This 3-ingredient agave-lime marinade will change how you view vegetables

This sweet, punchy marinade pairs beautifully with carrots, sweet potatoes and red onions

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published March 26, 2022 4:30PM (EDT)

Sweet potato fries (Getty Images/Winslow Productions)
Sweet potato fries (Getty Images/Winslow Productions)

Most vegetables don't need any help to taste good, especially in the spring. Give me a plate of thinly-sliced radishes and some sugar snap peas, lightly oiled and salted perhaps, and I'm a really happy girl. That said, some vegetables are absolutely exceptional when treated with only a little bit of extra care. 

One of my current favorite recipes (though it isn't much of a recipe, more like an assembly job) involves brushing root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, red onions and mushrooms with a simple agave-lime marinade, tossing them on a sheet pan and letting them roast, low and slow, until tender, a little caramelized and slightly frizzled at the edges. 

Related: A 3-ingredient marinade for the juiciest chicken breasts ever

What's really fun about this marinade — other than the fact that it only has 3 ingredients, excluding salt and oil — is that it's endlessly riffable. No agave? Feel free to sub in honey. Not a fan of lime? Orange or lemon zest would be absolutely delicious. I know that not everyone is a huge fan of cilantro, so you have the option of adding in or completely substituting in scallions. 

It's also a great base to add in other flavors. Get creative! Minced garlic, smoked paprika, a little adobo sauce or a splash of your favorite hot sauce would all be great additions. 


Recipe: Agave-Lime Vegetable Marinade 

1 serving
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time


  • 1/4 cup neutral oil 
  • 2 tablespoons agave 
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or scallions (or a mixture of both) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  1. In a large bowl, combine the neutral oil, agave, lime juice and zest, cilantro and/or scallions and salt and pepper to taste. 
  2. Brush the mixture over the vegetables, then transfer them to a sheet pan. Roast low and slow until tender and the sugar from the agave is just a little caramelized.

More simple 3-ingredient recipes: 

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By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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