Smoked salmon is the reliable contender of the party-planner’s repertoire. Why should being vegan mean you miss out? Particularly when making vegan smoked salmon is so easy! Once you’ve got a recipe for carrot lox down, it becomes a staple of every vegan brunch, every plant-based dinner party, and every meat-free afternoon tea that you’ll ever host.
This recipe combine carrot salmon, vegan soft cheese, and fish-free caviar into one cute little bundle, perfect as an easy vegan starter idea. Creamy and a little smoky, it pairs beautifully with sparkling wines, too! I’ve enjoyed this previously on bagels as part of a delicious vegan brunch with Prosecco; this time, it was served alongside two other vegan starters, as part of a 3-course dinner and wine pairing evening.
Recipe for Vegan Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pikelets
Serves 2 as part of a vegan appetiser platter.
- 2 Pikelets (thin crumpets!)
- Carrot Lox
- 2 tbsp Seaweed Pearls, £2.50 a jar from IKEA
- Sprigs of fresh chives or parsley
- Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative (I used Tesco)
Step 1: Make the Salmon
These vegan hor d’oeuvres do take a few days of pre-planning, but they are worth it. A couple of days before, you’ll need to make the carrot lox and leave it to marinate; you can get by with overnight, but the flavours improve the longer you wait.
Cover some large carrots with salt, and bake for about 90 minutes at around 150/180 degrees. Do not peel them! This comes later. After they’ve baked, brush off the baked salt, and then when they are cool enough, use a knife to peel away the outer skin; this should come off relatively easily, though the carrots will be super soft and delicate, so be careful. Use a peeler to peel thin, salmon-esque strips off; this doesn’t always go very well, due to the aforementioned softness of the carrots! But do your best, it’ll be fine piled on a bagel later.
Smoked Salmon Marinade:
Makes 10-15 servings
1:3 ratio of olive oil to liquid smoke (available online or from the American section in some UK supermarkets)
1 tsp sushi or white wine vinegar
1tbsp lemon juice
After marinating the vegan salmon for a couple of days (or at least overnight), arrange atop a pikelet in the desires quantities. As this was one dish on a vegan tasting platter, I used a cookie cutter to press out a smaller circle of the pikelets; if I were serving it as a vegan starter on its own, I’d use more.
Tip: Pikelets are basically crumpets, so toast them first!
These would also make excellent hor d’oeuvres whilst guests mingle, rather than a sit-down starter.
Wine Pairings for Vegan Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon and other seafoods love crisp white wines; unoaked Chardonnay, brut Champagne (pretty much any non-vintage sparkling wine, actually) fresh Sauvignon Blanc are all trusted options. Maybe an Ultra Brut (zero sugar, super dry) would complement the saltiness of the salmon and the caviar. Try this with Prosecco for brunch, Brut and Blanc de Blanc sparkling wines as a vegan starter course, or for smaller- but still very sophisticated- affairs, try Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnay. It’s a lovely bright unoaked Chardonnay for less than £10.
You can also match smoke with oak, and pair with a heavier white wine, like a oaked Chardonnay, perhaps even a smoky Riesling; this also works with the creaminess of the cheese.
The creamy and salty elements of the food pair with Rosé, the loyal friend to many dishes. A Rosado Cava is a nice, interesting option, as it’s richer than a still rosé due to the traditional fermentation method.