What Looks Like Lox & Tastes Like Lox But is Made of Carrots?

April 19, 2016

Chickpea "tuna," I still love you, but when it comes to non-fish fish, nothing holds a candle to carrot "lox."

There's no salmon here, but the carrots—fileted, seasoned with smoked salt and liquid smoke, then steam-roasted in the oven—are remarkably similar in color, texture, and flavor, too.

We heard about it from Community Manager Kaitlin Bray, who first saw it at Stonefruit Espresso in Brooklyn:

It looks like lox, talks like lox, walks like lox, and most importantly tastes like lox, but is... smoked carrots! I had to check it like 5 times before I took a bite to make sure I hadn't accidentally grabbed someone else's order.

The carrots still have a slight crunch, but they truly evoke smoked fish and not in a creepy faux-meat kind of way. Paired with herbed horseradish sour cream, capers, dill, radish, and raw onions it tastes like the real deal (and maybe even better).

Carrot lox isn't a new phenomenon on the internet, where there exist many different methods for fishing it: Some people recommend salt-baking the carrots before slicing them, then marinating them for multiple days; others instruct you to simply slice the carrots, toss them with liquid smoke and soy sauce, and bake them in a foil pouch.

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The first method yielded carrots that were too firm; the second, carrots that were burnished and crunchy. Determined to find the lox-iest root vegetables out there, I found that the most effective method was to slice the carrots lengthwise—thin but not translucent or they'll crisp and burn—rub them with salt, sugar, and pepper till they soften up, coat them with egg and lemon zest, and bake them, covered, until soft.

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Top Comment:
“They told me they previously used a powdered egg replacer available in health food stores, so I'm guessing that most any thick-ish vegan substance used as an egg replacer would make this recipe vegan.”
— VeganWithaYoYo

The egg component sounds strange—and it stops the dish from being vegan-friendly—but it creates a soft, slightly-sweet outside layer. And where it runs down between the slices, you're left with eggy bits reminiscent of the thinner edges of sliced fish. (If you don't eat eggs, take a cue from YamChops—Canada's first vegetarian butcher—where they used a vegan egg replacement to the same effect.)

If you're looking to make it taste even more like the sea, follow Stonefruit's lead and add sesame oil and crushed nori before roasting. Experiment with adding miso paste or rice wine vinegar, too.

Serve carrot lox however you'd serve lox-lox—on a bagel with cream cheese, sliced red onion, and capers. (Psst—it's also good on matzo.)

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tom
  • Beth Appel
    Beth Appel
  • coffeefoodwrite
  • Georges
  • Jocelyn McAuley
    Jocelyn McAuley
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Tom June 13, 2016
How far in advance can you make this / how long does it last in the fridge? Thanks for the recipe!
Sarah J. June 13, 2016
It should last at least 3 to 4 days in the fridge!
Tom June 13, 2016
Awesome! Looking forward to trying it out.
Beth A. April 24, 2016
Liquid smoke makes me ill after eating something that has it. I'm thinking of trying this using a lapsang souchong teabag soaked in a bit of water. It isn't the carcinogenesis that worries me, it is that fake smoke taste. I can tell in an instant if someone has used it in their cooking.
mizerychik April 24, 2016
Liquid smoke is revolting. It should be used by nobody.
Pisanella April 25, 2016
This junk food message keeps appearing - are you selling something?!
coffeefoodwrite April 21, 2016
I'm very much looking forward to trying this!
Georges April 21, 2016
Isn't liquid smoke carcinogenic?
NuMystic April 24, 2016
Nope. The carcinogens are fat soluble so the water solutions used in liquid smoke retain almost none compared to much more dangerous smoked fatty foods. As a point of reference one bagel with smoked salmon has 500 times the amount of carcinogens as a serving of food made with liquid smoke. So if you're craving a smokey flavor it's MUCH better brushing a bit of liquid smoke on it than eating the actual smoked variety!
Sarah J. June 13, 2016
We have a post all about liquid smoke! Find it here:
Jocelyn M. April 20, 2016
I'm so excited to try this technique with this summer's zucchini... Oh and with parsnips too!

As another egg replacer idea, using garbanzo water?
VeganWithaYoYo April 20, 2016
For those wondering, YamChops uses Aquafaba as their egg replacer in this recipe. They told me they previously used a powdered egg replacer available in health food stores, so I'm guessing that most any thick-ish vegan substance used as an egg replacer would make this recipe vegan.
Sarah J. April 20, 2016
Cool! Thank you for the tip. Aquafaba FTW!