The inspiration for this vegan carrot lox recipe initially struck me when I needed a topping for vegan blinis at a plant-based supper club I hosted in London back in 2017.
Fake meats hadn’t yet had their glow up and vegetables were still very much on the menu.
I’m hoping this recipe keeps the love for vegetables alive! Especially since carrots and so versatile and nutritious. And in my opinion, they make a much better salmon alternative than the pre-made vegan salmon you can buy in the supermarket.
The recipe may sound complicated, but I assure you it is really quick and simple! You’ll be making this delicious carrot lox on the regular.
Vegan carrot lox
- 400 g Carrots
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika or Liquid Smoke - see above
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice - approx. 1 Lemon
- 1 Sheet Sushi nori - crumbled
- 4 tsp Agave
- sprig Dill
- Black Pepper
- Heat up your oven to 180 °C
- Grate/slice the carrots to your desired thickness.
- Coat the carrot slices in the salt (use your hands here) and then steam for about 10 minutes, or roughly 5 minutes if grated finely. They should be soft, but still retain a little bite.
- Let the carrots cool before adding it to an oven dish with the rest of the ingredients (except the sushi nori). Rub the ingredients in and then bake for about 15 minutes. A few minutes before you take the carrots out from the oven, stir in the crumbled sushi nori.
- Leave to cool and then put into the fridge until required (it should last for about 3-4 days in the fridge). The flavours develop over time, so the longer you keep it, the better it gets!
Serve on top of a freshly toasted bagel with vegan cream cheese. Garnish with a few capers and a fresh sprig of dill.
What is lox?
‘Lox‘ is a term used to describe the process of curing and smoking a salmon fillet, resulting in a delicately flavoured and richly textured ingredient. Traditionally, lox is thinly sliced and often enjoyed as a topping for a cream cheese bagel.
The allure of lox lies in its distinct combination of saltiness and smokiness, which harmonizes flawlessly with the creamy, velvety texture of the cream cheese. This classic pairing has garnered a devoted following due to its exquisite flavour profile and the indulgent satisfaction it imparts.
This following has now thankfully expanded to the vegan sphere, with the emergence of carrot lox – a vegan smoked salmon. This plant-based version showcases the vibrant orange hues of ‘salmon lox’ and offers a comparable smoky flavour, making it a delightful addition to bagels, salads, sushi rolls, and various other culinary creations.
How do you make carrot lox?
It is possible to recreate the smoky, soft, flakey salmon-style fillet using a simple CARROT. And I am here to show you that vegan smoked salmon is also really easy to make! Typically, curing can be a long process, so I have developed a quick and simple method to produce similar results by first steaming the carrots before marinating them and then baking them.
Here is a short overview of the carrot lox cooking process, alternatively jump straight to the recipe here:
1. Prep the carrots
You will want to start by cutting your carrot into strips. The thickness of these carrot ribbons is up to you and can vary depending on what it is you are using it for – just as long as you adjust the cooking time to suit.
I prefer grating the carrot in long slices to use on the blinis as this creates a much more delicate product. For a more substantial ‘fish’ substitute, I like to use a mandolin with the 3mm setting on it.
2. Steam the carrots
Add your sliced carrots to a steamer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness. You will want to take the crunchy bite out of the carrot whilst maintaining some chew.
3. Add flavour & bake
In this recipe, I highlight the possibility of using either smoked paprika or liquid smoke to create a smokey marinade for the carrots. The smoked paprika I feel is best for salmon lox bagels and the liquid smoke is better at creating a fishier product, e.g. smoked haddock alternative.
You can also use a mix of different ingredients to create a marinade variation that you enjoy eating. For instance, you can try using fresh dill, red onion, maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice or caper brine.
Once you add the flavourings, you will cook them in a baking dish in the oven for about 15 minutes before adding some seaweed. Once baked you will leave it to cool and keep it in the fridge until required.
Just like curing fish, it will get tastier and flakier the longer you leave it before eating!
Now you can serve up your carrot lox and enjoy eating it with a variety of delicious plant-based foods.
Not only does the vegan lox provide a suitable alternative for a salmon bagel or inside a sandwich using this delicious spelt bread loaf, but it also works just as well on a blini and would be great as a fish substitute in many of your old favourite recipes – think paella or fish pie.
How do you store carrot lox?
You can keep your carrot lox in an airtight container inside the fridge for around 3 to 4 days. Throughout this time, the flavourings will build up and create an even smokier more fish-like lox. If you prefer the more delicate flavours then I recommend eating it within the first couple of days.
You can also freeze the carrot lox straight away and it will last for about 2-3 months.
Can you substitute the carrot?
Carrot is a pretty vital ingredient in carrot lox, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try out other vegetables. For example, you can try out a swede lox, which I find resembles haddock so works well in a vegan kedgeree. Alternatively, you can experiment with vegetables like courgette or beetroot, but these won’t end up being quite so fishy.