Lox of Love

Old Man Winter sure doesn’t fight fair, unafraid to hit below the belt and then kick you when you’re down. Dirty tricks are just half of the relentless assault, adding in mind games that could soften anyone’s resolve to the consistency of over-boiled ramen noodles. Surely, one would think that by the last day of March, spring would have been able to fend off this attack, but the snow currently accumulating on top of the delicate, freshly sprouted crocuses would say otherwise. The month is going out like a lion, indeed.

Beaten and bruised, I officially accept defeat. Winter can continue its reign of terror as long as it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about spring. Let’s forget about the weather, planning instead for the garden parties and spring celebrations that are sure to come. Demanding lighter fare, fresher flavors, and easy offerings to share with any number of hungry guests, the classic brunch spread is where my thoughts wander first. Bagels, cream cheese, and lox are the anchor of this idyllic vision, a taste preference that could arguably have been genetically inherited from both of my Jewish parents. Despite the great advances in vegan food technology, fish have remained largely out of reach, residing only in fantasies… and sometimes a kelp-infused tofu patty that tastes of little more than soybeans and sadness.

Until now.

Sophie’s Kitchen, innovators of numerous frozen fishless delights, has the answer to every pescatarian’s dilemma. As soon as I caught wind of this unrivaled smoked salmon offering, I scoured the stores, only to turn up nothing for months on end. It still eludes me in the open marketplace, but I was lucky enough to score a few packages through my mother’s co-op. Despite being so pricy and difficult to find, the positives far outweigh the negatives, beginning with the high fiber content and soy-free ingredients.

What really matters though is the taste, and let me assure you that it doesn’t fall short. Incredibly, unbelievably, it could truly pass for fish, at least by my inexperienced palate. Woodsy, smoky overtones define these thin sheets, with subtle oceanic notes adding in a touch of realism. Lovely striations embellish the peachy rectangles, presenting beautifully to even the most discerning artistic eye. I’d like to believe that it could almost fool one into believing it came from a new breed of square fish. Satisfyingly rich, with a realistic oily sheen, this salmon substitute has the same bouncy, slippery texture as Sophie’s Kichen’s other konjac creations; not quite authentic, but more than passable, especially when eaten in other recipes or loaded onto a toasted bagel with the works.

Though I would have happily scarfed down my entire cache of smoky, savory slices in the aforementioned bagel assembly, such a rare treasure demanded further experimentation. Harkening back to the classic fish spreads of yore, a creamy base proves to be the perfect foil for these alternative smoky, salty strips as well. Load up a platter with chips and cut vegetables, and I promise that it will be the first thing to go, no matter how discerning the crowd. Beyond the party setting, it’s truly stellar in sandwiches, running circles around the tired old tuna salad.

On the other hand, this dip is a versatile ally, capable of dressing up with great aplomb should the situation demand. Pipe that salmon spread into neatly carved cucumber cups and top with vegan caviar, and no one will be able to contain their awe. Trust me: If you need a recipe to impress, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Fish-Free Smoked Salmon Dip

1 12-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
3 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon White Miso Paste
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 4-Ounce Package Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Smoked Salmon
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Dill
1 – 2 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Thoroughly drain the tofu before tossing it into your food processor along with the tahini, vinegar, oil, miso, and nutritional yeast. Puree until completely smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with your spatula to ensure to all the ingredients get incorporated. Make sure that there are no chunks of tofu hiding below the blade before proceeding.

Separate the smoked salmon slices and add them to the mixture, pulsing the machine to break the pieces down but not entirely blend them. You want to leave some texture here, keeping the pieces about the same size as grains of rice. Finally, introduce the fresh herbs, zest, and pepper, stirring them in by hand. The salmon slices are fairly salty as it is, so you shouldn’t need to add extra salt.

Transfer the spread to an air-tight container and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerated, it should keep for up to a week.

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29 thoughts on “Lox of Love

  1. Woah, that looks alarmingly like the real thing! I was never into smoked salmon but love your creative ideas and presentation.
    P.S. I wish I could send a little Spring your way :D

  2. I LOVE this post… So eloquently written… So true about winter and your bravery to accept defeat! Lol.. I think we are all there.. Such a torture March has been…

    What stunning photos and recipes!! Yum.. Just yum!!

  3. What an amazing product! I am not even going to bother saving this recipe as we can’t get this here. No if’s or buts. I am constantly in awe of how creative we vegans can be and this company really deserves our support (if we CAN support it that is ;) ). “Sophie’s Kitchen, I applaud you and only wish that little old narf7 from Tasmania COULD buy your wonderful produce but alas, it isn’t to be and I will have to shave myself a sad slice of sweet potato and dip it in olive oil and waft it over one of our open air bonfires in order to pretend that I, like all of the lucky (bollocks) people in the U.S. can for one second relive this scrumptious feast”…sigh…

  4. By the way…didn’t you get that parcel of “HOT SUMMER!” that I sent to you? I am going to have to have a word with UPS!

  5. Wow, it’s pretty incredible what vegans can eat these days. It’s been forEVER since I had a bagel with lox. Will definitely keep my eye out.

  6. You have snow… While we’re having the warmest spring since forever it seems. I’m still afraid winter will return here too with a vengeance but fingers crossed it won’t… This definitely looks like real salmon to me so I can imagine the taste!

  7. Hannah, this recipe comes at the perfect time. How lovely would this dip be in tiny little tea sandwiches with slices of cucumber. Very original concept. I could actually tell my anti-fish boys that this is technically NOT fish. Brilliant.

  8. I had only one thought when I saw this…..SUUUUUUUUUSHI!!!!!

    I’ve been seriously considering going Raw, which will be a drastic change from my current diet – but since my current diet contains way more processed foods than I’d like to admit – it’s only a good thing. But it is my goal!

    I guess becoming vegetarian would be the first step!

    Still, I can see that with a bit of rice and some avocado slices, wrapped in some seaweed, or just placed on top of some rice…..my mouth is watering! (not as much as when listening to FullyRawKristina lately, but…..pretty close!)

    I have followed you for a while, I just don’t think I have ever commented, and I haven’t really done much blogging lately. I have to get back into writing, writing on my blog, and reading other blogs, I enjoy the blogosphere very much :-D

    Nice to see this was my first post back to looking around :-D

  9. I wasn’t a seafood person pre-vegetarianism, so faux seafood isn’t something I eat. But I had to comment on the delicate, perfect cucumber cups! You must have the most steady hand in the world.

  10. OH my goodness!! This is God sent! The only meat I have missed since going vegetarian/eating vegan is salmon. I love smoked salmon. I am so happy to learn about this product!! This dipping sauce sounds amazing! I bet it would be fantastic with it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. I can’t remember if I liked smoked salmon – I’m not even sure I’ve eaten it. But I can’t resist trying a new vegan product, so I’d have to give this a go. I love the look of the dip in particular!

  12. When I first saw that 1st picture, I thought, she posted smoked salmon on her vegan blog,..ooh yes: it is that true! It looks like the best real deal! x Waw & good for you & non-fishy item! x

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