Smoky, slightly sweet Carrot Dogs are a delicious addition to any summer gathering. Perfect for those who want to skip the meat or are looking for a lower calorie solution for a hot dog craving. These veggie dogs are a perfect addition to your summer cookout with natural ingredients are great flavor!
Yes, carrot dogs are 'a thing'. There's a good reason they've become popular! Vegan carrot dogs have become a trendy replacement for a traditional hot dog. They truly taste amazing!
You know what else they are good for? Less calories than regular hot dogs but with the same flavors. Who would guess humble carrots could transform into a flavorful, satisfying replacement for hot dogs?
They'll excite your taste buds with zero guilt.
It can be difficult to figure out hot dog options when watching calories or for guests needing a vegan recipe. This cooked carrot recipe checks those boxes. The marinated carrots have a delicious flavor of the marinade with some carrot taste too.
It's a great way to get some hot dog flavor using healthy plant whole foods instead of the real thing. An awesome recipe for game day without any animal products!
Do these really taste like hot dogs?? They DO! The smoky flavor is amazingly delicious.
Use this carrot dog recipe whenever you'd make a regular grilled hot dog recipe.
What makes this skinny?
- A beef and pork hot dog (without a bun) has 162 calories and an all beef hot dog (without a bun) has 186 calories. A large carrot has 30 calories. The net calorie savings is significant.
- Though the carrots are marinated, most the marinade is not absorbed by the cooked carrots so will not be included in the calorie count.
- Adding a bun and toppings are optional and should be factored into your tracking is appropriate. With the low calories of these amazing carrot dogs splurging on a bun is totally doable. There are a number of lower calorie or low carb buns to choose from too.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
You'll find these ingredients at regular grocery stores.
Carrots. Choose carrots that are similar in thickness to a real hot dog; medium carrot size. The raw carrots will be peeled and trimmed to fit in a hot dog bun before cooking. You can make 6 to 8 carrots with this amount of marinade.
Liquid Smoke. This seasoning is available with other spices. It is made from condensing the smoke from burning wood and tastes like that smoky flavor when grilling.
Soy sauce. Regular or gluten-free soy sauce or tamari can be used. Low-sodium soy sauce can be substituted if desired.
Vegetable broth. This gives more flavor and volume to the marinade.
Maple syrup. Use real maple syrup. Adds some sweetness to the other seasoning flavors.
Apple cider vinegar. Adds some tanginess.
Mustard powder. Use dry mustard powder.
Hot dog toppings ideas:
Think of these as you would regular hot dogs and add what you love:
- hot dog buns
- mustard (yellow mustard, spicy mustard, Dijon mustard)
- diced red onion or green onions
- sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes
- pickle relish or pickles
- bbq sauce (this can be loaded with sugary calories so choose wisely)
How to make Carrot Dogs
STEP 1. Preparation
Peel the carrots and cut them into the length of the hot dog buns you are using (if using buns).
STEP 2. Boil carrots
Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Place carrots in the pan of boiling water and cook carrots until they are fork tender (the fork can just poke into the carrots) aproximately 10-15 minutes; do not over boil.
Remove from heat and drain the carrots. Rinse with cold water or place the carrots back in the pan with cold water or ice water until they are cool to the touch (this stops the cooking process which will continue when they are off the heat).
STEP 3. Marinate
In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients: liquid smoke, soy sauce, vegetable broth, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, mustard powder and onion powder. Whisk to combine and dissolve the spices.
Pour marinade into a gallon ziplock freezer bag and add the carrots. Seal and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 5 hour or overnight.
STEP 4. Grill
Reserve the leftover marinade for basting. Place carrots on a hot grill (medium-high heat) just to warm through and get grill marks. Or use a cast iron grill pan on the stove top.
STEP 5. Serve
Serve these vegan carrot hot dogs as you would with regular hot dogs in a bun with favorite toppings.
Do not over boil the carrots. The carrots should just be fork tender, meaning you can stick a fork into them but they are not mushy. You'll want some firmness in the carrot hotdog for best results. After marinating they will cook a bit longer on the grill or grill pan too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though any size will work large carrots that are the thickness of a hot dog are the the best choice to best replicate real hot dogs. Try to find carrots that aren't too tapered at the end (but any carrots will work).
Yes! In fact marinating them overnight will give an even stronger flavor. Do not lessen the marinating time however because the carrots won't have enough flavor.
You can make mini carrot dogs with baby carrots. The boiling time will be less (fork test them for doneness) and we would recommend using a cast iron grill pan after marinating to heat them through and get grill marks instead of an actual grill. Great for appetizers!
How to Store
Store cooked carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat when serving. Leftover cooked carrots can also be sliced and added to salads without heating them.