Sunday was such a beautiful day that I had to get outside, away from the kitchen and the computer, and just enjoy the sunshine and flowers. I spent all of last week closeted in my office trying to copy files and programs to a new computer and set up a new home network. By Sunday I had had enough. I wanted to spend as much of the day outside as I could.
For a few weeks I’ve been planning on cooking these barbecued seitan ribs, but the timing and weather were never quite right. Though they’re started in the kitchen, they’re finished up on the grill, giving them the smoky taste that only grilling can impart.
I’ve found that cooking outside is much less stressful if most of the foods are pre-cooked at least a little in the kitchen; long grilling times, different foods finishing at different times, and potential burning all can be avoided with a little strategic pre-cooking in the microwave or oven.
We ate these vegan ribs outside with steamed broccoli and grilled/baked potatoes. The potatoes were pre-cooked in the microwave until almost done and then cooked on the back of the grill while the seitan was cooking. The whole meal was a complete success. The potatoes had that delicious grilled taste without the long cooking time baked potatoes usually require. And the seitan was succulent and tasty. In fact, the three of us probably could have eaten another entire pan of this stuff, so in the future I will double the recipe and hope for leftovers. E. says to tell you that this is “way, way kid-friendly.”
Note: This recipe is loosely based on this recipe, which uses the oven rather than the grill.
Barbecued Seitan Ribz (Vegan Ribs)
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons tahini or other nut butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- about 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce see some suggestions below
- Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the water with the nut butter, Liquid Smoke, and soy sauce and add it to the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well and then knead lightly in the bowl 15-60 seconds (the less you knead it, the more tender it is; the longer, the chewier).
- Put the dough into the baking dish and flatten it so that it evenly fills the pan. Take a sharp knife and cut it into 8 strips; then turn the pan and cut those strips in half to form 16 pieces:
- Put it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. While it’s cooking prepare your grill.
- Remove it from the oven and carefully re-cut each strip, going over each cut to make sure that the ribz will pull apart easily later. Generously brush the top with barbecue sauce. Take it to the grill and invert the whole baking dish onto the grill (or use a large spatula to lift the seitan out, placing it sauce-side down on the grill). Brush the top of the seitan with more sauce:
- Watch it closely to make sure that it doesn’t burn. When it’s sufficiently brown on one side, turn over and cook the other side, adding more sauce, if necessary. When done, remove to a platter and cut or pull apart the individual ribs to serve.
To make this without a grill, bake it for 25 minutes without barbecue sauce. Then brush the top with a generous coating of sauce, turn the whole thing over carefully in the pan, and brush the other side with sauce. Bake for another 10-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and caramelized slightly but not burned. Remove from oven, cut apart, and serve. For best results when doubling the recipe, cook in two separate baking dishes.
Note: Nutritional info is calculated without barbecue sauce so that you can add the figures for the brand of barbecue sauce you use.
Suggested Homemade Barbecue Sauces:
- South Carolina Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce
- Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- Korean Barbecue Sauce
- Wild Plum Sauce
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