Vegan peanut satay skewers give your choice of plant protein a wow factor, threaded on bamboo or metal skewers. Whether you’re craving a tofu satay recipe or want to make this with tempeh, seitan, or a meat alternative, this surprisingly easy Thai-inspired appetizer is sure to impress!
Easier to make than it looks! Honestly, you can skip the skewers and the results will still be excellent. Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients and steps in this recipe for vegan peanut satay skewers! It truly is easy to make.
What kind of plant protein can be used?
My favorite way to make this is with super-firm tofu. You can also use extra-firm tofu. But it works beautifully with so many other plant proteins.
The recipe gives options for using plant-based chick’n as well as tempeh and seitan.
You can make this with a different protein each time. but no matter what you use, it will be delicious. Serve as a main course with a rice or noodle dish and a simple salad, or in smaller portions as an appetizer.
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- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, optional (see note)
- 2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar or agave
- Freshly ground pepper
Peanut satay sauce (or see shortcut)
- 1/3 cup natural smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze bottle ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- Crushed peanuts for garnish, optional
- 1 or 2 thinly sliced scallions
- Coarsely chopped cilantro
Select the plant protein option from the list below and prepare as suggested. Arrange in a shallow container or two, more or less in one layer.
Marinade: Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Pour over the plant protein and allow to marinate for at least an hour. You can cover and refrigerate overnight; the longer it stands, the more marinade the protein will absorb.
Peanut Satay Sauce: If making your own peanut satay sauce combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. If your peanut butter is thick and a bit too dry to whisk, you may need to combine the ingredients in a food processor or mini-prep and process until smooth.
If using the shortcut of starting with a bottled satay sauce, whisk a little extra coconut milk into it if you’d like, for improved flavor and less saltiness. Either way, garnish the top of the sauce with some crushed peanuts if you’d like; or, you can portion the sauce between four or so small individual containers.
Plant protein: Once your plant protein of choice has marinated sufficiently, it’s time to cook it. For this particular round, I used super-firm tofu and cooked it on my little cast-iron grill pan. You also can use any regular skillet that resists sticking over medium-high heat. Heat a little oil, enough to cover the surface, and arrange your protein of choice in a single layer. Turn it over once it begins to get golden brown and crusty.
For serving: If you’d like to use skewers, thread 2 to 4 pieces of protein on each. Of course, you can thread them on the skewers before cooking, but then you’d have to soak the darn things (if bamboo) in water for about 30 minutes beforehand, and they may not fit in your pan. Metal skewers work, too.
Skewered or not, arrange the plant protein on a serving platter and scatter scallions and cilantro over them. This is good served warm or at room temperature.
Note on marinade: For the marinade, skip the soy sauce if using a prepared plant-based chick’n product or seitan, as they both have enough sodium
Plant protein options
For this flexible preparation, you have lots of options! Any that you use, cut into chunky strips or dice, as you prefer. It doesn’t matter, all options will taste great and you can vary it each time depending on what you have on hand.
- Super-firm tofu (the kind that you need only drain; no need to blot)
- Extra-firm tofu (blotted or pressed well)
- Prepared tofu dice (like Hodo; though you’ll need more than one package)
- Plant-based chick’n strips
- Tempeh (you’ll need two packages; cut into dice or chunky strips)
- Seitan (larger chunks if you want to thread on skewers)
Shortcut for peanut satay sauce: Use your favorite bottled peanut satay sauce. Since you need to open a can of coconut milk for the marinade, you can stir a little into the bottled sauce to improve the flavor and color and mitigate the sodium content.
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