Yom Kippur is a time of reflection and purification. Yet for many of us, when the sun sets after a day of fasting, there is only one thing on our minds. Well, three things: Bagels. Cream cheese. Lox.
As a vegan, this makes break-fasts a bit of dilemma. I’ve spent the day reflecting on my impact on those around me and around the world, as well as the impact my choices have on animals and the environment. As such, I’ve chosen to eschew dairy and other animal products. But I arrive to the break-fast hungrier than ever, and all I see is cheese and fish.
Fortunately, there is a way to reconcile this predicament without giving up much in the way of tradition. A food company called Sophie’s Kitchen recently came out with a smoked salmon product that’s completely vegan (top photo). That’s right—no fish. It’s made primarily from a vegetable called an elephant yam (also known as konjac). It’s completely natural and kosher certified. Best of all, it tastes great. It captures the soft, salty, salmon-y taste and feel of lox. Most reviewers agree that it’s best served at room temperature, just as traditional lox is served.
You can find Sophie’s smoked salmon at select health food stores. In the DC area, it’s available at the Rockville-based shop Pangea Vegan and on their website. Act fast; they tend to sell out quickly each time they stock up.
Sophie’s Kitchen isn’t the only game in town when it comes to vegan lox. One blogger, Vegan Kitty Patrol, came up with her own recipe made from tofu. Author Joanne Stepaniak has a recipe made from roasted bell peppers. And yet another recipe from a restaurant in Montreal called Aux Vivres is made from carrots and dulse.
The cream cheese aisle offers a lot of options for vegans. Tofutti is the best-known brand, and deservedly so. It’s the tastiest. The company is owned and operated by David Mintz, who invented it in part to cater to Jews seeking to eat “dairy” and meat in the same meal.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make your own vegan cream cheese with this recipe created by Whole Foods Market’s Mid-Atlantic Healthy Eating Team for the Jewish Food Experience. (Skip the lox, of course.)
Lastly (and luckily), bagels are almost always vegan.