Valentine’s Day may be over, but does that mean that we should stop making everything – our clothes, the love notes that we send to our cats, and, most importantly, our food – vibrant pink?
I think not.
Bring on the BEETS … AGAIN!
Years ago, when I was a newborn baby vegan who had not yet discovered how to recreate some of my favorite dishes, there were a few animal based foods that I sincerely missed. One of them was and is still very dear to my heart: Bagels with cream cheese and lox.
As a fully grown adult vegan, I’ve tried many different cream cheese recipes, but I came to love this for three reasons: 1. It uses sunflower seeds instead of cashews, making this a budget friendly food, 2. the beets give it a slight sweetness and a beautiful pink color, and 3. if you eat this enough, the blood in your veins will run pink – in fact, your very soul may very well turn pink. Can you say that for Philadelphia cream cheese?
I rest my case.
Now the lox…
Smoked salmon is a little more difficult to imitate. Or, at least, so I thought. I originally tried using tomatoes after getting inspiration from a recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Holiday Cookbook. It may sound odd to replace fish with tomatoes, but it works! The only problem is that these tomatoes require one special kitchen tool: a stove top smoker. I know there are some recipes that use liquid smoke, but they can’t compete with smoking the tomatoes yourself. The tomatoes become soft and slippery… just like lox! And, it’s much easier than expected,
Now you can use this cream cheese and tomato lox to impress your Aunt “Meat is Essential to Health and Vegan Food is Gross” Barbara, and maybe change a few minds.
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus soaking overnight
Makes 4-5 servings
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup filtered water
Juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 small beet, peeled and chopped into one inch pieces
Salt to taste
3 Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
Wood chips for smoking
Make the Cream Cheese
- Soak the sunflower seeds 4 hours up to overnight.
- Drain the sunflower seeds and place them in a blender along with the other ingredients.
- Blend for 3-5 minutes. Add more water if you want a thinner cream cheese.
Make the Tomato Lox
- Place the wood chips in the bottom compartment of the smoker or according to the smoker’s instructions. I have used alder and oak wood chips with success.
- Place the sliced tomatoes on the top tray of the smoker, salt the tomatoes, and tightly close the lid. You may have to smoke the tomatoes in batches depending on the size of your smoker.
- Smoke on medium heat for 7-8 minutes. Leave the tomatoes in the smoker for another 2 minutes.
Spread your cream cheese and lox on a toasted bagel and enjoy!