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Vegan carrot dogs are a (surprisingly) delicious meatless alternative to hot dogs!
Hot dogs are a total staple during the summer. If you are missing hot dogs, you should definitely try making carrot hot dogs. There are some vegan hot dogs on the market, but I haven’t been impressed with the ones I have tried. Carrots for the win.
I totally did not create this recipe, many have come before me and inspired me, but I thought I would share my take since my mini carrot dogs in a blanket are so popular.
You can make these savory, smoky vegan carrot dogs 3 different ways – the quicker method (ready in less than an hour), the overnight method (perfect for meal prepping or thinking ahead) and the Instant Pot method (the easiest!)
- Carrots: What are carrot dogs without carrots?! We are going to be peeling these and trimming them to bun-length.
- Vegetable broth: I make my own using Better Than Bouillon. It’s super economical.
- Soy sauce: Needed for a salty, umami flavor. You can use coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
- Apple cider vinegar: I really love the flavor and oomph vinegar adds. You can use white vinegar if that’s all you have.
- Maple syrup: Adds a little sweetness to the carrot dogs
- Smoked paprika: This is key for a smoky flavor. You can substitute with 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke if necessary.
- Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and mustard: More flavor!
Instructions (3 Ways)
There are three different ways to make vegan carrot dogs, and which method you use will depend on your needs and the amount of time you have. If you are in a pinch, I recommend either the Quicker Method or the Instant Pot Method. The Overnight Method is perfect for those who want to meal prep.
These are the initial steps you will need to follow for each method:
- Peel the carrots and trim them to bun-length. You can round the ends to make them more of a hot dog shape.
- Make the marinade/cooking liquid by mixing together the vegetable broth, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper.
Whichever method you decide to follow, you can remove from the liquid and eat right away…or grill them for some classic hotdog char marks!
When I first made carrot dogs, I followed the recipes that instructed to boil the carrots in water first, then marinate for a few hours. Honestly, I often didn’t have the foresight to do that in time for dinner. After coming up with a quick method for making my mini carrot dogs in a blanket, I knew regular carrot dogs could be made the same way.
This “quicker method” is, of course, better when you are in a pinch! Make sure to follow the initial steps above before continuing with this method.
- Add the carrots and liquid to a pan or pot. The pan should be wide enough to fit the carrots so they lay flat, and deep enough so the liquid cannot boil over.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat, then lower to a simmer and cover for about 10-12 minutes, or until the carrots are just fork-tender (we don’t want them to be too soft or mushy!)
- Remove from the heat and let marinate in the liquid for about 30 minutes (or up to an hour if you have time.) I have done 15 minutes and they are still good, just not as flavorful.
- Optional: Grill for some char!
I recommend this method if you are thinking ahead or meal prepping. This will result in the MOST flavorful carrot dogs!
- Follow the first 2 steps of the Quicker Method.
- Transfer the carrots and hot liquid (very carefully) to a storage container.
- Store in the fridge overnight.
- Heat up the next day by grilling, cooking in a pan with a little oil, or microwaving.
Instant Pot Method
- Add the carrots and marinade/liquid mixture to the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure on manual for 3 minutes. Make sure the valve is set to sealing.
- Quick Release the pressure when the timer goes off.
- Let the carrots sit in the liquid for about 10 minutes.
- Again, you can eat as is or grill them.
Carrot Dog Topping Ideas
The best part about hot dogs / carrot dogs is for sure the toppings! What are your favorites? I am partial to chili cheese dogs.
- The classic duo: ketchup and mustard
- Vegan nacho cheese and jalapeños
- Black beans, corn, tomatoes with some Southwest seasoning.
- Vegan chili and shredded cheese (I used the Daiya cheddar block in the photos for this post.)
- Baked beans
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Vegan Carrot Dogs
- 8 peeled carrots
- 8 hot dog buns
- Trim the lengths of the peeled carrots to fit a hot dog bun.
- In a bowl, mix together the marinade – vegetable broth, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
- Add the carrots and the marinade to a saucepan (one wide enough so the carrots can lay flat.)
- On medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce to low and let simmer for about 10-12 minutes, covered, or until the carrots are just fork-tender.
- Remove from the heat and let the carrots marinate in the liquid for at least 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Follow the Quicker Method steps 1-2.
- Transfer the carrots and hot marinade (very carefully) to a storage container. I typically remove the carrots first, then pour the liquid over the carrots, to reduce splash. You don't need to add ALL of the liquid if it won't fit in the container. Just enough to cover the carrots.
- Store in the fridge overnight. To reheat the next day, warm up in a skillet with a little oil, grill them, or put them in a microwave.
- Add the carrots and marinade to the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure on manual for 3 minutes. Make sure the valve is set to sealing.
- Quick Release the pressure when the timer goes off.
- Let sit in the liquid for about 10 minutes before removing.
- This is an optional step after cooking the carrots using one of the 3 above methods.
- On a grill set to high heat (outdoor or stovetop grill pan), grill for about 1 minute on each side, or until the carrot dogs are charred to your preference.
- Add to a bun with your favorite toppings and enjoy!