This has been called the ‘star’ food of my hometown, Tucson, Arizona. Some say the Sonoran Hot Dog or ‘the Mexican Hot Dog’ was born in Hermosillo, Mexico, some say it really started here, in Tucson. One thing is for sure, it is the work of Mexicans who transformed an American classic (the rather boring mustard+ketchup hotdog) into a delicious iconic food that now attracts ‘foodies’ from all over the country (and perhaps all over the world) to south side Tucson (or the side of Tucson I call home).
What makes the Sonoran Hot Dog so popular? Well, we all know how obsessed America is with bacon… So wrapping a hot dog in bacon is pretty genius. Once the bacon wrapped hot dog is grilled, it’s squeezed into a bolillo roll (found in Mexican bakeries), topped with jalapeño salsa, pinto beans, tomatoes or pico de gallo, grilled onions, fresh onions, mayo, mustard, and accompanied by a roasted güerito chile (yellow chili). Lotza toppings, lotza deliciousness.
I wanted to re-create the Sonoran hotdog into a vegan version for a couple of reasons. The first being, I was really craving it and there isn’t yet a vegan recipe out there… The second being, I know that almost anything made from animals, with a little creativity and time, can be made to taste the same, if not better, when made with plants. Combined with the fact that our health care system is going down the drain and we all know the health disparities that exist in this country, it’s critical to start nourishing our bodies and taking control of our health.
Processed meats (like hot dogs and bacon) were recently classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogens, causing various types of cancer and other health complications such as heart disease. Of course people are not eating hot dogs everyday (I hope not), but it’s important to know what we are eating.
I also won’t mention here the dangerous and unsanitary working conditions meat processing plant workers have to go through, the pollution wreaked on communities of color by factory farms, or the immense torture animals endure to make the meat we consume, possible. And of course I am not advocating for people to stop eating hot dogs, I am simply introducing a healthier alternative that shows the versatility of vegetables, that I guarantee will still satisfy your Sonoran hot dog cravings.
Wrapped with eggplant ‘bacon’ and smothered in all the classic toppings, these vegan Sonoran hot dogs are easy and cheap to make, perfect for your next BBQ or family cookout. If you liked this recipe or completely hated it, let me know by commenting below
Vegan Sonoran Hot Dog
Recipe Type: Lunch/Dinner
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
The iconic food of Tucson, Arizona – these vegan hot dogs will give you a taste of the Southwest and all the flavors it has to offer.
For the Hot Dogs
- 3-6 Veggie Dogs
- 1 White onion, chopped (Half grilled, half fresh)
- 1/2 Cup Pinto Beans
- 3-6 Mexican Bolillo Rolls (or regular hot dog buns)
- Vegan Mayo
- Pico de Gallo or chopped tomatoes
- 2-3 Yellow Chilies for the side (optional)
For the Jalapeño Salsa
- 6 jalapeños
- 3 tomatillos
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 lime
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 tbsp distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- For the ‘Bacon’
- 1/2 Eggplant
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Slice an eggplant in half lengthwise and set one half aside for other uses. Cut the remaining eggplant in half and begin slicing thin slices using a sharp knife. Using a mandolin will also work.
- Set eggplant aside. Make the salsa by de-veining and de-seeding the jalapeños. Place the jalapeños, onion, garlic, and de-husked tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil on high for 7-10 mins until they are blistered/brown.
- Place the roasted vegetables in a blender/food processor and add the lime, salt, distilled vinegar, sugar, and water. Once blended, place it in the fridge to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the ‘bacon’ marinade and in a shallow bowl, dip the eggplant slices so they are covered and line them flat on the baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes until eggplant is crispy but not hard.
- Wrap hot dogs with 2 pieces of the bacon. Heat up a skillet with oil and place the hot dogs in it, turning them over after about 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy (grilling them would work great too). Add half of the chopped white onion to the same skillet so they can begin caramelizing along with the yellow chilies.
- Once hot dogs are done, place in bolillo roll and top with pinto beans, pico de gallo, jalapeño salsa, mustard, and mayo. Serve the yellow chilies on the side.