These BBQ ribs are bone in and so much better than the real thing. These smokey seitan ribs are molded around 'bones' and then, slathered in BBQ sauce, slowly baked in the oven, and then finished off on a grill. They are a labor of love but well worth the time.

Barbecue Seitan Ribs [Vegan]

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  • 3 cups vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vegan barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups additional barbecue sauce for baking and grilling
  • 6 "bones" (see note below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix them together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix this together wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and knead them for 5 minutes. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Shape the mixture into a large rectangle, to fit in the pan, with at least an inch of space around the edges.
  4. Push the bones through the mixture, at equal distances from each other.
  5. Pour an additional 3/4 cup barbecue sauce into the bottom of the baking pan. Place the “rack of ribs” in the pan.
  6. Spread the another 3/4 cup barbecue sauce over the top. Cover the pan tightly with the foil and bake it for 90 minutes. You can enjoy these as is, or refrigerate for later use. To reheat them, fire up the grill to give the ribs extra smoky flavor and grill marks. Brush them with 1/2 cup, or more, of barbecue sauce while grilling.


Disposable bamboo chopsticks or even Popsicle sticks work wonders here, but if you want to kick it up a notch, try food-grade cedar cut into 1/2-inch x 6-inch (1.27 x 15-cm) “bones,” making sure to sand down any rough edges. Whichever you choose, start by soaking them in a mixture of 2 cups (470 ml) warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid smoke to add some smoky flavor to the ribs. For an edible set of bones, try taro root. Although this method will yield edible “bones,” they will be more flimsy after cooking, thus requiring a fork and knife for eating. Photo credit goes to Celine Steen


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