Ten Healthy Marinade Recipes

Whether you're cooking with chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu, there's a marinade for everything.

Using a marinade is a great way to infuse flavor into a meal. But rather than reach for a bottled version that’s most likely full of sodium, sugar, and extra calories, take a few extra minutes to whip up one of these versatile recipes. You can use these marinades on chicken, pork, tofu, or seafood such as shrimp or a hearty white fish like cod. The best part about marinating seafood is that it only needs to sit for about 30 minutes. Talk about dressing up a weeknight meal! Below, our favorite marinade recipes:

1. Indian Spiced Chicken with Raita Sauce
via Honest Cooking

The Greek yogurt in this sauce will keep the chicken tender and moist, and the spices add an earthy kick. The cooking method of this recipe is indirect grilling, however you can bake or sauté the chicken. If using a grill pan on the stove, use medium low heat. The spices and yogurt will get very dark if the heat is too high.

2. Pork Adobado
via Elly Says Opa

Don’t be afraid of using bold flavors like chilies in a marinade. Since the flavor infuses into the meat, the heat of the marinade won’t be so intense. Pork tenderloin is a great lean meat option, and it saves well for a nice lunch the next day.

3. Maple-Citrus-Soy Glazed Tofu with Baby Carrots and Wild Mushrooms
via The Yummy Kind

The acid from the citrus will balance the sweetness from the maple syrup to make this marinade great on tofu, earthy vegetables, or any lean protein. Top the finished product with toasted sesame seeds to bring out the flavor of the sesame oil.

4. Thai-Curry Marinated Grilled Shrimp
via Kitchen Confidante

The subtle heat of red curry compliments sweet shrimp, making this dish a flavorful and quick meal that will taste great the next day, whether it’s hot or cold. Try using the shrimp to top a salad or mix with jasmine rice.

5. Lemongrass-Marinated Flank Steak
via My Daily Morsel

Flank steak is a good lean(er) red meat option. If you have time, allow the meat to marinate overnight. Steak is denser than chicken so the extra time will let the flavor better penetrate the meat. To beat the lemongrass, trim the ends off and hit the stalks against the counter to split the ends.

6. Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad
via The Wanderlust Kitchen

Instead of top sirloin, try a filet or flank steak. If you’re looking for something other an salad, use rice noodles or brown rice with the grilled meat. Low sodium soy sauce is very important for keeping the sodium levels in check. Fish sauce and oyster sauce can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store.

7. Lemon-Herb Chicken with Quinoa
via Taking on Magazines

This marinade is as basic and simple as it gets, and it will work well with all kinds of meat. If you like herby chicken, try adding different herbs such as cilantro, parsley, or tarragon. You can also save some of the marinade and use it as a light salad dressing.

8. Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa
via The Iron You

This recipe is a cross between a marinade and a rub. Take the time to really massage the marinade into the chicken to make sure the flavor permeates the meat. Scotch bonnet peppers are extremely hot, but you can substitute with jalapeño if you don’t like a lot of heat.

9. Chipotle-Marinated Pork Chops with Chimichurri Sauce
via Cooking Light

Take your pork chop dinner south of the border with this recipe. Chimichurri is a thick, flavorful condiment from Argentina. This recipe is good with steak, chicken, or even salmon.

10. Asian Marinated Salmon
via Cooking Light

This salmon is a great with a side of roasted vegetables, rice, or soba noodles. If you can’t find dark sesame oil, a lighter version will work just as well. If you aren’t up for firing up the grill, make the fillets in the oven or in a sauté pan.