Carrot lox is delicious. It is really a versatile salmon substitute and imitates the salmon flavor. Vegan lox is a cheaper alternative to smoked salmon. This recipe is low sodium lox, compared to a salt-crusted one.
There are many vegan lox recipes, but this is the easiest and explained step by step, a great recipe for the beginner. This recipe makes a lox that holds together, so it is great for vegan salmon sushi and sandwich cakes.
I also explain in this blog post other ways of making vegan salmon lox. Different preparation styles and from what all ingredients you can make smoked lox.
Ingredients for the smoked salmon carrot
Carrots. You get nice wide slices if you choose big carrots.
Oil. I used extra virgin olive oil, but you can use rapeseed oil also. If you choose flaxseed oil, then you also get omega-3, like from the real salmon. Just make sure the oil is fresh and has not turned bitter.
Vinegar. I recommend apple cider vinegar. White wine vinegar or red wine vinegar will work great also, even rice vinegar. Rice vinegar often is a mix that has some sugar in it, so you don't then necessarily need any additional maple syrup. I like some vinegary taste in my lox, so I used 2 tablespoons, but if you want a more sweet taste, add one tablespoon of vinegar.
Dill. Fresh dill gives a nice taste. Dried dill works also. If you use the carrot lox for decorating, you can leave the dill out or put it in bigger pieces; they are easy to pick out then.
Maple syrup. I like some sweetness, and it balances the vinegar nicely. You can use plain white sugar or other sugars, syrups also.
Salt. Salt is quite essential to the lox flavor. You can use sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or low sodium salt. I recommend the latter. For extra smokiness, use smoked sea salt.
Pepper. My favorite is lemon pepper. Especially if I don't add lemon. I also like pink pepper, which is in the recipe. Black or white pepper will work great also.
Liquid smoke. Applewood smoke aroma is best with carrot lox. I have only found hickory smoke in our stores, so that is what I used. It is very concentrated, so one teaspoon is enough. You can find hickory liquid smoke on amazon. Check below different alternatives.
Additional ingredients. You can add some lemon juice if you like acidity. For some extra "sea" taste, you can crumble half a sheet of nori seaweed in the mixture. I rarely use this because I'm not too fond of the bites' look on the ready product, but this also gives a nice extra flavor.
Also, some alcohol can give a nice taste to the lox. I suggest whisky, brandy, or cognac.
How to choose the right type of liquid smoke for lox?
Liquid smoke comes in different tastes; hickory, mesquite, applewood, and pecan. Liquid smoke is made from distilling smoke, so it tastes like the wood it came from. It can be hard to distinguish these subtle taste tones but choose how strong you want the smoke flavor.
- Mesquite is the strongest, assertive and bold.
- Hickory, pecan, and oak are slightly milder.
- Applewood is lighter and sweeter. This works best with fish and also with vegan lox.
If your lox tastes bitter because of the smoke aroma, then you probably have used too much of it. You can start by adding 2 drops or ½ teaspoon and reflecting how you like it. We like the smoke taste, so 1 teaspoon of hickory is fine for our taste buds. Applewood is great to start with; it has a softer taste. Different brands can also have different nuances in the taste, so another brand's smoke aroma can taste different. Often, the rule of thumb is that a big bottle is less smoky and may be diluted. Tiny bottles are often strong flavored.
Carrot lox without liquid smoke.
You can do this without the liquid smoke. Many people don´t like the smoke taste. Salmon lox also comes in two varieties, smoked and non-smoked. If you don't like the smoke taste, then leave the smoke aroma out. You don't have to replace it with anything.
How to make WFPB lox?
If you follow a whole food plant-based diet, you might want to cut the oil and salt from the lox recipe totally. But what is lox without the salty flavor?
You can replace salt with tamari or soy sauce. Also, white miso mixed in some water will give saltiness. Tamari is very dark, so it alters the color somewhat to a browner tone. You can also choose a salt with less sodium.
Oil is unnecessary, but it gives a nice "salmony" shimmer since real lox is fatty. Replace the oil with some vegetable broth.
How to make vegan lox
Choose 3 big carrots. Also boil 3 litres of water.
Wash and peel your carrots. Cut out the edges.
Peel slices from your carrots. Use a sharp peeler to make 0,5-1 mm thick slices. You can also use a mandolin.
Put your thickest slices in the simmering salted water and boil 2 minutes, then add the thinner ones and boil an additional 2-3 minutes.
When you peeled your carrots you get thick parts from the middle and thinner from the sides. You also end up with the middle part that can not be made into thin slices. You won't use that part. Since the carrot slices are of different thicknesses, they need different cooking times.
Drain your carrots in a strainer. When the slices are soft, you can drain them. Usually, 4-5 minutes of boiling time is perfect. Let them cool down like this for some minutes.
Make the marinade. Chop the fresh dill and mix all ingredients in the bowl where you will put your carrots in.
Let the carrots marinate for at least 2 hours. Preferably 1-2 days. Mix occasionally around.
What to eat with/serving tips
- Smoked carrot sandwich
- Vegan smoked salmon pasta
- Vegan salmon sushi
- Bagel and lox
- Vegan Salmon sandwich cake
- Vegan lox pizza
- Tortilla rollups
How long does it last?
Store your lox in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
This whole amount only has around 200 calories. 120 of them come from olive oil. Eating just a ⅓ of the batch gives you all A-vitamin you need. Comparing carrot lox to salmon lox:
|Nutrients||Carrot lox||Salmon lox|
This is not the only way to make carrot lox. This is just the easiest way, in my opinion. Here are some other examples of how you can make lox.
Oven-baked in a salt crust and then marinated. It takes a couple of hours to bake the carrots inside the salt. This gives a salty flavor to the whole carrot and makes it replicate the best real lox.
Peeled in slices and baked in the oven in the marinade. This often also makes softer carrot sices.
Cold smoked. The most advanced method, and for true culinarians.
Slices cooked in water and then marinated. Gives often a bit firmer variation of carrot lox, the most simple solution.
Slices steamed and marinated. This method is similar to the above but keeps the nutrients in the carrot.
From what other ingredients can you make vegan lox?
Yellow beetroot, tomato, and parsnip are all alternatives to carrot when making vegan lox. Tomatoes are skinned in boiling water, then they are cut in half, and seeds are trimmed away. Marinated the same way as carrot lox. Beetroots and parsnips can be made in all the same ways as carrots.
What is the best vegan lox recipe?
In vegan Facebook groups, almost all people agree that the best vegan lox is made of carrots in a salt crust and baked in the oven. Some people are also in love with the turnip variation.
Lox is salmon that has been cured in salt and is eaten as raw. A vegan version of lox is made of carrots, parsnips, beetroot or tomatoes. They are cooked/baked and then marinated.
Vegan lox is hard to find in grocery stores; often, private resellers are found in vegan Facebook groups. Sophie´s kitchen, Very good butchers, and the Green taste shop sell vegan lox.
You cooked it for a too short time. You can additionally bake it in the oven in the marinade to get it softer.
You used too much smoke aroma or the brand you used has a bitter flavor.
- 3 big carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp smoke aroma
- 2 tsp smokesalt
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh or dried dill
- 1 tsp ground pink pepper
- Boil 3 liters of water.
- Wash your 3 big carrots and peel them.
- Peel the carrots into thin wide slices of 0,5-1mm.
- You end up with thick slices from the middle of the carrot, some thinner slices from the edges, and a part that could not be peeled, which you can eat or throw away.
- Salt your simmering water with smoked salt or regular salt. Put your thicker slices in the water when it is just about to start boiling—set timer for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, add the thinner slices. Boil for two minutes and check if your slices are soft enough that a fork can go through. Usually, a total of 4-5 minutes is good.
- Strain your carrot slices, and leave them there to cool down; they will additionally soften since they are hot and left to rest.
- Now mix your ingredients for the marinade.
- Add your "halfway down" cooled carrots and mix thoroughly but gently.
- Let rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Overnight in best so that the flavors soak into the carrots. They are best after a couple of days.
- Stir your carrots occasionally in the marinade, so the tastes blend evenly.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
You can do the recipe without dill or pepper. Rose pepper can be changed to lemon pepper, black- or white pepper.
Smoke aroma comes in different strengths. I used a hickory smoke aroma that is very strong. Applewood is best for carrot lox.
Any vinegar will work. Rice vinegar already has sugar, so then you don't necessarily need the maple syrup.
Instead of maple syrup, you can use sugar.
Olive oil can be replaced with other oils.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 20Total Fat: 1,4gCarbohydrates: 1,4gFiber: 1,4gProtein: 0,2g
Have you made carrot lox in an instant pot? Please share how to make it.