It’s hard to imagine a world without hot dogs. Such a critical touchstone in American culture transcends the boundaries of age, income, and upbringing. Everyone knows and can appreciate hot dogs on some level, even if they aren’t overt fans. Indeed, as variants on more highly seasoned sausages, the art of tube meat has been around for centuries, making a brief cameo appearance in Homer’s Odyssey, no less. The dog that we all know and love today, however, has only been around since the 1600’s, invented by a butcher in Germany.
Yes, this all-American staple, like so many others, is not American at all! It was imported with the immigrants making it and quickly became adopted as an affordable mealtime staple. Given their popularity, versatility, and the fact that they don’t actually resemble any animal known to mankind, I find it strange that vegan options are so lacking. There aren’t a ton of choices, especially in mainstream grocery stores. Quality has improved dramatically in recent years, but they’re still highly processed, and if you’re avoiding soy or gluten, you’re simply out of luck.
Homemade vegan hot dogs are a lot easier to make than you may think! My version only takes 10 minutes of steaming before they’re ready to grill. Unlike seitan, there’s no kneading, no blending, no fancy equipment at all. Humble chickpea flour is the high-protein, high-fiber base for our upgraded franks, making them gluten-free, too. A tiny pinch of xanthan gum lends just the right firm yet springy texture, not quite chewy, yet perfectly toothsome.
What defines a hot dog is not so much the base, but the seasonings. Some are more smoky, some are more sweet, but polls show that most people generally favor a balanced, beefy taste that’s slightly salty, and gently spiced, but not so much that you’d think of it as such. As with hamburgers, much of the overall experience comes from the condiments and toppings, which means that less is more when crafting the ideal meaty vehicle.
How is it possible that shiitake powder, made from 100% shiitake with no additives, fillers, or preservatives, could taste like anything other than mushrooms? It’s all about umami, which is simply savory, transcending the boundaries that would otherwise separate the plant and animal kingdom. So much of what turns off mushroom-haters is the texture, which becomes a non-factor when dried, ground, and integrated seamlessly into other foods. Used as seasoning in the dry hot dog mix, you only get a juicy, substantial bite, sealed with a kiss by the smoky sear of the grill.
I like to keep mine classic, with minimal toppings piled into a soft white bun, but the beauty of a proper hot dog is that it can pair beautifully with an infinite variety of garnishes. Here are some ideas for servings your dogs in style:
- Sauerkraut and mustard
- Chili and cheese
- Caramelized onions
- Guacamole, pickled jalapeno, and salsa
- Sliced tomatoes, relish, and shredded lettuce
- BBQ sauce and vegan bacon
There are no bad choices here! Dress your hot dog like you would any sandwich; exactly as you please.
Make Ahead Advice
Hot dogs are classic party food. To feed a group, you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, which is why these are such a great option to prep ahead of time to simply heat and eat later.
- You can double, triple, or quadruple the recipe for a crowd, but you may need to steam them in batches. May sure you don’t crowd them in the steamer, so there’s room for the hot air to circulate around each one.
- Cool after steaming and store the hot dogs in zip top bags, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. You can store them in the fridge for 5 – 7 days like this, or toss them into the freezer to keep for at least 6 months.
- When you’re ready to serve, just toss them on the grill. If you’re preparing them from frozen, let them thaw at room temperature first, or defrost in the microwave.
- Leftovers can be stored in exactly the same way as the plain steamed dogs. You can reheat them in the microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, or toaster oven for 2 – 4 minutes, until hot all the way through.
Have You Tried Cooking with Hot Dogs?
Don’t forget, hot dogs can be so much more than a stand-alone entree. They’re an excellent source of protein with unlimited potential for use in other recipes. Some of my favorites are:
Other dishes that hot dogs would be great in include:
- Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- Fried Rice
Hot dogs do seem like a natural pairing for a prime summer day, to be enjoyed in the sunshine with an icy beverage, perhaps after a quick dip in the pool. The good news, though, is that hot dogs never go out of season. Long after you bundle up the grill and winterize the yard, this recipe will still serve you well for the colder months ahead.
- 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon Shiitake Mushroom Powder
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (Optional)
- 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, Melted
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Prepare your steamer and set out 4 squares of aluminum foil, each one roughly 8 x 8-inches; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, shiitake powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and xanthan gum. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
- In a separate, small bowl, mix the tomato sauce, oil, and mustard until smooth. Add the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry and use a wide, nonstick spatula to combine. Stir vigorously to bring the dough together and DO NOT add water! Just be patient; it will come together into a thick, slightly sticky dough.
- Divide the mixture into four equal amounts. Use moistened hands to shape one at a time into a cylinder and place it on one of the squares of foil. Roll it up and pinch the ends closed, much like a giant Tootsie roll. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Place the foil-wrapped cylinders in your steamer and steam for 8 minutes. Wait until they're cool enough to handle before unwrapping.
- Unwrap the hot dogs and cook on a grill pan over high heat or a preheated outdoor grill for about 3 - 6 minutes, turning once, until nicely seared. Enjoy hot!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 388mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.