The vegetarian foods that are best suited to marinades include tofu, seitan and other meat-substitutions, Asian mushrooms and tempeh. These ingredients absorb the flavours of a marinade very well and the longer you leave them the more delicious they become.
A marinade is basically the same, flavour-wise, as a dressing, but I would refrain from using certain oils for marinades that I would use for dressings. There is a good reason for this. Some oils are far more nutritious raw and also far more flavoursome raw.
As a base, you could of course use butter or ghee, but I often prefer to use coconut oil because of it’s high smoking point.
You can refer to the free resource Oils Simplified for further guidance on understanding how to maximise the properties and qualities of each oil.
Here I’ve put together a simple free resource below for you to download now and refer to for inspiration.
I’ve detailed one in my Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade for soaking sott’olio (under oil) antipasti ingredients, take a look at my simple sott’olio marinade for raw sun-dried tomatoes when you get a chance.
Here are two of my favourites for tofu and tempeh marinades, but by all means, experiment away and use whatever you have knocking around in your kitchen.
Marinade 1: Fusion-style (for grilling, frying, roasting or stir-frying)
Maple syrup, 3-4 tbsp
Avocado oil, 6-7 tbsp
Pink grapefruit, juice, 1
Soya sauce, 3 tbsp
Tamari, 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves, minced, 4
Fresh ginger, minced, 1-2 nob(s)
Shiso leaves (perilla), 5
Red chilli flakes, 1 tbsp
Fresh dill, finely chopped, a handful
White pepper, to taste
Marinade 2: Italian-style (for steaming, steam-frying, stir-frying or grilling)
Extra-virgin olive oil, 6-7 tbsp
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, as much as you like
Fresh basil, finely chopped, as much as you like
Fresh rosemary, finely chopped, a sprig or two
Garlic cloves, minced, 5-6
Lemon, grated zest and juice, 2
Small caper berries, finely chopped, a handful
Olives, green and/or black, finely chopped, a handful
Paprika, spicy or sweet, a pinch
Sea salt, to taste
Ground mixed pepper, to taste
You can finely chop or even blend these ingredients if you prefer. Leave the tofu and tempeh to marinade for as much time as you have, the longer the better.