This Community Recipe is Rachel’s Vegan & Oil-Free Carrot Lox. This is a plant-based take on salty brine-cured salmon, usually served with cream cheese bagels. In this recipe, ribbons of lightly steamed carrots are steeped overnight in an intensely flavored whiskey-based marinade. Serve on top of bagels with a creamy cashew nut spread.
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your vegan recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing healthy plant-based and vegan recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
Rachel Hershkovitz lives in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and works for PETA as a social media correspondent. Before Seattle, she lived in Las Vegas with family. Rachel has one sibling, Bebe, who’s also her best friend.
Adopting a plant-based approach
Rachel’s mother, who went vegetarian when Rachel was a teenager, always emphasized the importance of respecting the autonomy and feelings of animals. Since she’s a great admirer of her mother’s independent-mindedness, Rachel naturally followed her footsteps.
When she was a teenager, Rachel protested with animal rights activists against KFC. She still remembers the horror she felt after a passerby threw a rubber chicken at her!
Shortly after a vegan Rosh Hashanah meal in Jerusalem, replete with date syrup instead of honey, Rachel felt inspired enough to make the leap to vegan.
Rachel always loved to cook. When she started cooking vegan food, she felt she started to respect fruits and vegetables in a new way. The challenge of finding inventive new ways to make foods taste the way she remembers is the biggest joy and source of creativity in her life. Rachel feels that vegan cooking is never passive, always an adventure.
For inspiration, Rachel turns to:
How was Rachel’s Vegan & Oil-Free Carrot Lox recipe created?
There are many mock-lox recipes out there. But, whenever Rachel tried them, she felt unsatisfied. Most recipes require oil, which provides sheen but doesn’t impart much flavor. Even more so, many include aggressive tastes uncharacteristic of lox, like paprika, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce.
Rachel’s recipe is oil-free and tastes just like the real deal—finally. As Rachel says, “A Jew would know!” Mellow, umami-rich, smoky, slightly sweet, flaky, and delicate. You’ll want to use this marinade for just about anything. But Rachel’s absolute favorite way to serve her Vegan & Oil-Free Carrot Lox is on top of a bagel, with a Rachel’s cashew schmear underneath.
Key ingredients in Rachel’s Vegan & Oil-Free Carrot Lox
Whiskey – this recipe one requires ¼ cup, but Rachel recommends using a decent one – ideally a Japanese whiskey like Suntory
White miso – Miso is a Japanese ingredient made of fermented soybeans. The white version is made by fermenting soybeans with white rice. The taste is mild, salty and sweet.
Hickory liquid smoke – this might sound like a quirky ingredient and, well, it is! This liquid is made by collecting burning wood smoke and condensing it into a liquid that tastes… smokey! It can be used to add a smokey flavor to meats and vegetables, perfect if you want to emulate a chargrilled flavor.
Vegan yoghurt is essential for the Cashew Schmear to accompany Rachel’s Vegan & Oil-Free Carrot Lox. Not all vegan yogurt is made the same! Rachel recommends using a tangy one you trust – her go-to is Forager cashew yogurt.
First, make the lox: Steam the whole, unpeeled carrots for about 8 minutes, or just until soft. Place in cold water to stop the cooking process until carrots are cool enough to handle.
In the meantime, prepare the marinade. Bring whiskey to a boil and allow to bubble for 20-30 seconds to cook the alcohol off. Whisk in sugar, stirring quickly so it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.
Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the miso. Once dissolved, add caper brine and liquid smoke. Allow to cool.
Use a cloth or paper towel to rub the skins from the carrots. They should come away easily thanks to the steaming process – however, you could use a vegetable peeler instead.
Once the carrot skins are removed, cut it into ribbons. To do this, use a vegetable peeler for thin ribbons, or a paring knife to create thicker ribbons of carrot.
Toss the carrot ribbons in the marinade and allow to rest in the fridge overnight.
To make the cashew schmear, simply blitz all the ingredients together in a blender until completely smooth. Tip: if you feel that your blender will have difficulty, soak your cashews for several hours beforehand and drain before blending.
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to mix up our regular recipe rotation. Our Community Recipes feature is for just that – to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. Since you’ve read Rachel’s, do you feel inspired to share your own recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your vegan recipe too!