Grilled Spiral Hot Dog with Caramelized Onions Recipe

National Hot Dog Day or not, this classic summertime favorite is a staple at BBQs, beaches, and of course, baseball games. For many Americans, it’s hard to imagine a summer without the flavor-packed frank, grilled to perfection. With that, Americans spent over $7 billion on hot dogs and sausages in US supermarkets in 2021. Raise your hand if you contributed to that!

Although you may want to throw down like Joey Chestnut for the rest of the summer, let’s be frank: Hot dogs aren’t the healthiest pick around. The good news, however: There are a handful of ways to take your dog from not so clean, to lean and mean.

Here, Janine Nyquist, chef, food stylist, and recipe developer who has worked with many leading industry professionals such as Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman, and Geoffrey Zakarian, breaks down how you can make a healthy hot dog step-by-step.

Janine is a Florida-based mother of four as well as a chef, food stylist, and recipe developer. She’s worked with restaurant industry A-listers such as Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman, and Geoffrey Zakarian. Raised Italian-American, food has always been at the forefront of Janine’s life. She believes in utilizing simple and seasonal ingredients to create thoughtful food that nourishes the body and soul. Janine regularly highlights gathering with friends and family to create memories around a table with delicious food and great conversation.

Janine is a chef, food stylist, and recipe developer who has worked with many leading industry professionals such as Scott Conant, Jonathan Waxman, and Geoffrey Zakarian. Raised Italian-American, food has always been at the forefront of Janine’s life. She believes in utilizing simple and seasonal ingredients to create thoughtful food that nourishes the body and soul. Janine regularly highlights gathering with friends and family to create memories around a table with delicious food and great conversation. She is an active mom of 4 kids and lives in sunny Florida.

Choose a Healthy Hot Dog

“The fewer ingredients the better,” says Chef Janine.

  • 100% organic grass-fed, uncured beef free of nitrates and nitrites: Applegate, Organic Valley, 365 Whole Foods generic
  • Low-fat options include: Hebrew National 97% fat-free
  • Plant-based options: Updog, Litelife, Tofurky

Different Types of Healthy Buns

Thankfully, “There are so many options to ‘healthify’ the vessel for hot dogs.” Says Chef Janine, and here are some easy-to-find options that can reduce calories and also contain TKTK.

  • Gluten-free buns
  • Cauliflower wraps
  • sandwich thins
  • Sprouted buns like Ezekiel 4:9
  • Whole wheat or whole grain bun options
  • Forgo the bun altogether and opt for lettuce leaves
Photo by Victoria Shes on Unsplash

Healthy Hot Dog Toppings

Whether you like your dogs fully loaded or enjoy a topping or two, you won’t run out of options or flavor by lightening it up.

  • Low or sugar-free ketchup
  • Sauerkraut or kimchi (for gut health)
  • Vegetables like chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, or slaw made with seasonal produce
  • Jalapenos — fresh are best — and add the perfect amount of heat
  • Replace mayonnaise for avocado for heart-healthy fats
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Caramelized onions to add natural sweetness
  • Beans for added protein

Level Up Your Frank by Spiralizing It

Presentation coungs, and spiral-cut hot dogs are a unique way to enjoy your grilled dogs. It not only adds something a little different, to your dish, but your company will also admire your chef-life skills. “When you cut the hot dog this way, you get lots of little nooks for toppings to sink into.” She says. Perfect for those who like to pack on the toppings. “The edges also get a little crispier which creates awesome texture,” says Chef Janine.

Grilled Spiral Hot Dog with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Fresh Tomatoes

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