Jackfruit adds moisture and a pull-apart texture to these incredible seitan-based vegan ribs. No one will believe they are fat-free!
I wish I had an interesting story behind this recipe, but the truth is, I saw a photo by Lacey, the blogger at Avocados and Ales, of seitan-jackfruit ribs in the very popular Facebook group “What Fat Vegans Eat” and just had to have some.
The texture looked so realistically “meaty” that almost as many of the group members were turned off by it as were tempted. You know vegans–we’re all different, and for every one disgusted by anything with the texture of meat there’s an equal number of us salivating over it. I have no problem with a meaty texture as long as no animal had to suffer for it, so I was immediately intrigued.
The idea of jackfruit-infused ribs stuck with me even though I had forgotten which group I’d seen the photo in. (Thanks, Lacey, for reminding me!) So I had to make up my own recipe, using my much-loved Barbecued Seitan Ribz as a base.
It took two attempts to get the texture just right, so my family has eaten a lot of barbecued ribs this week–and they are overjoyed! Homemade seitan is a rare treat in our house, and we devour even double batches of ribs as quickly as I can bake them.
Since adding jackfruit to my basic BBQ ribs recipe requires an additional cooking step, I saved a little time and bother by making them totally in the oven–no need to get out the grill. And because jackfruit adds so much tenderness, I was able to skip the nut butter, so there is no added fat in these ribs, yet they’re a little more filling than basic ribs.
Here’s how to make them:
Watch my quick video to see how easy they are to make.
Jacked-Up Vegan Ribs
- 10 ounces young green jackfruit packed in water or brine, (1 20-ounce can) rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten 150 grams
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce approximately
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed jackfruit, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, and 1/4 cup water. Lower heat, cover and simmer, stirring every few minutes and mashing jackfruit with a spatula or fork, until jackfruit is tender about 10 minutes. Remove cover and mash jackfruit, allowing water to evaporate. If any large or tough pieces of jackfruit remain, put them on a cutting board and chop with a knife. Allow the jackfruit to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Oil a 8x8 or 9x9-inch Pyrex baking dish.
- Combine the vital wheat gluten and all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Add the water, soy sauce, and cooled jackfruit. Stir or knead well until all ingredients are evenly distributed and all wheat gluten is absorbed. If there is not enough moisture, add one or two tablespoons of water, no more.
- Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Use a knife to loosen the seitan along the edges of the pan. Spread barbecue sauce evenly over the top and flip over in the pan. (It's easiest to do this if you divide the seitan in half first and flip one half at a time.) Coat the top with barbecue sauce and return to the oven. Bake for 15-20 more minutes, until ribs are firm and cooked in the middle but not hardening along the edges.
- Cut into 16 "ribs" and serve with additional barbecue sauce.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Debbie GaudetNovember 17, 2020 at 7:17 am
Absolutely delicious! I’d like to make them again but only have a 400ml can and will need 7-8 oz to make up the difference. Could I use pineapple in place of the jackfruit? Thank you.
Susan VoisinNovember 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm
That’s an interesting idea, but I’ve never tried it so I don’t know how it would come out. But I think it’s worth a try. Please let me know what happens if you do.
CharlieMarch 9, 2021 at 7:52 pm
This recipe is a winner!! I have made many types of seitan and jackfruit meat recipes. This was the easiest, and the result was delicious with great texture. I was skeptical because it seemed too simple, but I’m glad I made it. Now I have to keep gluten and jackfruit on hand so I can make it often. I can’t wait to whip it up for my friends.
nanciMarch 30, 2021 at 11:06 am
I made this. It was delicious and really satisfied my BBQ pork need. Will make it again. It beats all the BBQ pulled jackfruit recipes I’ve tried and it so simple. Thank you for this recipe.
TheresaApril 13, 2021 at 6:41 am
Can liquid smoke be used instead of the smoked salt? Would like to make today but no smoked salt. Thanks sounds yummy.
Susan VoisinApril 13, 2021 at 11:30 am
Yes it can. It just takes a few drops, so use with caution.
Amy DeBruynApril 18, 2021 at 10:28 am
Excellent! Easy to follow and amazing in both flavor and texture – these are the REAL DEAL! Thank you!
HubertApril 26, 2021 at 1:11 am
So great to have a recipe for ribs vegan food thank you
DeeMay 2, 2021 at 4:48 pm
Hi! This looks great and I am wondering if it can be frozen before baking? I like to make up meals in advance for when our adult vegan son visits. That way I don’t have to make two completely different meals at one time.
Susan VoisinMay 2, 2021 at 6:17 pm
I haven’t frozen it before baking, but I know it freezes well after baking. My recommendation it to fully make it before freezing and then reheat like you would any frozen dinner.
DeeMay 15, 2021 at 4:29 pm
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. I try to look through the reviews and comments to find someone who has asked the same thing I want to know. Many times when I do find I have to ask, I don’t get a reply at all. So thank you.
harpersfaerieJune 5, 2021 at 5:48 pm
I make this regularly; it is very good and easy
kathyJuly 26, 2021 at 12:59 pm
Wow! I modified a tiny bit to make it spicier but this texture is spot on. Thank you. This was a real help in my quest to improve my seitan skills
Paige DavisJuly 28, 2021 at 12:26 pm
This is definitely a 5 star recipe! I made this for the first time last weekend and took it to a potluck. Everyone thought it was pork, and could not believe it was made using jackfruit. The texture is spot on, and it is not a difficult recipe to follow. Thank you so much for refining and creating this awesome dish! I am actually ready to make them again lol, because they’re so good.
EllenSeptember 11, 2021 at 3:25 am
These are the BEST vegan ribs. Considerable self restraint required not to devour the entire batch on my own. I’m absolutely delighted to have found this recipe. My challenge this weekend will be to rework it to make them into Chinese style ribs.
Barbara BrassDecember 31, 2021 at 10:51 am
These are the best vegan ribs ever,texture is on point and my none vegan friends love them. Thanks for such an easy and simple recipe.
Barbara Brass 👍🏾
KellyMarch 30, 2022 at 11:41 am
I tried the recipe as my first foray into making seitan, it tasted good as expected but I think I messed up as it was soooo chewy. When I was mixing it together it seemed like it was really rubbery and I wonder if I needed to add more water. The jack fruit keep coming out, too. Again, think this is cos I needed to add more water. I was otherwise happy with the recipe. Will try again.
LizJuly 21, 2022 at 2:36 pm
Hi Kelly, I just wanted to let you know that seitan gets chewier/tougher the more you knead it at the dough stage. So next time try kneading a little less and it should come out more tender.
KpApril 4, 2022 at 3:16 am
Would beyond meat work in the same way as the gluten? In other words,would it be ok to sub the vital wheat gluten for beyond meat blocks?
Susan VoisinApril 4, 2022 at 10:00 am
I haven’t tried that and wouldn’t recommend it because the products work differently. I know there’s at least one recipe on the internet that uses jackfruit and Beyond or Impossible meat. I would try to use one of those recipes.
HannahJuly 6, 2022 at 10:33 am
It says to use a prepared baking dish. Does that mean I should oil the dish?
Thank you!! So excited to try this recipe!
HannahJuly 6, 2022 at 10:34 am
Oops! I just found the answer, lol sorry!!
Janie of OregonJuly 8, 2022 at 12:29 pm
I made these ribs and shared them with 4 other people, The ribs were a big hit!
I changed the method a bit and wonder if anyone has feedback/information. I hate to cook, but I like to eat and am trying to stay away from the processed junk as much as possible. I figured out a few years ago which aspects of cooking that I liked the least and decided not to do those things again. One of the biggest cooking pains for me is cooking on the stove top. Other than for pasta, I use my microwave, pressure cooker, vitamix and/or breville for all my cooking instead. It usually works great, and I’m happier.
For this recipe, for softening and breaking apart the jackfruit, I used the pressure cooker pot-in-pot method. After some experimentation, I found that adding all of the following to the inner-inner pot produced the right amount of moisture for the ribs recipe: drained and rinsed jackfruit, 1/4 cup bbq sauce, 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari. I then cooked it on high pressure for 15 minutes (and natural pressure release) instead of 10, because the pot-in-pot method usually requires longer cooking. When it cools enough, I mash with a fork and add the entire contents of the inner-inner pot to the dry ingredients.
The problem is that I don’t have a comparison on the jackfruit tenderness factor. I’ve never cooked with jackfruit at all actually. I wonder if I’m over cooking it for this recipe. The jackfruit was really soft. People liked it, but I wonder if the texture would be improved if the fruit were firmer? If anyone is willing to try both ways or has an opinion on the matter, let me know!
FYI: I was only able to find a 14 oz can of young jackfruit (packed in a little water and salt and lime juice by Native Forrest). I couldn’t find a 20 oz can, so I just used the 14 oz amount version rather than try to use part of another can. I think it came out well…
JenSeptember 9, 2022 at 7:12 am
Did you also cook the final product in the Instant Pot or did you do it in the oven? Just wondering because I used the oven, but because the weather was so warm, I prefer the IP since it doesn’t heat up the kitchen.
Janine of OregonJanuary 16, 2023 at 9:18 pm
@Jen: Sorry, I thought I would get an email notice if someone replied. I just happened to be looking at this page and noticed you had replied to my post. Yes, I used the oven for the final bake. However, I have a Breville smartoven, which is a small sized oven. It heats up relatively quickly and isn’t as big, so I feel like it doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much as the full-sized oven, though that’s just my subjective opinion, not anything I’ve tested.
momz4prezJuly 15, 2022 at 7:36 pm
Hi, I was just reading this blog and your recipe looks delicious – I am going to try it! I noticed you mentioned the company Chaokoh as a reference for ingredients, so I thought I’d share this link with you (https://investigations.peta.org/monkeys-abused-coconut-milk/) showing how the company uses forced monkey labor to make their products. You sound to me like you are vegan for the animals, so I just wanted to let you know. Thank you!
Susan VoisinJuly 15, 2022 at 7:50 pm
Thanks for letting me know. How terrible! I’ll avoid that brand from now on.
KTSeptember 3, 2022 at 10:24 am
Hands down, one of the best recipes I’ve made ever! These are a huge hit with vegans and non-vegans alike.
MarSeptember 4, 2022 at 11:17 pm
We are sos free. How can we find a bbq sauce or make one that would work in your recipe? Thank you for your help.
Susan VoisinSeptember 5, 2022 at 11:14 am
I have a recipe for barbecue sauce in this tofu recipe (just leave out the tofu): https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/09/chipotle-barbecued-tofu.html. You can use any type of sweetener instead of the sugar.
JenSeptember 9, 2022 at 7:14 am
Delicious. My husband said that it reminded him of pulled pork. I’ve never eaten pulled pork, so I can’t compare. Do you think this can be made in the Instant Pot (on a trivet) or do you think it would harm the texture?
CandyDecember 12, 2022 at 11:30 am
That jackfruit is over $12 a can. Who could afford that?
Susan VoisinDecember 12, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Where I live, it’s under $2.
JodiJanuary 18, 2023 at 9:34 am
We make this recipe weekly and it is often requested when we host company for dinner. Definitely a fave!