Several months ago, I blogged about Morningstar Farms Veggie Corn Dogs – I couldn’t believe that they were as tasty as they were and I was so totally excited to try the regular hot dogs!
Now, I admit it, I grew up loving hot dogs (I also loved baloney as a kid, but thankfully have grown out of that phase). It’s weird because I really don’t like most sausage, am not a big fan of salty things, and can’t stand much lunchmeat. But for some reason there’s a soft spot in my heart for a nice barbequed hot dog with ketchup.
Well, since I shop most of the time at Vons (the one major grocery store chain, it seems, that doesn’t carry all the Morningstar products), I hadn’t gotten a chance to buy the veggie dogs. But last weekend we took a trip to the newly-renovated Ralphs in Hillcrest (since we got a mailer promising grand-opening deals) and I swiped the very last Morningstar Farms veggie hot dog package out of the freezer case.
Last night, we were exhausted (I’d had a really bad health day; more on that later – I’m now monitoring all the signs of all my various strange health things, including hypoglycemia, which is what had me down yesterday) and didn’t feel much like cooking. So we decided to try the Morningstar Farms veggie dogs.
Now, first of all, let me say that I tried cooking them as per the package directions: I boiled water, dropped in the dogs, turned the water off, and steamed them for seven minutes. This seemed to work okay, and I’ll admit that steaming usually keeps “regular” hot dogs from drying out, but I think that the next time we try them, I’ll be either barbequeing or pansearing the dogs, since I think they could benefit from a little carmelization and they seemed to lack a little substance when they were steamed (they were kind of too soft).
The veggie dogs didn’t taste exactly like hot dogs, although they did have a pleasant tangy taste similar to the spice in a regular hot dog. They were also pleasantly un-salty (I think I was expecting a lot of salt, to make up for the lack of meaty flavor) and could be topped with ketchup without any fear of oversalting (in fact, I think that they could make them slightly saltier and be fine, and I don’t even like a lot of salt in my food). They didn’t have the texture of a hot dog – much more mousse-like – but they smelled good and looked authentic (no grey tofudogs here) and overall the taste was really pleasant.
There’s no way you’d fool a dyed-in-the-wool meat eater into thinking that this was meat, but I found the Morningstar Farms veggie dogs to be a really pleasant meat substitute, as long as you have in your head not to expect meat (just like with the veggie burgers – as long as you keep in mind that they’re veggie, you won’t be disappointed). I googled the nutrition facts, too, and I think that it makes the decision whether to spend the extra money on the Morningstar Farms dogs (they’re about $5 for a package of 8 ) a little easier:
While the sodium content of a Morningstar Farms veggie dog is roughly equivalent to the same size Oscar Meyer hot dog (410 vs. 461 milligrams), the overall calories and fat are dramatically lower. Total calories and fat in veggie dog: 50 calories, 0.5 grams of fat. Total calories and fat in the regular dog? 146 and 14, respectively, with SIX grams of saturated fat!!! There is also no cholesterol in the veggie dog, versus 25 milligrams (or 8% of your daily value) in the hot dog. Add to that the fact that there is MORE protein (7 versus 5 grams) in the veggie dog (the hot dog has roughly the equivalent amount of protein to a bowl of cereal with milk) and I’m sold. There are slightly more carbohydrates in a veggie dog (’cause, duh, veggies are carbs), but not enough to worry about (only 5 grams).
Overall, I’m not swearing off hot dogs forever (although, rereading that list above, I sort of feel as though I should!). But the Morningstar Farms dogs were satisfying and tasty and overall a nice treat. The next time I barbeque, I plan to pick some of them up; maybe if more people start buying them, more stores will start to carry them (apparently, after more research, the only stores nearby that do are Ralphs in Hillcrest and Albertson’s in Spring Valley!).