Simple and Tasty Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce Recipe

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Do you want to marinate some tofu but find that every recipe you find calls for soy sauce? Do you want a vegetarian option and every tofu marinade without soy sauce calls for something like fish sauce?

If you’re in either of these scenarios, you’ve come to the right place. This tofu marinade doesn’t call for soy sauce, is entirely vegan and offers a delicious way to prepare tofu for your next dinner.

Instead of using soy sauce, the base for this tofu marinade is umami-rich miso paste (an ingredient I also use in my vegetarian pad thai recipe and my olive tapenade recipe!).

Sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and brightened with a touch of lime juice, it comes together in just a few minutes and can transform some bland tofu into a delicious part of your dish that can stand on its own.

The other great thing about this tofu marinade is that the tofu benefits from just a short sit in the marinade, so it doesn’t require a bunch of advance planning.

So if you want to make a quick and easy tofu marinade without any soy sauce, you’ve come to the right place

Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce
Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce

How to Make Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce

If you’re wondering how to cook tofu without soy sauce, this recipe will be delicious.

The first thing you need to do is, in a mixing bowl large enough to hold all of your tofu, add a few tablespoons of miso paste.

Key ingredients for this tofu marinade without any soy sauce
Key ingredients for this tofu marinade

Miso is a fermented soy bean paste that has distinct umami flavours and is really delicious. It is the perfect substitution for soy sauce in this recipe.

To your miso, add a bit of lime juice for some acidity and a bit of maple syrup for some sweetness. Go ahead and use honey here if you don’t want to use/don’t have maple syrup.

Adding miso, maple syrup and lime juice
Adding miso, maple syrup and lime juice

Then, add in a bit of neutral oil and toasted sesame oil to further boost the flavour. Next, grate in a couple of cloves of garlic using a rasp-style grater.

After that, grate in a bit of fresh ginger. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can absolutely use dried ground ginger here, but remember to cut the quantity down by 50%.

Adding the garlic and ginger to the marinade
Adding the garlic and ginger to the marinade

All you need to do now is pour in a bit of water and then whisk your tofu marinade until all of the miso paste is dissolved in the liquid.

At this point, you should have some firm tofu pressed to drain and cut into small pieces. Add your tofu to the marinade and ensure that it is fully submerged.

Mixing the marinade together
Mixing the marinade together

Then, you can transfer the marinade to the fridge and allow your tofu to sit in the marinade for at least an hour and up to overnight – the longer it sits the more pronounced the flavour will be. The tofu does benefit from a short stint, however.

After your tofu is done marinating, you can cook it in whatever way you choose.

Frying the marinated tofu
Frying the marinated tofu

If you’re not worried about making this vegetarian, the tofu pairs perfectly with my stir-fry sauce without sauce or sauteed with my soy sauce-free peanut sauce! And if you’re looking for other soy sauce-free Asian recipes, check out my dumpling sauce recipe!

Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce

Tofu Marinade Without Soy Sauce

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This tofu marinade has similar umami flavours without using any soy sauce. It also happens to be completely vegan!


  • 30g (2 tablespoons) light miso paste
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) neutral oil
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) maple syrup
  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 10g (1 teaspoon) fresh ginger, grated
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) water
  • 400g (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into small pieces


  1. In a small bowl, add miso, oil, lime juice, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and water. Whisk until well combined and miso completely incorporated into the liquid.
  2. Add the tofu and ensure that it is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to overnight.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Making a tofu marinade without soy sauce is easy and this recipe is so delicious, that you won’t even miss the soy sauce!

Are you wondering how to cook tofu without soy sauce? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments.

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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