You Don't Have to Be Afraid of How These Vegan Hot Dogs Are Made

🌭 The following feature appears in Issue 03 of Selva Beat. Grab your copy here. 🌭 

When you're on a mission to create a bangin' signature hot dog, it helps to pick the brain of pro. We asked two food joints renowned for their vegan dogs questions about the three building blocks of a balanced veggie pup: bun, dog, and toppings. 

🌸 Puka Dog Koloa, Hawaii 

You’re known for having a variety of sweet-leaning toppings — six tropical relishes (banana, mango, etc.) and Aunty Lilikoi's passion fruit mustard. What is the key to striking a balance between fruit and something as savory as a hot dog?

Who said we’re balanced? What we’re doing is completely out of the box and inside the Puka.

Tell us more about your Hawaiian-style buns. How do you achieve the hole that is baked in from one side — or is that a secret? ;)

To achieve the hole in the center of our freshly baked buns, we gently slide them on a hot spike and toast them from the inside out.

Puka dogs can be eaten vertically and on the go. After patrons stop for a bite, where should they go next?

After you enjoy the Puka dog sensation, a Papalani gelato is always nice!

🌭 Doggie Style Austin, Texas 

How do you go about naming your hot dogs?

The process is always different. The standard daily menu we spent a lot of time on. Some speak specifically to a style from different parts of the country. For example, “313” is a Detroit style coney dog, “Three Rivers” is from Pittsburgh, and Chicago is from Chicago. The rest are all over the place. “Improv” — a reference to Seinfeld (Dustin’s favorite show), “Jon Stewart” — a tribute to a favorite comedian living the vegan fantasy life [sic], “Walking Taco” — what the midwesterners call a Frito Pie (we are from Ohio), and “Sweetheart” — well, it is a sweet hot dog. The weekly special’s names are whatever we come up with quickly.

Tell us about your house-made cream cheese!

We make just about everything on our menu in-house. The cream cheese is a mixture of tofu, cashews, and a few other ingredients. It is a creamy, tangy cheese that pairs perfectly with chopped sweet pickles to make the “Sweetheart” dog.

You’re one of the only vegan hot dog places we know of that makes all of their own dogs. The consistency is really spot on, too. What is the key to making the perfect dog?

The key to making the perfect dog is getting the hot dog batter or dough to the right consistency by keeping it chill before rolling. And realizing you can cover ugly hotdogs with delicious toppings and no one is the wiser.

If you could only pick one topping for a dog, what would it be?

Coney sauce (chili sauce) — it’s delicious enough to stand on its own. Savory and hearty, yet doesn’t weigh you down.

🌶 Southwestern Selva Dawg

A zesty homemade dog topped with an unbeatable Tex-Mex duo: avocado and bacon. By Paula Farmahini. Photographed by Magdalena Antuña.


1 Tbsp corn
1 Tbsp roasted red bell pepper
1 tsp roasted jalapeño peppers
1 Tbsp vegan bacon, chopped
2 oz Nutcase Vegan Meats Hot Italian Sausage
2 oz Nutcase Vegan Meats Chorizo
1 avocado
1/4 cup canned full fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tsp lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 hot dog bun


1. Prepare the avocado crema: In a blender, mix together the avocado, coconut milk, olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Blend until the consistency is smooth and set aside.

2. Prepare the sausage link: Heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the Nutcase Vegan Meats Hot Italian Sausage with the Nutcase Vegan Meats Chorizo in a bowl. Once combined, shape into a sausage link. Cook the link in the oven for 10 minutes on a non-stick baking tray.

3. Dice the red bell pepper and jalapeño peppers and combine them with the corn in a bowl. If you have a kitchen torch, you can use it to char the vegetables until blackened to taste. If you do not have a cooking torch, you can roast the vegetables in the oven for 5 minutes.

4. Bacon Time! Using a cast iron skillet or a frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Set aside to cool down, then dice into smaller pieces.

5) Assemble your hot dawg and top it off with the veggies, bacon, and avocado crema to taste. Enjoy!

Tip: If you're looking for a bacon that is palm oil free, try Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon!