If you’re fortunate enough to live with a dog, you realize that, in some ways, every day is National Dog Day. However, if you’re living a canine-free life (maybe you’re a cat person?), we’ve found a fun—and tasty—way for you to celebrate National Dog Day by cooking one of your favorite vegan dogs. Sure, plant-based hot dogs have been around seemingly forever (anyone remember Gene Baur selling veggie dogs at Grateful Dead shows?), but with so many great varieties now available, there’s a cruelty-free dog for everyone. With this in mind, we’re highlighting five veggie dogs that’ll have you barking for seconds.
1. Lifelight Smart Dogs
Whether it’s work, family or college life, many of us are living busy lives, and the fact that Smart Dogs can be microwaved and ready to eat in less than 60 seconds is one reason this veggie dog is a classic. Sometimes, I toss them in a salad for some added protein at lunch. Or, if I have a busy day at the restaurant and am super tired when I get home, I microwave them, slice in quarters, and roll them in a whole-wheat tortilla with some mixed vegetables. I pair that with some steamed quinoa and have a nutritious dinner in minutes!
2. Yeah Dawg!!!
There’s nothing better than a grilled vegan dog, and when it’s time for me to grill, I opt for a Yeah Dawg!!! Created in 2013 by chef/owner Marina Benedetto, these gluten- and soy-free dogs are best when marinated with garlic, shoyu, and fresh herbs. I usually top mine with sauerkraut, mustard, dill relish, and pickles to make a bratwurst dog, but you can also add them to a veggie skewer with cubed eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers and onions. Seriously—the options are endless!
3. Field Roast sausages
Ask any chef, and he or she will tell you that using real food is better than using the highly processed stuff. This mantra is one reason why I love Field Roast sausages so much. Chef David Lee believes in using bold spices and real fat, while the company creates its products using the simple tenets of good cooking. The Mexican Chipotle Sausage is made with fennel seeds, sweet red pepper, sage, ginger, chipotle, and chili de arbol peppers, which add nutrients and antioxidants to the sausage. During summer, I love to grill pizza on my George Foreman grill: I crumble the sausage with diced tomatoes, green and black olives, roasted oyster mushrooms, fresh basil, and pesto. Just like that, I have a quick, flavorful meal that’s loaded with healthy ingredients.
4. Broccoli dog
After graduating from Natural Gourmet Institute, I landed an internship at Dirt Candy, a vegetable-focused restauranted located in New York City’s East Village neighborhood. One of my first tasks was to prep pounds of broccoli stalks for the eatery’s infamous “Korean Broccoli Dogs.” I soon realized how delicious, satisfying, and nutritious the broccoli dogs are. In fact, this meal became my inspiration to use vegetables as an alternative to soy-based vegan hot dogs. When making the “dogs,” you need to cut the broccoli into stalks and clean any sharp edges using a vegetable peeler. I smoke the broccoli stalks over hickory chips, then grill them, and gave it a quick sauté in oil. It’s a smoky, sweet, savory, and herby experience that somehow tastes just like an All-American hot dog. Even better? Broccoli is an excellent source of chromium, folate, and vitamins A, B-1, B-6, K, E, and C. The cruciferous green is also a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, choline, potassium, and copper.
5. Carrot dog
Are you ready for this one? I sure hope so because carrot dogs are definitely one of my favorite (yet simplest) vegan treats. Considering that hot dogs are made with meat byproducts, fillers, and all kinds of preservatives to keep them edible for way longer than you’d want to keep anything in the fridge, this vegan adaptation is a fresh take on clean eating for summertime, especially because it has no additives or preservatives, and is all-natural. To make a carrot dog, steam the carrots for approximately eight minutes (or until fork tender), and let them cool (steaming the carrots will keep the highest level of nutrients intact). Marinate them overnight, and the next day you can roast, grill, or sauté them. Keeping this idea super healthy, I like to eat the carrot dog in a lettuce wrap drizzled with oil and vinegar, but you can be creative, and enjoy the endless variations!
Michelle Siriani is a plant-based chef and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, a pastry chef at Peacefood Cafe, a recipe tester, writer, and food blogger.