These 5 easy marinade recipes are packed full of flavour and can make any protein into a delicious meal. Simple to prepare, freezer friendly and super handy!

Hey everyone! How has you week been? It’s been hectic with exams and assignments for me but looking at my calendar… this is just the beginning. I don’t know about you, but when I know I’m going to be extra busy I like to prep my meals and have some in the freezer for an easy and quick option. After meal prepping for almost 4 years now, I’ve picked up on some tips, tricks and hacks along the way- especially when it comes to meal prepping food that actually tastes good. My number one tip is to have a DELICIOUS marinade. So today, I’ll be sharing with you my top 5 marinades!

What make a good marinade and why should you be making your own anyways?

  1. a good marinade always has acidity, includes spices that compliment each other and a amount of salt to tie it all together

  2. its cheaper than store bought

  3. they’re going to be preservative free

  4. you have all the control with how much sodium goes into the marinades

  5. you can customize the flavours to your own taste buds

So here are my top 5 favourite marinades to get you started:

Lemongrass: sweet, salty, tangy with intense flavours and a lively aroma

Gyro: classic Greek ingredients used, tons of flavour from the herbs

Mango Teriyaki: a twist on traditional teriyaki, the mango naturally sweetens this marinade!

Coconut Curry: simple flavour packed coconut curry marinade, delicious with tofu

Sesame Maple Miso: aromatic asian flavours with a hint of sweetness

Tips and Tricks to making Marinades for Plant Based Protein Sources

  • Any proteins that can absorb liquids will marinate the best. When marinading tofu, press the excess liquid out beforehand.

  • Tempeh, mock meats, seitan & soy curls would be delicious choices as well! For soy curls, after rehydrating remember to squeeze out the excess liquid.

  • Vegetables with mild flavours such as potatoes, cauliflower and zucchini take in marinades well.

  • Marinade times will vary. Typically, the longer the marination period the more flavour the protein/vegetable will have after cooked. However, soft vegetables should be marinated for shorter periods of time (ex. 15-20 minutes) or they may end up becoming soggy and difficult to cook. Firmer vegetables (usually root vegetables) can be marinated anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Protein sources can be marinated overnight.

  • After the protein/vegetable has been removed from the marinade, remove excess liquid by patting it dry before cooking. This will allow your food to become crispy and brown properly without becoming a soggy mess or falling apart

  • Keep the remaining marinade!! You can either re-use it, use it do dress your cooked food again or turn it into a sauce.

If you recreate this any of these marinades please share it and let me know what you think by tagging me on Instagram @lisakitahara, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Mango Teriyaki

  • ¼ c fresh mango, pureed

  • ¼ c soy sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar

  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (or ½ lime juiced)

  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • pepper to taste

  • red pepper flakes to taste

Coconut Curry

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk from a can

  • 1 tablespoons curry powder

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 2  tbsp coconut sugar

  • 2 spring onion, sliced

  • ¼ c loosely chopped cilantro leaves

  • ½ tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • ½ c veg broth

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp black pepper

Sesame Maple Miso

  • 2 tbsp miso paste

  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar/mirin

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 tsp grated ginger

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 1-2 tbsp sliced green onions

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 tbsp sliced lemongrass

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

  • ½ tsp sesame oil


  1. Combine all ingredients together in a airtight jar and shake or mix to combine

  2. Combine the marinade with 1/2 lbs of your choice of protein in a container or ziplock bag and shake/toss until all the contents inside are evenly covered and distributed. If using ziplock bag, press out any excess air in the bag.

  3. For Immediate Use: Place in the fridge for 1 hour-1 day.

  4. To freeze: Keep each portion of protein separate and freeze for up to 2 months. The day before use, place into the fridge to thaw. OR run under hot water/let it sit in hot water if in a pinch.

  5. To cook, remove the protein from the bag/container, pat the protein dry and cook using your choice of method. For more flavour, keep the remaining marinade and dress at the end by using as is or turning it into a sauce.


  • SERVINGS: Makes enough to marinade 1/2lbs of protein

  • PREP TIME: 5 minutes





About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. I made the Sesame Maple Miso and added a little sriracha. It was amazing with pumfu. I can’t wait to try the others.

  2. Wow! These look and sound great! You mentioned “turning” any unused marinade into a sauce? Wondering…. How might I do that? Would love to have a sauce to drizzle on top to finish off plating and more delicious flavor as taste buds request 😊is there a special technique?

  3. I made the mango teriyaki one into a vegan poke bowl! I doubled the recipe and I marinated a block of pressed tofu in it for a couple hours, then I pan-fried it in some oil until it was golden on each side. After that, I put some rice in a bowl, and added tofu, cucumber, radish, thinly sliced carrot, mango, corn, and green onions. I used the remaining marinade as a sauce on top and it was all super good! My favorite so far.
    Later, I made the sesame miso one into a stir fry the same way. I made double the recipe, marinated a pressed block of tofu in cubes. I cooked my vegetables with some ginger and garlic, and then I used the remaining sauce to add back in to coat everything (I thickened this one with a cornstarch slurry on the stove since the mango wasn’t holding it together like the last one). To be honest, the color wasn’t beautiful with this one, but it tasted great!
    I’m planning on making the coconut curry one this week and I’m excited! I haven’t figured out what I want to make with the other 2 yet, but I’m sure I’ll try them at some point! I was looking for new flavors and marinades with tofu, and these were a really good starting point to get me out of a cooking rut.

  4. I tried the mango terriyaki and the lemongrass marinades and I love them both. The mango one is a staple piece in my fridge now 😁 my husband even asks for it and he normally never does that so that says a lot!

  5. Tried the Sesame Maple Miso and marinaded 250 grams of firm tofu for 2 hours before putting it in the oven. It was amazing! I had it as a topping on my Vegan Ramen. Can’t wait to try them all!

  6. Amazing marinades! Tried lemongrass and maple-miso one yesterday. Can´t wait to try the others. Thanks for sharing your favorite tofu marinades. Love and hugs, cicada_cooks 🙂

  7. These look absolutely amazing! I’d especially like to experiment with the mango and lemongrass ones! Thanks for the great ideas! 🙂