first one I've had since going vegan and I gotta say, this was just as good as I remember! In fact, when I gave one to my non-vegan neighbors to taste test, one of them replied "I would eat 8 feet of that" so I know it's not just me!


If you're unfamiliar, a French Dip is a sandwich typically served with Roast Beef on a French roll or baguette, with a small bowl of sauce called "Au Jus" for dipping. I like mine with onions, some spicy mustard and mayo and a pickle!


There's actually two restaurants that claim to have invented it, Cole's and Philippe's respectively. They are both great but I preferred Cole's because of the atmosphere, the cocktails and the fact that you get to actually dip your sandwich yourself. At Philippe's they dunk the sandwich in a vat of au jus before serving and they refuse to give you a side of the sauce!



The Au Jus


For the au jus, we're gonna saute some shallots and garlic, add in some worcestershire and red wine, make a roux and then add in some beefless broth. The broth I'm using is by Better than Bouillion and it really is the star of the show after the Soy Curls (more on that later). Here's a LINK if you want to order some, otherwise you might be able to find it at Whole Foods, but I've only ever had luck online. It really tastes uncannily like beef and it really amps up this recipe. If you can't find it, you can totally use veggie broth, but it might be less "beefy!"


Also we're adding some red wine, just make sure yours is vegan! If you don't know, some wines aren't vegan, the process they use involves animal products! Weird and gross right? You can check BARNIVORE to see which wines are vegan though!



The Vegan Roast Beef


For the Roast Beef, I'm using Soy Curls! I've used these in the past, but I never really realized how well they soak up flavor. I used to just toss them in the pan and season them, and they tasted ok, but honestly, I think the best way to cook 'em is to add a bunch of marinade and reduce down. The soy curls will totally absorb whatever you cook them in and since we are cooking them in more of that Beefless Broth, they come out super beefy!


They are super easy to work with and are relatively inexpensive. Here's a LINK to Butler Foods if you wanna order some!

the Onions


I like my French Dip with plenty of onions! We're gonna get a sweet onion (though white or yellow are fine too) and cut it French style, aka Pole to Pole! This is the ideal way for caramelized onions. This is gonna take a little while, but it's worth it. Finish them off with a little of the Au Jus too!



the condiments


You can put whatever you like on the French Dip (although Philippe's forbids ketchup, as they say "We're serving French Dips, not hamburgers!") but for my money some Horseradish Mayo and Spicy Mustard is the way to go! I'm just mixing some vegan mayo with horseradish as well as some dijon too. Dijon is already spicy, but adding the horseradish, you can feel that heat coming through your nostrils, which I prefer! But you do whatever you like!


Make sure the horseradish is vegan, sometimes there's creamy horseradish sauce that has eggs or milk in it.

the bread


I personally like using a French baguette for dipping as it has a crusty exterior and soft interior, which is ideal for the Au Jus. You can use those French rolls you can find in the bread aisle, but they do get a bit soggier as you dip, so plan accordingly!



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RECIPE

Makes about 4 Sandwiches

  • 4 sandwich rolls / baguettes

Au Jus

  • 1 shallot (diced)

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 1 tsp worcestershire (vegan)

  • 1 Tbsp red wine

  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter

  • 1 Tbsp Flour

  • 2 cups Beefless Broth

Onions

  • 1 sweet onion

  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1/2 cup of Au Jus

Vegan Roast Beef

  • 3 cups Soy Curls

  • 1 cup Beefless Broth

  • 1 - 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp worcestershire (vegan)

  • 1 Tbsp mushroom seasoning

  • 2 Tbsp steak sauce (vegan)

  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tsp molasses

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup of Au Jus

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Condiments

  • Vegan mayo

  • Dijon mustard

  • Prepared horseradish


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. First make the Au Jus. In a pan over medium heat, add a little oil and saute your shallots until translucent and slightly browned, about 4 - 5 minutes.

  2. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Stir in worcestershire and red wine.

  4. Add the vegan butter and melt. Then add in the flour and stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute.

  5. Add in the beefless broth, deglaze the pan, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Cover and keep on the lowest setting to keep warm.

  6. Slice your onions from pole to pole, then add to a skillet over medium heat with a bit of oil. Add in your vegan butter and melt. A pinch of salt will help the onions along too.

  7. Now just keep an eye on the onions, making sure they don't get too dark, if they do, lower the heat. You need to cook them for about 15 minutes. Towards the end, add about 1/2 a cup of the au jus and stir to combine. Once onions are cooked to your liking, remove from heat. You can keep them warm on low heat if you like as well.

  8. Rehydrate the soy curls by covering them in some water for about 10 minutes.

  9. While soy curls are hydrating, prepare the marinade by adding the rest of the vegan roast beef ingredients to a bowl and whisking thouroughly.

  10. Strain your soy curls, and using your bare hands, squeeze out the excess water. You want them to be as dry as possible.

  11. Saute your soy curls in a pan over medium heat in a bit of oil for about 6 minutes or so, until slightly browned.

  12. Add in the marinade and reduce down to your desired consistency, should take about 8 minutes or so.

  13. To make the horseradish mayo or mustard, simply add as much horseradish to however much mayo or mustard you want! I generally did about a 2:1 ratio with the horseradish being the 1.

  14. Toast your roll in some vegan butter, slather on your condiments, pile up the onions and vegan roast beef as high as you like, then get to DIPPIN!

  15. ENJOY!

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