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Is This Any Way to Make a Hot Dog? Actually, Yes!

Am I the last person to hear about this carrot hot dog craze? Maybe I am, and I can’t say I warmed up to the idea easily. I generally don’t like food that’s disguised as something else. But I love these carrot hot dogs! They really do taste like the real thing – almost eerily so.

Why bother, you ask? Here’s why: because processed meats are at or near the very top of incredibly unhealthy foods. They generally contain an absurd amount of salt (1), they increase the risk of cancer (2), and they are associated with a shorter lifespan (3). Of course, an occasional hot dog or slice of bacon isn’t going to do any harm (except to the poor pig), but still…

Take a leap of faith, and try this recipe, based on one from Forks Over Knives. Let me know if you’re a convert, too.

Grilled (or Roasted) Carrot Hot Dogs


  • 8 large carrots

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼-½ teaspoon liquid smoke

8 hot dog buns

Topping options:

  • mustard, ketchup, sliced onions (raw, grilled, or roasted), pickle relish, sauerkraut, chopped cucumber


  • Peel the carrots, and trim so that they’re a uniform thickness. Place carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Cover pan and bring to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cook carrots 8 to 10 minutes, until just tender. Drain.
  • In the meantime, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  • Place carrots in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish.
  • Add the marinade. Seal the bag, and shmush around the marinade to cover the carrots.
  • Chill 4 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Drain and discard the marinade.
  • If you’re grilling, grill the carrots over medium-high heat for a total of 4-5 minutes, turning once.
  • (At the end of the grilling time, you can lightly grill the buns if you want to get fancy)
  • If you’re roasting, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the carrots in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake at for 8-10 minutes or until the carrots are lightly browned on edges.
  • Place grilled carrots in buns. Top with whatever you like.
  • Watch the happily astonished faces around the table.


(1)Pretorius B, Schönfeldt HC. The contribution of processed pork meat products to total salt intake in the diet. Food Chem. 2018;238:139-145. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.11.078.

(2)Domingo JL, Nadal M. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and processed meat: A review of scientific news since the IARC decision. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;105:256-261. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.028.

(3)van den Brandt PA. Red meat, processed meat, and other dietary protein sources and risk of overall and cause-specific mortality in The Netherlands Cohort Study. Eur J Epidemiol. 2019;34(4):351-369. doi:10.1007/s10654-019-00483-9.