Hot dogs are the ultimate summer food, but they tend to be unhealthy, especially when eaten on white bread buns. But buns aren’t the only way you can enjoy a frank—you just have to get a little creative in the kitchen. You can totally make hot dogs a bit more healthy just by nixing the bun and opting for a more unique recipe.
Whether you’ve got a ton of hot dogs left over from your backyard barbecue or you’re just looking for healthier ways to enjoy your food, here are seven no-bun hot dog recipes to try this summer.
1. “Green Style” Hot Dog
If you’re trying to ditch carbs all together, your best bet is to eat your hot dog in a lettuce “bun.” This recipe uses a romaine leaf, but you can also opt for collard greens, butter lettuce, cabbage and more. Because you can still pick up the lettuce leaf, it allows you to load up your dog with all your favorite toppings.
Recipe: Grill Girl
2. Pig In Ponchos
This play on Pigs In A Blanket is inspired by Mexican cuisine. Instead of using buns or crescent rolls, you wrap your hot dogs in a tortilla instead. This ends up being less carbohydrate-filled than a hot dog bun, but it still allows you to pick up your hot dog and eat it in a more traditional way. Plus, you get to fill it up with goodies such as beans, cheese, salsa and chili.
Recipe: Taste Of Home
3. Hot Dog Tacos
No buns on hand? Try a taco shell instead. You can load up your “tacos” with traditional hot dog toppings for a more crunchy entree, or you can go the fusion route and load on some cheese, guacamole and jalapeños instead.
Recipe: Self-Proclaimed Foodie
4. Hot Dog Fried Rice
If you’re avoiding bread completely, you’ll want to try this Hot Dog Fried Rice. Just slice your hot dogs up and serve them over a bed of frozen fried rice or a rice dish of your own. This meal works particularly well if you’re serving the family or if you want to make your franks go a long way.
Recipe: Ready Set Eat
5. Hot Dog Salad
To really go the healthy route, your best option is adding your hot dog to a salad. This Chicago-style dish is loaded with greens, onions, pickles, and banana peppers to make it feel as if you’re eating your normal hot dog on a bun without having to ingest all those empty calories from the white bread.
6. Cheesy Cloud Buns
Giving up a bun can seem blasphemous to hot dog aficionados, but these cheesy cloud buns are the next best thing. They are low-carb, since they’re made with mostly eggs, but they look and feel like they could be real hot dog buns. However, they’re much higher in protein and don’t contain any refined flour.
Recipe: Sugar Free Mom
7. Zucchini Hot Dog
What can zucchini not do? First it replaced noodles; now it can replace a bun. Slice your squash in half and sandwich a hot dog in between for a low-carb, veggie-filled hot dog bun substitute. You can bake the zucchini beforehand to soften it, or you can just eat it raw. Either way, it makes for a much more guilt-free meal.
Recipe: My Zucchini Recipes