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Recipes Why you should make room on your grill for carrots this summer

Carrot dogs offer a tasty vegetarian option for your summer barbecues.

The Asado Club

Earlier this month at the We Love Green music festival held just outside of Paris in the Bois de Vincennes, our food stand, the Asado Club, dished out nearly 6,000 portions. For an event that lasts only two days, and for a relatively small food market stand that usually only does around 200 servings each day, that is quite the accomplishment.

Organizing for such a large-scale event was new to me. Never could I have imagined ordering the 600 kilograms of hamburger, or 25 buckets of crème fraîche, or even the four pallets of buns we would eventually need to bring the whole thing together.

Still, it was a fine balance. Sure, we wanted to increase our sales from last year and this would require us to be ambitious, but we didn’t want to end up with a bunch of unsold food either.

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One cool thing about We Love Green is that, unlike many music festivals, the organizers have a mission to reduce greenhouse gasses. Food-service providers, as one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gases at such festivals, are a huge focus for the organizers. All caterers are expected to provide 100-per-cent traceability for their ingredients and a minimum percentage of the food they serve must be not only local but organic. This year, in addition to these requirements, festival organizers requested a 20-per-cent reduction in meat portion sizes, as well as a minimum of one vegetarian recipe on every menu.

The local and organic criteria weren’t hugely challenging for us, as we already do our best to source high-quality, responsible ingredients for our food stand. However, since we generally focus on Argentinian-inspired classics such as chorizo and other barbecued meats, the vegetarian option provided a little trickier.

It was during my research for this menu item that I came across the carrot dog. It’s pretty much what you might think: A carrot that has been pre-cooked and marinated, then grilled and served in a bun as if it were a hot dog. Most recipes I came across kept the garnishes classic (ketchup, mustard and the like), but I wanted to shake things up a bit. Smoked white bean hummus and crushed potato chips are some of the highlights.

Smoked paprika gives the hummus and the carrot itself a meatier vibe, but for those who worry this might take away from the vegetarian-ness of this recipe, rest assured that you will still undoubtedly be eating a carrot, a very delicious one at that.

Carrot Dogs

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Carrot prep and marinade
  • 4 large carrots, preferably local and organic
  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder

Peel the carrots using a peeler. If you are ambitious and want to take the carrots to another level, use the peeler to peel and shape each carrot so that it looks similar to the shape of a hot dog.

Add all ingredients except the carrots to a small pot and bring to a boil. Allow to reduce and thicken slightly. Set aside,

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Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the peeled carrots for 15-30 minutes until they are fork tender. Remove the carrots from the water carefully so as not to break them.

Transfer to a sealable plastic bag or a glass container and pour the marinade over.

If using a glass container, cover and allow to marinate for 24 hours, rotating when you can for more even coverage.

Smoked White Bean Hummus
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and strained-well
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup warm water (plus more if necessary for processing)
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

In a barbecue wok, smoke and dry-out the beans on the barbecue over medium heat. A little colour is fine, but make sure to stir every couple minutes to avoid burning them too much.

Combine the beans and the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Mix on high speed for 4-5 minutes until very smooth. Add more warm water bit by bit if necessary. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

No-fuss pickled red onions
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Toss the sliced onion with the fleur de sel, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Let marinate overnight in the fridge.

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Red cabbage simple slaw
  • 2 cups very thinly shaved red cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Right before putting the carrot dogs together, toss the cabbage with the vegetable oil and the rice vinegar. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Assembly
  • 4 marinated carrots
  • 4 hot dog buns, sliced lengthwise
  • Smoked hummus
  • Pickled red onions
  • Cabbage slaw
  • Crushed salted potato chips for garnish
  • Cilantro, or other fresh herbs for garnish

Heat the barbecue on high heat. Remove each carrot from the marinade and sear on the grill, rotating so that you get nice grills marks all the way around each one.

Toast the hot dog buns on the grill.

Spread hummus on both sides of the bun and place the grilled carrot inside. Top with the prepared pickled red onion and cabbage slaw. Garnish with a healthy dose of crushed potato chips and a few sprigs of cilantro.

Serve immediately.

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