Vegan carrot lox is a tasty plant-based alternative to traditional lox. Made with strips of carrots marinated in a tangy, salty and smoky delicious sauce. Perfect over bagels, in sandwiches, salads and so much more. Include it as part of a brunch and great to meal-prep ahead.
Ok. Bear with me.
I know "vegan carrot lox" could feel like a big jump. Making a vegan salmon recipe might seem like we are pushing the limits of what is acceptable to "veganize" here.
But hear me out because this recipe really works.
Vegan carrot lox is a good plant-based fish replacement for all vegans, but also for anyone during pregnancy or just to add some more veggies in a familiar presentation, such as lox. It is nice to use veggies in different ways and this is also a fun recipe to experiment in the kitchen or try out something new.
It is tangy with a good punch of flavor and we love the subtle smoky flavor. The addition of nori gives it that fishy little something that might even remind you of smoked salmon. Great to make ahead as it has to marinate anyway, which is perfect if you love to meal-prep.
Serve it over bagels and tofu cream cheese, for both breakfast or lunch. Perfect to also serve part of a brunch with family to add freshness and color (and make people talk 😉). Include some fresh dill and capers, it will be as satisfying as the real deal!
What's to love about this recipe
- Ultra easy
- Quicker than other carrot lox recipes (quick boil as opposed to oven-baked)
- Healthy, oil-free and loaded with B-Carotene
- Fully vegan
- Carries bold flavors, similar to smoked salmon
- Fun way to eat more veggies!
Ingredients you'll need & substitutions
- Carrots: any type will work, but aim for orange carrots for best look.
- Apple cider vinegar: gives it a nice tangy flavor. Can also use rice vinegar or even lemon juice.
- Soy sauce: important for umami flavor, but also saltiness. Use tamari if looking for a gluten-free recipe.
- Maple syrup: adds a subtle sweet flavor. Can also use brown rice syrup or agave nectar. If using a substitution, add a little less as they can be sweeter than maple syrup.
- Nori sheet: amazing to add a subtle fishy flavor. You could use other kind of algae, but I think that Nori works better and is easier to break is smaller pieces. If you don't have any, that's fine, just omit it.
- Liquid smoke: for a smoked carrot lox flavor. Can also use smoked paprika instead if you don't have it.
- Fresh dill: you don't have to use it, but it adds amazing flavor.
How to make it
Prepare the smoky marinade
In a medium-large bowl (big enough to hold on the marinade + the carrots), combine the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke and fresh dill. Then, crush the nori sheet over the bowl as small as you can and stir to combine. Set aside.
Prepare the carrots
Bring a medium pot of water to boil.
During that time, peel the carrots and discard their skins. Then, keep peeling to create ribbons of carrots (just like I did in my carrot cucumber salad).
Once the water is boiling, add the ribbons of carrot and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Gently remove them from the water making sure not to break them (I like to use tongs for that) and transfer in the bowl with the marinade. Try not to add too much extra water to the marinade, you can also pat dry the ribbons first.
Marinate and serve
Gently stir the carrots into the marinade so all surfaces are covered. Cover and transfer to the fridge. You can keep them in the marinade in the fridge for up to 4 days. They can be ready as soon as 30-60 minutes later, but know that the more they soak up the marinade, stronger the flavors will be.
Watch how to make it
- I found that large thick carrots worked better.
- If you end up with ultra long carrot stings, then you can use scissors or a knife to slice them shorter.
- You can use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to ribbonize the carrots. If you don't have these tools, then you can use a knife, but try to slice them as thin as you can and you might want to boil them for a few extra minutes to help tenderize their texture a little more.
- Try to apply more pressure with the vegetable peeler when creating the ribbons to try and make them a little thicker.
- Once you add the carrots to the water, watch carefully or even put on a timer. You don't want to overcook them, simply tenderize them.
- Add the carrots to the marinade while still warm, they absorb the flavor better that way.
We love this recipe over everything bagels and tofu herbed cream cheese. Top with capers, sliced red onion, more fresh dill and sprinkle some sesame seeds over. Makes for a filling breakfast, but also amazing in sandwiches for lunch.
Also use them when making vegan sushi or include in salads or pasta dishes to add texture and flavor.
This is a great recipe you can make ahead. The carrot ribbons can keep soaking up the marinade for up to 4 days. More they sit in the sauce, more they will soften and become bold in flavor.
I recommend to stir in the container once in a while if storing them for a few days.
More veganized fishy recipes
- Vegan sweet potato sushi rolls
- Tomato-tuna quinoa poke bowl
- Vegan fish tacos
- Portobello poke
- Crispy avocado sushi
I hope you like this vegan carrot lox as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Carrot Lox
- 2-3 large thick carrots
- 2 tbsp soy sauce - or tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup - or 1 ½ tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tbsp fresh dill - roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke - or ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ sheet of nori - crumbled
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke and fresh dill. Then, using your hands, crumble the half sheet of nori over and stir. Set aside.
- Peel the carrots and discard their skins.
- Then, keep peeling the carrots to create long ribbons. You can apply a gentle pressure on the peeler while peeling to ensure the layers are slightly thicker.
- Blanch the ribbons of carrot for about 1-2 minutes in the boiling water. Then remove from the water (I like to use tongs), gently pat dry them using a towel and transfer in the bowl with the marinade while they are still warm. Cover and transfer to the fridge to let them sit. They can be enjoyed after marinating for 30 minutes, but best after at least 12 hours.
- When ready to eat, simply take the ribbons that you need leaving the remaining ribbons in the marinade. Enjoy over bagel with vegan cream cheese or over salads and in sandwiches.
- Store in the fridge in a covered container for up to 4 days. Stir the carrots once in a while.
- Make sure not to over cook the carrots. You want to tenderize their texture, but avoid mushy or too soft carrots.
- You could slice the carrots using a knife, but be sure to create layer as thin as you can and you might want to boil them for 1-2 extra minutes if they are a little thicker.