Don’t ever feel left out during BBQ season again! Even the vegan hot dog options (although admittedly better) are still garbage from a health standpoint. Today we’re making the healthiest hot dogs on Earth: Carrot Hot Dogs!
These dogs should come with a warning: May Cause Dancing
You’ll see in the video that they made me do a little happy dance when I tasted them. I just love food that makes me dance, don’t you?
Normally, we’re not that big on “veganizing” non-vegan things. We’ve been vegan for long enough that we really don’t miss those traditional (unhealthy) foods. Even when converted to a vegan variation, they’re still so high in processed ingredients that they simply don’t support a health-promoting diet.
That said, we still have fun giving it a go once in a while. It’s one thing to “veganize” a traditional dish but it’s another thing to “healthify” it too (yes, ‘healthify’ is now a word haha).
Sometimes we hear non-vegans complain about vegans making our plant-based versions of their foods. What they usually don’t understand is that we didn’t go plant-based because we don’t like the taste of meat, dairy, and other animal products; we did it to save ourselves, the animals, and the environment. Also, non-vegans don’t own the words “meat”, “milk”, “cheese”, or “hot dogs” so they can just get over it and be glad that our food won’t give them colorectal cancer like theirs will (mic drop!).
The funniest thing is that most omnivore eaters we meet often end up eating our herbivorous versions because they’re so delicious and health-promoting to boot!
Ok, for this recipe go ahead and grab 4-6 hot dog-sized carrots. Remove the skins with a vegetable peeler and then shave down the ends to make them roughly the same size and also round them out like regular hot dogs.
Keeping in mind what I just said about non-vegans loving our food, you may want to double or triple this recipe. Everyone is going to be curious about your carrot dogs if you show up to a non-vegan cookout with them and will probably want to try them. Though they may come to ridicule your healthy hot dogs at first, they may just stay and switch over to #TeamVegan so be prepared!
Next, you’ll want to steam your raw carrots for 15-20 minutes; you want them to be soft enough to easily pierce with a toothpick but not so soft they become mushy and fall apart. It’s a delicate balance. Every carrot can cook a bit differently due to its thickness, so it’s helpful to have carrots of approximately the same size and shape.
You want the carrots to end being “kinda floppy” but not “mushy-smushy” (yes, these are technical culinary terms). If you test them and they seem like they’re getting overcooked, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process in its tracks.
This is where the magic happens. Grab a gallon-sized ziploc bag and toss all the marinade ingredients in, adding veggie broth or water as needed so there’s enough marinade to fully immerse the carrot dogs. We are using soy sauce in the marinade because it really does help deepen the flavor but it’s perfectly fine to leave it out if you need to keep it as low/no-sodium as possible.
I want to stress that this recipe is something we would make on occasion; it’s not something that would be a staple in our weekly diet. Dillon and I have become rather healthy as a result of eating this way over several years, so we are ok with having an occasional splurge like this. If you’re new to this lifestyle or find that these little splurges are harmful to your program, just follow this wisdom:
“When in doubt, leave it out!”
One ingredient that you won’t want to leave out however is my Super Secret Carrot Dog Flavor Booster (which is a very dramatic way to say “liquid smoke”). We’ve also got all the classic hot dog flavorings in the marinade like allspice, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Trust me, by the time these dogs are done, you won’t believe they started out as carrots!
Once you’ve got the marinade ingredients all mixed together, throw your steamed carrot dogs in the bag and get as much air out as you can. A vacuum sealer would come in handy here but if you don’t have one, just do like I do and suck the air out manually with nature’s ultimate vacuum sealer… your mouth (seriously, that’s what I do!).
Pop your marinating dogs in a dish to prevent leakage, place them in the fridge, and leave them for at least 24 hours, turning them around every few hours to make sure they remain evenly coated. It’s actually better if you can leave them to marinate for 2-3 days. The longer they sit, the better they get.
Now Make Them Dogs Sizzle!
Once they’ve finished marinating, get your frying pan nice and hot. Strain the dogs, but save the marinating liquid because you’ll use it to saute the carrots. Add enough liquid to the pan to prevent the carrots from sticking.
Keep the carrots moving so they don’t burn but do keep in mind that you want the carrot dogs to caramelize and “crust up” a bit. It’s that sticky, caramelly coating that takes their flavor to the next level, so take your time because you can’t rush the crust!
Now that they’re finally finished after all those days of prep, you’re ready to dress them up just like you would a normal hot dog. Dillon used a square-shaped pita pocket because he couldn’t find any whole-grain hot dog buns. I don’t eat gluten, so I just used a corn tortilla for my bun; both options were totally delicious.
Please, please don’t tell anyone from Chicago that I like to put ketchup on my dogs; it’s considered blasphemy to many Chicagoans. Maybe they wouldn’t be upset since I’m using our super-healthy SOS-free ketchup but just in case, let’s keep it between us, ok? I also like mustard and raw onion. What’s your favorite “dog dressing”?
We hope you enjoy making these for your next cookout! Take a photo of how yours turned out and tag us on Instagram @wyw_community
Til Next Time,
Highly healthy hot dogs for your next hootenanny hoedown!
4-6 large carrots
¼ cup veggie broth (or water)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A few drops of liquid smoke
Cut the carrots at both ends to make them “hot-dog” length. If you wish, you can use a peeler to shape the carrots into more of a hot dog look.
Steam the carrots 15-20 minutes until tender, but not too done. Submerge in an ice bath to cool.
Put the veggie broth, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, mustard, spices, and liquid smoke into a gallon-size ziploc bag and mix by smushing the bag a few times until all ingredients are incorporated.
Put simmered carrots in the bag and remove air from the bag as best you can. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 12 hours or overnight.
To cook, put the marinated carrots in the pan with a bit of the marinade. Really brown them up, adding more marinade as needed.
Serve on a bun with ketchup, mustard, and sliced onions.
Looking for more?
Five Canned Foods You Should Always Have In Your Pantry