I’m pleased to present my signature recipe and technique for creating plant-based jumbo franks which remarkably resemble a classic hot dog texture, color and flavor. Ballparks are high in plant-based protein, low in fat, and with no starch fillers, gels or gums. A food processor is required for this recipe in order to produce the desired texture. Yields 8 jumbo franks.
If you like this recipe, or any of my recipes, please consider making a donation to help further fund my work. Thank you and happy compassionate cooking!
- 4 oz/115 grams well-pressed and blotted extra-firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke)
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon commercial poultry seasoning
- ⅛ teaspoon FD&C red food color*
- 270 ml/grams water (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 150 grams (1 cup, scoop and level) vital wheat gluten
*FD&C red food color is an artificial food color. It is not animal sourced. It is used in a scant amount to create the nitrate-pink hot dog coloration since natural red food color pigments degrade during the cooking preparation process (I have experimented a great deal with natural red pigments over the years, and they won’t work for this purpose). Additional paprika (up to 1 teaspoon) can be used to enhance color, if preferred, but will create an orange pigment rather than pink. Red food color can be ordered online or found in the baking section of any supermarket.
Crumble the pressed tofu into the food processor. Add the tamari, oil, onion and garlic powder, paprika, spices and food color.
Add a small quantity of the measured water and process until smooth (if all the water is added at this point it will create excessive splashing). Add the gluten and the remaining measured water and process the mixture for 3 full minutes. Use a timer for accuracy. The dough should be soft, sticky, glossy, stretchy and slightly warm.
Divide into 8 portions, about 80 grams each using a digital scale, and double wrap in pop-up foil (10-inch by 12-inch) or single wrap in cut pieces of heavy-duty foil (10-inch by 12-inch).
To do this, place a portion of dough on the foil and press and stretch the dough into a rough sausage shape about 6-inches long. Don’t worry about shaping perfectly – the foil when do this when rolled and twisted. Roll into a cylinder shape and twist the ends tightly to seal.
Pressure Cooker (e.g., Instant Pot)
1. Add a few cups of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker and place the wrapped dough on a trivet. Pressure-cook on high for 30 minutes.
2. Unplug or turn unit off and set timer for another 30 minutes. During this time the pressure will naturally release. Even if the safety valve pin drops, allow the 30 minutes to complete – do not force the pin down. Open unit and remove wrappers.
3. Allow to cool and then refrigerate in their wrappers until completely chilled until firm before unwrapping and heating and serving. Since the franks are hand-wrapped they will be somewhat rustic in appearance with surface imperfections – but nonetheless delicious.
4. Brown the Ballparks in an oiled, non-stick skillet or oiled grill grate; reheat in a steamer; or gently simmer in enough water to cover. Serve with your favorite condiments.
Conventional Steamer (steamer basket inside cooking pot)
1. Steam over rapidly boiling water for 1 hour. Hot water may need to be added during cooking time to compensate for evaporation. Do not let the pot boil dry!
2. Open pot and remove wrappers. Allow to cool and then refrigerate in their wrappers until completely chilled until firm before unwrapping and heating and serving. Since the franks are hand-wrapped they will be somewhat rustic in appearance with surface imperfections – but nonetheless delicious.
3. Brown the Ballparks in an oiled, non-stick skillet or oiled grill grate; reheat in a steamer; or gently simmer in enough water to cover. Serve with your favorite condiments.
Ballparks - Vegan Franks
Hard Shreddin’ Chedda’ is a hard, golden block cheese with a mild cheddar cheese flavor. It’s ideal as a cold-snacking cheese. Slices are wonderful for serving on crackers or cold sandwiches. It’s also ideal for shredding as a topping for tacos and other Mexican cuisine, when melting isn’t necessary. When shredded and stirred into hot high-moisture foods, or covered with a sauce and heated, it melts moderately well.
Homemade soy or almond milk yogurt is used in this cheese to impart a natural cultured aroma and flavor that cannot be achieved using commercial lactic acid powder alone. However, for the sake of convenience, you can replace the yogurt with additional plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk and ½ tsp lactic acid powder. If you have commercial vegan cheddar cheese flavor on hand, add a teaspoon or two to the mixture when blending (strictly optional).
This cheese is very easy to prepare since it does not rely upon stirring or emulsification during cooking; and you will never experience a broken emulsion or a block that does not set and firm properly! It also does not rely upon gels for firming and is therefore free of carrageenan or agar.
The cheese can also be seasoned with additional ingredients to create interesting flavor combinations. Ingredients might include a teaspoon or two of prepared horseradish or hot pepper sauce blended into the liquid mixture before cooking. Dried herbs, spices and low moisture ingredients such as crushed peppercorns, chopped sun-dried tomato, dehydrated garlic, dried minced onion and/or chives, red pepper flakes, etc., can be stirred into the mixture just before cooking.
For this recipe you will need a flexible silicone form/cheese mold that will hold a minimum of 2 cups liquid. Avoid using a metal or Pyrex™ container because the cheese will be very hard after chilling and difficult to remove. Do not use a plastic form as it will not be able to withstand the cooking temperature. You will also need a cooking pot with a lid and an open steamer basket for steaming the cheese in the mold.
- ¾ cup refined coconut oil, melted (not virgin coconut oil)
- ½ cup unstrained soymilk or almond milk yogurt, room temperature
- ½ cup plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, room temperature
- ½ cup tapioca flour/starch
- ¼ cup unmodified potato starch or corn starch
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 and ¾ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
- optional additional high-moisture ingredients, such as prepared horseradish, liquid smoke or hot pepper sauce (2 teaspoons maximum)
- optional additional low-moisture ingredients (2 tablespoons maximum)
Add water to the pot, but just below the bottom of the steamer basket, and place over high heat to bring the water to a boil.
Process all ingredients, including any optional high moisture ingredients, in a blender until very smooth. If adding herbs and spices, stir them in after blending.
Transfer to the cheese mold and rap the mold gently on a firm surface to settle the mixture and remove any air bubbles.
Place the uncovered mold into the steamer basket. Place the basket into the pot over the boiling water and cover with the lid. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
Remove the mold from the steamer and allow to cool about 1 hour. The cheese mixture will have a puffy appearance but will settle upon cooling. If steam condensation has settled on the surface of the cheese, or any oil has pooled, very gently blot with a paper towel to remove it (a shiny oily appearance is fine).
The cheese will be very sticky until fully chilled and hardened. It will also have a translucent appearance but will become opaque upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until hardened. This will take upwards of 12 hours with 24 hours being ideal.
Remove the cheese from the flexible silicone form. Slice or shred the block as desired. Wrap in a dry paper towel and store airtight in the refrigerator. Change the towel every few days. Stored properly, the cheese will last for weeks.
Hard Shreddin’ Chedda’ (Non-Dairy)
A savory dip made from scratch with caramelized onions and leeks. Serve with crudités, chips or crackers. This recipe yields about 2 and ½ cups.
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 large sweet yellow onion, peeled
• 1 medium leek, white and light green part only
• 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
• 1 T tamari, soy sauce, tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce
• ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper, or more taste
• ¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
• 1 cup non-dairy sour cream
• 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
• sea salt or kosher salt to taste, if needed
• chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Slice the onions very thin (a mandoline is very helpful) and then chop. Split the leek lengthwise; rinse well to remove any sand and then thinly slice crosswise into “half-moons”.
Add the olive oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden.
Add the garlic, tamari, Worcestershire, black pepper and thyme and continue to sauté until the vegetables are very soft and nicely caramelized. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until chilled.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the caramelized onion and leek mixture with the sour cream and mayonnaise and mix well. Taste and add salt as needed and additional pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill to blend the flavors. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving if desired.
French Onion and Leek Dip
Ingredients for the Salad
• crumbled non-dairy Feta
(from my Nuts about Almonds Cookbook or Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook)
• mixed greens of your choice*
• pomegranate seeds
• orange segments
• chopped walnuts, raw or lightly toasted
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Dressing
• 1 and ½ cup pomegranate juice
• 1 cup olive oil
• ¼ cup champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar
• 2 T minced shallot or red onion
• ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
*Baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard and mizuna were used for the photo.
For the dressing, simmer the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan until reduced to approximately ¼ cup. Cool and chill until ready to make the dressing.
Add the pomegranate reduction and the remaining dressing ingredients to a shaker jar and shake until emulsified. Chill thoroughly. Shake the jar thoroughly again before using.
Arrange the salad ingredients on individual plates and drizzle with the dressing; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mediterranean Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
The Festive Sharp White Cheddar Cheese Logs are made with my recipe and technique for Sharp White Cheddar Amandine from my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook (available through this website), but rather than using toasted almonds for the crust, the cheese logs were rolled in a mixture of finely chopped dried cranberries and crushed toasted walnuts for the first log, and then freeze-dried chives and minced red onion for the second log. The colors and flavors make a nice holiday cheese plate presentation. Serve with your favorite crackers.