Healthy Vegetarian Hot Dog Recipe

James A. Duke and Claire Anderson share a healthy vegetarian hot dog recipe using all the extras you use for the bun sans the meat.

| June/July 2003

Try out this healthy vegetarian hot dog recipe sans the meat.

It's America's celebrated mystery meat. Slathered in spicy mustard or buried under mounds of tangy sauerkraut, the ubiquitous hot dog has been standard summer fare at ballparks and backyard barbecues for more than a century. This Fourth of July, Americans will grill, cook and otherwise disguise more than 150 million (!) hot dogs.

The little wieners' popularity lies in the fact that they're cheap and easy to fix. After all, what other food product can you roast over a roaring campfire and feed to a whole Boy Scout troop for mere pennies?

But beyond nickels and dimes, what is there to these little beasts? Hot dog ingredients have been the butt (not to mention the brains and other assorted parts) of many jokes, but not even the national hot dog and sausage promotional board gives a substantive answer (the term "variety meats" does get deserved mention). Beyond the hearsay and humor, what we do know is that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database, most commercially produced hot dogs get more than 70 percent of their total calories from fat. Many contain nitrites, preservatives that may pose health risks. Average hot dogs also are loaded with sodium, containing more than 20 percent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recommended Daily Value. They're a little short on protein, though, with only about 6 grams per 57-gram dog. For comparison's sake, a chicken breast of the same serving size has 1.8 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein and 38 (instead of 584) milligrams of sodium.

Frankly speaking, if you're looking for good nutrition in a hot dog, you're barking up the wrong tree. So this summer, if you're seeking a healthier alternative, try master herbalist and author James Duke's Hotdoggone. It's easy — most ingredients are commonly found on any summertime picnic table — and full of nutrients, fiber and health-supporting compounds. And, most importantly, this healthy vegetarian hot dog recipe won't bite you back.

— Claire Anderson

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