How to Marinate Raw Vegan Foods & 2 Delicious Vegan Marinades You Must Try

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to marinate raw vegan foods then this written just for you. Yes you, right up front with the bright eyes and big smile 😉

As a vegan or even just using vegans food to marinate we are enjoying a much easier time of it. Before we get to the how to make a marinade, first let’s explore what a marinade is and why folks generally make marinades in the first place.

I haven’t always been a vegan, in fact in my early days I was an unrepentant meat eater until I learned all about how meat gets to the table and learned that it wasn’t humane nor healthy. So as such and as you will likely know if you’ve eaten meat before or been a meat eater, marinades are typically used on flesh foods like meats, chicken and fish.

A marinade typically does 2 things to the food. The first thing and the most obvious is that it flavors the food to be eaten. Indeed, marinate literally means to soak and when things soak they absorb what they are soaked in.

The second purpose of marinades is to tenderize the food which is not really helpful nor necessary for vegan foods. You know that tough meats are oftentimes marinated to soften them up or tenderize them.

Many folks are under the impression that marinading meat is a way to make it more healthy, this is not so. In fact, because many marinades are quite salty, this increases the salt content of the meat and makes an unhealthy food even more unhealthy.

For the purposes of vegan foods however, marinades are used mostly as flavor enhancers. And because marinades have typically been applied to protein foods or meats, the best vegan foods to marinade are high protein or the substitute vegan meats.

The best vegan foods to marinade are tofu, seitan, tempeh and other mock meat products made from gluten and/or tofu.

So how do you marinade tofu or seitan? The same way as you would marinade any meat. You bathe your vegan food in the marinade for several hours for best results.

I like to use a deep baking tin or even a rectangular glass bowl. For health and safety it is useful to marinate your tofu or other vegan food in the fridge as even though there are less pathogens on vegan foods than their meat counterparts you don’t want to encourage the growth of bacteria either.

Okay, let’s take a look at a couple of vegan marinade recipes. The one is more salty/savory and the other marinade is a sweet chili marinade:

Smoked Korean BBQ
This marinade recipe works exceptionally well with tofu and or Torfurky or seitan that is cut like steaks.

1 cup soy sauce
3/4 sherry or even red wine
About 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon dry
2 to 3 garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate (not to be diluted)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil

Mix all the ingredients in a pot and heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place your steak cut tofu or seitan in a glass container, ideally 1 layer thick, though you can multi layer if needs be. Cover with the Korean BBQ marinade and let marinate for about 4 hours in the fridge once cool. About 30 minutes on the counter.

Tip: About every hour turn the tofu if you have multi layered it.

Then grill or BBQ for a just a few minutes each side, adding the marinade or basting the tofu as you go.

Mango Madness Marinade
This one works great for all sorts of well cut tofu, seitan or what have you. Even works well to baste a whole seitain roast like Tofurky or Field Roast.

1 ripe mango chopped
2 tablespoons of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tequila or vodka (optional)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice of 1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
6 garlic cloves pressed
3 tablespoons grated ginger or 3 teaspoons dry

Take everything and chuck it into a blender until well blended.

This makes a nice thicker marinade or sauce. Baste over your vegan meat of choice and marinade for at least 4 hours and up to 8. Turning every so often to ensure great and even marinade coverage.

You can then bake or grill what you’ve marinaded. If you bake, do it at about 350 for an hour or more tightly covered with aluminum foil. Take the foil off for the last 10 to 15 minutes.

Grill as you did the previous marinaded tofu. Any leftover marinade makes a delicious stir fry sauce or can be used to generously blanket the seitan or tofu you’ve grilled.

Bon appetit!

That is how to make a marinade for vegan foods or for steaks. Though please, leave the animals alone and they won’t mess with your health. You’ve also learned how to make the 2 best tasting marinade recipes in the world… just saying 😉 Use them for kindness not for animal violence.

Categorized as Food


  1. Your BBQ marinade looks great! I want to try that! I don’t have any alcohol around, so I will just leave out the sherry or wine, but it seems like a flexible recipe anyway.

    1. Absolutely. I always take recipes that I find as suggestions or starting points from which to explore.


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