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Plant-based extraordinaire Zacchary Bird shows us how to emulate the rich, smoky + herby flavour combo of a classic ‘lox and schmear’ bagel with this cashew-based cream cheese and creatively marinated tomatoes!

You will need

Serves 4

Cream Cheese (makes 600g)

  • 400g (14 oz) raw cashews
  • 150g (5 1/2 oz) dairy-free yoghurt, such as coconut
  • 2 teaspoons lactic acid (or 1/2 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
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons capers plus 2 teaspoons of brine (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • Large handful fresh dill (optional)


  • 6 firm, slightly under-ripe tomatoes
  • 4 nori sheets, shredded
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

To serve

  • 4 bagels, sliced in half (gluten-free if required)
  • 250g (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)

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30 mins to prep

  1. Step 1

    To prepare the cream cheese, 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.

  2. Step 2

    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.

  3. Step 3

    Add the lactic acid, salt, vinegar, and nutritional yeast and blitz together; taste and adjust the flavour if necessary, adding more salt or nutritional yeast. Process for a few more seconds — you’ll know it’s ready when the cheese is smooth and creamy.

  4. Step 4

    To make this cream cheese even more spectacular, make it 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 and process to combine. Add a big handful of dill fronds and pulse in the processor until the chopped herbs are nicely dispersed, then pop it all in an airtight container in the fridge (it keeps for up to 1 week!).

  5. Step 5

    To prepare the lox, score a shallow cross into the top of each tomato. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then add the tomatoes and boil for no more than 1 minute. Drain and quickly plunge the tomatoes into a bowl of ice-cold water to halt the cooking process. This allows you to easily remove the skins while keeping the raw tomato texture we want for this dish.

  6. Step 6

    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 a paper towel.

  7. Step 7

    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.

  8. Step 8

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

Recipe: Zacchary Bird

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