TikTok swears ‘vegan lox’ tastes like the real thing — we’ll decide if that’s true

·4 min read

A popular TikTok recipe has been selling itself as a cruelty-free and vegan alternative to the classic breakfast combo of a bagel and lox. This “vegan lox” alternative comes from cooking and then refrigerating carrots.

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I found the recipe through @vegaliciouslyeva, who calls herself the “CEO of veganizing” on TikTok, where she’s posted tons of videos showcasing vegan recipes and alternatives to popular meals. In her video, which has over 3.5 million views, @vegaliciouslyeva quickly demonstrates how she transforms peeled carrots into a believable lox replica — at least visually speaking.

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“Guys, it’s legit,” a commenter said on her video. “While the carrots are in the oven with the salt, they get to a point [where] they are similar to salmon!”

I love a good bagel and lox, but I was doubtful that carrots would taste as good on an everything bagel at 10 a.m. I’ve seen other kooky vegan alternative recipes, like watermelon steak and banana peel bacon, and they aren’t appealing to me at all. But this TikTok looked rather convincing, so I decided to embark on a vegan journey to see if the recipe could be a viable breakfast option.

I followed the recipe from the vegan food blog Love and Lemons, which promised me I “won’t miss the fish in this smoky, savory vegan carrot lox recipe.” 

Ingredients:

  • Salt (a lot of it)

  • 3-4 carrots, preferably on the thicker side

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Lemon juice

  • Ground black pepper

  • Bagels 

  • Cream cheese (or a vegan alternative)

  • Capers (optional)

  • Red onion (optional)

  • Cucumber (optional)

  • Dill or chives (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and pull out a baking dish for your carrots. You’re going to add a layer of salt that’s around a quarter of an inch thick — I must have double-checked this four times while cooking because it looked like so much salt. Then, place the carrots on top and fully cover them again in more salt.

You want to roast the carrots until they’re soft but not mushy. The carrots I used were on the smaller side, so I only cooked them for 40 minutes. Larger carrots — which will be easier for peeling — can cook for 60 to 90 minutes.

While the carrots are cooking, combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, paprika, lemon juice and pepper in a bowl to make a marinade. 

When the carrots are done, gently wipe away all of the excess salt. Next, peel them length-wise so you get “ribbons” of carrot. Transfer the ribbons into a Tupperware container and apply the marinade. Lastly, put your container of marinating carrots in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.

Voila! Dress up your bagel with your preferred fixings, and there you go. 

Does it actually taste like fish?

I was pretty surprised by how un-carrot-like the final product ended up being. I knew, based on the TikTok, that it was going to look the part. But I didn’t think it would be possible to hide the unmistakable taste of carrot, and on this, I was pleasantly surprised. The salt and marinade definitely make the vegetable taste a little bit like salmon. Plus, my bagel toppings may have also distracted me.

Because I knew I was about to eat fake lox, I wondered if the fishiness I tasted was a placebo effect. To really determine how true-to-taste this vegan alternative is, I decided to trick my unsuspecting boyfriend — another meat-eater and bagel lover — into trying it without knowing.

Unfortunately, he hated it and thought it was too salty. Could me serving him a bagel and lox at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday play a role in his negative review? Maybe.

Ultimately, I was pretty impressed by this recipe. It’s not going to change my eating habits by any means, but if any vegans out there are craving a more extravagant breakfast, this is a must-try.

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