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Dragonfly's Vegan Ribs

What you need: 

2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons vegan beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato flavored bouillon
1 7/8-2 cups water
2-3 tablespoons raw tahini
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (I use KAL)
unbleached flour, for dusting
vegan BBQ sauce, to serve

What you do: 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a cookie sheet. Mix the gluten with the broth and bouillon. Using a fork, make a well in the center and add the water all at once. (Add more if you live in a dry area, less of you don't, hence the different amount.) Mix fast, rapidly encorporating all the gluten. Mix in nutritional yeast.
2. Dust a flat surface, dust your hands and lightly dust the gluten lump. Knead until rubbery and smooth. Use more flour if you need to. Flatten the gluten out with the tips of your fingers. Melt the tahini in the microwave or on the stove. You want it to be smooth, slightly warm and easy to spread. Using just your fingertips, poke the melted tahini into the surface of the gluten.
3. Turn over the gluten and repeat. It won't actually knead into the gluten, but will work in a bit and sit on the surface. Slice the gluten into strips. The thicker the strip, the chewier the rib, the thinner the crispier. Put the strips on prepared sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
4. When the under side is golden, flip them over and bake some more. You want a crispy product. They should puff up at first and flatten as they are browning up. You can add sauce to each side as they are browned up, or add it at the end. We like a small amount of sauce, but you can drench yours, if you like.
These are a homemade version of the non-vegan rib mixes you can buy at the HFS (they require butter). That, and it is a much larger quantity. I have four girls who can eat them all by themselves. I have to triple the batch when my grown sons are here. Those boxes should be out of reach price wise. We eat these every Friday or there is a general household revolt.

Preparation Time: 
1 hour
Cooking Time: 


These are awesome! The strips alone (without the barbecue sauce) are great in stir fries and wherever you would use faux beef strips. Thank you for a great recipe!


I made these yesterday. They were ok. I was expecting them to taste like gardenburger riblets. Maybe it was the sauce, but I don't think so. Oh well, they were still good though.


Great idea for a recipe! I really, really wanted to like it... I kept it in my Recipe Box here for a few months, and I was very excited to make it. Unfortunately, I just did not enjoy it at all. I don't think I did anything wrong because I followed the recipe to a T, and I have experience with making seitan. They were chewy, no matter how thin I cut them (which was very hard to do, I think), and they tasted really doughy & had no meaty texture whatsoever... Just chewy & bland.

I'm happy I tried this (because now I know!) & I'm really glad everyone else seems to love these, but I think I'll keep looking for a vegan rib recipe... :)


For those who want big chunks of seitan that can be sauteed, pan-fried, or tossed into stews:

1. Follow the recipe for making the basic dough.
2. Cut the dough into bits and put them into a pot of very cold water (another seitan recipe I've encountered has it that this stops the dough from falling apart as it boils, and it seems to hold true). 
3. Bring it to a boil and simmer for about an hour. 

p.s. Don't be seduced into leaving the house for a long walk during the simmer time, or you may return to find half an inch of charredness stuck to the bottom of the pot, as once happened to me.  Of course, for some of us, that may be common sense ...


:( I tried using already processed wheat gluten. Most likely because of me naivete to this new life of vegetarian cooking I did not know that wheat gluten came any other way then already processed. Even my girlfirend who has been a vegan for 12 years didn't know. Trying to use seitan made this already confusing recipe more confusing and frustrating. I will be trying the recipe again, but I think it should be noted in the ingredients what form of wheat gluten to use (unless that's what vital means) for future newcomers!


These are delightfully easy to make - the recipe looks complicated, but it's actually very simple!  It is very, very messy, though.  I really drowned the ribs in barbecue marinade while baking - I put them on the pan, brushed sauce over all of the tops, baked for 10 minutes, flipped and then brushed sauce all over the other side.  I baked for maybe 5 minutes longer than the recipe recommends to get them extra crispy.  When they came out I brushed more sauce all over them and served them with even more sauce for dipping.  Honestly, I wasn't that thrilled with the results - I'm not a fan of barbecue sauce or barbecue food in general.  But my housemate loved them and has been snacking on the leftovers for the last week!  They are much better when they are as thin as you can possibly get them.  If they're too thick, they're a little rubbery on the inside. 


Oh  man these guys were delicious!!  Definately go for as thin a slice as possible. 


I left out the tahini because I didn't have any on hand but they were still so so good. To make them crispier, I stretched out the sliced seitan. 


These were better than I thought, since like others it seemed I was way off while I was making them. I wasn't really able to cut into strips so I sort of just riped off chunks and then stretched them out. I had a horrible experience making seitan last summer and I've since been scared to make it again. I've actually never eaten seitan except for that one time, so I'm still not sure if I did this right, but it was edible and pretty good. More 'chicken'-y than 'rib'-y. Actually it wasn't really chicken-y, it tasted sort of like fried dough.Hmm. Well, I do agree that the thin ones were better. The thicker ones weren't chewy, they were just soft inside. I'm anxious to see how they'll be tomorrow.  Man, I really wish I could taste someone's who did it right to see if I'm on track. They baked up really nice, though.


I finally got around to making these this weekend (I'm eating leftovers now!)....  They came out very well, despite how badly we messed them up.  My friends' oven temp is way out of whack, so we ended up cooking them at almost 500 deg F!  They puffed up like big yeast rolls, and I was totally afraid.  After quickly removing from oven and lowering temp, they collapsed to a more rib-like form.  We dumped them all in a baking dish with BBQ sauce and let them marinate in the oven (heat off!) for about 5-10 min.  Good texture, very "meaty."  We saved some of the ribs without sauce to use in stir-fry, etc. later in the week.  Can't wait to try again, this time baking at correct temp!



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