Tabitha Brown’s Chili Carrot Dogs
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There are the veggie dogs you can buy at the grocery (you know, the ones that are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing) and then there are Tabitha Brown’s chili carrot dogs from her cookbook, Cooking from the Spirit. They’re entirely vegan, and if you ask us, they’re a lot tastier than the store-bought kind.
“Hot dogs are wrapped up in so many memories for me,” Brown writes. “So when I went vegan, I knew I had to find my new loaded hot dog, and I was telling myself that I gotta get this right, because I need it. But I was trying not to eat so much processed food, so the store-bought hot dogs weren’t an option. Then people started asking me over and over if I’d seen online where you could turn a carrot into a hot dog. And it was one of only a handful of recipes that I ever got online, and of course I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, honey. I made it my own. The natural next step was adding my pecan chili.”
You’ll notice that her version below doesn’t include measurements—but don’t let that deter you. It’s because, as she explains in her cookbook, she doesn’t use measurements when she cooks: “I just add what I like, and I do it until my spirit tells me to stop.” You should feel empowered to do that too. (Luckily, it’s impossible to mess up.)
From Cooking from the Spirit by Tabitha Brown. Copyright © 2022 by Tabitha Brown. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
About 1 cup coconut aminos, liquid aminos or soy sauce
Raw agave syrup
A few drops of liquid smoke
Peeled whole carrots
About 1 pound pecans
Raw agave syrup
Salt-free multi-spice seasoning
Vegan honey mustard salad dressing
Ground black pepper
Hot dog buns
Chopped white onion
Condiments like ketchup, yellow mustard and relish
1. Make the Carrot Dogs: In a large Dutch oven or other pot (with a tight-fitting lid) wide enough to hold the carrots lengthwise, combine about 2 cups water and the coconut aminos. Add a few spoonfuls each of agave, A.1. and ketchup, some garlic powder and a few drops of liquid smoke. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the carrots to the boiling liquid. There should be just enough liquid to cover the carrots; add a bit of water, if necessary. Boil gently until the carrots have softened slightly and the liquid is slightly reduced, 10 to 15 minutes (add more water if necessary to keep the carrots covered). Cover the pot and simmer until the carrots are tender but still offer a little resistance when poked with a skewer or sharp knife, about 10 minutes more. Use tongs to transfer the carrots to a platter, then pat them dry. Don’t clean the pot yet—you’re going to need that pot and the liquid in it for the chili, so just set it aside.
3. Heat a seasoned (or lightly oiled) cast iron grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the carrots on both sides. Transfer to a platter to keep warm.
4. Start the Chili: Add 1 to 2 cups water to the liquid left in the pot and bring it to a boil, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen up any stuck bits. Stir in the pecans and add more water if necessary so the nuts are covered with liquid. Boil gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the pecans are softened (add more water if necessary to keep the pecans covered).
5. Make the Coleslaw: Meanwhile, put the cabbage in a large bowl and add a bit of mayonnaise, honey mustard dressing, garlic powder and pepper. Stir it up and you’ve got yourself a quick coleslaw. Taste to see what more seasonings it might need. Set it in the refrigerator until you’re serving.
6. Drain the pecans and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high until finely chopped (the pecans should look like ground beef or turkey, but of course they’re not).
7. Heat some grapeseed oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground pecans, mustard, agave, ketchup, chili powder, seasoning and garlic powder. Stir it up to combine. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.
8. Build your Chili Dogs: Put a carrot dog in each bun. Top each with some coleslaw, chili, chopped onions (if you want some), ketchup, mustard and relish.