I debated calling these Vegan BBQ Ribs but, after some consideration, I opted against it. After all, these aren’t ribs. What they are is firm, chewy pieces of seitan (vital wheat gluten) cooked in a delicious barbeque sauce. Hence the name. Not the most imaginative, but there you go.
The taste, however, is extraordinary.
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For the base I used a vegan mince by Meatless Farm. I got mine from Morrison’s, but here is a link for the Sainsbury’s one. This, combined with red kidney beans and a whole array of sauces and spices, gives it its red colour and incredible flavour. Though this dish might take a little time to do, your efforts will be rewarded and any guests you have will be coming back for more.
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 40 minutes resting time. Cooking time: about 50 minutes.
For the BBQ Seitan:
1x400g Meatless Farm vegan mince (or similar product)
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 heaped tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp yeast extract
3 tsp BBQ seasoning powder
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
120g vital wheat gluten
250g bread flour
3-4 tbsp olive (or other) oil for frying
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For the BBQ Sauce:
150g soft, dark brown sugar
3 tbsp American-style mustard sauce (make sure it’s vegan)
3 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
3 tsp BBQ seasoning powder
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
100ml orange juice
1x330ml can coca cola
450g tomato ketchup
First make the seitan. Put all of the seitan ingredients, up to and including the red onion, into a food-processor and blitz until fairly smooth. If you have room in the processor you can now put the gluten and flour in and blend to incorporate. If, like me, you do not have room, tip the food-processor’s contents into a large mixing bowl and then add the vital wheat gluten and the flour. Mix with a table knife to incorporate, then bring it all together with your hands and knead it for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rest for about 40 minutes.
While the dough is resting, you can make the BBQ sauce. Put all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Gently simmer for 25-30 minutes, until you have a thick sauce consistency, then turn off the heat and set aside.
When the dough is ready, divide it into six equal pieces, then roll each piece out into an oblong shape about 1 cm thick. Now score wide grooves into the surface with a table knife, to give you your cutting marks later (see picture).
Heat half of the frying oil from the seitan recipe and cook 3 of the seitan pieces (if that many will fit in the pan) at a time for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Set aside and cook the next batch for the same amount of time.
Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Cut along the score lines of each cooked seitan piece, but make sure they stay in shape, then lay them onto the sheet. I managed to fit 3 on the tray, so either use 2 trays or cook them again in batches (they reheat just fine).
Ladle some of the BBQ sauce onto the seitan pieces and use the back of the ladle to rub the sauce in a little, then cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until they are crisp on the edges and the sauce has cooked in. You can add extra BBQ sauce if you like before serving.