Vegan Lox and Schmear Bagels

Recipe by Zacchary Bird

Liquid smoke isn’t a scary ingredient, it’s simply smoke passed through water to enable you to trick your friends into thinking you’ve spent hours lovingly cooking a dish for them. When used to marinate tomatoes, they become reminiscent of smoked salmon.

Vegan lox bagels.Photography © Pete Dillon, Food Stylist © Bridget Wald

Cream Cheese

Makes 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/2½ cups)


400 g (14 oz) raw cashews
150 g (5 ½ oz) dairy-free yoghurt
2 teaspoons lactic acid (or ½ teaspoon citric acid)
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra if needed
2 teaspoons white vinegar, plus extra if needed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, plus extra if needed


Soak the cashews in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hours, or boil for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool.

Place the cashews in a food processor and process for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. Add the yoghurt and continue to process until the mixture becomes smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients, then taste and adjust the flavour if necessary, adding more salt, vinegar or nutritional yeast. Process for a few more seconds – you’ll know it’s ready when the cheese is creamy without any graininess from the nuts.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To make this cream cheese even more spectacular, make a dill cream cheese by adding the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons of capers along with 2 teaspoons of brine from the jar and a garlic clove to the cream cheese mixture before processing to combine. Add a large handful of dill fronds and process briefly, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Serves 4


6 firm, slightly under-ripe tomatoes
4 nori sheets, shredded
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) soy sauce
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 bagels, sliced in half
250 g (9 oz/1 cup) Dill cream cheese (from the recipe above)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained dill fronds, to garnish (optional)


Score a shallow cross into the top of each tomato. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over medium–high heat, add the tomatoes and boil for no more than 1 minute. Drain and plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of ice-cold water. This means you can easily remove the skins while keeping the raw tomato texture we want for this dish.

Cut each tomato into eight wedges. Use your fingers to remove and discard the seeds and squeeze out any liquid, leaving only the core and firm flesh. If desired, slice these pieces even more thinly to replicate the thickness of smoked salmon. Pat dry with paper towel.

Place the nori in a small bowl of hot water for 1 minute to hydrate. Drain, then place in a large bowl with the soy sauce, ginger, liquid smoke and tomato. Set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour or until required.

Toast the bagels, then smear 2 tablespoons of dill cream cheese on each toasted bagel half. Top with the marinated tomato, red onion and capers, then garnish with a few dill fronds (if using). Serve warm.

Vegan Junk Food Recipe Book.Photography © Pete Dillon, Food Stylist © Bridget Wald

Recipe extracted from Vegan Junk Food by Zacchary Bird, published by Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99.