Favorite Classic Jewish Recipes Made Vegan: Smoked “Whitefish” Salad

November 15th, 2021



A traditional whitefish salad is no-nonsense Ashkenazi fare, comprising just two ingredients: smoked whitefish and mayonnaise. 

For those who’ve had it, it makes a hearty schmear, and if you were ever a diehard fan, you might just miss it more than lox. 

With this, I wanted to capture its characteristic smoky flavor, but also the heft and assertiveness. Too light and it’ll have you saying, “bubkes!” 

I found that parsnips and cream cheese have just the right weight, and I enjoy giving the vastly underrated parsnip a chance to shine. If you prefer a lighter texture or more neutral flavor, by all means, reach for a can of hearts of palm. 


1 small to medium parsnip (about ½ lb) or 1 can of hearts of palm, drained 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for roasting parsnips 

1 tub (8 oz) of vegan cream cheese, preferably Miyoko’s brand 

2 tsp liquid smoke 

Opt. 1 tsp sugar 

Salt and pepper to taste 


Chop parsnips into 2-inch long chunks. Coat with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until lightly browned at the edge and soft. 

Process parsnips (or a can of hearts of palm, unroasted) in a food processor until stringy and chopped, like fish. If using a Vitamix or blender, process in small batches to prevent inconsistent blending, just two or three veggie pieces at a time. 

Combine with liquid smoke, vegan cream cheese, and salt and pepper. If using Miyoko or another tangy cream cheese (which I highly recommend), you may want to add just a tsp of sugar to cut through the tartness of the cheese and round out the flavors. 

Enjoy on your favorite bagels!

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