The Coney Dog is an American classic — a hot dog topped with an all-meat mustard chili and diced onions. This vegan coney dog recipe is just as perfect for a weekend BBQ with friends as it is a weeknight dinner with the kids. Easy and quick to make, you’ll love this vegetarian chili topping more and more with every delicious bite. This is not just a simple chili dog; this is a Coney Dog!
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Here on the East Coast, the term “Coney Island” evokes images of the famed New York amusement pier. If you head more into the center of the US however, Coney Island takes on an entirely different meaning. Throughout Michigan (where it’s believed to have its origins), and much of the midwest, a Coney Island is a diner-type establishment serving the famed Coney Island Dogs (also known as Coney Dogs or simply “Coneys”) — which have next-to-nothing to do with Coney Island, NY.
What is a coney dog?
The traditional Coney is basically a hot dog, smothered in an all-meat chili and topped with mustard and onions. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the concept was first introduced by Greek and Macedonian immigrants fleeing the Balkan War early in the 20th century. Now, Coney Dogs are a specialty to be sought after all over the country…which brings us to Scranton, PA, late in the 20th century. (Yes, home of Dunder Mifflin, and some GREAT Coney Islands.)
My father had family in upstate Pennsylvania, and the first stop before getting to their houses when we’d visit was to one of the many Coney Islands so my dad could get his fill. He would always make them at home, but “they just don’t come close to what you get here,” he’d always say. I was a true believer in the Coney after my first bite, and I am SO very excited to bring you this veganized version of an American classic.
I served my dad some of this vegan Coney sauce a while back on one of our carrot dogs, and I believe he was getting ready to cry. He just put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Yeah. That’s exactly it.” Then he proceeded to shove the rest of the veganized version of his childhood (and adulthood) favorite through his smile and into his mouth. Now I’m so excited to share that same feeling with all of you.
Why We Love These Vegan Coney Dogs:
- This is a dynamic. flavor. explosion! If you’ve never had a Coney Dog, prepare your taste buds accordingly so they don’t go into overload. This is not a simple chili dog!
- It’s a tremendously easy and quick recipe that brings the classic hot dog to an entirely whole new level.
- The vegan coney sauce freezes easily and is a great addition to have on hand when you want to spice up grilling night.
- And one more thing, it’s just yet another example and opportunity to show that we don’t need to consume animals in order to have delicious foods that we can all enjoy!
TVP Coney Sauce Ingredients
These vegan coney dogs require pretty basic ingredients for a vegan home kitchen.
To make the vegan coney sauce, you’ll need:
- TVP – TVP is a dehydrated soy product that takes the place of ground or minced beef in many vegan recipes. When rehydrated with the spices, it REALLY takes on the flavors you’re looking for to make great vegetarian chili, vegan meatballs and burgers, and of course, this Vegan Coney Sauce!
- Hot Water
- White vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce
- Spices: Chili Powder, Cumin, Granulated Garlic, Celery Salt, Smoked Paprika, Ground Mustard, Fine Ground Black Pepper
- Ketchup and Yellow Mustard – We love using Organicville’s ketchup and mustard. Their ketchup is sweetened with agave, so it doesn’t have refined sugar or corn syrup; and the mustard has an amazingly balanced, superb flavor to it. No, all mustards do not taste the same.
- White or yellow onion
To complete these vegan coney dogs, you’ll also need hot dog buns and your favorite vegan hot dogs. We used our carrot dogs which are a favorite in our house! Lightlife and Field Roast both make great store-bought vegan hot dogs.
Substitution Options for Coney Sauce Ingredients
For the TVP: This might work with other vegan ground meats or crumbles (like Gardein, Beyond, etc.) but we haven’t tried it. TVP is an ingredient that comes in dehydrated form, so the consistency of the recipe would be off if you subbed something different. I’m sure you could make it work if you played around with this amount of liquid you use and cooking time.
For the Vegan Worcestershire: You can add a little more soy sauce if you don’t have any vegan worcestershire on hand. Vegan steak sauce (A1 in the States) or brown sauce (HP in EU/UK) will also work.
For the Spices: These are the basic spices to use, but feel free to play around with amounts or additions to suit your tastes!
For the Ketchup and Mustard: I wouldn’t recommend omitting these as they are vital to the flavor of the sauce — especially the mustard. You can, however, experiment with different mustards to get different flavors. We’ve used the Stone Ground Mustard from Organicville before!
For the Onion: Red onion will work, but the flavor might be a little more intense.
How to Make a Plant-Based Coney Dog
You’ll be shocked how quickly and easily this vegan coney dog recipe comes together. It makes vegetarian chili dogs a delicious weeknight dinner reality!
Step 1: Rehydrate the TVP.
First, you’ll rehydrate the TVP pieces in a large glass bowl. Just pour some hot water over them, stir in the spices and flavoring ingredients (except that ketchup and mustard!), and put a cover on them while you work on the next step!
Step 2: “Sweat” the onions.
While the TVP rehydrates, mince your onion and saute in a medium pot over medium heat for about two minutes, just until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent. You are looking for the onions to just begin to soften. You don’t want them overcooked or caramelized.
Step 3: Bring it all together!
Finally, you’ll add the rehydrated TVP mixture and ketchup and mustard to the onions and stir. The liquid will help deglaze the onions. Simmer this mixture until completely warmed through and thickened just a little.
How to Serve The TVP Coney Sauce
Serve this vegan coney sauce on top of your favorite vegan hot dogs (We like our carrot dogs!) with more diced onions and a nice squiggle of mustard. T also loves a nice heap of sauerkraut on top of it all! If you’re really looking to heat things up, diced jalapenos are AMAZING on this!
How to Store Leftover Vegetarian Coney Sauce
The recipe will make about 2.5 cups of coney sauce, but don’t worry, if you don’t think you can use it all up, it freezes tremendously well!
Fridge: Your coney sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container.
Freezer: Cool completely before freezing. If kept in an airtight container or freezer bag, sauce will stay good for up to three months in the freezer.
How to reheat: Thaw 10-12 hours in the fridge or defrost in the microwave on medium power until warmed through, stirring occasionally. You can reheat sauce from the refrigerator either on the stove or in the microwave at a low heat, stirring often.
More Vegan TVP Recipes:
When you make this recipe (and I do mean when because you are going to want to make this recipe!!), we’d LOVE to hear about it!
Rate the recipe and leave a comment below or tag us in all your messy vegan coney dog photos on Instagram. In case you’re not already hanging out with us over there, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
The Coney Dog is an American classic -- a hot dog topped with an all-meat mustard chili and diced onions. This vegan coney dog recipe is just as perfect for a weekend BBQ with friends as it is a weeknight family dinner at home with the kids. Easy and quick to make, you’ll love this vegetarian chili topping more and more with every delicious bite. This is not just a simple chili dog; this is a Coney Dog!
- 1 cup TVP
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- Hot dog buns (check ingredients to make sure they’re vegan)
- Vegan hot dogs (We like our Carrot Dogs .)
- REHYDRATE THE TVP - Boil your water and measure your TVP into a large bowl with all the dry spices. Then add the hot water, vinegar, soy and vegan worcestershire sauces and stir well. Cover and let sit for about ten minutes while you mince and saute your onions.
- SWEAT THE ONIONS - mince your onions and saute in a medium saucepan over medium heat for approximately two minutes until they begin to “sweat” and soften. They should have only the slightest firmness when you add the TVP, etc.
- BRING IT TOGETHER - when the onions are ready, add the TVP mixture to the saucepan and stir in the ketchup and mustard. Let simmer on low heat for about five minutes stirring occasionally until warmed through.
- SERVING - Serve this vegan coney sauce on your favorite vegan hot dogs with an extra squeeze of yellow mustard and sprinkle of chopped onion! Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week or the freezer for up to 3 months.