Meatless Beef and Hot Dog Substitutes

I get lots of letters from viewers asking great questions about how to best transition away from meat and into vegetarian meat replacers. This is such a common question that I’ve decided to post viewer queries from time to time, followed by my suggestions. Please feel free to write in and share your ideas and solutions.

“I have to say I love the show! Here in Albuquerque Alan & I watch you on our Apple TV, but I need help w/ my mixed relationship. I’m more vegetarian than my other half. I’ve been wearing him down, but he has a need for chili dogs. I know you’ve said many times on your show that there’s many dishes that can be converted to vegetarian versions.

Keep in mind that he’s going to cover it w/chili sauce and tomato sauce, w/ ground beef (we need to replace this too), cheese & onions. It’s gotten to the point that he makes this because he likes the flavor, but he doesn’t eat enough meat to not get himself sick from this every time he eats it. I was thinking if we could find some kinda veggie hotdog, ground beef replacement then we could totally flip him over to our side. I’m sure you can help. Waiting patiently.” –Alan & Chris

15 comments
Deborah
Deborah

I want to try the tofu fish recipe, but can't find it on the website.Can you send it to me?

Yoka Bazilewich
Yoka Bazilewich

I watched your program for the first time to day and was so happy I played hookie from the service at he synagogue this morning. Loved your show and already printed the recipes. Thank you very much for sharing. I have a cook book called a 'vegetarian feast' but most recipes take way too long to fix and very long lists of Ingredients . I have to cook 2 different meals so I don't want to use this often unless guests are coming. I also am looking for light meals and wonder if you can recommend a good one. Have been eating lots of Boca crumbles and morning star chicken pieces , but most of the time I eat wild salmon , LF cheeses , lentils , beans and edema. I have to cook two meals my husband is a meat eater and I don't like meat at all. I can't eat seafood but am allowed to eat fish as long as it has scales & fins. We also do not mix meats and cheese and here in the USA there is so much food that has both all junk foot. My favorite foods are salads. I even made some up my own up with a pkg of shredded cabbage that has green & red cabbage mixed with some carrots shredded. I use the whole bag and add juice of 1 med. lemon, 1 tsp virgin olive oil or two , 2 or 3 tsp pure sesame oil. 1 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar, celery salt, pepper and garlic seasoning. To that i add a pinch of sugar or some honey and mix it well . It is a sweet sour mix and so good. Hope you give this a try. I often make this for guest too when making Dutch Indonesian food. Now I am going to try what was on the show today I can't wait till next time and will have to tape it. Thank you for the wonderful show & sharing all your recipes . Yoka

Robert
Robert

Toni, I really enjoyed your #408 show on "Street & Fair Food revisited".....Can you send me your recipe for the 'New York Style Onions' in that episode? I know the 2 main ingredients were garlic chili sauce and tomatoe paste, but that's all I remember:( . Thanks!

tan khaaliq
tan khaaliq

I enjoyed the grill it special and I plan to grill a lot of vegetables this summer. I want to try the rasta pups with the cole slaw but I could not find the recipe. I have the totally vegetarian cook book but I did not see the recipe there. Can you sen me the recipe?

JamesD
JamesD

Thanks for the useful info. It's so interesting

kirsten
kirsten

I saw the "grill it" special on lake shore's station yesterday and you were grilling a carrot hot dog substitute with a cole slaw topper (mmm) and I'd like to try the recipe for my son's 1st birthday party but can not find it :( Can you send it? Thank you! Kirsten Kargenian

Ann
Ann

Hi Toni, The veggie sausage and peppers looked wonderful but I can't find any tofu sausages. What brand did you use or do you recommend? Your show is great, my husband loves the food I made from it and didn't realize it was veggie!

Chef
Chef

Believe it or not this will be really easy, especially if Alan complies and/or is game to try something new. To begin, I’ll make some product recommendations. Vegetarian ground beef style crumbles and vegetarian hot dogs are made by many? manufacturers and available pretty much everywhere. I’ve tried just about all of them and my two? favorites are Morningstar Farms Meal Starters “grillers” style crumbles (sold in 12 oz. bags in the frozen food section) and for hot dogs, my ?hands down favorite is Yves Veggie Hot Dogs. Yves was originally produced ?in Canada and has now been merged with Hain Celestial Foods. Yves also makes an outstanding Canadian Bacon product. I’m not sure where you’re shopping, but these are generally available in most mainstream markets and whole foods stores. You may also make a request where you shop.? The swap is easy. The main thing to keep in mind is that you will be adjusting the cooking times. Vegetarian mock meats cook quickly, which makes ?life easier on two fronts: health and time. When preparing the chili topping, simply brown the defrosted crumbles in about 2 tablespoons of oil (if you’re using onions or seasonings, add them as you ?would if using beef). Because veggie crumbles lack fat, if you sauté them on too high a heat they will easily burn and dry out. Add additional oil only if necessary. When the additions to the chili topping are softened (about 5-7 minutes) – that is, the onions,? peppers, garlic, or spices – you can add your sauce and, if you’re using it, the cheese. Because there is ?little or no fat in the crumbles there is almost no shrinkage, so a 12-ounce package is easily equivalent to one pound of beef. Follow ?this same procedure for preparing “meat” sauce, chili, or any dish that uses ground beef.? The vegetarian hot dogs are fully cooked and need only to be heated. Again, because these hot dogs lack fat they can become dry if over?cooked. The best method is to steam or boil them for about 3-4 minutes, but you can also simply drop them into your chili, heating them? through. These are ?especially good on a bun with lots of toppings like hot onions, your new meatless chili, or traditional condiments. That’s about it! Let me know how this works out for you and please feel free to check back in if you need additional help or tips. Your letter brings up a good point about transitioning family and friends to healthier, kinder eating habits and I am pleased to share your ?letter on my blog. Thanks for writing. Warm regards,? Toni.

Chef
Chef

Hi JoAnne, Edamame are available just about everywhere in the frozen food section. Make an inquiry at your local supermarket or health/whole food store. Lima beans would be fine, nutritionally edamame are superior, but limas make a nice stand in, especially baby limas. Prepare the lima beans according to the directions, then simply toss them in for the last minute or two of cooking/combining with the pasta. The vegetarian bacon I used was made by Morningstar Farms, a Kellogg company product, sold frozen usually in the breakfast food section. I do use other more natural brands from time to time like Lightlife veggie bacon. Thanks for writing and let us know if you found the edamame! Toni

JoAnn Fleming
JoAnn Fleming

I watched your show for the second time yesterday and would like to try the No Stress pasta dishes. However, I don't think I can find edamame beans locally. You said lima beans could soften if used, so what else could be substituted for the edamame beans without taking away from the flavor and consistency? Also, can you give the brand name of the veggie bacon you used? I purchased one (that didn't look like the one you had) and it was absolutely horrible. Thank you!

skiddie
skiddie

I really like Smart Dogs when I've got a craving for hot dogs. If you need something else, Whole Foods carries a line of interesting sausage-esque products. They're decent, and probably useful for things like this where they get covered in other, tasty things.

Chef
Chef

Ok Toni I didn't know if you wanted to include this letter w/ your blog or not but I just figured if anything copy and paste your heart out. Ok Alan found out that I was talking to you about replacing his chili dogs w/ veggie dogs. He put off his cravings for a while and then finally caved tonight. Here's what we did vs. what we usually do. Both dishes: We went to the store and got some cheese, shred it in a bowl then throw it in the freezer. This keeps it fresh and keeps it from sticking together in a hot kitchen. Dice 1 white or purple onion. Usually 1lb of browned ground beef, boiled and drained. 1pkg hot dogs boiled and drained. This time 1pkg of veggie bits browned in a skillet. 1 pkg of "smart dogs" boiled and drained. In our veggie bits we added black pepper, paprika, crushed red peppers, pinch of salt, tomato sauce (1 small can) and hot enchilada sauce (1 small can) Total prep time was cut by 1/2 because it didn't take that long to cook. Plate the buns, place your "hot dogs" & top w/ your enchilada sauce, onions, cheese & 5 pepper blend. The heat from the food will "defrost" your cheese as it's only been in the freezer about 20 min. Serve with fork. :) We usually served ourselves 2 at a time. "Wow" says Alan. He's full but he's not busting. The food was really good. He was surprised how meat-like the hot dogs actually tasted. That surprised him. Now? He's wanting to try a mushroom burger he saw you make on your site. LOL I asked him if we would be having these instead of his old hot dogs. Then he said, "Oh ya!" Tonight for dinner? Broiled veggies: onions, tomatoes & mushrooms seasoned w/ white & red pepper, olive oil, oregano & salt. Tossed with pasta & fried zucchini. :) Can it get any better?

Rae
Rae

I think there are vegan cheeses out there, too, if you want to eliminate dairy. On another note---I've had trouble dining out. Help! Met some people at a Mongolian BBQ because everyone said they clean the grill between entrees. I put tofu and veggies and noodles and lots of garlic into my bowl, and then while the guy was grilling it, another customer handed him a bowl of bright red beef. The beef went onto the grill and the chef began tossing both meals with the same set of wide knives. I'd tried talking to the chef earlier, but the guy didn't understand English--no matter what I said, his answer was "It's OK." I ended up with a salad for the price of a full meal and went home hungry, in the interest of preserving group harmony. On top of that, some people who eat meat seem bent on persuading me to go back to it, either with their incredulous looks or with direct arguments, such as, the cows don't know what's happening to them!!! Annoying as hell, as I don't try to impose my eating habits on them. Someone who is vegetarian shared The Peace Diet with me, a book also available as audio, and it was great. There's no turning back for me. The smell of cooked eggs or chicken turns my stomach.

admin
admin

I like Lightlife and Boca Italian style sausages. Tofurkey makes a vegan sausage with is very tasty as well. Depending on availability even Morningstar breakfast sausages can work pretty well. If you're using MS then I would add additional fennel seeds and some red pepper. Good luck and let us know how the dish turned out for you! Toni

Veg Royale
Veg Royale

How about Tofurkey brand? They're tasty and vegan.