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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
395 Calories
18g Fat
46g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 395
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 24%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1283mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 18g
Calcium 504mg 39%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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, or your favorite vegetarian/mock chicken, or 1 block medium to firm/extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 purple onion or yellow cooking onion (sliced into wedges for skewering, optional)
  • For the Satay Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 shallots, or 1/4 cup purple onion (sliced)
  • 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 turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Slice wheat gluten, mock chicken, or tofu into strips or workable pieces (on the thin side for weaving the satay sticks through). Place in a bowl large enough for marinating and set aside.

  2. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend to create a dark, rich satay marinade. Taste-test the marinade for salt, spice, and sweetness. With this marinade, you should first taste salty, followed by sweet and then spicy. Add a little salt if needed, or more sugar if not sweet enough. Add more chili for more heat, if desired.

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

  4. Add the onion, if using, and gently toss all together. Set in the 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.

  5. Thread the wheat gluten, mock chicken, or tofu pieces onto soaked wooden skewers or stainless-steel skewers. Reserve the leftover marinade for basting.

  6. 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).

  7. Serve and enjoy!

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 the broiler and broil 5 minutes before turning. Continue broiling in this way until nicely browned on all sides and onions, if using, are lightly charred.

  3. Baste halfway through cooking with leftover marinade.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

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.