Monday, June 17, 2013

Vegan Ribs with Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Yesterday was one of those lazy summer days where I wanted to cook something from scratch and I wanted whatever that was to be something new and I was ok with spending half the day working on it. What I didn't want to do was go to the grocery store so I had to be a little resourceful. Weighing my options, I decided to make vegan "ribs" from scratch. As it turns out, this does take a little while but it's mostly passive time so you can relax on the patio with a few beermosas while you wait. Although you do need to turn on the oven to prebake the seitan ribs, the bbq sauce simmers in a slow cooker which keeps your kitchen from getting too toasty. So if you have an afternoon free and you don't feel like leaving your porch or backyard, I recommend this easy and rewarding endeavor.

A few hours before you want to eat, start the bbq sauce.

(This recipe is lightly altered from Robin Robertson's "Better Barbecue Sauce" from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker)

Slow Cooked Chipotle BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
3 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
1 six ounce can tomato paste
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (cheap store brands are often vegan)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon paprika (use smoked if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin and chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon natural liquid smoke

1. Finely chop the onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat for several minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add the onions first to give them a headstart, the garlic only needs a minute or two.

2. Add everything except the vinegar and liquid smoke to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Stir and then turn down to low and cook for another 2 hours. Alternatively you can just cook on low the whole time for 4 hours.

3. Stir in the water and liquid smoke. Taste and adjust seasonings. This is also the time to tweak the consistency; if you want it thicker just cook for a while more on high with the lid off. If it's too thick well, add more water until it's not!

4. Allow to cool a little then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a jar and set aside.

Vegan Ribs from Scratch (Susan Voisin's original recipe found here)
For this one, I really did just follow the original recipe since I had never made it before. The only thing I did differently was I grilled the ribs dry to avoid burning the sugary sauce.

1 cup wheat gluten
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons nut butter (I used tahini)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup of Slow Cooked Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl or standing mixer. In a separate container, mix together the water, tahini, liquid smoke and soy sauce. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Once the dough forms a ball, knead for a few minutes.

Pat the dough down in a greased 8x8 inch pan so that it is fairly smooth and uniform. Cut the dough into 7 or 8 strips one direction, then in half the other so that you have 14 or 16 pieces. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. This is a good time to finish up the barbecue sauce or get your grill ready.

Remove seitan from the oven and go over the cut marks again so that the ribs will pull apart. Dump the whole loaf of seitan on the grill and cook for a few minutes. Check to see if it's as dark as you like it, then flip over and grill the other side. It doesn't take long, so keep an eye on it!

Brush generously with your awesome homemade barbecue sauce and chow down! Now, what should I make with the rest of this barbecue sauce?


  1. This sounds amazing! I've made seitan from vital wheat gluten before, but it took forever and lots of foil, this recipe sounds very intriguing...

  2. Oh my god mouth is watering.

  3. update, made these recipes for the 4th, super good! we found the sauce didn't even need the apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke at the end. certainly will make this again though! :) thanks for the ideas!