Summer weekends are nothing short of a grill lover's dream. After all, nothing says sunny weather and longer days better than grilled 'dogs, burgers and sausage sandwiches.
However, if you're on a plant-based diet (aka flexitarian) and still want to enjoy some grilled fare, trust that vegan hot dogs will satisfy your tastebuds with the festive flavors you love — without skimping out on protein.
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At the same time, shopping for the best plant-based sausages may be confusing, considering there are so many different options available.
How We Chose
To narrow down your search, we tapped several dietitians to break down what to look for when choosing plant-based sausages and share the best ones to buy. We chose these products based on the following criteria:
- Protein content
- Other ingredients
Below, you'll find dietitian-approved plant-based hot dogs to make this weekend your tastiest one yet.
1. Very Good Butchers Apple & Sage Bangers
Per one link: 190 calories, 4.5 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 390 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates (5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 2 grams added sugar), 27 grams protein.
"Just one link provides 27 grams of protein and a mere 4.5 grams of fat," says dietitian Trista Best, RD. "This plant-based sausage is also unique in that it provides 15 percent of our daily iron needs, another important nutrient for vegan dieters to ensure they take in."
Buy it: Verygoodbutchers.com; Price: $8.49
2. Beyond Sausage Brat Original
Per one cooked link: 190 calories, 12 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 500 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 16 grams protein.
This hot dog is relatively low in calories yet provides plenty of nutrients, says Dr. Avena. "It offers 22 percent of your daily value of iron and only has 190 calories per serving. It also has way less saturated fat than that of pork sausage."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99
3. Field Roast Smoked Apple & Sage Plant-Based Sausages
Per one sausage: 220 calories, 8 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 560 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates (0 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 23 grams protein.
"This sausage provides 23 grams of protein per serving," says dietitian Mary-Catherine LaBossiere, RD, MPH. "This option has no added sugars, although it should be noted that one serving provides nearly 600 milligrams of sodium." Be sure to drink plenty of water along with it, to help offset the salt.
4. Lightlife Plant-Based Italian Sausage
Per one cooked link: 210 calories, 15 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 500 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbohydrates (2 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, <1 gram added sugar), 14 grams protein.
"This pick has 14 grams of protein, 25 percent of your daily value of iron and has no GMOs, soy or gluten," Dr. Avena says. "These sausages are really good for anyone who does not eat meat, as well as those who have additional dietary restrictions."
5. MorningStar Farms Original Veggie Sausage Patties
Per one patty: 80 calories, 3 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 230 milligrams sodium, 5 grams carbohydrates (2 grams fiber, <1 gram sugar), 9 grams protein.
"This high-quality sausage alternative imitates traditional sausage in taste and texture," Best says. "It only contains 3 grams of fat, none of which is from saturated fat, and 230 milligrams of sodium. Just one patty provides a significant amount of protein at 9 grams and 2 grams of dietary fiber, both of which will keep you feeling full and satisfied."
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $4.18
6. Pure Farmland Plant-Based Breakfast Patties
Per one patty: 80 calories, 5 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 180 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates (1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, <0 grams added sugar), 6 grams protein.
"This brand has developed a gluten-free, plant-based sausage option by foregoing wheat gluten and opting for soy protein concentrate," Best tells us. "With 5 grams of fat and 180 milligrams of sodium per serving, Pure Farmland's nutrient-dense sausage alternative will truly add to your health goals rather than take away from them."
Buy it: Instacart.com; Price: $7.69
Before You Choose a Vegan Hot Dog
Before you go and buy a random vegan hot dog on the shelves at the grocery store, consider these factors:
Too much sodium is a concern in plant-based foods as much as it is in animal foods. "Some plant-based meat alternatives can be high in sodium," says dietitian Holly Klamer, RDN. Most Americans already get too much sodium in their diet."
When you're shopping, be sure to check the nutrition label on your vegan sausage for the amount of sodium. "It might be hard to find, but look for a product that contains less than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving," Best says.
If you're swapping out meat for a vegan sausage alternative, make sure it's got protein.
"Many vegan sausage manufacturers use plant proteins to supplement the protein and mimick the taste traditional meat offers," Best says. "These are either soy protein, pea protein, wheat gluten or a combination of all three." Look for these on the ingredients label, and check the protein on the nutrition facts.
"Plant-based meat is not always 'healthier' than animal meat — it can lack the nutrients meat offers, such as protein, iron and B vitamins," says Dr. Nicole Avena, PhD.
"It is important to choose vegan sausage that still provides a substantial amount of protein and nutrients. Otherwise, you could be eating something that is not all that nutritious."
Another concern with vegan sausage, or any packaged food product, is that it is made with non-nutritive, highly-processed ingredients.
"If the ingredient label has a long list with unfamiliar words, it is probably considered highly processed," Klamer adds. "Choose plant-based sausages that are based on whole foods."
- Sweet Earth: "Chick'n Apple Sausage"
- Lightlife.com: "Plant-Based Italian Sausage"
- Pure Farmland: "Plant-Based Breakfast Patties"
- MorningStarFarms: "Veggie Original Sausage Patties"
- Meatless Farms: "Plant-Based Breakfast Sausage"
- No Evil Foods: "The Stallion"
- Field Roast: "Smoked Apple & Sage Plant-Based Sausages"
- Beyond Meat: "Beyond Sausage Brat Original"