Sometimes when you have no bun, you have to use an English Muffin. No regrets!
This week, Inspirilized posted a beautiful picture of a carrot dog on her Instagram and got some seriously rude responses. She's not vegan and most of her recipes aren't vegan, but for some reason some people still really fight back against anything they like made vegan. Well too bad, dudes.
Apart from the drama, that tussle reminded me how great carrot dogs are! I first heard of them when I was living in Alaska an some hot dog specialty restaurant opened and I saw "carrot dog" on the menu as a vegetarian option. I actually thought it was a joke and never tried it.
Then, in my Vegan Parents group on Facebook, I saw a post with a recipe, and I started making them and loving them. Of course I do a mishmash of recipes, so I'll share a variety of them for you to choose from or combine into your own perfect dawg.
The first answer is obviously shape, but actually the sweetness and texture of a carrot really lends itself to a vegan version of a hot dog. As long as you don't boil the life out of it, a carrot retains a nice bite, even when you cook it, and with a good marinade you can really infuse flavor in it.
Also, carrots are healthy, cheap, and readily available. Sure, I like veggie hot dogs, but they are pretty processed and I can't always find them locally, so carrot dogs make for a cheaper and *easier option.
*Easier, but takes some time to really infuse flavor, so not necessarily faster.
Okay, Let's See Some Recipes!
Carrot Dogs from Kid Tested, Firefighter Approved
This was the first recipe I tried and it was a hit. I just love the name and the story that the kids AND the firefighter love these. You going to tell a firefighter he needs a meat hotdog? I wouldn't, if I were you .
All Natural Carrot Dogs from The Easy Vegan Cookbook
I like that this offer a soy-free option for those with sensitivities. You could sub coconut aminos in the other recipes you find too, if that's a concern.
Vegan Carrot Dogs with Spiraled Toppings by Inspiralized
Not only does this recipe have a carrot dog recipe, but I love that she gives 3 different topping ideas that all look amazing. Please, I must spiralize a pickle like NOW.
Chili Cheese Carrot Dogs by Plant Strong Vegan
These are soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and pack a big filling bite into this healthy alternative to hot dogs.
Looking for a Vegan Hotdog that isn't a Carrot?
My favorite vegan dawg is the Frankfurter from Field Roast. They have a complex taste, densely chewy texture, and they are great with toppings.
Another favorite is the Kielbasa by Tofurkey. This is a big plump vegan sausage with lots of flavor and you can boil it in beer, grill it, and top with grilled onions, sauerkraut, and mustard for a totally satisfying dawg that will make you forget all about meat.
Most veggie dogs are vegan, but read the ingredients in case. My kids like the basic Yves The Good Dog hot dogs, so try out a few and see what you are into.
Thursday is my designated throwback day to tackle a classic dish and make it vegan. This week it's also St. Patrick's Day, so I was conflicted about posting something non-St. Patrick's Day related. But in the end, I was at my local health food store, Anelas Yoga and Wellness, and they had sprouted bagels AND I had just made a new batch ofCultured Cashew Cheese, and decision was basically made for me.
When I was in college, before I was vegan, I lived in a small Northern California town with the cutest every bakery that was Mexican and Jewish fusion- don't adjust your screen, that's what it was- called Los Bagels. That place was AWESOME (and I'm sure still is, even without me visiting. In addition to round bagels, they had a long straight bagel called a "slug" that had the Everything Bagel toppings- sesame, poppyseed, garlic, and onion. I would get these all the time and loved them loaded up with cream cheese, sprouts, onions, tomato, cucumber, avocado, EVERYTHING.
I really fell in love with the "Everything Bagel" there. Once I became vegan, I realized that most bagels have an egg wash and so it limits my bagel options considerably, and I haven't come across a vegan everything bagel in the supermarket. But, there are good bagel options- so what's a girl to do? Make her own? That's really intimidating to me, involving several steps, but if you are into it, here are two recipes to try:
Whole Wheat Bagels from The Happy Herbivore
Multigrain Bagels from Seitan is my Motor
If, like me, you just want to buy your bagels, just check the ingredients. Generally, egg is the only animal ingredient I see on bagels, but with baked goods you might check for milk/whey/butter/casein/lactose, and L-cystine (derived from hair and feathers and used as a dough condioner- I know, gross). These sprouted wheat bagels from Alvarado St. Bakery are awesome, have 10g of protein (if you are into that sort of thing) and tasty. Thomas's mini bagels are also vegan, if you have fewer choices where you live.
Everything Cream Cheese
So, in case you can't find an everything bagel, I came up with a solution- Everything Cream Cheese.
2 Tbsp vegan cream cheese (I used my Cultured Cashew Cheese, but you can get Tofutti, Daiya, or Follow Your Heart cream cheese for this instead If you don't want to wait for it to culture, this would be good with my Cultured Cashew Cheese even before it cultured.)
1/2 tsp each garlic granules, onion flakes (or chopped green onion), poppy seeds, and sesame seeds
Optional: red pepper flakes to your liking
Mix it all together and schmear on your toasted bagel
If you are feeling extra fancy, top it with a vegan smoked salmon/lox alternative like this amazingrecipe from Olives for Dinner that uses carrots (this one takes a couple days- so plan ahead).
You could also simply top it with onion, capers, dill, and roasted red pepper.
Sprouts and or a slice of tomato would go great with this.
Go a bit sweet and add a thin layer of jalapeño jelly.
Or go sweet and simple and just schmear and go.
The other day, I was at the grocery store reading labels on hummus when my daughter asked, "What are those funny looking cupcakes?" Cupcakes? By the hummus? I looked to where she was pointing, and it was deviled eggs. They ARE kind of cupcake looking, and they are a classic favorite of springtime- from Easter picnics to family brunches. So, what do I do? I make them vegan, of course!
I don't eat eggs anymore, though, and I DO eat another round and delicious food- potatoes! As if potatoes weren't already the greatest thing ever, deviling them makes them pretty, delicious, and gives you a healthy analogue for an animal product.
Classic Deviled Potatoes
12 (or more in case you have some mishaps, I always make extra) baby potatoes
1/3 cup Moong Dal (link below to buy online, also found in Indian markets)
2 generous Tbs vegan mayonnaise (my favorite is Vegenaise, or make your own)
pinch Kala Namak (link below to order online, also found in Indian markets)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1-2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish and paprika
Begin by cooking your potatoes and lentils. For the potatoes, I use my mother-in-law's trick for making boiled eggs; I cover them by at least a 1/2 inch water, add some salt, and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, put the lid on and turn off the stove.
You are going to leave them like that for about 15-20 minutes, until they are easy to handle, so now you can make your dal. I thought I would get creative and try to make mine in the rice cooker, and it took three tries... I don't recommend it. Instead, make them on the stovetop by adding dal and about 1 cup water and bring to low boil, turning heat down once they are going. Cook until the lentils are soft. You should have about 2/3 of a cup of cooked lentils.
You want them not too soupy, so if they there is still a lot of water, drain them carefully.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the centers. They are delicate and you may break some. I find that a small melon baller gives me the best chances, and I didn't break any this time, but I usually do, and that's why I always make more potatoes than I plan to stuff. I can always find uses for pre-boiled potatoes in my house if I have extras. Put the scooped out centers into a bowl or the food processor. I wanted a creamy texture, so I used the food processor. Sometimes I like them lumpy, because I'm weird, so I smash them with a spoon. This is your kitchen and your rules- so do it your way.
After they are all scooped, do not skip this step: lightly salt your shells! Sometimes I tell myself that the filling is so flavorful that this is a useless step, and I always regret it. Just do it.
Now add your cooked dal, vegan mayo, kala namak, mustard, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Kind of looks like hummus, huh? The kala namak is sort of optional. It gives your filling a sulfer-y/eggy taste, so if you don't really like the taste of eggs, leave it out. It's kind of hard to find if you don't have an Indian grocery store nearby, but so are the moong daal. I live in Southern Louisiana, so I order both items online and it's easy. I'll post links below so you can buy them online
Now you have a yummy creamy filling that awaits your personal flair. Today, I wanted classic. I wanted it to taste like my great grandma's kitchen, so I added sweet relish. Some days, I add lots of paprika and dill and lemon zest. Sometimes I add cumin, lime juice, and jalapeños diced up. I've even added wasabi and chopped up ginger so it tastes like sushi. Go crazy. Whatever you want. If you add something chunky, like the relish I added, it's going to be hard to pipe out pretty ones like these... Which is why the bag I was using to pipe these got a clog in my pastry tip and exploded. The ones in the back are just using the bag with no tip and they are still pretty... That's fine. Just don't you a small pastry tip if you have chunks. And, in the interest of transparency, I didn't use a pastry bag, I put a pastry tip in a gallon ziplock. It all works out in the end.
They sure are cute when you use the pastry bag, though.
Let me know what flavors you try with yours in the comments!
You can even put them in a little cupcake liner to make your own "funny looking cupcakes."
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