Also known as little smokies or cocktail wieners, little wieners are basically miniature hot dogs, usually served in some sort of barbecue sauce, and intended to be eaten with toothpicks. (Because what’s more American than protein on a stick?)

Yep, these are tiny little wieners to be proud of. No, not like that. Come on, y’all, my mom reads this blog!

I have a memory of my parents making these for a high school art reception in which my brother was taking part. Although it would be a couple of years before I’d connect the dots about eating animals, I remember that night vividly because it was shortly after I’d started listening to punk, and one of my brother’s classmates made a video about the military with Anti-Flag’s newly released “Die for Your Government” as the soundtrack. So in the spirit of remembrance and renewal, and to remind everyone that you can veganize anything if you put your mind to it, here is a fun appetizer perfect for holiday hangouts.

I started out by making a batch of hot dog-style seitan, which I formed into tiny links and steamed (the way Julie Hasson popularized) and then smothered in sauce. The sauce I’ve included is very basic, but feel free to use your favorite barbecue sauce instead! You can also use this basic wiener recipe to make regular-sized vegan hot dogs, throw in some liquid smoke for little smokies, or wrap them with crescent rolls or vegan bacon (I’m all about decadence when it doesn’t come at the expense of human or nonhuman animals!).

 

Vegan Little Wieners
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c + 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mustard seed
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 c cold water
  • ¼ c onion, finely minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ tsp corn syrup (or sugar)
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 16 oz tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • ½ c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten, flour, yeast, coriander, paprika, pepper, salt, mustard, marjoram, and nutmeg.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together water, onion, garlic, oil, tomato paste, and corn syrup.
  3. Add wet to dry and mix well.
  4. Set dough aside for a few minutes while you set up your steamer and aluminum foil.
  5. Knead dough a few times, then split into portions and form dough into long, thin ropes.
  6. Roll each rope in aluminum foil, and, starting at one end, twist the foil every two inches or so to create several small, individual links.
  7. This part will be a little messy and require a little fudging around; don’t worry about it too much!
  8. Once the water in your steamer has come to a boil, steam links for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove links from steamer and cool while you prepare the sauce.
  10. In a covered medium saucepan on very low heat, saute onions in margarine until soft and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  11. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, pepper, cloves, and salt and mix well.
  12. Bring sauce to a boil, and simmer with lid off until thickened.
  13. Remove aluminum foil from links.
  14. Once mixture has reduced by about half, add links and stir to distribute sauce.
  15. Heat thoroughly and serve hot, with toothpicks.