Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pinto Bean Vegan Hot Dogs

We're going camping in a few weeks with a very large group. I've been trying to determine what to take because like many vegans, I compulsively overpack for everything and then end up eating less than half of what I bring along. The excess foodstuff ends up soggy and gross from being in the cooler for several days and it ultimately finds its final resting place in the trash. Wastefulness resulting from the anxiety that I'm going to be trapped in the wilderness with nothing to eat.

When it comes to vegan camping you can generally duplicate any omni treat you remember from growing up. There are vegan marshmallows (which I haven't tried, but Paul is obsessed with so I'm assuming they are good) and dark chocolate (or vegan milk chocolate...or carob..) for s'mores. There's veggie burgers and dogs for roasting on the fire. I don't feel left out in the slightest when it comes to camping.

While tofurky sausages are delicious and easy to prepare in the middle of the woods, I saw Vegan Dad's attempt at Isa's from-scratch vegan sausages. Obviously, I had to try it and see how it would hold up to the authenticity test.

The first step calls for mashing the pinto beans and it is so weird but mashed pinto beans have that 'hot dog' smell. Who could be that along with all the mystery meat and random parts there are pinto beans in regular hot dogs.

Maybe not. Maybe I don't want to know what makes up a regular hot dog and have a right to not know since I don't eat them anyway.

So, the pinto beans give them the hot dog smell (and taste) and the wheat gluten gives them their texture. The spices are just for fun and I put an ungodly amount of red pepper flake but avoided the fennel because we're not its biggest fans.

I don't think I mashed the beans enough before putting in the gluten because the mixture was sticky and a bit difficult to work with. I had the same problem making Isa's chickpea cutlets that was easily corrected by not mixing in the gluten until all other ingredients were combined. I'll try that the next time I do these dogs.

Shaping them was also an epic fail on my behalf...I didn't roll them tight enough in the tin foil and so while they were steaming they took on interesting shapes. They still tasted awesome...just didn't look as pretty and hot dog-like as they could have. Next time!

I love these things because there is virtually nothing in them...none of the chemicals or isolated soy compounds that are in the packaged brands. And I don't know if I just forget what hot dogs taste like, but these tasted pretty damn authentic to me. They were great just coming out of the steamer, but we threw them on the BBQ for a few minutes to get that real summer hot dog taste.

Paired up with peppered green beans and fresh corn on the cob from the farmer's market, they made for quite the summery meal the other night. And I think they will package up quite nicely for our camping trip (and taste awesome grilled over the fire!)

Also, I have to note...that ridiculous amount of condiment above (hindering you from actually seeing the damn dogs I am talking about) is the result of me pound on near-empty mustard and ketchup bottles, only to have them make a huge mess. I do not normally consume that much, I promise. I really should have started over with a different dog to take a classier picture but they smelled so good and I just wanted to eat them instead of fuss with my camera.


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