Our recipe for Not Dogs tofu dogs is our favorite vegan hot dog recipe and, it turns out, our favorite gluten-free vegan hot dogs of all. (But they are not copycat Tofu Pups, because the ingredients are much cleaner.) If you are a regular reader of the Happy Gluten-Free Vegan, you already know that we recently completed our head-to-head reviews of the three brands of gluten-free vegan hot dogs that are available to purchase in-store or online; those are Moving Mountains, Yeah Dawg, and Sweet Earth. Of those three, Sweet Earth was the clear winner for flavor and texture, while Moving Mountains was the clear winner for clean ingredients and being intentionally vegan, and Yeah Dawg was the only one that was intentionally both gluten-free and vegan, but they failed in the flavor and texture department. [Note: Lightlife has told us that while they are in the process of transitioning to gluten-free for their hot dogs, there is still plenty of stock in the stores that contains gluten, which is why we couldn’t include them in our tests.]
You know that old saying “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself”? We wanted a gluten-free vegan hot dog that had clean ingredients, good flavor, and good texture. And, oh yeah, was economical (Yeah Dawg, for example, is over $3 per hot dog). So we decided to create one.
Do our Not Dogs taste like hot dogs? Maybe not as much as a real hot dog (why would it?), but more than, even, Yeah Dawgs. And they are soooo much better for you than any of the others. And, really, aren’t hot dogs all about the toppings? Our Not Dogs are incredibly easy to make and stand up extremely well to whatever toppings you want to put on them, so once you’ve made them once, and topped them, we’re pretty sure you’ll never buy store-bought vegan hot dogs again.
Now, for this recipe you need to do the “freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw” thing for your tofu, like we do for our “I can’t believe it’s not chicken” vegan fried chicken recipe. There is a magical alchemy that happens when you freeze water-packed tofu (such as the tofu that you get at Costco, or really in the refrigerator case of any health food or grocery store), then let it completely thaw, then freeze it again, then let it thaw again. The texture is completely changed.
Once you’ve let your tofu freeze twice and thaw twice, you’re ready to make your Not Dogs!
Not Dogs – Tofu Dogs Vegan Hot Dog Recipe
One block water-packed firm tofu, twice-frozen and thawed
Preheat oven to 350°.
Press the twice-frozen and twice-thawed tofu very, very well. If you have the 3-stage tofu press that we use, take it through all three stages, 15 minutes or so per stage, leaving it on stage 3 (the most pressure) for as long as you like (within reason).
Remove the tofu from the press, pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel (but do not squeeze any further) and cut lengthwise into hotdog-sized pieces.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spray it with cooking spray (we use organic olive oil spray for this).
Sprinkle some smoked paprika onto the parchment paper, along with a little salt and black pepper.
Place the tofu dogs on the smoked paprika on the pan, and then spray the top of the hotdogs with the cooking spray, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika, and as much salt and pepper as you like. Now repeat that with the two sides of each Not Dog, so that ultimately all four sides of each Not Dog have been sprayed lightly with cooking spray, and seasoned with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Don’t worry about “all” the oil, it’s still far less than you’d have if you were frying up some hotdogs.
Place the pan in the oven on the center rack, and after 10 minutes rotate the Not Dogs one-quarter turn, onto one of their sides. After ten more minutes rotate again (now the original top of the Not Dogs will be on the bottom). After 10 more minutes, if they seem done, pull them out (they are done when the outside has a nice reddish-brown color). If they don’t seem quite done then rotate them one more time and then take them out after 5 or 10 minutes.
Place each Not Dog on a gluten-free vegan bun or roll (we love the Schar Ciabatta rolls) and top with your favorite toppings.
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