This vegan lox is velvety and soft, with a texture very similar to salmon lox. It’s made from carrots that have been salt-baked to create a very unique texture, then bathed in a smoky marinade for a couple of days. It’s perfect on a toasted bagel piled high with vegan cream cheese, capers and red onion. Drape it over toasted crostini, crackers or on puff pastry. This carrot lox is great for a lazy brunch or in a fancy appetizer!
Back in 2015, I created this vegan carrot lox recipe. Since then, I’ve tweaked and made it tons of times. This vegan lox makes a great breakfast, brunch or a late-night bite! It won’t really fool anyone into thinking it’s actual salmon lox, and that’s not really the intent. It’s delicious on its own and a playful way to use carrots.
What is vegan lox and what is it made from?
This vegan lox recipe involves salt-baking, peeling and marinating carrots. The baking and marinating involves almost no active time, but requires some patience. The peeling is a bit tedious, but once you get the hang of it, it goes quicker each time!
What is salt-baking?
I use “baking” here instead of “roasting” because roasting takes place at temps 400 degrees and above. Salt-baking is a technique that involves packing salt around ingredient (in this case, rinsed, whole, unpeeled carrots) completely with salt. They are then baked for an hour and a half in a 375-degree oven, which creates a hard shell around each carrot. The salt holds moisture in during the baking process which helps cook the carrots evenly and creates a firm yet tender texture.
Won’t the carrots get salty during the bake time?
No. Because the carrots are baked unpeeled, the salt does not actually penetrate through to the carrots. The salt is not a seasoning here … it’s more of a cooking vessel! Once the bake time is complete and the carrots have been removed from the salt, simply brush it away, then peel them. It’s a little bit tedious, but totally worth the effort to make the perfect salmon lox!
Marinating the carrots
Once the carrots are peeled and cut as thinly as possible, they go into a marinade for a few days. The marinade is made by whisking olive oil, liquid smoke and an acid (like apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar). The acid gently cooks the carrot lox, while the liquid smoke infuses it with a smoky flavor and the olive oil adds to its silky texture.
Recipes that use this carrot lox
Carrot lox stuffed and fried ravioli
Spicy Carrot Lox and Avocado SushiPrint
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups
- Diet: Vegan
Vegan lox … serve with cashew cream cheese on toasted bagels with capers, mandolined red onion and fresh dill This carrot lox is easy to make and super versatile!
- 2 cups coarse sea salt, plus more if needed
- 3 large or 5 medium-sized carrots (do not peel them)
- 1 TB olive oil*
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut vinegar (or sub with apple cider vinegar)
- 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.
Make your own cultured cashew cheese!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 90 minutes
- Category: Breakfast, Brunch
- Method: Salt Baked, Marinated
- Cuisine: Jewish
Keywords: vegan lox, carrot lox
Hi Erin, I want to try this as soon as possible – looks absolutely heavenly and delicious. I cannot get coconut vinegar, what would be a good substitute?
Christine, apple cider vinegar can be subbed here — I just updated the recipe to include. I hope you enjoy!
School Night Vegan says
Nearly scrolled right past this recipe because it looks SO much like real salmon! You’ve nailed this mate! Do you reckon it would work for sashimi too? Maybe with some tweaks to the seasoning?
Thank you! Yes, this lox also works well in sushi/sashimi … pairs great with avocado and/or vegan furikake.
Hi Erin, what a great recipe! Have you tried to bake without the salt? How important is it?
Marieta, without the salt, this would just create mushy baked carrots. Think of the salt here as a sort of cooking vessel — it creates an awesome texture without infusing any salt into the carrots (which is why it’s important to not peel them). If you try the recipe, I hope you enjoy!
I was wondering if it is possible to reuse the salt for future recipes? Or do you usually just throw the salt away after?
Hi Mary, yes I have broken up the salt and reused it for other batches of lox. Other readers have used it as a smokey salt/seasoning in other dishes.
Delicious! To be honest, I used to be skeptical about vegan food. But some vegan blogs, including yours, help me to see that there are so many amazing recipes, and this pleasantly surprise me. My sister-in-law doesn’t eat animal food, so I always rack my brains about what to cook when she comes.
This vegan lox looks rather natural. I hope, its taste is close to that of a real salmon.
Thank you for sharing this recipe and for your work in general, Erin! Added to bookmarks, of course.
Anna, thanks so much for your very kind comment … I’m so happy you’ve stopped by, and hope you enjoy the recipes!
Thanks for the recipe. I have tried a few, but this is by far the best. I added a hand full dill to and served with vegan blinis – perfect combination.
So happy you enjoyed, Lilly … love the idea of serving the lox with blinis!
I LOVE this vegan lox! I make it all the time, and the hardest part is waiting the 2 days for the carrots to soak up all that flavor. I’ll admit, I’ve eaten it before the time was up, haha. It’s still good, but giving it more time to soak is definitely better. I usually save the salt and reuse it 1 to 2 more times. Thanks for crafting such an amazing recipe!
I love this recipe! I’ve made it a couple times and love pairing it with TJ’s everything bagels, homemade cultured cashew cream cheese and all the fixings!
I use the cheapy Wright’s mesquite liquid smoke, but am curious to try another brand. I’ve found that I’m good with 1tsp or else it tastes artificial.
This time, I’ve added sea-seasonings kelp granules in the hopes it will impart a nice fishy flavor.
Lacey N says
I am not vegan, but trying to eat more plant powered. I love this recipe and have made it twice now. In my opinion it is even better than the salmon version because it is less fishy. Really really delicious!
Katrin Baetz says
My husband made this for my birthday and it was incredible! Great texture and flavor. If you used to love lox (like I did before eating entirely plant based), you will LOVE this! We had it on fresh baguette with vegan cream cheese and capers; so good! Thank you for posting these incredible recipes.
Enid Hart Boasberg says
I absolutely love this recipe! I make a spread out of it using homemade vegan cream cheese, capers and chopped red onion. Put it on a toasted bagel or really dark bread and it’s to die for! I made it for the vegan potlucks I used to go to before the pandemic. Now I just eat it by myself. Sigh. Thanks so much for all of your creative recipes. I first discovered you on a visit to my son in Finland.
Enid, I’m so happy you liked the lox! Thanks for sharing with friends in the Beforetimes and sad that we’re all eating stuff alone now. : ( Finland is one of my dream places to visit … for now, I’ll just be looking at beautiful photos of it.
I couldn’t stop eating this lox, I put it on everything. Delicious! Will be making this again.
I love to hear that, I love putting it on everything too! Thanks for your kind feedback.
Devin Orrell says
Absolutely love this recipe! This definitely takes that longing of actual smoked salmon away! I use this recipe in homemade sushi, breakfast burritos with tofu scramble, this is a must make recipe! It even fooled my dad, who thinks being plant-based is gross!! Now he asks that I make this for him about once a month! I probably make this way too much but it is sooo good!!
Devin, I’m so happy that you are able to use the lox in so many different ways! Thanks for your kind feedback.