Tofu is an excellent source of protein, and it can be incorporated into a myriad of different recipes from enchiladas and un-meat loaves, to breakfast hash and lunch wraps. Silken tofu is easy to blend into dressings, sauces, and smoothies, while firm tofu can be used as mock meat and in Shish kabobs. While the color and taste of tofu is pretty bland right out of the package, it doesn’t take much to spruce things up enough for incorporation into a tasty and satisfying meal. A little salt, pepper, and soy sauce rubbed into tofu before baking or frying it makes for a great stir-fry meal.

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But why not get a little fancy in the kitchen and whip up a hardy marinade to soak your tofu in before preparing it in a recipe? You’ll find that the right marinade offers richness and depth that takes your favorite tofu meals to an entirely new level. Here are six fantastic marinades for tofu that are sure to make your taste buds dance:

1. Un’Chicken Marinade

This is a great marinade for times when you feel like creating a comfort meal, like un-chicken fried steak or tofu strips and fries. You can also use this marinade to flavor silken tofu before blending it up to make gravy. Here’s what you need:

  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon each of thyme, basil, and parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Using a fork, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until they are well combined. Ad the liquid and stir vigorously before adding your tofu and gently tossing it to coat.

2. Lemon-Herb Marinade

If you’re looking for a light yet indulgent flavor profile for your tofu, look no further than this lemon-herb marinade. It’s easy to make and will make your kitchen smell fabulous while the tofu soaks on your counter. Make your own batch with these ingredients:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 Medjool dates
  • 2 handfuls of fresh herbs or 2 tablespoons of dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Put everything in a small blender and mix on high until well combined and creamy. If you can’t use a blender, replace the dates with a liquid sweetener and mix the concoction by hand. Use a spoon to brush the marinade on your tofu.

3. Corned “Beef” Marinade

If you have fond memories of corned beef while growing up, or you’re in the mood for something traditional on St. Patrick’s Day or other holidays, this marinade is for you. The flavors are strong enough to provide some punch that stands out from the side dishes you happen to be serving. The ingredients you need to make this marinade include:

  • 1/4 cup veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons un-cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • A pinch of salt

Mix everything in a bowl with the spoon before adding the tofu. Scoop some of the pickling spices and black pepper onto the tofu before baking it for a spicier end product.

4. Sweet Teriyaki Marinade

Who doesn’t like teriyaki sauce? Unfortunately most varieties available a the store are full of preservatives and artificial ingredients, and many homemade versions call for a long list of ingredients that can be overwhelming when you want to put a quick yet delicious meal together. Make things easy on yourself using these ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or agave nectar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • An inch of ginger

Blend everything together until thick and gooey, and then pour it over your tofu a couple of hours before you want to cook the tofu.

5. Spicy BBQ Marinade 

Everybody needs a little spice in their life, and this barbecue marinade is sure to do the trick. It’s thick and rich, giving your tofu dish lots of zing that won’t soon be forgotten. Here is how to make your own spicy marinade:

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked at least 30 minutes before use
  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar or agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses or maple syrup (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Mix everything in a medium bowl by hand or blend it on high until well combined. Chill the marinade in your fridge for a few minutes so it can thicken before soaking your tofu in it.

6. Garlic Dijon Marinade

This garlic Dijon marinade brightens up roasted tofu, creamy tofu soups, and tofu pasta dishes too. And as a bonus, it can even be used as-is as a salad dressing. In fact, you can toss it with steamed veggies, smother it on whole grain pasta, or pour it on baked potatoes. Get your marinade on with the help of these items:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Whip everything together in a small bowl, or put the ingredients in a mason jar, close the lid, and shake the concoction vigorously. It will stay good in your fridge for about a week between uses.

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Soak your tofu in these marinades for at least an hour before using it, but the longer you let it soak the more flavor depth you will get in the finished meal that you’re preparing. If possible, marinade your tofu overnight in the fridge.

Tofu has never looked (or tasted!) so good!

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