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Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Hot dogs will probably never be health food.  I’m cool with that.  But that doesn’t change the fact that you and I will in all likelihood have a hot dog (or two, or twelve) at some point this summer.

There are a few things you can do to make your next hot dog experience a (slightly) healthier one.  First, if you have the option, swap out the wiener for a veggie dog.  You definitely don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan to have one!  Vegetarian hot dogs have pretty much the same taste and texture as meat-based hot dogs and boast fewer calories, fat and preservatives.  Just be sure to choose smaller ones and always read the nutrition information to be sure it’s actually a more nutritious option.

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Another easy substitution to make is to switch out the white squishy bun for a whole grain one.  Opt for smallish buns and read the nutrition facts to check that the amount of dietary fibre is actually higher than their white counterpart. Depending on the toppings you’re using, you could even sub in a less bulky whole grain tortilla to make a taco dog.

And now for the fun part: the toppings!  Whatever you pile on can make or break a hot dog (or veggie dog).  There are dozens upon dozens of healthier options to choose from, so you can nix some of the more traditional but less-than-nutritious condiments (like full-fat mayo, sugary relish, processed cheese) without sacrificing flavour and texture.

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings | www.ricottaandradishes.com

I restricted this post to vegetarian toppings so that if you are going the veggie dog route, any combination will be vegetarian as well.  In fact, many of them are vegan.  If avoiding animal products is important to you, check the ingredient list on condiments to be certain.

Most of the toppings below are whole ingredients like chopped fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes and pickled vegetables.  There are also a few fermented foods in there for good measure (like kimchi) plus other fun but perhaps unexpected add-ons such as crushed nuts and hummus.  Some toppings were chosen because they’re light and healthy by nature (cucumbers are mostly water, after all), while others pack extra protein (hello, Greek yogurt), fibre, vitamins, minerals and/or active plant compounds.

Whatever toppings you choose, play around with tastes and textures, mix and match different cuisine styles and then dig in!

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings

To set up a healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings bar, put out a selection of the following in small bowls:

  • Avocado
  • Pickled vegetables (carrots, green beans, onions, red peppers, cauliflower – oh, and of course cucumbers!)
  • Hot peppers (pickled or fresh)
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil)
  • Onions (white, red, Spanish, green)
  • Olives
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Black beans
  • Edamame
  • Corn
  • Coleslaw (vinegar-based)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Shredded lettuce (iceberg, romaine) or other greens (arugula, baby spinach)
  • Sprouts (alfalfa, mung bean)
  • Plain Greek yogurt, Greek yogurt tzatziki or Greek yogurt raita
  • Hummus
  • Feta cheese
  • Crushed nuts (peanuts, cashews)
  • Mustard (yellow, grainy, Dijon, hot)
  • Salsa (roasted, fresh)
  • Hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot, Tabasco, sriracha)
  • Peanut sauce

Healthy vegetarian hot dog toppings | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Last but not least, here are my three veggie dog creations using some of the above toppings for your inspiration.  I’ll post the recipes separately throughout the coming week, though you might be able to guess what I used for each based on the photos.

>> Greek veggie dogs

>> Pickled garden veggie dogs

>> Spicy pineapple veggie dogs

And now a few questions for you:

  1. Hot dogs vs. veggie dogs: which one and why?
  2. Hot dog condiments and toppings: what’s your favourite combination?
  3. Is my list of healthy, vegetarian toppings missing anything?  Leave a comment below with your suggestions and I’ll add them!
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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Cynthia Jackson July 27, 2015, 11:24 am

    I love kimchi on hot dogs! Great idea to use pineapple, I have never thought of that. I think grilling the pineapple at the same time as the hot dogs and using grilled pineapple would be especially tasty! Thanks for the tip!

  • Shirsten Shirts July 27, 2015, 1:37 pm

    I was never tempted by hot dogs until now! I will definitely have to try a few of these…with a veggie dog because that’s how I roll. Definitely intrigued by a spicy pineapple veggie dog!

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites July 31, 2015, 11:36 am

    So yum and so pretty! I actually went in the freezer and grabbed some sausages for tonight after reading this. :)

  • Alanna @ One Tough Cookie July 31, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Wow — I love how bright & cheery these look! Can’t wait for the pickled garden vegetables one. Yum!

  • La Cuisine d'Helene July 31, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I usually like onions, lettuce and tomatoes in my veggie dogs. Great pics!

  • Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean July 31, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I stumbled on this post the other day, and you totally inspired me! I ran out to get hot dogs (I have a source for really great turkey ones — no preservatives at all) and then topped them with lots of fun little toppings. Great inspiration — thank you!

  • Adriana August 1, 2015, 12:32 am

    Oh my gosh. Kimchi on hot dogs?!? I’m in. :)

    ….and now I’m totally craving a hot dog.

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