Build Your Own Dogs and Tots

Each Build-Your-Own family meal generally comes with one plant based item that everyone can eat. To that item, add either an animal protein for the carnivores in the house or more plants!

Inspiration for this meal – Fair Corndogs!

When the County Fair rolls around each year, we eat junk. We do so with no guilt. The occasional indulgence makes eating well the rest of the time so much easier, and desirable. Still, there is no need to get gluttonous… and sick. So we will start our fair day food at home with some guilt-free sundogs. Then after a few rides and a lot of walking, its funnel cake time! And/or elephant ear. Mmm

sundogs and tots

One Batter for All Diets

Arguably the original corn dog was invented because 70 years ago in a hot dog stand in Oregon all the buns were rained on and destroyed, so the owner decided to use pancake batter to coat the dogs and cook them.

This recipe takes these pups back to the batter! And then to the oven. No deep frying here. Although, you could deep fry with this batter if you really want to.

If nobody in the family has nut allergies, you can absolutely substitute the sun flour for almond flour and the coconut milk for almond milk. Otherwise, it is SO EASY to grind up raw hulled sunflower seeds to make a beautiful healthful flour. See how here – Stupid Simple Sunflower Seed Flour.

Optional: If you want to take it to the next level nutritionally, and in my opinion texturally, you can soak your seeds overnight, then dry them in a very low temp oven before grinding them into flour.

Either way, you can make your flour and throw it in the fridge until you are ready for it.

Instead of egg, this recipe uses baking powder and apple cider vinegar for leavening, and coconut oil for a little fat, plus maple syrup to sweeten it like corn.

The Dog


For Paleo people in the house, finding a frankfurter which meets Paleo standards is a challenge! Applegate’s Organic Grass Fed Uncured Beef Hot Dog is about the best out there short of finding a farmer who makes them to spec. There is no 100% grass fed claim on the package, but they do follow humanely raised guidelines. And they are gluten and casein free.

For the vegetarians, carrot dogs have made there rounds throughout the blogosphere and there are tons of great recipe marinades out there from which to choose. Most of them recommend cooking (maybe steaming) carrots until the are just beginning to get tender. They should still have a good bite. Then they go into a marinade overnight, usually consisting of umami flavor like soy sauce and fatty sesame oil, sometimes liquid smoke for smokiness of course, and a little acid.

After that they can be pan seared, grilled, or roasted to develop the flavor and get some delicious browning.

Start by peeling and quickly shaping them into a “hot dog”. The carrot actually works really well using this method. Of course, they do not taste like meat. But a good hot dog or corn dog is not always about the frankfurter anyway. And these dogs with carrots are actually surprisingly tasty.



You may want to experiment with other veggies too.


For the Tots

You can find all kinds of ready made frozen tots in today’s supermarket. Everything from organic potatoes to all manner of veggie tots… taro, carrot, sweet potato. If you would like to make your own, check out these options from Oh My Veggies.

Back to the Batter…

Mixing the dry ingredients.


Adding sweet maple syrup after the other wet ingredients are mixed in.


Pancakes and Dogs! If you can make a pancake, you can make these. Just let those pancakes start to set, then add the carrot or 1/2 hot dog and carefully roll them up. Use a spatula to lift the edge and get you started. Then roll.

Here is the pancake method with a carrot.


And the method with a hot dog.


Tip: I find that the pancake sets up better when covered with a lid. I use a lid that is smaller than the skillet to make a tiny little cooking space over the pancake.


Onto the cookie sheet with tots to bake!


All done! Passes the kid test. These get devoured every time I make them. And I can only think, as I sink this into mustard, “Muahahaha… the kids are eating nutrients and loving it!”

sunflower seed dogs


Batter for Sundogs

Using this method, these taste like a sunflower corndog, not like a pancake. So yummy! This recipe makes about 8 little dogs for half hot dogs or small carrots. It is very filling, but I usually make two batches. You can also make extra and freeze them before baking.


  • 3/4 cup sunflower seed flour – see how here
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (grain-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or another sweetener, if desired)
  • spray cooking oil (I like avocado)
  • optional, but recommended: butter of choice depending on the sundog, ghee, grass-fed butter, vegan butter

To make the sundogs, you will need carrots cooked to just tender, retaining a good bite, and seasoned as desired, or frankfurters.


Preheat oven to 350°

Into a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, arrowroot, baking powder, sea salt). Then mix in all other ingredients, except for the cooking oil and ghee or butter or choice. Thick batter helps to keep the crust thick on the dogs. If you feel you need to thin it a bit, add more coconut milk (or almond milk, if using).

Heat and lightly oil a skillet. (you can also add vegan butter or ghee to the skillet for browning and flavor) For each sundog, pour about 1/8 cup batter into the skillet to form a small pancake. Keep the heat at low-medium so it does not cook too quickly. Cover to help the pancake set. Do not flip the pancake. When it is still uncooked but partially set, place your frankfurter or carrot (with or without a short skewer or popsicle stick in it), onto the pancake toward one end. Carefully roll up the pancake around the frank or carrot until it is completely wrapped, allowing it to begin to brown on all sides.

The first couple may be a bit awkward, but you will be knocking these out beautifully in no time.

At this point, place sundogs on a parchment covered cookie sheet. When you have made all your dogs, bake them until the are cooked through. Depending on how long they cooked in the skillet, baking should take about 25-30 minutes. Alternatively, you could freeze them in a single layer for a quick meal at a later time.

When baked, eat immediately. Add mustard, ketchup, or any sauce you like!


If you like this, please Pin, Share, and Like

[pinterest] [fblike] [tweet]

Leave a Reply