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Natural Awakenings - Alachua, Citrus, Marion, Sumter Co & The Villages, FL

Plant-Based Barbeque for Gut Health

July and barbecue go together like hot dog and bun. For this BBQ season, change it up a little to create a meat-free option that is not only delicious, but healthy and nutritious. There is truth to the quote by Sherry A. Rogers: “The road to health is paved with good intestines!” Gut health has been researched for decades and studies have shown that the way we eat influences not only the health of our gut, but all of our other body systems.


Eating a plant-based diet rich in fiber, fresh produce, whole grains and legumes, and adding foods with probiotics while reducing processed foods, animal products and sugar and staying hydrated have all been shown to improve gut health.


This recipe is created with all those principles in mind. Whole wheat buns, potato skin and baked beans provide lots of fiber plus B vitamins and minerals. Potatoes and beans are also a great source of protein, and by using fresh carrots instead of meat dogs, we eliminate unhealthy processed foods and saturated fats and add vitamin A and antioxidants. Serving vegetable skewers with fresh herbs as a flavorful side dish adds more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that helps the gut and immune system.


Using plant-based yogurt instead of mayonnaise for the potato salad adds probiotics while eliminating saturated fats, and topping the dogs with sauerkraut adds another dose of healthy natural probiotics to the plate. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep things moving through the intestines, as well.


Carrot Dogs with Potato Salad, Grilled Vegetable Skewers and Baked Beans

Yields 4 servings


Potato Salad


4-6 potatoes, unpeeled

4 Tbsp plain non-dairy yogurt (choose soy or almond milk with active live cultures)

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

2 scallions

1 bunch chives

Fresh herbs

½ tsp paprika

Salt and pepper


Bring water in a pot to boil, wash and drain the unpeeled potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, and add to the boiling water. Cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until soft, then drain.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika and maple syrup, add the washed and chopped scallion, chives, and herbs.

Add the potatoes to the bowl and mix well.


Baked Beans


1 can pinto beans or navy beans
¼ cup vegetable broth

1 onion

2 loves garlic

½ jalapeno

1 can tomato paste

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp chili powder

Salt and pepper


Peel and chop the onion and garlic, wash and chop the jalapeño. In a pan, add 2 Tbsp of water, onion and garlic and sauté until it starts to brown.

Add jalapeño, vegetable broth, tomato paste, and maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and chili powder, stir well.

Drain the cooked beans, add to the pan, mix well then transfer to a baking dish. Cover the beans with foil and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until sauce has reduced to perfection.


Carrot Dogs


1 cup vegetable broth

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp mustard

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 Clove fresh garlic minced,

4 Carrots, washed and peeled

4 Whole-wheat hot dog buns

1 Jar of sauerkraut


In a bowl, combine the mustard, apple cider, soy sauce, maple syrup, vegetable broth, paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, pepper and minced garlic.

Wash and drain the carrots and cut them to size to fit the buns, then boil in water until just about done, but make sure they are not too soft. Place the carrots into a baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Let marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Grill the marinated carrots for a few minutes and rotate for even browning.


Option: Instead of grilling the carrot dogs, they can be prepared in the oven. Don’t boil the carrots but cover them with the marinade in an oven dish and bake at 450° F for about 90 minutes or until just tender.

Cover the baking dish for 45 minutes with foil ,then remove the foil for the rest of the time while baking. Flip from time to time and spoon the marinade over the carrots a few times.

Serve the carrot dogs on whole wheat buns with sauerkraut and add mustard, garlic aioli, spicy ketchup, BBQ sauce or other favorite toppings.


Grilled Vegetable Skewers


Favorite veggies (squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower)

Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)

1 Tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper


Wash and drain veggies, cut into bite-sized pieces and put them on skewers.

Wash the herbs and chop them into tiny pieces.

Brush the veggies lightly with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs and grill to perfection.


Serve the dogs together with the potato salad, grilled vegetable skewers and a side of baked beans.


Recipes courtesy of  Eliane Baggenstos, RN, LMT, owner of bodono Health Coaching and Massage Therapy, in Ocala. For more information, call 352-559-9355, email [email protected] or visit