Carrot lox is delicious on a toasted bagel, piled high with vegan cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced red onion and fresh dill. The salt-baked method used in this recipe creates an incredible texture similar to salmon lox. This vegan smoked salmon recipe will definitely liven up your brunch plans!
How to Make Smoked Carrot Lox
Smoked carrot lox is made by salt-baking whole, unpeeled carrots in a 375-degree oven for an hour and a half. During this time, the salt hardens and creates a shell around the carrots, locking in moisture and promoting even cooking. When the bake time is complete, the carrots will have a soft, silky texture. The salt does not act as a seasoning here—think of it as more of a cooking vessel!
Once you’ve salt-baked your carrots, you have a couple of more steps to go. Hang in there. It’s sooooo worth it. Let them cool, then crack away all of the salt, brushing it off as best you can with your hands. Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler (it’s tedious but, again, worth it!), then slice very thinly, like salmon lox.
How to Make the Marinade
This marinade has three ingredients: olive oil, liquid smoke and an acid. I use coconut vinegar because it has a slight buttery undertone, but apple cider vinegar works as well. Place the sliced carrots into the marinade for at least two days (I know!) but it’s worth the wait. During this time, the acid gently cooks the carrots, the liquid smoke infuses into the carrots then mellows, while the olive oil adds to its soft and silky texture.
This method isn’t difficult. It just takes time, which is mostly passive. After a few days, you’ll have a big batch of vegan lox that you can pile onto a bagel and shove into your face or share with friends. This has become my go-to recipe for brunches and I love it for its simplicity. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!
This Plant-Based Lox is Delicious and Versatile
This carrot lox isn’t just for bagels. I’ve used it in sushi recipes, like this spicy carrot and avocado sushi roll. If you want to skip the bagel, this vegan lox is also great in this Japanese-style breakfast bowl.
How I Developed this Smoked Carrot Lox Recipe
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, I was content with simply slathering vegan cream cheese onto a bagel and topping with red onion and capers instead.
Following the same slow, salt-roasting technique I recently did with golden beets, I used carrots to see what would happen. I found that a vegan version of lox was easy to recreate, although it took a few tries. After making several test batches, I discovered that the secret to getting that lox-y quality is to marinate the carrots for two or three days after salt-baking them. They develop an impossibly soft and velvety texture during this time, and the smoke flavor mellows to a perfect level.
Can I Reuse the Salt After Baking the Carrots?
Absolutely! Just discard any really hard pieces and break up the rest. Store in a airtight container and use again for your next batch.
More Recipes that Use this Vegan Smoked Salmon!
Hungry for more recipes that use this plant-based lox? These recipes are great for brunch and beyond.
- These Carrot Lox Crackers are great for entertaining! I used this vegan carrot salmon on crackers, but you can also use serve on toasted baguettes with cream cheese and herbs or microgreens!
- This Vegan Lox is also perfect for bagels. The best part about this carrot salmon lox is a batch of it makes several servings, making it a great idea for a crowd, or for yourself throughout the week!
- I love this Spicy Carrot Lox Sushi! This vegan sushi has a little kick of heat from sriracha and a rich creaminess from avocado. Check out my sushi rolling tutorial here … it’s so easy and fun!
- This Japanese-Style Breakfast Bowl is a great dish for using up leftover rice. The smokiness of the vegan carrot salmon, the cold rice, seaweed and furikake work so well together!
- Making this Carrot Lox-Stuffed Ravioli is a labor of love, but so fun if you want to spend some time making ravioli and fill it in a unique way. The vegan lemon ricotta and dill are so nice!
- Total Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups
- Diet: Vegan
This carrot lox recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch. Pile this plant-based lox onto a toasted bagel and enjoy! Use this smoked carrot lox in place of salmon-based lox for a vegan seafood option. Use this salt-baking method to develop a silky texture and create this three-ingredient marinade to soften and infuse a smoky flavor into the carrots.
for the smoked carrot lox
- 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
- toasted bagels
- vegan cream cheese
- minced red onion
- fresh dill
- Preheat oven to 375.
- To salt bake 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.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 90 minutes
- Category: Vegan Seafood
Keywords: vegan lox, vegan smoked salmon, vegan carrot lox, smoked carrot lox, carrot lox vegan, carrot salmon lox, plant-based lox, vegan lox
Unfortunately this recipe didn’t work for me the first time around. I cooked it as directions stated, but in my counter top convection oven. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. But it ended up over cooking the carrots making the texture mushy and making it impossible to thinly slice on my mandolin slicer. I agree with another reviewer that the Colgin hickory was a bit too strong and I’d opt for another smoke flavor next time. Otherwise, the marinade was perfect. I added a touch of maple syrup and a bit less oil. My husband and I agreed that next time we’ll skip baking the carrots but instead thinly slice them raw, then put them in our wood pellet smoker for a short period to cook and infuse the smokiness, then marinade. I like another reviewers idea of adding nori for a bit of fishy flavor and will figure out how to incorporate that, even if I simply sprinkle some on right before serving.
This looked SO delicious that I rushed out to buy carrots and a LOT of salt. Followed the recipe exactly and put it in the fridge.
I know that it won’t taste like fish, but I didn’t expect it to taste so much like carrot. Never mind, it added a beautiful smokiness to a vegetable soup and also a caramelised leek and potato dish.
Hi Erin, can’t wait to make this! Would it be a terrible idea to marinate for just 24 hours? I was hoping to make this for a dinner party and I am late to the 2-day mark! xoxo
Hi Nayla, 24 hours may soften them up just enough, but you may not get that perfect “loxy” texture. Good luck!
Paul Sirotta says
I have created a recipe for vegan lox using strips of steamed (15 minutes) red cabbage. It’s much easier to handle, less fragile, and fairly tasteless before marinating. My marinade is a blend of ground Nori, capers, red palm oil, demerara sugar, coconut vinegar, water, sea salt, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and red food dye, all pureed in a blender. I marinade in a large plastic jar for at least 48 hours in the fridge, turning daily, then strain and rinse off before storing covered in the fridge.. It has a very light seafood taste and excellent texture, very near to Nova Lox.