Vegan chili dogs! Get your vegan chili dogs! (Note, it’s ‘chili dog’, not ‘chile dog’; chile refers to the pepper, Chile refers to the country, ‘chili’ refers to the mixture of spices and beans or meat). This vegan chili dog recipe is going to fill a void for something that you may not have even known you were missing: chili dogs! As any chili dog aficionado will tell you, the sort of chili that you use to top a hot dog, to make it a chili dog, is very important. Typically the chili for a chili dog has no beans, and no vegetables, just pure meat. So how to create an authentic yet vegan chili dog? TVP, baby! TVP, and the right sauce and spicing. Here you go!
For those of you not familiar, TVP stands for ‘textured vegetable protein’, and it takes the form of small dried bits and pieces of vegetable matter (sounds delicious when described that way, doesn’t it?) that you rehydrate and then use like ground beef. More recently TVP has been being marketed as “vegan crumbles” or “meatless crumbles”, but TVP by any other name and all that. Traditionally, starting way back in the hippy days of the 60s, TVP has been made from soybeans, but now you can find TVP crumbles made from pea protein and other non-soy sources. We like the Anthony’s brand TVP, which is made from non-GMO soy (actually when we last bought it their TVP was organic); if you prefer a non-soy TVP, this one is made from pea protein. These vegan ‘meat’ crumbles, when rehydrated, take on the texture and consistency of finely chopped hamburger meat which is, of course, from what the “right” chili for chili dogs is made.
Now, of course, for gluten-free vegan chili dogs you also need gluten-free vegan hot dogs, and fear not, we have you covered with our recent review series of gluten-free vegan hot dog brands (Sweet Earth, Yeah Dawg, and Moving Mountains) plus our very own recipe for “Not Dogs” homemade hot dogs made from tofu (Lightlife’s Tofu Pups are no longer assured of being gluten-free; first they were, but then they weren’t, and now they are transitioning back to being gluten-free but it depends on the stock in the store).
The Best Vegan Chili Dogs Recipe
1/2 cup dry TVP
1 vegan ‘beef’ bullion cube (we love the Edwards ‘Not Beef” brand)
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder or crystals (can use decaf – the coffee gives it a nice, deep beefy flavor profile)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder, heaping
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (we use Annie’s brand)
Olive oil for sautéing
Place the bullion cube and the coffee powder in a Pyrex measuring cup or heat-proof bowl. Pour a little boiling water over them and break up the bullion cube and mix until they are pretty well dissolved. Now add the dry TVP, and pour in just enough hot water to come up to the top of and barely cover the TVP. Let sit for 10 minutes.
While the TVP is rehydrating, whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Once the TVP is rehydrated heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the TVP to the pan (if there is liquid that wasn’t absorbed by the TVP it’s fine to add it in there too), and brown the TVP. It won’t brown like hamburger, but you will see it start to get a bit darker. Once the TVP is browning, add in the rest of the ingredients. You are going to bring the mixture to a simmer and then simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes, so if it seems too thick at the outset add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
Place a cover on the pan, but leave it cracked a bit to let the steam escape, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s just the right thickness, and then spoon it on top of your hot dogs, top with whatever toppings you like, and enjoy! We’re kind of purists, so we just put a little shredded vegan cheese on top, but others like chopped onion, pickles, relish, sauerkraut, even mustard, on top of their chili dogs!
The Happy Gluten-Free Vegan is always free, always reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated. Receipts will come from ISIPP.
Note: Some Amazon links on this site earn us a small commission. But it's really tiny. Seriously. Like less than $9 a month.