In the Kitchen

The Homemade Marinade Matrix for Every Occasion

Marinating, or, soaking proteins and veggies in a combination of liquids, is one of our favorite ways to infuse additional flavor and, in some cases, increase the tenderness of meat. At Plated, we love to mix and match condiments, oils, juices, and spices to elevate any number of dishes. If you need a place to start, these are some of our go-to combinations:

Greek

We dreamt up this multi-purpose marinade in honor of some of our favorite Greek flavors. Herbal oregano, lemon, and garlic make for a sharp combo that works well with chicken, shrimp, and salmon. This recipe is a Plated favorite.

Ingredients
1 garlic clove, minced or smashed depending on your preference (smashed will still provide garlic flavor, but a bit less)
leaves from 1 oregano sprig
juice of .5 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
.5 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Instructions
Combine ingredients in a large shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator.

Balsamic

Sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar is the ideal match for punchy Dijon mustard and honey. The addition of herbes de Provence, a French blend including lavender, oregano, and thyme, gives depth and a floral quality to this marinade, which works well with both chicken and steak. It’s a stronger concoction, so delicate fish might be overpowered by it.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
.5 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions
Whisk ingredients together in a large shallow bowl or resealable bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator.

Adobo

Filipino Adobo is a meat-based dish marinated in palm vinegar, garlic, herbs, spices, and sometimes coconut milk. It’s then cooked in the marinade along with a healthy dose of soy sauce. The result is slightly acidic and umami-forward goodness. Here, we’ve simplified the concoction and added onions, which turn slightly caramelized (thanks to the agave) and add great flavor. Try this marinade with pork, beef, or chicken.

Ingredients
.25 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon agave
2 tablespoons white vinegar
sliced white onion

Instructions
Combine ingredients in a large shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator.

Bulgogi

Bulgogi, which translates to “fire meat,” is one of our absolute favorite Korean dishes, in which thin slices of beef are marinated in a sweet and savory combination for many hours before being grilled. Gochujang, a Korean chile bean paste, adds a slightly spicy element to the marinade, which we particularly love on steak and chicken.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1.5 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2.5 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
.5 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Instructions
Combine ingredients in a large shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator. PRO TIP: We recommend pounding the protein to .25-inch thickness before marinating.

Ají Amarillo

Ají amarillo is a South American chile pepper with orange flesh and a fruity flavor that’s medium to hot on the spice level. Here, we’re using the paste for a mildly spicy marinade that gets earthiness from cumin. We like it on shrimp, chicken, and beefthis Plated recipe is a great place to start. It would also make a great coating for veggies prior to roasting.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ají amarillo paste
1.5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
black pepper

Instructions
Whisk ingredients together in a large shallow bowl or resealable bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator.

Shawarma

Here, we were inspired by the flavors of shawarma, a Middle Eastern dish in which meat is marinated then slowly roasted on a rotating spit. We like using this marinade on all varieties of meat and poultry and heartier fish like swordfish—take Plated’s Chicken Shawarma as a great example.

Ingredients
.125 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
.25 teaspoon ground turmeric
juice of .5 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
.5 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Instructions
Whisk ingredients together in a large shallow bowl or resealable bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator.

Yogurt-curry

Using yogurt in a marinade makes any meat you’re working with extra tender and moist. Here, we’ve also added tikka masala curry paste to the mix for an easy Indian flavor profile that works well with chicken and salmon.

Ingredients
2/3 cup (or 1 5.3 ounce container) nonfat Greek yogurt
.5 tablespoon tikka masala curry paste
.5 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Instructions
Whisk ingredients together in a large shallow bowl or resealable bag. Pat protein dry, then add to marinade, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If longer, marinate in refrigerator. Before cooking, wipe off extra marinade.

General tips

Though it may seem as easy as combining a bunch of ingredients and letting the protein hang out, there are a few pro-tips to marinating that will help you make the most of it:

  • Citrus and other acidic ingredients will start the cooking process. Watch out for delicate ingredients like fish, as they might begin cooking (think ceviche) if they sit too long in the marinade.
  • Never use aluminum or another reactive material for marinating. Stick to glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers or, of course, resealable plastic bags.
  • If you’re using a slightly sticky substance like honey, or something thicker like a curry paste, use a whisk to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
  • If you’re marinating for a short period of time—ten minutes, for example—keep the protein marinating at room temperature.
  • Always allow excess marinade to drip off before cooking.

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

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