Best Vegan Ribs Recipe
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High Protein Vegan Ribs!
They are real, they are a thing, they are totally legit! 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, all the big barbecue days can bring it.
I mad a seitan and jackfruit based recipe that unbelievably resembles tender ribs on every level. The jackfruit really helps bring the ideal shreddable texture together and keep the moisture at a perfect level.
What is seitan?
A high protein food made from vital wheat gluten with a chewy and stringy texture that resembles meat (vegan steak, chicken, or turkey anyone?). When mixed with jackfruit it delivers magical texture and flavor. The sietan ribs “dough” can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to grill and slather with bbq sauce.
What is jackfruit?
When eaten ripe it has a sweet taste much like a mango and pineapple but then picked green it makes a fantastic meat substitute as it picks up whatever flavors you season it with. It should not be confused with “durian” a smaller fruit similar in shape but with a strong pungent odor.
These Ultimate Barbecue Jackfruit Ribs Are:
What to Serve With
- Olive oil mashed potatoes
- Lemon roasted broccoli
- Vegan creamed spinach
- Scalloped potatoes
- Butternut squash Mac and cheese
- Rice pilaf + green apple coleslaw
- European potato salad
- Tomato cucumber salad
- Potato pizza
- Classic vegan potato salad
- Mushroom leek pasta.
P.S. As always, if you make this recipe please come back here to rate, snap a photo and tag me with #VeggieSociety on Instagram.
watch how to make the best vegan ribs
Best Vegan Ribs
- 20 oz canned green jackfruit (packed in water not syrup)
- 1.25 cups vital wheat gluten + more as needed
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes , or to taste
- 4 cloves garlic , grated
- 3/4 cups water (or low sodium vegetable stock)
- 3 tbsp tamari or coco aminos
- 1 cup BBQ sauce + more for dipping
- 2 leaves bay
- 1/3 cup fresh chives , for garnish
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional, only if you want a very smoky flavor)
- sea salt + black pepper to taste (1/2 tsp each)
- Preheat your oven to 375”F
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit very well then boil it with the bay leaves and a pinch of sea salt for about 20 minutes until softened. Drain and mash with a potato masher or shred with a fork. Discard any tough parts.
- In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients together then add the shredded jackfruit, tamari, water (or vegetable stock) and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well until a dough forms and use your hand to knead it for a good 5 minutes until the dough holds together nicely. Add a little extra sprinkling of wheat gluten if the dough seems too wet or a little more water if it feels to dry.
- Shape the dough down into a rectangle loaf about one inch thick then slice in half crosswise.
Grill & Oven Method:
- Preheat a seasoned cast iron griddle over medium flame. Grill the ribs for about 3 minutes on each side until nice grill marks form.
- Meanwhile line a 5 x1 0 rectangle shaped baking dish with parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of barbecue sauce over the bottom and place the grilled ribs on top. Spread the top with a thin layer of barbecue sauce and cover the pan with aluminum foil (or a lid) and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Use a pair of kitchen tongues and carefully flip the ribs. Brush with more barbecue sauce on top and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife to cut the ribs alongside the grill marks and serve on a bed of mashed potatoes with extra sauce and garnished with the fresh chives.
Easy Oven Baked Method:
- Alternatively you can skip the grilling step and bake the ribs in the oven.
- Spoon some BBQ on the bottom of the pan, place the ribs on top and brush with more BBQ sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Allow to cool and set for a few minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.
Bone In Method:
- Soak bamboo sticks, popsicle stick or cinnamon stick in warm water for 20 minutes.
- After shaping the rib mixture into a rectangle push the soaked bones through the dough about one inch apart.
- Spread some sauce in the bottom of the pan and place the rib rack on top. Spread more barbecue sauce over the top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.
How to Reheat the Ribs:
- To reheat the ribs preheat a cast iron griddle or fire up the grill. Cook the ribs on medium low flame for a few minutes on each side until warmed through. Remember to brush with more BBQ sauce while grilling. This method will add extra smokiness to the ribs and nice charred grilled marks.
This was so delicious and the texture was just like short ribs. My family loves it!!! Thank you!
This recipe is so fantastic! Thank you! My whole family couldn’t get over how amazing it is!
Hi Eva, I’m so excited you made the ribs and the entire family loved them. Made my day ~ Florentina Xo’s
What do we do with the 4 cloves of garlic after we grate them?
just throw them all in the dough with the spices!
Just made these and my husband was very impressed, will definitely make again and serve at BBQ to our non-vegan friends:-) thank you, great recipe xx
This looks great I need to try making these in my smoker.
Great idea, report back if you do and please share any tips you might have 🙂
I am stunned. It’s so much like boneless ribs that I had to keep reminding myself it was jackfruit not meat!
Right ? Crazy how much texture affects our brain. So happy you loved them! ~ Florentina Xo’s
Ribs are the only thing I miss eating since I stopped eating meat.
You won’t be missing them anymore once you try these. They are legit, let me know how they turn out.
Where do you find vegan ribs,are is there a name specifically
You make them following the recipe 🙂
What if you don’t have bay leaves. Is that going to make a difference. Thanks Debbie
Just skip them, maybe add some thyme if you have any but don’t worry if you don’t, it just adds a nice subtle flavor that’s all.
These were simply amazing!
I’m so happy you loved them ~ Florentina Xo’s
I brought these to a vegan potluck and it creeped a few of them (I’m a vegan, too) out haha!!! These are legitimately delicious and the texture is incredible. Thank you!
That’s awesome! Can’t beat that feeling haha
If I buy the jackfruit in brine, will that be ok? Can I make it work?
Yes you can, just make sure to rinse it well before using. Report back on how it goes 🙂
clarify recipe directions: I have drained and rinsed the Jackfruit but how do I boil these for 20 minutes without a liquid?
You have to boil it in clean water 🙂
Can you make it gluten free using xanthum gum? If so how much?
Sorry Julie, have never worked with xantham gum before, i really don’t know how it work in this recipe.
I made this today. I loved it and my friend that eats meat loved it also. The jackfruit was new to me. I loved it. I used frozen and it worked fine. Thank you.
So excited about this and thanks for the tip of using frozen jackfruit instead.
Can I use fresh jackfruit? For Tamari, is it liquid tamari soy sauce or tamari powder? Thanks
I definitely would NOT use fresh jackfruit here as it is already ripe and sweet and a fruit more like mango. The unripe jackfruit has really no taste so it will pick up the flavors we want and give us that meaty texture. Tamari or soy sauce in liquid form.
Tried it. Pretty good. Very easy to follow recipe.
Can I use the jack fruit in syrup if I thoroughly rinse through a mesh strainer?
I would not recommend that honestly, the jackfruit in syrup is sweet and would not work in this savory recipe I’m afraid.
Super easy and delicious! We used jackfruit in syrup as it’s all that was available and it worked great! Added some soy sauce to the boiling process and used a sweeter bbq sauce. Looking forward to trying with a non syrup jackfruit but definitely viable if it’s all you can find
Ok thanks for your reply.. glad I asked!
I made this recipe and it worked but the texture was a bit rubbery. The dough was a bit wet so I added extra vital wheat gluten, other than that I followed the recipe exactly. I used coco aminos but that’s a substitution in the recipe.
Anyway, thank you for posting this, my wife and I have been looking for a Morningstar riblet replacement since they quit making them.
Made these for our lunch today! The jackfruit addition was great! I have made other vegan recipes for these but not with jackfruit. I will definitely make again..
Very easy and yummy recipe! I didnt have a grill so used my air fryer for a few minutes and then baked as directed – really turned out nicely and I loved the texture- thanks for sharing!
These were amazing.
They didn’t turn out the best for me, but because I didn’t mix them well enough. I ate a piece mixed well, and it was like the real thing.
Ribs were my all time favorite food, so I was really happy with this.
This is the best “ribs” I’ve ever had. So easy to make and so delicious.
Is the 20 oz before or after draining the jackfruit?
Before, TJ’s has a 20 oz can of jackfruit packed in water that works perfectly here!
All I can taste is wheat gluten? What have I done wrong? Was I supposed to put the BBQ sauce in the mixture? Also was very rubbery, I followed the recipe exactly and did not add extra wheat gluten or water.
Hi Charlene, I’m sorry these didn’t turn out for you as great as they did for us. Depending on the brand wheat-gluten can have a stronger taste but it all gets covered in the BBQ sauce eventually. As far as the rubbery part goes it’s important to really mix and knead the dough really well for a while and make sure all the wheat gluten is completely mixed in with all the other ingredients.
Hi! I have half a bag of the jackfruit in the bag leftover from making your potato jackfruit stew. Can I use this to make these ribs? I’m excited to try this. (The potato stew was a hit!)
Definitely, this jackfruit should work just fine for the ribs too, they will just be darker in color. Report back 🙂
Hi! Where do you add the grated garlic cloves?
In the dough with the rest of the spices.
I am so excited to try this recipe! Do you know if it’s possible to fully cook them on the grill? Perhaps wrapping them in foil with the sauce and cooking for the same amount of time (or longer depending on the temperature difference). I haven’t worked much with making my own seitan.
You can definitely grill them on the outdoor grill first (instead of the cast iron skillet) then transfer to a dish with the BBQ sauce covered with foil and continue cooking on the grill in indirect heat (away from the flames) just like you would in the oven.
Can I put the ribs in the oven in a pyrex glass dish with the glass lid instead of aluminum foil?
Trying this out on Saturday! Super excited to surprise my husband!
Yes you can!
Thank you for a quick response! I’ll report how it turned out 🙂
I’ve made the ribs and my husband loved them! It reminded me too much of meat so not for me unfortunately but my husband was obsessed with them!
Made these ribs over the weekend and they were a huge hit with vegan and non-vegans. They have a meaty texture, and great flavor. Thanks for the great recipe, I’ll be making these for our summer barbecues!
Like another commenter, I miss Morningstar riblets.. this satisfies the same way and I’m wanting to see if I could do some prep work to have this available for week night meals.
Do you have any recommendations for how to partially prepare and then freeze this for cooking later?
Sure, you can definitely make the entire recipe in advance and freeze in freezer proof container then defrost in the fridge before reheating in the oven or microwave. You can reheat on a cast iron pan or grill too for extra smokiness, just keep brushing with extra bbq sauce.
Can I mix all the ingredients and make the dough rectangle rib loaf the night before I bake the ribs?
yes you can!
Hi! I’m having trouble getting the jackfruit to mix in with the wheat gluten. They don’t seem to want to bind. Have you had this issue before / know how to resolve it? Thank you!
It’s ok if the shredded jackfruit doesn’t completely mix in. Make sure to knead the sietan well and once you grill it and bake it will stick together perfectly.
Do you have the carbs without the BBQ sauce since that will be different depending on the sauce?
I do not but you can use any online nutrition calculator with the adjustments you make.
How much water should be used for boiling the jackfruit?
After boiling & draining; should jackfruit be squeezed/pressed to further eliminate absorbed water?
Just enough water to cover it by one inch or so then drain. No need to squeeze.
Help. My turned out super sticky, like a dough sticky. Could be that I used xanthum gum, as a substitute for the same amount of vital wheat gluten?
Most definitely, the recipe calls for wheat gluten a flour not an additive and thickener like xanthan gum. I strongly suggest never using that ingredient.
My vegan jackfruit seitan ribs just came out of the oven – and they are delicious! The texture was good, softer and not rubbery like seitan can be. I left my dough a little on the soft side, and happy that I did. I am not a dedicated vegan, but with results like this I could become one quickly! Excellent end result!
This makes me so happy Cathy, you can definitely do this!Stay tuned for my vegan steaks coming up next week 🙂
Can the riblets be frozen for reheating at a later time? My wife and I love the recipe and it would be so awesome if they could be frozen.
Yes, just remember to thaw out in the refrigerator before reheating.
Hi I can’t find sweet smoked paprika. I can only find one or the other. Also I only found jackfruit in brine in water. Is that ok? Thanks!
Yes the jackfruit is fine just rinse it off. By sweet smoked paprika I mean not bitter, there are a few quite bitter and spicy ones i wouldn’t suggest unless you know you love it. The smoked paprika from TJ’s is great, or you can use a tiny but of liquid smoke. Enjoy! ~ Florentina Xo’s
Delicious! This was so much better than some of the vegan steaks I’ve made that require steaming the seitan. This eliminated that step and the texture and flavor were fantastic!
Forgot to give it a 5-star rating on my written review. 🙂
Hi there! Can I cook this over the bbq grill? If so, over the flame? Or in a container?
My husband barbecues a lot and I want to have something to throw on the grill for me to eat. Your ribs look sooo delicious!
Yes you can definitely throw these on the grill over the flame!
Turned out amazing! Needed quite a bit more wheat gluten to create a dough, but it was so tasty!
Just made this for the family. It came out awesome!!! I would definitely recommend using the liquid smoke, as it gives it a really authentic flavor. I had to use 1.5 cups-1.75 of wheat gluten and I also chose Korean BBQ sauce. It’s tough taking a chance on recipes like these, but this one was 100% worth it.
these are amazing!! I’m wondering if you’ve ever subbed the jackfruit for the same amount of artichoke hearts (canned in water)? Only asking because sometimes I have one on hand & not the other & the textures seem like they’d be similar in this application! :O)
Have not subbed with artichoke hearts and I would not do that unless you only use the very tiny heart as the leaves tend to be a little tough and interfere with the texture. Let me know if you give it a go 🙂
This is one very amazing recipe. I’m making these, yet again, for dinner tonight. Easy and fabulous!!!!
This recipe look amazing – going to give it a try for the Super Bowl tonight. I don’t think I will use it all though, so would it better to freeze the dough before or after the initial cook on the skillet?
After the initial cook so they will stay together nicely. You ca also cook them all the way and just add more BBQ sauce when reheating.
Sadly these did not work out for me! Very rubbery. I will try again though and maybe kneed the dough longer?
Definitely kneed it for a good 5 to 10 minutes until everything is incorporated properly.
The taste for these was there for sure. However, they were really really chewy and doughy. I couldn’t really cut them with a knife instead I had to sort of rip them apart.
I love this recipe – got some ready to go for tomorrow. I usually do an initial fry and then simmer which makes them lovely and juicy 😋
This is BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to taste it. No piggies were hurt in the making, so that’s a huge bonus! Thank you!
Hi…I am a bit confused as to when to use the bay leaves…they are listed in the ingredients but nothing about them in th instructions. You suggested substituting thyme if bay leaves were not available but bay leaves are very different, usually used for flavoring and then removed. Thank you.
Patricia, I used the bay leaves when I boiled the jackfruit pieces to infuse it with some flavor. They are optional and also if your jackfruit pieces are very tender you can skip that step.
I made these yesterday for a gathering and it was a hit. Even some of the non-vegans tried it and were impressed!