The holiday season is upon us, so it’s that time of year when people are breaking out their favorite holiday recipes and gathering friends and family to share food, fun, and fellowship. We made some healthy Spinach Artichoke Latkes in our last blog to help you keep Hannukah healthy.
Researching that recipe lead us down a rabbit hole of exploring other quintessential Jewish recipes and naturally we came across several mentions of lox and bagels. After some further research, we’re happy to tell you that we developed a way to create a healthy whole food version!
There is a caveat, however; this recipe is not entirely SOS-free as there is some salt in a couple of the ingredients. If you need to skip this one for your current plan of eating, we totally get it; do what feels right to you. But if your diet will allow for a small amount of salt, we definitely think this one is worth the splurge.
It’s surprising what you can do with carrots; they’ve got to be one of the most versatile vegetables for creating healthy plant-based versions of traditional favorites. Over the summer, we made some Carrot Hot Dogs that grilled up beautifully and allowed us to fully enjoy grillin’ season without compromising our healthy lifestyle.
This winter, carrots aren’t just for Frosty’s nose! We’re going to show you how to transform plain carrots into smoky vegan lox and we’ll even share a healthy plant-based schmear (a.k.a. cream cheese) recipe at the end, so keep reading.
First things first, let’s prep the carrots. Cut off the tops and ends then peel them. We’ll need to steam the carrots before making the lox, so cut the carrots down to fit whatever steamer pot or basket you’re using. If you don’t have a steamer, it’s totally fine to boil the carrots; we just want them to be cooked through but not to the point of becoming mushy. There still needs to be a little firmness to them after cooking so they won’t fall apart when slicing into strips.
After the carrots are steamed, set them aside to cool and we’ll get started on the marinade. You can use liquid aminos, coco aminos, soy, or tamari sauce according to your preference. Add it to a mixing bowl along with some liquid smoke, juice of half a lemon, and kelp granules. We prefer to use the Wright’s brand of liquid smoke, since it doesn’t have any added caramel coloring. The kelp granules are one ingredient that cannot be substituted since they’re what give the finished product its characteristic ocean flavor.
We share some measurements in the recipe below but to be honest, we eyeball everything and use more or less of an ingredient according to our tastes at the time. This is a very forgiving recipe so don’t feel like you’re locked into these portions. We encourage you to experiment and make any of the recipes we share your own.
Once the marinade is ready and the carrots are cooled, it’s time to make the lox. Use your vegetable peeler to gently slice thin carrot strips. Take your time and handle the carrots gingerly so they don’t break and fall apart. Once they’re sliced, add them to a plastic ziplock bag. You may want to add about a tablespoon of water to make sure the marinade fully coats all the carrots. Squeeze out as much air as you can, and let them marinate at least overnight.
The longer they sit, the better they get so if you have the patience to let them sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days, even better. Dillon has a fancy vacuum sealer machine so he vacuum-sealed them, which definitely helped the marinade infuse into the carrots faster but it’s perfectly fine to use a ziplock bag; just let them marinate as long as you can.
Once the carrots have finished marinating, you can take it a step further and dry them out a bit to enhance the flavors. This isn’t a required step but we found it made a difference and deepened the flavors. If you’ve come this far, chances are you’ve got the patience for it, so go ahead and place the carrot strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a low-temperature oven for about an hour and 15 minutes; we baked ours at 200º in our Breville air fryer. If you have a dehydrator, that would also work well; just don’t over dry them or you’ll end up with carrot jerky (which actually sounds kinda good!).
While the lox are drying out, let’s make some schmear for our bagel. Add a whole block of tofu, a can of garbanzo beans, a spoonful or two of miso paste (optional), lemon juice, a couple squirts of dijon mustard and nutritional yeast. We recommend using our WYW Nooch, since it’s non-fortified and doesn’t have any vitamins added to it as most commercial brands have.
Blend all the ingredients together, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender, until you have a smooth spread. Feel free to add your favorite herbs and spices for a flavored cream “cheese”. We didn’t add anything because there are so many flavors going on by the time we get the bagel assembled but again, make it your own!
Side note:This schmear would also make a great lower-fat alternative to the cashew sour cream topping for the latkes we made in the last post. All that’s left now is to assemble the dish. This is how we like it:
Toast up your favorite whole-grain or gluten-free bagel. Spread a generous portion of schmear on it and top with carrot lox, thinly sliced red onions, and a few capers. The smoky punch of the lox, the bite from the onions, the salty pop of the capers and the creamy schmear binding it all together creates a perfect bite.
We greatly enjoyed creating this recipe and we hope you enjoy it as well. If you make it, let us know what you think or how you made it your own by tagging us on Instagram @wyw_community
Until Next Time, Xoxo Reebs
Carrot Lox & Schmear
A classic Jewish treat made vegan and healthy
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon kelp granules
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)
Bagel Schmear (Cream “Cheese”)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 block firm tofu
1/2 cup nooch
1 tablespoon miso (optional)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional if you want more smoke flavor)
2 teaspoons mustard
Peel the carrots and slice the ends off. You can cut the carrots in half or leave whole if you like long, ribbony lox.
Steam the carrots for 5-10 minutes, until fork tender. Rinse in cool water to keep from over cooking.
Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the carrots into thin slices.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour into a zip lock bag. Add the carrots and marinate overnight. Reebs prefers at least a couple of days.
You can serve as is, but we like them dehydrated a bit by placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the oven at 200° for about 75 minutes.
For the schmear: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to firm it up.