Vegetarian Thai Satay

Vegan thai satay with peanut sauce

 Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 33 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings

Vegetarian and vegan satay can be as delicious as regular satay, but there's a secret: a good marinade. The satay marinade for this dish has been handed down through my husband's family for generations, going all the way back to Thailand and northern Malaysia—you will definitely taste its authenticity! 

This satay can be grilled or cooked in your oven. Be sure to pair it with a peanut satay sauce—it's easy to make and adds the finishing touch to this great vegan dish. Your sides can include plain rice, coconut rice, or sticky rice


  • 1 pound wheat gluten or soy protein strips, vegetarian "chicken", or 1 block medium to firm tofu

  • 1/2 red or yellow onion, sliced into wedges for skewering, optional

For the Satay Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass

  • 2 shallots, or 1/4 cup sliced red onion

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies, or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice protein of choice into strips. Place in a bowl large enough for marinating and set aside.

  3. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend to create a dark, rich satay marinade. Taste-test marinade for salt, spice, and sweetness.

  4. Pour marinade over prepared strips, turning to cover all sides.

  5. Add onion, if using, and gently toss all together. Set in refrigerator to marinate at least 1 hour, or cover and leave up to 24 hours. If using wooden skewers, soak in water 10 minutes before threading to prevent burning.

  6. Thread sliced protein pieces onto soaked wooden skewers or stainless-steel skewers. Reserve leftover marinade for basting.

  7. If grilling, lightly brush grill with oil, then set skewers over a hot fire. Grill, rotating skewers until all sides are lightly browned, basting generously with leftover marinade. (See below for oven instructions).

To Make This Dish in Your Oven

  1. After skewering, lay prepared satay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, if desired.

  2. Set oven to broil and place a rack on the highest or second-highest rung of your oven. Slide satay under broiler and broil 5 minutes before turning. Continue broiling in this way until browned on all sides and onions, if using, are lightly charred.

  3. Baste halfway through cooking with leftover marinade.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.