My love for the vegan chili dog runs deep. Spicy chili smothering a frankfurter along with crunchy pickle, diced onion, and a swirling of mustard is one of my beloved comfort foods. It traces its roots for me to a pick-up truck in a parking lot at four years old, but in a way, it goes back further.
There was a chili place in Des Moines where my mom and grandpa used to go. Sadly, her dad passed away before I had a chance to know him, but my mom told me stories about it often when I was a kid. With outdoor speakers for every parking space, their chili dogs were brought outside to them, while they sat in the car.
By the time I was alive, the place was rundown with an old light-up sign advertising “drive thru” as if that was a unique feature. (And at one time, it was.) But I liked to imagine it in its heyday, like some kind of 1950’s fueled dream, when sitting in your car eating wasn’t out of necessity, but rather, it was a social affair. I imagined girls in poodle skirts and guys in letterman jackets, hanging out by their cars and listening to bee-bop music while they noshed on chili dogs.
Vegan chili dog pizza
Today I’ve taken those chili dogs of yesteryear, and served them in pizza form.
The idea was borne out of a recent trip with friends to a local pizza place. The restaurant had a Chicago dog pizza on their specials menu with toppings of mayo, mustard, relish, and a layer of potato chips. It sounded kind of interesting or kind of gross. A friend ordered it, and sadly, it was the latter. While he nauseously tucked in to his pizza, we all brainstormed how that idea could become a winner. It was out of that discussion that the idea for a vegan chili dog pizza was sparked.
Antithetical to the Chicago dog pizza, this vegan chili dog pizza is downright crave-worthy.
This vegan chili dog pizza is topped with the 3 bean chili I shared last week. It is then dotted with a veggie dog that has been sliced and browned. (Field Roast frankfurters are easily my preferred veggie dog, but if you have a favorite, use that instead.)
You can adorn the pizza before serving with diced onion, pickles, and swirls of yellow mustard. (Those are my go-to toppings.) Or you can let guests top their pizzas with their favorite coney toppings like sauerkraut or non-dairy cheese. It’s your call!
The base of this pizza is a Vicolo cornmeal crust. I always have them in the freezer for pizza emergencies. (They come two to a pack, and so you could easily double this recipe if you have a family of four.) The cornmeal crust works so beautifully with the chili. It’s like having chili and cornbread, but in the shape of pizza. You couldn’t ask for a better match.
One final word of advice: You may want to wait until after you’ve finished eating to put on your poodle skirt or letterman jacket. Things could get messy.