The best vegan ribs recipe. Easy to make. Made with seitan and plant based meat. High in protein. Super meaty flavor with a hint of smokiness and sweetness. Great chewy texture. Take it to a summer bbq or to grill on an outdoor grill.
This recipe is
- high in protein
- vegan & vegetarian
- full of meaty, smoky flavors
- great for a summer bbq
Ingredients and substitutions
- Vital wheat gluten – This is our main ingredient. This flour is what makes seitan (the base of this recipe). Seitan is an amazing meat substitute. Vital wheat gluten is the protein in wheat that they separate from the starch. It’s super high in protein and low in carbs. If you’re allergic to gluten, steer clear. It’s easy to order this online or in a health food store or a Whole Foods.
- Vegan ground beef – I love using either Beyond Beef, Beyond Burgers or Impossible meat or burgers. This will add even more meaty flavor. Feel free to keep this out if you don’t have access to any vegan ground beef.
- Nutritional yeast – This adds a nice umami, nutty flavor to the ribs. If it’s enriched it also adds a lot of B vitamins, especially B12.
- Seasonings – We use a mix of garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika as well as salt and pepper.
- Mushroom seasoning – This adds a deeper umami flavor to resemble the savory deep flavor of real ribs. It’s ok to leave it out if you don’t have it. I love using Trader Joe’s mushroom umami seasoning or you can order it online.
- BBQ sauce – I love using Stubb’s. Just make sure you use one that doesn’t contain honey or anchovies. Sweet baby ray’s is also delicious. You can use homemade bbq sauce, but using store bought makes it easier.
- Vegetable stock or broth- Bonus points if you use a vegan beef flavored broth, but it’s not essential.
- Oil – To keep these vegetarian ribs moist, we’re adding in some vegetable oil. Feel free to leave this out if you’re oil free. You can also use tahini.
- Soy sauce – This adds some saltiness and deep rich flavor.
- Beans – To lighten up the seitan, and to make sure it’s not to dense, we’re adding in some beans. Chickpeas, black beans or brown lentils work well.
- Liquid smoke – This adds the nice smoky flavor that comes with ribs. If you don’t have this, just add some more smoked paprika. You can usually find this in the sauce aisle of most grocery stores or order it online.
If you want the ribs to have a more chewy texture and be more dense, make sure to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. If you want it to be more tender and porous, then only knead it for five minutes.
If you want to add even more stringy texture, you can add unripe, young jackfruit or artichoke hearts. Just chop and shred them up before adding to the dough. To get rid of the sour taste of jackfruit, sauté the jackfruit pieces in some vegetable broth on medium, low heat for 10 minutes before adding. Or to save time, add in some store bought jackfruit bbq.
If you don’t want to use vegan beef, mushrooms also add a nice additional texture. Baby bella or white mushrooms work great. King oyster mushrooms taste amazing in this as well, but can be hard to find. Just shred them with a fork then sauté them in some oil on medium heat before adding them.
The ribs firm up as they cool down.
The best way to ensure the ribs don’t dry out when baking, is to cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. This will keep the moisture from evaporating.
Another trick to make sure the ribs don’t dry out, is to cover them in barbeque sauce before baking. I add about ⅓ cup of water as well and I tilt the baking pan to incorporate the sauce with the water.
Grill them on an outdoor grill after baking them, to add some great flavor and grill marks. Brush on some extra bbq sauce when you flip them. You can also grill them up in a grill pan.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together first, this ensures they get incorporated well. Then add in the blended wet ingredients. Stir until a dough forms.
If you don’t want to add oil to the baking dish, you can use parchment paper.
Storing and making ahead
These taste even better the next day as leftovers.
Fridge – These last for a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezer – These freeze well. Just store them in a freezer friendly bag for up to three months. Let them thaw completely.
Making ahead – To make these ahead, you can prepare the seitan dough ingredients. Then let it sit in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, add them to a baking pan, add bbq sauce, a little water, cover with tin foil and bake.
How to serve
These delicious vegan ribs area an amazing main dish for a summer vegan bbq and go great with a vegan side dish or two like:
More recipes you’ll love
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- Vegan mushroom stroganoff
- Easy homemade seitan
- Vegan chicken salad sandwich
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Delicious vegan ribs
- ¼ cup bbq sauce
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ¾ cup chickpeas
- 1-2 cups bbq sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- aluminum foil
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients and stir well. Crumble in the vegan ground beef and stir well.1½ cups vital wheat gluten, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning powder, 1 cup vegan ground beef
- In a blender or food processor, add in all of the wet ingredients and blend well.¼ cup bbq sauce, ¾ cup vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, ¾ cup chickpeas
- Pour in the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until it starts to come together. Knead it for 5 minutes if you'd like a softer texture and 10 minutes if you'd like a more firm, chewy texture.
- Flatten out the dough with a rolling pin or your hands and shape them up a bit to resemble ribs. Cut the dough in half.
- Oil a baking dish. Add in the dough. Cover with a lot of bbq sauce – about a cup or two. Then add in ⅓ cup of water. Tilt the baking dish around a bit to incorporate the water with the bbq sauce.1-2 cups bbq sauce, ⅓ cup water
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. This is essential to make sure the ribs don't dry out. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.aluminum foil
- Once the ribs are done baking, let them cool for 5 minutes. They start to firm up more when they cool as well. Cut them into strips and enjoy.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.