Salmon lox was one of those things that I used to eat a lot of as a pescetarian and think, “nope, never going to stop” as I piled it over a bagel smothered in cream cheese and topped with red onion and capers. I loved seeing pieces of if drenched in cream-based sauces over pasta, and dug into boxes of it during the holidays. Whenever I went to a deli, I always ordered a salmon lox bagel. The smoke, the salt, the texture—everything about it just worked.
But when I went vegan, that yum turned into an ew and I was content with simply slathering vegan cream cheese onto a bagel and topping with red onion and capers instead. Because how can something so specifically textured and flavored like salmon lox be made vegan?
Following the same slow, salt-roasting technique I recently did with golden beets, a vegan version of lox was easy to recreate, although it took a few tries. The one thing I discovered through making several test batches is that the secret to getting that lox-y quality is to marinate them for two or three days after slow-roasting them. They develop an impossibly soft and velvety texture during this time, and the smoke flavor mellows to a perfect level.
Yield 1 1/2 cups
This delicious and easy-to-make vegan lox is made from carrots!
- 2 cups coarse sea salt, plus more if needed
- 3 large carrots (do not peel them)
- 1 TB olive oil*
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut vinegar
- vegan cream cheese
- minced red onion
- fresh dill
- Preheat oven to 375.
- To slow roast the carrots, place one cup of coarse sea salt into a glass pyrex that offers just enough room to accommodate the length and width of the carrots so you can keep them whole. Rinse the unpeeled carrots and place them wet into the salt, making sure that the carrots are nestled in the salt and do not make contact with the bottom of the pyrex. Pour about another whole cup of salt evenly over the tops, adding a bit more as needed to ensure they are fully covered in salt.
- Place into the oven to roast, uncovered, for an hour and a half.
- Once done, tip the pyrex over onto a baking sheet and allow the carrots to cool just enough that you can handle them. Crack away and brush off any salt, then peel away the skin. It’s fine if there is still some skin left on the carrot. Then, using a mandolin or sharp knife, finely chop the carrots into jagged, thin strips. Place into a clean glass container.
- To marinate the carrots, whisk together the olive oil, liquid smoke and coconut vinegar. (If you have a little more or little less than 1 1/2 cups carrot, just add a little more or less of the liquid components as needed.)
- Drizzle over the warm carrots and toss well to coat. At this point, the flavor will not taste very “lox like”—they will need to be placed in the refrigerator for at least two days to allow the flavor to deepen and mellow, and for the carrots to get really soft and silky.
- *If the carrots start to look dry during marinating time, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and give it a good stir. (You want the carrots to look soft and slightly shiny throughout the marinating time.)
- When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and allow the carrots to come to room temperature, then serve with toasted bagels, capers, vegan cream cheese, red onion and fresh sprigs of dill as desired.