The Sonoran dog is like no other.

A Tucson specialty, this isn’t your ordinary frank. It’s delicately wrapped in bacon and grilled until it’s crispy. It is then stuffed into a split-top roll called a bolillo — often made in Mexican bakeries — and topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, grilled and raw onions, mayonnaise, mustard and jalapeño salsa. A roasted chile güero (a pale pepper) is typically served on the side.

However, NOTHING about the Sonoran dog screams “vegan!” to you at first glance. I mean… first of all, there’s the hot dog itself. Did I mention it’s wrapped in bacon, of all things?

Then… you’ve got the toppings. Sure, tomatoes and onions and pinto beans are typically veg-friendly… but mayonnaise? On a hot dog? That’s enough to send any veg-head running for the hills.

Luckily, we live in a day and age where you can find a vegan alternative to pretty much anything. Vegan hot dogs are a regular visitor in our house (especially since my kiddos LOVE pigs in a blanket!), and our fave hot dog brand Lightlife makes both vegan franks AND vegan bacon.

Unfortunately, in the process of going plant-based, this vegan bacon loses it wrap-ability. We try to keep a minimal waste kitchen, so I very rarely have toothpicks on-hand. If you’ve got ’em, I’d recommend using them to keep the bacon tightly wrapped around your hot dogs.

Alternatively, you can also use metal skewers if you’ve got them lying around.

I was feelin’ a little lazy on the day I made these Sonoran dogs so instead of making salsa from scratch, I opted for this store-bought jalapeno and cilantro salsa from Frontera. It’s got the perfect combination of flavor and spice… but not too spicy. This one’s definitely kid-friendly.

While I saved time opting for pre-made salsa, I did spend a longer amount of time making the perfect caramelized onions. This is a process that can’t be rushed… and if you try, you’ll be able to tell with the first bite. I’ve outlined how I like to perfect my grilled onions in this recipe post.

When we make vegan Sonoran dogs, we almost NEVER have leftovers. In the off-chance that you’ve got some extra pinto beans or caramelized onions lying around after you feast, store them in an air-tight contained in the fridge and use them in the next day’s breakfast scramble. Yum!

Vegan Sonoran Dogs

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5 people


  • 1 package of Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (5 hot dogs)
  • 1 package of Lightlife Smart Bacon (5 oz.)
  • 1 14-oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. caramelized onions
  • 1/2 c. diced raw onions
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • Salsa of choice
  • Mustard and mayonnaise for dressing
  • Buns of choice


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While your oven is preheating, wrap your vegan hot dogs with your vegan bacon. Consider using toothpicks or metal skewers to keep the bacon tightly wrapped around your franks.
  3. Bake your bacon-wrapped dogs for at least 5 minutes (recommended 7-8 minutes). The longer you bake, the crispier the bacon will be once cooled.
  4. Place bacon-wrapped franks in buns and dress with toppings of choice. Traditional Sonoran dogs include pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, grilled and raw onions, mayonnaise, mustard and jalapeno salsa.