Are you ready for this one? I sure hope so because, to date, this is definitely one of my favorite (yet simplest) recipes that I have shared with you all here on my blog!
What comes to mind when you think of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday? For me, I think of family, friends, fireworks, drinks, warm weather, and great grillin’ food, of course! Before adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, I was the first one in line to eat a freshly grilled hot dog with all of the fixings. Grilled hot dogs were my go-to Summer food of choice. It has been at least a year and a half since I have eaten a “real” hot dog. On occasion, I will eat vegetarian “hot dogs,” but the ingredients list for the majority of these is often not the most impressive. They usually contain unnecessary additives, can be quite processed, and are rarely vegan. So what is a mostly plant-based person supposed to make and eat for the Fourth of July? Why, carrot “hot dogs,” of course!
I first encountered the concept of a carrot “hot dog” while reading a restaurant menu online. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the restaurant menu that I was looking at, so all I can tell you is that all of the credit for the inspiration of these dogs should not go to me! I did a little searching around the web, as well, and adapted my recipe from this recipe and this recipe.
Vegan Carrot “Hot Dogs”
Servings: Makes 2 “hot dogs”
2 large carrots, peeled, with the ends cut off (I cut mine to the size of the hot dog bun)
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (you could also use soy sauce)
1/4 cup water
1 TB seasoned rice vinegar
1 TB sesame oil
1/2 TB apple cider vinegar
dash liquid smoke
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp granulated onion powder
olive oil cooking spray
2 whole wheat hot dog buns
desired hot dog toppings
1. Boil carrots for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy. After removing the carrots from the boiling water, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. While the carrots are cooking, whisk together the Bragg’s, water, vinegars, sesame oil, liquid smoke, garlic, and seasonings.
3. Combine the carrots and the marinade in a zipper gallon-size bag (I actually used two in case of a leak), or in an air-tight container. Shake gently until the carrots are coated with the marinade. Place the carrots in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
4. To cook the carrots, spray a medium skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Turn the heat to medium and place the carrots and about 1/2 cup of the marinade into the skillet. Heat the carrots for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm.
The carrots should go from looking like this:
to looking like this:
The carrots get a nice crispy and seasoned coating on them from the marinade. This also helps give the “hot dogs” a more brown/tan color than their original orange color.
5. Serve your carrot “hot dogs” in a bun and top them with your favorite hot dog toppings.
I served my carrot “hot dog” with coleslaw mix, sliced yellow onions, dill relish, yellow mustard, and a hint of sriracha sauce. And keeping with the Summer grilling theme, I paired my “hot dogs” (yes, I definitely had two!) with an ear of corn on the cob.
You guys….these are seriously good! I know that the whole concept of using a carrot in place of a hot dog seems a bit strange (though I am carrot obsessed so it comes as no surprise that I loved the idea), but these really do taste great! The marinade is definitely the trick when it comes to these dogs. The ingredients of the marinade combined with the marinade time in the refrigerator changes a carrots from tasting like a carrot into tasting very similar to a hot dog. The texture and slight crunch of the carrot was delicious, and with all of the added toppings, I really think that I could have fooled myself into thinking that I was eating a vegan “hot dog” as opposed to eating a carrot!
I sent several of the above pictures to different family members and friends and they all thought that it looked like a deliciously grilled hot dog. But, here is the proof that it is, in fact, definitely a carrot. Look at that bright orange color on the inside!
So…carrot “hot dogs,” huh? Yes, they sound a bit strange, but they are delicious. You really MUST make these. Not just because they taste awesome and are a much healthier option, but also because I think it is just absolutely cool that you can turn a vegetable into a hot dog. I am telling you right now, vegans eat some damn good food!