Smoky marinade

One of the arguments for not eating a plant-based diet I hear quite frequently is the food is bland. I have to confess, I have eaten some pretty poor meaIs out in restaurants, but it really shouldn’t be that way. And when you cook at home with fresh, vibrant ingredients, flavour is never far away!

There are many ways of adding depth and flavour to meals ranging from herbs and spices to fermented products like miso and soya sauce, if you can tolerate them of course! I’ve been reading about Lions Mane powder as a flavour enhancer too. Apparently it has a ‘meaty’ flavour as well as its medicinal properties. I’m going to do some experiments with that soon as it’s supposed to be good for the brain, and I need all the help I can get 😉

This recipe is a simple but very useful marinade to have as a stock recipe. I use this for tofu, tempeh, mushrooms or other vegetables, particularly if they are going on a BBQ or under the grill. It’s also lovely as a coating for cauliflower or celeriac ‘steaks’ baked in the oven.

Usually marinades contain oil; I’ve included a little in this recipe, however this is optional. It works just as well without. Adding oil depends on how you’re going to be cooking it – and if you actually want it in the first place of course. If you’re using direct heat, then avoid completely. If you’re cooking on an indirect heat (ie not on a direct flame or in a frying pan), the oil isn’t so much of a problem. Personally, I make it without and add a little cold pressed flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil as a garnish.

If you can, leave whatever is being marinaded to do it’s thing for a few hours – all day or overnight is best. But if you forget, just give it as long as you’ve got! I use these glass containers with clip on lids for soaking as you can shake it or turn it upside down and the marinade stays in the pot – no leakage!

As always, the amount of spice used is up to you – the recipe is a guideline. The advantage of making your own is you get the exact flavour you love, without all the chemicals your body doesn’t. Enjoy!

Smoky marinade

A useful and tasty marinade to add flavour to tofu, seitan or vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 servings


  • small jar with lid


  • 1 tbsp soya sauce or tamari or coconut amines depending on tolerance
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 squirts liquid smoke optional
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil optional


  • Place all the ingredients into the screw top jar
  • Shake well to combine
  • Keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Keyword easy recipe, plant-based diet, tofu marinade

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