Af few weeks ago, my family had a craving for hot dogs, and having heard so much about Field Roast Frankfurters*, I decided to give them a try. When I found them in the store and took a look at the package, it took a few minutes to get over my sticker shock, not at the price but at the nutritional stats. Each hot dog clocked in at 180 calories and 8 grams of fat. The ingredients list included “expeller pressed safflower oil” and “organic expeller pressed palm fruit oil,” ingredients I normally try to avoid. Still, I had promised my family gourmet hot dogs and I figured I could practice self-discipline and eat just one, so I bought them and brought them home. Huge mistake! Not because they were bad but because they were so freaking good that my vow to eat only one vanished after one bite, and the only thing saving me from complete gluttony was the fact that there were only 6 frankfurters in the package.
I’d like to say that I’ll never buy them again, but Field Roast dogs basically ruined my family for other packaged hot dogs. More like a sausage than other veggie dogs, they had a great flavor as well as texture. Fortunately, we don’t eat hot dogs or other packaged food often, so it’s not that big of a temptation, but I have to say that I’ve been practically haunted by the memory of them ever since we had them. And then I realized that I didn’t have to give in to temptation or give up on hot dogs–I could make them myself.
So I decided to make my own hot dogs for our 4th of July cookout. I started with my Italian Sausage recipe and added onion and seasonings such as coriander and mace to make them more “frankfurtery.” And instead of all the oil in those packaged dogs, I used pinto beans, with flax and rolled oats to absorb moisture and keep them tender.
They were a huge hit with my family. My daughter, who has grown cautious with my cooking experiments, said she forgot that they were homemade until she was halfway through her first dog and then marveled several times at how good they were. And I had a hard time keeping my husband from eating them all before I could take photos.
They definitely lived up to my memory of the Field Roast version, even with about 40% fewer calories and 83% less fat. They’re soy-free (if you use coconut aminos), low in sodium, and added sugar-free. I wish I could say they were gluten-free for my gluten-free readers, but as someone who has no trouble with gluten, I like to indulge now and then. If you’re up for experimenting, you could probably take my Beany Breakfast Sausages, change the seasoning, and shape them to fit a gluten-free hot dog bun.
Homemade Veggie Dogs
- 1/2 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup cooked pinto beans well-drained
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1/8 teaspoon hickory smoked salt optional but good
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/3 cup oatmeal rolled or quick oats, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- Put the onion and garlic into a food processor and pulse to chop finely. Heat a small non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer onion mixture back to food processor.
- Add the pinto beans, water, coconut aminos or soy sauce, tomato paste, and all seasonings to the food processor. Blend until it’s a thin paste.
- Combine remaining ingredients (gluten, oatmeal, yeast, and flax) in a large mixing bowl. Add the contents of the food processor and stir until combined. If it seems that there’s not enough moisture, add another tablespoon or two of water. Knead in the bowl for about two minutes until a heavy gluten “dough” is formed.
- Set up a steamer in a pot of water and bring the water to a boil. Cut off 8 pieces of aluminum foil or parchment paper, each about 6 inches long. Divide the gluten into 8 equal pieces. Place a piece of foil or parchment on the counter. Roll a piece of gluten between the palms of your hands until it’s about the size and shape of a hot dog. Place it on the foil/paper and roll up. Roll the tube back and forth, pressing lightly with your hands, to give it an even shape, and then twist the ends closed. Repeat with the remaining gluten to form 8 veggie hot dogs.
- Place all the veggie dogs in the top of a steamer, cover, and steam for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before unwrapping. Store the veggie dogs in a covered container in the refrigerator. Warm gently in a frying pan or microwave or on a grill before serving.
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*I have no affiliation with Field Roast or its Frankfurters.