This easy vegan ribs recipe is perfect for a vegetarian barbecue. Serve with a side of our Southern-Style Creamy Potato Salad or Crispy Baked Oil-Free French Fries, and our Easy Vinegar Cucumber Salad.
This meaty, chewy, and delicious plant based rib recipe is part of our first cookbook, Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill.
Our vegan ribs are made with vital wheat gluten, AKA, seitan.
This protein packed ingredient is a protein powerhouse because the wheat flour is hydrated and then all of the starch is rinsed away, leaving only the gluten.
When it's mixed with liquid it forms a stretchy dough that mimics the texture of meat. Genius!!
This recipe uses several ingredients to ensure that the texture and flavor of the bbq vegan ribs is as authentic as possible.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card.
Vital Wheat Gluten - This is a must. There are no substitutes for this ingredient.
Mushrooms - You can use cremini or white mushroom caps. They improve the texture and add a wonderful umami flavor.
No Beef Broth - This is the best broth to use to get a beefy flavor. If you can't find it, the next best thing is mushroom broth. If you can't find that, vegetable broth will do.
Liquid Smoke - For a delicious smoky flavor, this is a must. We also add smoked paprika to the ribs, so if you don't want to use liquid smoke, you can add extra paprika.
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce - This is another ingredient that adds a rich flavor to the ribs. We don't recommend leaving it out.
Tomato Paste - Tomato adds the necessary acid to this recipe. You can substitute with ketchup.
Peanut Butter - Adds fat and flavor. You can substitute with tahini or almond or cashew butter.
Garlic and Onion Powder - Helps with the savory flavor you want from ribs.
Beet - Creates a beautiful red color. It isn't a must for flavor.
BBQ Sauce - You can make our homemade vegan bbq sauce or your favorite store bought sauce.
How to Make Seitan Ribs
Here is a visual step-by-step to help you make the best vegan ribs.
One - Cook the mushrooms until they're nicely browned.
Two - Put the vital wheat gluten in a large mixing bowl.
Three – Puree the mushrooms and the remaining ingredients in a food processor until you can't see any solids, then pour it into the dry ingredients.
Four– Stir the liquid into the wheat gluten until it it sticks together and is completely combined.
Five – Knead the seitan for one minute and then press it and form it into a long rectangle like the one shown above.
Six - Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until slightly crusty on the outside.
Seven - Slather bbq sauce on both sides and grill of sear in a pan until the sauce is hot.
Can You Make it Ahead of Time?
Yes! These are even better the next day because the flavors have a chance to develop.
Just wrap them in parchment or foil and heat them up in the oven.
How to Store and Freeze
Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Wrap in parchment or foil and reheat in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until warmed through.
Pro Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Vital wheat gluten is sticky. We recommend using a glass or metal bowl and a plastic spoon or spatula to stir it. The dough will stick to wooden spoons and bowls, so avoid those.
Feel free to add shredded jackfruit before mixing the batter. This will add more meat like texture, however it isn't necessary.
Absolutely! They only need a minute or two on each side because they're fully cooked in the oven.
Unfortunately not. We have had gluten-free vegan ribs that are made with tempeh, but we were not big fans of the flavor.
More Vegan Meat Recipes You'll Love
Vegan BBQ Ribs
- 1 food processor or blender
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 Oven
- 1 Baking pan
- 4 teaspoon 20 ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups quartered white mushroom caps
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (we use Bob’s Red Mill Brand)
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup no-beef broth
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon peanut butter or any nut butter, including tahini
- 2 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (we use Annie’s brand)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon beet or beet juice (this is for color and is optional)
For the BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup ml ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon Bee Free Honee (available at Whole Foods or Amazon)
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ground sea salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
For the Ribs
- Preheat oven to 350°F () and grease a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.
- In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, approximately 5 minutes.
- Put the vital wheat gluten in a large glass mixing bowl.
- In a food processor or high powered blender, add the mushrooms, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 cup broth, ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons liquid smoke, 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon beet until pureed, approximately 1 minute. Pour the mushroom mixture into the wheat gluten and stir until it turns into a light and stretchy dough. If the dough seems too wet, add a bit more vital wheat gluten until it becomes really stretchy. Spread it evenly in the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes.
For the Barbecue Sauce
- Mix the ½ cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 tablespoons bee free honee, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Slather the sauce on both sides of the ribs.
- Heat a grill pan or skillet on medium-high heat and brush with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Grill the ribz for approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until you see grill marks. Slice into strips and enjoy!