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Vegan Lox Recipe: Plant-Based Smoked Salmon

Vegan Lox
Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia

Soft, smoky, salty, and satisfying — this vegan lox recipe is an excellent no-fish alternative. Made from the humble carrot, it is both affordable and delicious.

Curing, brining, salting, and smoking are all ways to prolong the life of an otherwise easily spoiled food — which was especially useful before refrigeration was invented. Lox and smoked salmon are no different.

Both variations of this popular bagel topping are brined or cured, then smoked salmon goes on to be smoked, while lox is left as is. Smoky and salty, it’s no surprise that both are popular ways to eat salmon. However, the impact that the fish industry has on the environment is substantial. Around half of the fish consumed world wide comes from aqua-farming which impacts wild fish stocks, can pollute the environment and involves the use of chemicals and medicines to control the spread of disease. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that people are reducing or completely cutting out fish from their diet. 

Deciding to choose a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and cruelty free lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the lox, (vegan) cream cheese and bagel brunches. Keep reading to discover how you can enjoy vegan lox without any of the animal cruelty!

Why Make Your Own Vegan Salmon

Vegan fish alternatives are increasing in popularity. Although made from plant-based ingredients like tapioca, glucose, and canola oil, vegan fish alternatives often contain preservatives or use single use packaging. Even though plant-based fish is available in stores across the country, vegan smoked salmon or plant based lox seems to be a little more difficult to source. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution — make your own!

Making your own vegan lox means that you know exactly what it is that you are putting in your body, can make sure that all the ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced, and won’t require any additional packaging. Various recipes for vegan smoked salmon use tofu, beet, or radish — but the ingredient that delivers on texture, taste, and sustainable simplicity is the humble carrot.

Vegan Lox Recipe

Thin ribbons of carrot make an excellent base for vegan lox. Healthy, affordable and with a great ability to soak up all the marinade flavors.
Thin ribbons of carrot make an excellent base for vegan lox. Healthy, affordable and with a great ability to soak up all the marinade flavors.
(Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia)

Some vegan lox recipes involve baking carrots in salt for around 45 minutes. Although tasty, this isn’t the most energy efficient use of an entire oven. This recipe simply cooks the carrots in a marinade for a few minutes and then they continue to cook as it cools. 

Remember to use local and organic products wherever possible in order to limit your impact on the environment. 

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large locally sourced, organic carrots
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3-4 pieces dried kelp
  • ½ a sheet of nori, torn in to pieces
  • 2 tbsp. organic soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. organic rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ⅛ tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. flax oil (a great source of omega-3)
  • 1 tbsp. organic lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Wash the carrots well, but don’t worry about peeling them. 
  2. Using a speed peeler or a mandolin, shave the carrots in to long, wide strips. Make sure that the strips are flexible and not too thick.
  3. Heat one cup of water in a pan and add the kelp. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil (it can go bitter and slimy). Once small bubbles appear, turn off the heat and add the nori sheet. Pour in to a bowl and allow it to steep while you prepare the rest.
  4. Heat the remaining cup of water in the pan and add all the other flavor ingredients. Bring to a boil and add the carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Just enough to nearly cook through without accidentally making soup. Remove from the heat. 
  5. Strain the kelp water back in to the pan and stir. The reserved kelp will store in the fridge for a few days and is a great addition to homemade vegan ramen broth.
  6. Carefully transfer the carrots into a clean jar, and pour the marinade over the top. You want to make sure the carrots are completely covered. The heat will continue to cook them just the right amount for soft, tender salmon.
  7. Once cool, screw on the lid and leave to marinade in the fridge for 1-3 days. Turn upside every now and again to evenly coat all the salmon ribbons.
  8. To serve, gently lift the vegan salmon ribbons out of the marinade with a fork and enjoy.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve on toasted vegan bagels with cashew cream cheese, dill, and capers!
  • Increase your breakfast’s protein content and serve your vegan smoked salmon with some tofu scramble or as a side to vegan hash
  • It would also go great on top of a freshly baked vegan pizza. 

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