Mmmm… that sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?
Ok, here’s the scoop: over the years, I’ve been trying to eat less and less meat. For the most part, it’s been pretty easy for me. I’ve never been much of a meat-eater, anyway.
The key for me, I think, is that I don’t go for straight substitutes. In other words, when I make spaghetti, I don’t replace meatballs with “meatless meatballs.” I sprinkle pine nuts over my pasta instead. And when we’re having hamburgers, I usually make myself a Masala Burger from Trader Joes, which is nothing at all like beef (it’s basically an Indian-spiced potato patty), but that’s ok because it is delicious in its own right.
(In fact, here’s a tip I got from Dinner: A Love Story, after I had been eating them on hamburger rolls: these patties are really good inside a small pita, and spread with mango chutney. Yummy!)
So that’s been my strategy – replace the meat with something else entirely that I enjoy, and not something that is supposed to taste like the original meat. It works well for me, and I rarely miss the original.
But there is one meat that I have yet to substitute: hot dogs. Anyone who knew me when I was a kid can attest to the fact that I would have eaten hot dogs at every meal if my parents would have let me. I’m not the hot dog freak I was back then, but I still enjoy them once or twice a month.
I know what foul ingredients are purported to be in hot dogs, and I long ago upgraded to Applegate Farms organic beef dogs, the least icky kind I could find. I love one of these on a potato roll with mustard and sweet pickle relish, and/or sauerkraut. And really, I could go on having these once in a while and be fine with it. BUT, I am also wondering if there is a really good meatless substitute I might be missing out on.
(Or, “on which I might be missing out.” Because, grammar.)
I had a few different brands of hot dog substitute in my hands at Whole Foods this morning. One was grain-and-vegetable-based, and another was tofu-based. I have to admit, I have never tried tofu, but I have a preconceived notion that the texture will be a turn-off. In the end, I put both types down and decided to poll my online friends. You are always such a wealth of knowledge and experience! (See how I am buttering you up here?)
Please educate me in the ways of tasty hot dog substitutes. Given what I said up there about pine nuts and masala patties, I’m open to trying something that doesn’t advertise itself as a “not dog.” In other words, it doesn’t have to taste hot-doggy, as long as it is at-home on a roll with mustard and relish!