This post on easy chicken or tofu marinades was originally published back in 2013, and has received a big upgrade with new photos and extra marinade ideas, so it was time to re-share it! I hope these ideas make dinners more interesting. First up you’ll find the easy marinade recipes; the second part of the post includes ways to turn the marinated chicken or tofu into delicious balanced meals. Enjoy!
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people think that eating healthy means eating completely plain grilled or baked chicken. Not so! Healthy food can (and should) be delicious – no need to struggle through bland meals in the name of health. Here are some of my very favorite easy marinade recipes. They are perfect for adding tons of flavor to chicken or tofu!
Marinating is one of the simplest ways to add tons of flavor to chicken and tofu – two proteins that are pretty flavorless on their own. Just let the chicken or tofu soak in flavorful ingredients in the fridge, and you’re well on your way to a delicious, healthy dinner! You can marinate for as little as 30 minutes or as long as overnight. After marinating, your protein is ready to grill, saute, or bake.
Each recipe below will marinate about 2 chicken breasts or about half a 14-oz block of tofu. Even if you’re only serving yourself, go ahead and cook both and save the extra to eat the next day!
8 Easy Marinade Recipes for Chicken or Tofu
Easiest Marinade Ever: Salad Dressing!
Balsamic vinaigrette and Italian dressing in particular make great marinades. Make sure to buy full fat/regular versions, because reduced fat/light dressings usually have tons of added sugar, fillers, and salt to make up for the lack of fat – and they don’t taste as good either. 🙂
1 clove garlic (minced or grated) + ¼ cup fresh cilantro + ½ Tbsp. Asian fish sauce + ½ Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce + ½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
Green Chile & Lime Marinade
juice of 1 lime + 1 Tbsp. honey + 2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1 small can diced green chiles + ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro + a pinch of salt & pepper
Honey Soy Marinade
1/4 cup honey, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 2 tsp. red chili paste
Chipotle Cilantro Marinade
3 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp chopped canned chipotle peppers, ½ tsp. chili powder, ½ tsp. cumin, a pinch of salt & pepper
juice from 1 orange, ¼ C low sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, 1 clove garlic (minced or grated), 1 tbsp sesame seeds
Persian Lemon Marinade
juice from 1 lemon + 2 tsp. olive oil + 1 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. turmeric + a pinch of salt & pepper
1 tsp. dried rosemary + 2 cloves garlic (minced or grated) + 1 Tbsp. olive oil + ¼ cup balsamic vinegar + a pinch of salt & pepper
For all of these marinades, just stir together the ingredients in a bowl and then add chicken or tofu! You can either marinate in a bowl or in a large plastic bag to really massage the marinade into the chicken (stick with a bowl for tofu cubes or slices, since they’re more fragile).
Here are some of my favorite ways to make quick meals with these easy marinade recipes!
Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry:
Dice half a block of tofu and marinate in the teriyaki marinade (you can get this going in the morning or the night before!). Remove the tofu from the marinade and reserve the extra marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the tofu. Cook until the tofu is browned and slightly crispy, then remove the tofu and reserve on a plate. Add any veggies you have on hand to the pan and cook until tender, then add the tofu back in and pour in the remaining marinade. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated and serve over brown rice!
Persian Lemon Chicken & Spinach Salad:
Marinate two chicken breasts in the Persian lemon marinade for 30 minutes. Remove the tofu from the marinade and discard any extra marinade. Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until cooked through (about 15 minutes or so). Slice and serve over spinach, sliced apples, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of oil and vinegar! Enjoy a roll on the side (or add some grains to the salad) to make this meal more filling.
Chipotle Cilantro Tofu Tacos
Dice half a block of tofu and marinate in the chipotle cilantro marinade (you can get this going in the morning or the night before!). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the tofu and all the marinade. Cook until the tofu is browned and slightly crispy. Fill corn tortillas with the tofu, diced tomatoes, cheese, cabbage, cilantro – whatever your favorite taco toppings are!
What’s your favorite marinade recipe?