These Carrot Hot Dogs don’t just look like the BBQ classic, they actually taste like it too! A smoky, sweet marinade brings carrots to life, turning them into grillable vegan hot dogs!
Nothing screams summer quite like a delicious, juicy hot dog. The thought alone makes me feel overwhelmingly nostalgic! So with summer in sight, I thought now would be the perfect time to try out carrot dogs.
I KNOW, I know, I felt the same way at first too. But then I tried them. And it was…revolutionary. 🤯
This meal has been popping up all over the Internet in the last year or so because people can’t believe just how delicious it is. It’s a totally vegan meal, yet it tastes exactly like a hot dog! How is it done? Well, the trick is in the marinade.
It turns out, when you marinate, boil, and then grill carrots, their texture and taste is nearly identical to pork hot dogs. If someone tried these blindfolded, they would have no idea that it’s a carrot!
When you make these, be sure to eat them just like a hot dog (i.e. on a bun, topped with ketchup, mustard, onions, or other “typical” hot dog toppings). When eaten this way, you won’t notice the “carrotness!” Your brain tricks you, and the taste is spot on. Try it for yourself!
“I gotta say, these are actually ACTUALLY delicious! My partner and I made them last night and will most likely add them to our rotation of meals since they are just so easy.” —Tiffany
Here’s what you’ll need
These carrot dogs are all about the marinade. Here’s what you’ll need to transform the humble carrots into a crave-worthy hotdog!
- Carrots: We can’t make carrot dogs without the carrots! For the best results, aim for carrots that are no more than ¾ inch thick.
- Vegetable Broth: We’ll be using veggie broth as the bulk of the marinade. (Make your own veggie broth to save on money and reduce food waste!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar: To give the marinade a kick, a bit of good old apple cider vinegar works wonders.
- Soy Sauce: We’ll be using soy sauce for extra salty, umami flavor. You can sub tamari if you’re looking for a gluten-free option.
- Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard packs in more flavor and spice.
- Smoked Paprika: We’ll need just 1 tsp of smoked paprika for the perfect amount of smoky flavor.
- Liquid Smoke: Finally, the last ingredient for the marinade is liquid smoke. This is a must on the flavor front, giving these carrot dogs that distinct smoky hot dog flavor.
- Hot Dog Buns: It’s not a hot dog without the bun!
How to make carrot hot dogs
The prep portion of this recipe is all about the carrots! We will be taking regular whole carrots and marinating and boiling them to perfection. When all is said and done, you won’t be able to tell if you’re eating a carrot or an actual hot dog!
- Marinate the carrots: Peel the carrots and trim off the ends. Combine all of the remaining carrot marinade ingredients (everything listed except the buns) in a large shallow dish, then submerge the carrots in the liquid to marinate. Let sit for 30 minutes, flipping the carrots occasionally if they’re not completely submerged.
- Boil the carrots: Transfer the carrots and marinade to a large pot. If the marinade does not cover the carrots, add water until they’re fully submerged. Bring to a boil, cover, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked through. You should be able to pierce them with a fork, but they should not be so soft that they break easily.
- Assemble and serve: At this point you can serve the carrots, or you can sear them on a well-greased grill (or grill plate) to char the outsides. Serve on a hot dog bun with your favorite condiments!
The most exciting part of a hot dog (or carrot dog) is always the toppings! As far as toppings go, here’s my rule of thumb: if you can put it on a hot dog, you can put it on a carrot dog! A few of my favorite topping ideas include:
- Sauces: like ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, sriracha, or romesco
- Pickled Things: like relish, pickled jalapenos, pickled red cabbage, pickled onions, or sauerkraut
- Onions: fresh diced white or red onions, caramelized onions, or pickled onions
- Deluxe Toppings: like chili, cheese sauce, Pico de Gallo, or Sauerkraut Salad
Marinating and storing
Marinating the carrots
If making all in one go, I recommend marinating for at least 30 minutes. However, if you have extra time, use it! The longer they sit, the more flavorful they’ll be. The carrots can marinade for up to 12 hours.
How to make ahead of time
You can prepare the carrots ahead of time by simply marinating in advance! They can remain in the marinade for up to 12 hours. Then, just boil (and grill, if desired) right before serving.
How to store leftovers
Extra carrots can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Appetizers and sides to pair with these vegan hot dogs
What are the perfect pairings for a hot dog dinner? Dips, appetizers, and finger foods, of course! Below are a list of delicious sides to pair with your vegetarian hot dogs, or check out our favorite 4th of July recipes here.
- Healthy French Onion Dip
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Dipping Sauce
- 6 carrots each about the same size, aim for no more than ¾ inch thick
- 1 cup vegetable broth 240 mL
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 60 mL
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce can sub tamari for gluten-free, 30 mL
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 30 g
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 6 hot dog buns
- Marinate: Peel carrots and trim off the ends. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large shallow dish, then submerge the carrots in the liquid to marinate. Let sit for 30 minutes, flipping the carrots occasionally if they're not completely submerged.
- Boil: Transfer carrots and marinade to a large pot. If marinade does not cover the carrots, add water until the carrots are fully submerged. Bring to a boil, cover, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until carrots are cooked through. You should be able to pierce them with a fork, but they should not be so soft that they break easily.
- Serve: At this point you can serve the carrots, or you can sear them on a well-greased grill (or grill plate) to char the outsides. Serve on a hot dog bun with your favorite condiments!
Tips & Tricks
- Carrots not cooking? If your carrots are on the thicker side, you may find that they take a long time to soften in the pot. In this case, you can pop them in the microwave for a few minutes to finish the cooking process and soften them.
- Store leftover carrots in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- Make ahead by marinating the carrots in advance – they can remain in the marinade for up to 12 hours. Then simply boil (and grill, if desired) right before serving.