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How do you marinate alternatives like tofu or tempeh for BBQ?

When it comes to barbecuing, most people think of juicy steaks, succulent burgers, or mouthwatering chicken. But what about those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? Are they left with only boring veggie skewers while everyone else enjoys the delicious smoky flavors of BBQ? Not at all! In fact, there are fantastic alternatives like tofu and tempeh that can be marinated and grilled to perfection. In this article, we’ll explore how to marinate alternatives like tofu or tempeh for BBQ, ensuring that vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a flavorful and satisfying barbecue experience.

Marinating Tofu

Tofu, made from soybean curds, is a versatile protein-packed alternative that can take on various flavors when marinated properly. The key to successfully marinating tofu lies in its ability to absorb flavors. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to marinating tofu for your next BBQ:

  1. Choose the right tofu: Opt for extra-firm tofu as it holds its shape better on the grill.
  2. Drain and press the tofu: Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess liquid. Place the tofu between two plates with a weight on top to press out even more moisture. This will help the tofu absorb the marinade better.
  3. Cut and prepare the tofu: Slice the tofu into desired shapes or cubes, ensuring they are of uniform thickness for even cooking.
  4. Prepare the marinade: Whisk together your choice of marinade ingredients. Popular options include soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and a touch of sweetness like maple syrup or honey substitute for vegans.
  5. Marinate the tofu: Place the tofu in a container or ziplock bag and pour the marinade over it. Make sure all sides are coated evenly. Allow the tofu to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but overnight marinating will result in more flavor.
  6. Grill the tofu: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking. Grill the tofu for about 3-4 minutes per side or until you achieve nice grill marks and a slightly crispy exterior.

Marinating Tempeh

Tempeh, a fermented soybean product originating from Indonesia, has a nutty flavor and a firm texture that makes it an excellent choice for BBQ. Just like tofu, tempeh can benefit from marinating to infuse it with delicious flavors. Here’s how you can marinate tempeh for a BBQ feast:

  1. Select the right tempeh: Look for firm or extra-firm tempeh for grilling, as it holds up well on the barbecue.
  2. Prepare the tempeh: Slice the tempeh into thin strips or cubes, ensuring they are of uniform size for even cooking.
  3. Create the marinade: Combine your desired marinade ingredients. Tempeh pairs well with savory flavors like soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and spices like paprika or chili powder.
  4. Marinate the tempeh: Submerge the tempeh in the marinade, making sure it is fully coated. Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. For maximum flavor, marinate overnight.
  5. Cook on the grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Grill the tempeh for about 3-4 minutes per side or until it becomes crisp and golden brown.

By marinating tofu or tempeh for your BBQ, you can elevate the flavors and textures of these plant-based alternatives, making them just as satisfying and delicious as their meat counterparts. The possibilities for marinades are endless, so feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices, and condiments to create unique and flavorful dishes.

“Marinating tofu and tempeh is the secret to unlocking their full potential, infusing them with a burst of flavors that will impress even the most dedicated carnivores.” – Chef Emma

Now that you know how to marinate tofu and tempeh, get ready to host a barbecue that caters to everyone’s taste buds. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to add more plant-based options to your grill, marinated tofu and tempeh are sure to become crowd-pleasers at your next BBQ gathering.

How long should you marinate tofu before grilling?

Marinating tofu before grilling is a great way to infuse flavor into this versatile and plant-based protein. However, the question of how long to marinate tofu for optimum taste and texture can be a bit tricky. Let’s dive into some key considerations for marinating tofu and how long you should let it soak.

Choosing the Right Marinade

The choice of marinade plays a crucial role in determining the ideal marinating time. Acidic marinades, such as those with vinegar or citrus juices, can break down the tofu more quickly. On the other hand, thicker and more complex marinades may require longer soaking times for the flavors to penetrate the tofu.

Adequate Marinating Time

Generally, it is recommended to marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to seep in. However, if you’re aiming for a stronger flavor, marinating for a few hours or even overnight can yield more satisfying results. Remember to refrigerate the tofu while marinating to prevent bacteria growth.

Consider Tofu Texture

Another factor to keep in mind is the texture you desire for your grilled tofu. If you prefer a firmer and chewier texture, a shorter marinating time will do. On the other hand, if you want a softer and more tender texture, longer marinating times can help achieve this.

Delicious Marinated Tofu Recipes

Here are a few delicious marinated tofu recipes to inspire your grilling adventures:

  1. Soy-Ginger Marinated Tofu: Combine soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, and a touch of sesame oil. Marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Lemon-Herb Marinated Tofu: Mix lemon zest, fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Let tofu marinate for an hour before grilling.
  3. Spicy Barbecue Marinated Tofu: Blend tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, and a dash of hot sauce. Marinate tofu for a few hours to intensify the flavors.

“Marinating tofu enhances its taste and makes for a flavorful and satisfying meal.” – Chef Emma

Experiment with different marinades and marinating times to discover your personal preference when it comes to grilled tofu. Whether you’re preparing a quick weeknight meal or hosting a summer barbecue, marinated tofu is sure to impress with its versatility and deliciousness.

Is the Marinating Process Different for Vegetables?

Marinating is a popular technique used to infuse flavors into meat, fish, and even vegetables. While the process of marinating vegetables shares some similarities with marinating meat or fish, there are a few key differences to consider. In this article, we will explore the marinating process specifically for vegetables and how it differs from marinating other proteins.

Why Marinate Vegetables?

Marinating vegetables serves two primary purposes – enhancing flavor and improving texture. By marinating vegetables, you can add depth and complexity to their natural taste. Additionally, the marinating process can help to tenderize tougher vegetables, making them more enjoyable to eat.

The Differences in Marinating Vegetables

The main distinction when marinating vegetables lies in the time required. Unlike meats, which often require hours of marination to penetrate the protein fibers, vegetables tend to be more porous and absorb flavors more quickly. As a result, marinating vegetables for too long can lead to overpowering flavors.

Quick Tips for Marinating Vegetables:

  1. Choose vegetables that hold up well to marinating, such as bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or eggplant.
  2. Cut the vegetables into evenly sized pieces to ensure even marination.
  3. Prepare a marinade using ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, citrus juice, herbs, and spices.
  4. Place the vegetables and marinade in a bowl or zip-lock bag, ensuring they are well coated.
  5. Let the vegetables marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on their size and density.
  6. Avoid marinating vegetables for extended periods, as this can overpower their natural flavors.
  7. Once marinated, vegetables can be grilled, roasted, or used in salads and other dishes.

Note: Some vegetables may release excess moisture during the marinating process. To prevent sogginess, pat them dry before cooking or using them in recipes.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy marinated vegetables that are bursting with flavor, tender, and perfectly balanced. Experiment with different marinades, spices, and cooking methods to create delicious vegetable dishes that will impress even the most discerning palates.

What are good marinades for grilled mushrooms?

Grilled mushrooms are a delicious vegetarian option for any barbecue or outdoor gathering. Adding marinades can elevate the flavors and create a more flavorful and enjoyable dish. Here are some tasty marinades that are perfect for grilling mushrooms in the UK:

1. Balsamic Glaze Marinade:

A simple yet flavorful marinade, balsamic glaze adds a tangy and slightly sweet taste to grilled mushrooms. To make the marinade, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow the mushrooms to marinate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to infuse.

2. Herb and Garlic Marinade:

This marinade is packed with aromatic herbs and garlic, perfect for enhancing the earthy flavors of mushrooms. Create a marinade using olive oil, minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Let the mushrooms marinate for about an hour before grilling.

3. Teriyaki Marinade:

For a touch of Asian-inspired flavors, a teriyaki marinade works wonders with grilled mushrooms. Combine soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, minced ginger, minced garlic, and sesame oil to create a rich and savory marinade. Let the mushrooms soak in the marinade for at least 2 hours before grilling.

Tip: When marinating mushrooms, it’s best to use larger and firmer mushroom varieties like Portobello or shiitake as they hold up well on the grill.

Once you’ve marinated your mushrooms, it’s time to grill them to perfection. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and lightly brush off excess marinade.
  3. Place the mushrooms on the grill, gill side down, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Flip the mushrooms and continue grilling for another 5 minutes or until tender.
  5. Remove from the grill and serve hot.

Grilled mushrooms with these marinades are versatile and can be enjoyed as a side dish, in sandwiches, or as a topping for salads. Experiment with different marinades and find your favorite combination of flavors!

How do you make a vegan BBQ marinade?


Barbecuing is a popular summer activity in the UK, and being vegan should not limit your options when it comes to flavorful and delicious food on the grill. Making a vegan BBQ marinade is a great way to enhance the taste of your plant-based dishes while adding a satisfying smoky flavor that everyone can enjoy.


Creating a vegan BBQ marinade is easy and typically involves combining various ingredients. Here are some common ones you can use:

  • Liquid base: Choose from options like soy sauce, vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, or citrus juices.
  • Flavor enhancers: Garlic, ginger, onions, and spices such as paprika, cumin, or chili powder.
  • Sweeteners: Maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown sugar can add a touch of sweetness.
  • Oil: Use a neutral oil like vegetable or olive oil to help bind the ingredients together.


To make a vegan BBQ marinade:

  1. Gather your ingredients: Combine the liquid base, flavor enhancers, sweeteners, and oil together in a bowl.
  2. Mix well: Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined and the flavors are evenly distributed.
  3. Add your protein: Place your choice of tofu, tempeh, seitan, or vegetables into the marinade. Ensure everything is coated and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight for more intense flavors.
  4. Preheat the grill: While your protein is marinating, preheat your barbecue grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Cook: Once your grill is heated, place the marinated protein or vegetables on the grill and cook until they are charred and cooked through, turning them occasionally for even cooking.

Tips and variations

“For a smokier flavor, you can add a few drops of liquid smoke to your marinade.”

Here are some additional tips and variations to make your vegan BBQ marinade even more exciting:

  • Experiment with herbs and spices: Try adding fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil to elevate the marinade’s taste.
  • Use different citrus fruits: Swap out lemon or lime juice for orange juice to add a fruity tang.
  • Consider different marinade consistencies: If you prefer a thicker marinade, try adding ingredients like tomato paste or soy sauce reduction.

Enjoy experimenting with different flavors and finding the perfect vegan BBQ marinade that suits your taste buds. It’s a fantastic way to create delicious plant-based dishes that everyone will love at your next barbecue gathering!

Are there specific spices that work best with plant-based BBQ?

When it comes to plant-based BBQ, it’s all about enhancing the flavors of vegetables, tofu, and other plant-based proteins. While there are no hard and fast rules, certain spices can bring out the best in these dishes. Here are some spices that are particularly well-suited for plant-based BBQ:

Smoky Spices

One of the key aspects of BBQ is the smoky flavor, and you can achieve that with spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle powder. These spices add depth and complexity to plant-based BBQ dishes, helping them mimic the flavors of traditional barbecue.

Herbs and Citrus Zest

Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and basil can elevate the taste of grilled vegetables and tofu. Consider adding a sprinkle of citrus zest, such as lemon or lime, to brighten up the flavors. The combination of herbs and citrus can provide a refreshing contrast to the smokiness.

Spicy Heat

If you enjoy a bit of heat in your BBQ, spices like chili powder, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes can add a kick to your plant-based dishes. Adjust the amount according to your spice tolerance, ensuring a balanced level of spiciness without overpowering the other flavors.

Experimentation is key when it comes to creating delicious plant-based BBQ dishes. Try different combinations of spices and herbs to find what works best for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to get creative and discover exciting flavor profiles!

“The right blend of spices can transform simple plant-based ingredients into a mouthwatering BBQ feast.”

Sample Spice Blend for Plant-based BBQ

Here’s a simple spice blend to get you started:

Ingredient Quantity
Smoked paprika 1 tablespoon
Cumin 1 teaspoon
Chili powder 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper 1/2 teaspoon

Combine all the ingredients and store the spice blend in an airtight container. Use it as a rub for grilled vegetables, tofu, or plant-based protein of your choice.

In summary, while there are no set rules for spices in plant-based BBQ, spices like smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and fresh herbs can enhance the flavors of grilled vegetables and plant-based proteins. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect combination!