Hi, friends! How’s your summer going? I’ve been in a bathing suit more times than I’d hoped. As my sister said recently, I got sand where I didn’t want sand. But honestly, playing in the water with my kiddos makes me pretty darn happy. Along with water fun, it’s the time for picnics, and cookouts, and eating outside in general. So, naturally, you are thinking about carrot dogs now.
Hold the phone, Beth. CARROT DOGS? You’ve gone too far this time.
First of all, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I have no idea what I’m referring to, but I’m sure I’ll top this craziness at some point. But first, let’s explore the craziness that is the carrot dog.
The basic idea is, cook carrots, flavor them up to taste smoky and salty, and serve them in a hot dog bun. They’re actually a thing that has been around for a while, and some of you may have actually tried them before. I’d dare say that that some of you have, like me, become carrot dog converts. They are one of the tastiest surprises I’ve experienced on this plant-based journey so far. Especially when the toppings get involved. Here’s a quick little video to break it down for you.
How to Make Easy Carrot Dogs – Video
So, now that you are finding yourself with a carrot dog craving, and wondering how this came to be, let’s talk about how to make carrot dogs. It’s easy, promise! Have I failed you yet? Don’t answer that.
How to make carrot dogs, in words and pictures.
- Locate some carrots. Try to find the thickest ones, because you’ll be carving them into hot dog shapes and there will be some excess material. Remember when I said this is easy? Carrot whittling, for beginners.
- Line up a hot dog bun next to the carrot, and cut the carrot to the length of the bun. If you want it to stick out on each end, by all means, cut it longer. You’re in charge.
- Peel the carrot into a hot dog shape, rounding the edges with the peeler if you’d like. This part is strangely fun. Don’t worry if your carrots aren’t the perfect shape. They will still not taste like hot dogs.
- Mix up the marinade, and pour it over the carrots in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, until just fork-tender. Better a carrot dog that is firm than one that is mushy. Carrot dog proverb.
Wondering what the marinade is all about? It’s how the carrots get their hot dog flavor. The cast of characters are water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, ketchup (or tomato paste), and steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce. Did you know that A1 steak sauce is vegan? Talk about an oxymoron – I eat plant-based, pass the steak sauce. By the way, if that marinade sounds familiar, you have probably made easy tofu bacon.
Anyway…these are called easy carrot dogs for an important reason. 1, they’re easy. But what I really mean is that they’re EASIER than most other recipes I’ve seen. Typically the instructions call for boiling or baking the carrots, and then soaking them in a marinade overnight or for several hours at a minimum. Now, I’m all for soaking time when there’s a darn good reason, like soaking chickpeas for falafel, but in this case the pre-cook and overnight soak is just not necessary.
So now, you can have carrot dogs in 30 minutes, because you will cook the carrots in the marinade. I like making your life easier.
Beth, I still think you’re crazy. But those carrot dogs sure do look good.
I KNOW, RIGHT?
The most fun part about eating carrot dogs? The toppings, baby! I like to go simple with a big fat drizzle of mustard, or fancy things up with some of these ideas.
~ Coleslaw! I recently discovered a super cool method to make coleslaw with the perfect texture, and you won’t believe what it is. This is my favorite topping, it’s just such a good combination of flavors and textures.
~ Vegan Mac and Cheese. Yes, I went there. That cheese sauce I just told you about? It’s so involved.
There’s still plenty of summer left, folks, so get out there and make some carrot dogs for the grill! My question to you is, what topping(s) will you choose? Leave a comment here or tag @eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram when you make em’. I’ll be waiting with baited carrot dog breath. 😉
P.S. You should make that tofu bacon. It’s really good.
Easy Carrot Dogs
- 8 carrots, peeled and trimmed to hot dog bun length
- 8 hot dog buns
- 1 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- How to make Carrot Dogs on the Stovetop
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid ingredients.
- Add peeled carrots and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook carrots until barely fork-tender, 8-10 minutes depending on thickness.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the cooking liquid and serve with desired toppings.
- How to make Carrot Dogs in the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
- All all liquid ingredients into the Instant Pot insert, and whisk to combine.
- Add carrots and lock the lid.
- Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes, then release pressure manually.
- Let sit in the marinade for 15-20 minutes, simmering in the liquid if not all the way cooked.