I’ve been thinking about Fourth of July recipes that I would share if I weren’t socially distancing, which I still will be late next week, as NYC moves further into phase 2 of reopening. It’ll be a different holiday this year, but just as I observed my birthday with birthday cake and my mother’s birthday with carrot cake, I’ll still make it a long weekend of festive, summery recipes. These sweet and smoky glazed carrot dogs included.
This was my first time making carrot dogs, a recipe I’ve seen a bunch of times and mentally bookmarked to try myself. I love carrots, and while I’m usually a fan of more authentically meat-like foods appearing between hot dogs and burger buns, I smiled at the idea of this veggie-forward version of the classic cookout dish. I was really happy with the way that they turned out, and while I probably won’t forgo the meatier versions anytime soon, I’m happy to add these into my rotation.
How to Make Vegan Carrot Dogs
Making a carrot dog is as simple as putting a cooked carrot into a hot dog bun. The fun is in how you season, cook, and garnish the carrot! I wanted to make carrots that were flavorful, but not so boldly flavored that they couldn’t be enhanced by a vibrant sauce. I got inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s sweet and smoky roasted carrots on Food52, which I’ve had bookmarked for a while now. In that recipe, they’re served as a centerpiece, on a bed of Greek yogurt, but I figured that an adapted version would taste pretty great with an herbaceous sauce. And it does.
The carrots aren’t exactly roasted low and slow, but they do stay in the oven for a while: mine were in there for a full hour. It’s important to glaze the carrots with the marinade once or twice while they roast (I glazed mine with a basting brush at 20 and 40 minutes), so that they continue to absorb flavor and get that sticky, sweet glazed texture and darkening. You’ll have some burnt on your baking sheet as they finish cooking, but parchment makes it easy to clean.
Smoky Glazed Carrot Dog Ingredients
The marinade here is a mix of cider vinegar, vegetable oil, smoked paprika (and plenty of it), Bragg’s liquid aminos, and maple syrup. The sauce could be modified in a lot of ways: white vinegar could work in place of cider, tamari could replace liquid aminos, and agave could stand in for maple syrup. If you have liquid smoke at home, that’ll work in place of the smoked paprika.
I used 8 medium sized carrots, which was about a pound and a quarter. You’ll probably have some marinade leftover as you roast the carrots, but it’s better to have a little leftover than to run out.
How to Serve Carrot Dogs
Once the carrot dogs have finished roasting, enjoying them is as easy as toasting and splitting some hot dog buns! But they can be enhanced and made more colorful and fun to eat with a killer sauce. I used my delightfully green tahini dressing, which is bright and lemony and perfect for summer. My cashew queso, yum sauce, cilantro lime sauce, or even the melty cheese sauce from my pantry grilled cheese would all work well.
If you’re not in the mood to make a sauce, a squiggle of ketchup or mustard would be completely fine, too. So would a sprinkle of fresh, chopped herbs. I added extra parsley to my dogs after I’d finished making the green tahini dressing.
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (substitute white vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
- 1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos (substitute tamari or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (substitute liquid smoke)
- pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 8 medium sized carrots, trimmed, washed, scrubbed, and patted dry (about 1 1/4 lbs)
- 8 vegan hot dog buns
- a favorite sauce and/or fresh, chopped herbs (optional, for serving)
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
- To make the marinade, whisk the vinegar, oil, liquid aminos, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and cayenne, if using, together in a small mixing bowl.
- Place the carrots onto the parchment. Pour about 1/3 of the marinade over them, then toss the carrots with your hands to coat them evenly. Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast the carrots for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, use a basting brush to brush another few tablespoons of the marinade over the carrots (or pour another third of the marinade over the carrots and use the basting brush to spread it around). Repeat this after 40 minutes. After 50-60 minutes, or when the carrots are browning, shriveling, and very tender, remove them from the oven.
- While the carrots roast, make the delightfully green tahini dressing or any other sauce you'd like to serve with them.
- Once the carrots have finished roasting, reduce the oven heat to 300F. Place the hot dog buns on another baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until they're lightly toasted.
- To serve, place one roasted carrot in each bun, drizzle with sauce, and enjoy.
Carrot recipe inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Sweet & Smoky Roasted Carrots from Everyday Dorie, reprinted in Food52.
The Fourth of July came a little early in my home, but I’ve been enjoying the leftovers of this sweet and savory meal all week at lunchtime. Hope you’ll have a chance to try them at some point, too. Definitely not a traditional hot dog—a little lighter, more nutrient-dense and colorful—but really satisfying in its own, creative way.
Happy Thursday, friends. See you again soon, for the weekend roundup.