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Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese

Breakfast, Recipes

Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped

This. This recipe is a game changer. I know it’s a bold thing to say, but I only call it out when I feel very strong about a recipe…this one has literally got it all. It’s an innovative spin on a New York classic, lox; yet made completely gluten free, dairy-free, and…fish free? YEP! Introducing my new favorite, and I hope soon to be yours, Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese.


Let’s break it down first, what is lox? Lox is a classic and iconic meal/snack, it’s a bagel smothered in cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon slices, then topped with red onion, dill/herbs, sea salt and black pepper, and sometimes capers. In a nutshell, it’s a fusion of flavors, textures, and a “melt in your mouth” sort of recipe.

I mustered up the courage to give lox another go several weeks ago, after having horrible experiences with it when I tried it as a kid and in college. I always like to push myself and try “new” things again just to make sure my taste buds haven’t changed….well friends, this time around my taste buds still haven’t changed and lox is totally not cutting it for me. BUT I love the concept of it, protein rich thinly sliced fish, topped on a crusty warm bagel smothered in a creamy tangy cheese then topped with fresh chives, fresh black pepper, or any other topping you enjoy. It got me thinking, how can I get a similar texture, feel, and looks like lox, yet is completely different…PAPAYA! I love eating salmon and incorporate fresh fish in my meals all the time, but I never have been able to fully enjoy the taste of wild caught smoked salmon, when eaten in this way. I’m a very picky eater when it comes to fish and eggs (the only animal proteins I enjoy currently), and this was my way of having fun with such an iconic meal.

Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipePapaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipe Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipePapaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipe

When papaya is thinly sliced, it eerily looks like thinly sliced salmon, it’s something I’m getting really excited about even talking out. I mean, how fun is it to not only transform a recipe into healthier flare, but to be able to retain the iconic visuals of the original recipe?! #nerdalert. The Lemon Cream Cheese is a classic variation of my Classic Cashew Cheese, but incorporating fresh lemon and lemon zest to completely brighten up the dish and play off the fresh papaya- it’s a beautiful thing. Just as you would top traditional lox with black pepper, herbs, maybe a little sea salt; I encourage you to do the same with this recipe, don’t hesitate trying the combination of sweet & salty! Other topping options you could try out:

  • sliced radish
  • sliced red onion (my fav)
  • sliced avocado (my fav)
  • chives
  • capers
  • dill, mint, or chives
  • sliced cucumbers

Papaya is one of my all time favorite fruits, it’s incredibly nourishing, very friendly on our digestive systems with heaps of fiber and digestive enzymes that really keep our digestive systems moving along- especially great when trying to beat the bloat! As far as the gluten free bagels or the base goes, you can really have a lot of fun with this. Given I would ideally like to make my own gluten free homemade bagel all the time, sometimes it just doesn’t happen and that’s where you gotta exercise some flexibility and try to choose the next best option. I also look at it as, how often are you going to eat these next best options, definitely not daily in my book and that’s fine by me! So, you can use your favorite gluten free bagel, piece of toast, or better yet thinly slice my Nourishing Nut & Seed Bread which I always have on hand. Ideally, if you’re making this for a meal I would recommend adding a side of protein in their for a good macronutrient balance, even if it’s something unrelated on the side!

After making this for the first time, I literally had to sit down. SO GOOD, you guys!

Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese
Recipe type: breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
A gluten free and vegan version of the classic lox using fresh papaya, gluten free bagels, and a creamy lemon cream cheese.
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • LOX
  • ½-1 small ripe papaya, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 gluten free bagel per serving
  2. Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in filtered water for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Discard water after soaking.
  3. In a blender, combine soaked raw cashews with lemon juice, zest, sea salt, and maple syrup. Adjust all seasonings to taste, this should be tangy. Set aside.
  5. The thinly sliced papaya can be sliced using a sharp knife, using a vegetable peeler (for small strips) or using a mandolin.
  6. Toast your gluten free bagel or toast or Nourishing Nut & Seed Bread.
  7. Spread the Lemon Cream Cheese on top, about 2 tablespoons per slice or as much as you desire. Lay 1-2 slices of the thin papaya slices on top of the cream cheese, top with herbs, sliced cucumber, sliced radish, capers, or any other topping you enjoy.
  8. Enjoy immediately.
1 serving can be 1 entire bagel (2 halves) or 1 half depending on how hungry you are.
LEMON CREAM CHEESE: can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

There you have it, I would love to hear how you enjoy yours!

Papaya Lox with Lemon Cream Cheese | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cream cheese, vegan lox recipe


Also, this week I’m hosting my retreat at Blackberry Farms so I hope you’re keeping up with me there on Instagram and Snapchat (mckelhill), it’s been so fun already and today I’m doing some food demos along with paddle boarding, hiking in the woods, and taking some bike rides! Also just a little housekeeping, the first batch of t-shirts are being mailed out this Friday!!!! I can’t wait for you to get them and when you do be sure to share so I can see! #nutritionstrippedgear

p.s.s. the first batch and order of t-shirts are shipping out this week, please direct all those inquires to [email protected] and thank you for being patient! They’re all hand screen printed 🙂

xx McKel

Share your thoughts

  • Alix

    This looks delicious! Also, I wanted to point out that the term “lox” refers to the smoked salmon, not the bagel and other toppings with which lox is traditionally served. Hope that helps clear up any confusion : )

    • Yes, you’re right on! That’s why this is a spin on lox, meaning there’s no smoked salmon 😉

  • Susan

    McKell – what is the nutrition information on this one? How many calories?

    • Great question! I don’t count calories for my recipes more just nutrient density- but if you’d like to, please check out my FAQ page where I answer the how-to on that!

  • what a crazy unique recipe!! oddly enough i have the opposite problem, love wild caught smoked salmon don’t like papaya – but also down for trying things again to test my taste buds so i think this might be it! xo

    • Haha it’s still a delicious one to try even with the smoked salmon, just a different way to have cream cheese then! 🙂

  • what a crazy unique recipe. Oddly enough i have always been a fan of wild caught smoked salmon, but not papaya. I like to test my taste buds as well to make sure nothing has changed so this might just be the recipe! xo

  • Wow this looks amazing! What a fantastic idea! And beautiful display 🙂 x

  • Nik

    Yum! Can’t wait to try this! Do you mind sharing the bagel you used? I’m not gluten free and don’t mind eating some wheat but these look good and I love trying new stuff!
    Also, can you do a day in the life post including your exercise and all meals for the day? I think it would be so helpful!

  • I had to get super close to the screen to make sure it wasn’t secretly salmon – seriously. Your creativity and ingenuity blows me away every time – such an inspiring take on a classic meal. Enjoy Blackberry Farm lady! <3 Katie

  • sarah

    Thanks a lot for your recipes. I will give it a try
    I would like to ask you a question, i am living in Uk and i want to buy smoothie/ juice bottle to take it with me to work or any where, do you recommend for me a good brand to buy?


  • Jordan

    I love this! What brand of gluten free bagels to you recommend?

  • Wow McKell, this is an incredible, inspiring recipe. It just sounds soooo amazingly delicious – the cream cashew cheese and papaya sounds like a wonderful combination, and all of the flavours sound so vibrant and mouth watering. I love it!

  • Dawn

    I’m curious if you sourced organic papaya for this recipe. I live in Vancouver, BC and never purchase papaya as the only variety I come across are the all too common rainbow variety from Hawaii which are heavily GMO’d.

    • I don’t think the ones I usually get here are organic, but I don’t eat them often- weigh your pros and cons 😉

  • Tamara M.

    The papaya as smoked salmon is simply GENIUS. I just ate it and my mind was BLOWN AWAY !!! I didn’t have time to make your cream cheese recipe, so store-bought cream cheese it was, but you can be sure next time I’ll try it with your homemade vegan cream cheese !!!

    Let me just say it again YOU ARE GENIUS !!!

    THANK YOU xx

    • I’m so glad you tried this Tamara! You gotta try it with the cream cheese next time! xx

  • Melinda

    I’m currently out of lemons, and lemon juice, and popping out for more isn’t an option. What are some possible alternatives for the lemon juice, I have on hand red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, white wine, and rice vinegar.

    Looking forward to giving this recipe a go, milk allergy & miss cream cheese.

    • McKel Hill

      I would use apple cider vinegar or lime if you have it; lemon is ideal for the flavor hence the name haha but that’ll give it a little bit of acid.

      • Melinda

        The apple cider vinegar worked, I look forward to making it with lemons next time. I suspect it will have a touch more tang. 🙂



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