Frankly, Veggie Dogs are Just Better

Putting mustard on a veggie dog at a Farm Sanctuary Pignic

Frankly, Veggie Dogs are Just Better

It’s peak BBQ season and veggie dogs are having their day in the sun.

More folks than ever are choosing plant-based foods. This year, Dodger Stadium announced the Official Plant-Based Dodger Dog and Nathan’s Famous added vegan hot dogs to its menu. And these aren’t the veggie franks of 1986 (sorry, early Farm Sanctuarians!). Whether you’re looking for a classic ballpark frank or a culinary experience, vegans aren’t missing out—there are so many vegan hot dogs and sausage brands, you could spend the whole summer choosing a favorite. And with the right approach (and some stellar toppings), you might find it easier than ever to get non-vegans to enjoy a veggie dog.

Read on to discover how to grill vegan franks, new ways to enjoy this summertime favorite, and why choosing plant-based is the kinder choice.

In 2020, the plant-based food industry grew 27%, totaling $7 billion in retail sales. (Good Food Institute)

How to Grill a Veggie Dog

Most veggie dogs are great for the BBQ, but be sure to check the label ahead of time—a few brands simply aren’t meant to be grilled. You’ll also want to scrape the grill ahead of time so they don’t stick.

Some basic instructions:

  1. Set the grill to a high heat.
  2. Grill veggie dogs for 2 minutes on each side, or until they blister, turning with tongs.
  3. Serve immediately with toppings (below).

Go wild with toppings

Your first instinct may be to stick with the classic fixings, but there are endless ways to transform your backyard BBQ into a fine dining experience! Most ketchup and mustard brands are already vegan, and many stores carry vegan versions of other favorite sauces—or you can experiment with recipes at home. If you’re hosting a group, consider offering a topping bar for people to choose their own adventure!

Veggie chilidog with a side of BBQ chips

The ultimate veggie dog bar might include:

  • Buns (check the label for dairy!)
  • Ketchup
  • Yellow and brown mustard
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Ranch dressing (vegan, of course!)
  • Relish
  • Diced green or red onions
  • Bell peppers (fresh or sauteéd)
  • Avocado
  • Pickled peppers or jalapeños
  • Bac’n bits (check the label–many are vegan!)
  • Veggie chili
  • Vegan cheese shreds
  • Sauerkraut
  • Coleslaw
  • Beans (black, refried)
  • Vegan macaroni & cheese (you read that right)

Looking for a few creative ideas? Here’s a sample menu to get you started:

  • The Classic: Relish, onions, ketchup, mustard, shredded vegan cheese
  • The Chicago: Mustard, sweet relish, onion, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt
  • The Brat: Sauerkraut, brown mustard
  • The Southern: Black beans, green onions, pico de gallo, avocado
  • The Spicy Buffalo: Onions, bac’n bits, vegan buffalo sauce, vegan ranch
  • The Chili Dog: Veggie chili, green onions, shredded vegan cheese
  • The BBQ: Barbeque sauce, caramelized onions, coleslaw
  • The Mac: Vegan macaroni and cheese, chives
  • The Mediterranian: bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, avocado, white wine vinegar, mayo, homemade vegan feta
  • The Brunch: Avocado, nutritional yeast, everything bagel seasoning, bac’n bits

Beyond the Bun

Like their animal-based counterparts, veggie dogs are super versatile, making for easy appetizers or quick family meals. You can wrap them in crescent rolls (by the way, did you know that most crescent rolls are vegan?), slice them into macaroni and cheese, make them into homemade corn dogs, and more.

And if you just zap them in the microwave and dip them in mustard, that’s totally okay, too. For more inspiration, ideas, and recipes, download the Farm Sanctuary “Pignic” Guide!

A stack of hotdog buns

Why Veggie Dogs?

While a veggie dog may not be considered a health food, it’s not created from the suffering of animals. Most people wouldn’t want to know what hot dogs are really made of, or who they’re made from.

  • Domestic pigs like gentle Russell are bred to grow so large that they struggle to support their own weight. It’s all in the name of producing more meat.
  • Turkeys like our kind friend, Serena, are raised in extreme confinement, undergo painful mutilations, and are bred to grow fast and large before being slaughtered at a young age.
  • As for cows, it’s not just “beef breeds” like Frank who might end up in your franks. They can also contain slaughter byproducts from “veal” calves like Pietro or from “spent” mama cows like our playful Diane.
  • Chickens like adventurous Tilly are typically slaughtered for meat when they’re just 42 days old.

Nearly 10 billion land animals are killed each year in the U.S—and 99% are raised on factory farms.

Animal agriculture profits at the expense of animals, people, and the planet. Reducing demand for meat is a small but truly significant action we can take to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Learn more about Farm Sanctuary and the issues we’re working to address.

35 Years ...and Counting

It’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years since Farm Sanctuary sold veggie dogs at Grateful Dead concerts to raise money for our rescue, education, and advocacy work. In those early days, we sold them out of a VW van in the parking lot (in 2015, we convinced Fare Thee Well Tour Grateful Dead 50 promoters to let us sell inside Chicago’s Soldier Field!).

What a long, compassionate trip it’s been! While our anniversary provides us the chance to reflect upon how far we’ve come, we’re excited to share the foundation upon which the farmed animal protection movement will thrive for the next 35 years—and beyond.

Please mark your calendars for our 35th-anniversary celebration on Sunday, October 9th. At this virtual event, we’ll be honoring the amazing road we’ve traveled, the victories and challenges, and The Power of Sanctuary to heal and inspire.

Farm Sanctuary sells veggie hot dogs at a Grateful Dead show
Connie sheep at Farm Sanctuary

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