Shiny Ribz

For Barbecue Season!


When I attend a barbecue, I always prefer to have something I can throw on the grill instead of just sticking to sides. WFPB items for the grill typically need to be prepared. I don’t know of any options that are easy and ready to go like veggie dogs and Beyond burgers (which I enjoy once in a while). I suppose you can throw a flavored tofu on the grill. Tempeh also makes a great grill item but needs steaming or boiling then marinating and basting to really do the trick for me. Oyster, portobello and Lion’s Mane mushrooms also make wonderful grill items with some seasoning and prepping. However, it’s fun to have something fun like “ribs” or “burgers” that aren’t loaded with oil and highly processed ingredients.

I like to make a batch of these and freeze them so all I need to do is defrost and baste for a barbecue.

These “ribs” have a nice meaty texture and taste delicious with all those seasonings and sauce. I love how vital wheat gluten can be used to create vegan “meat.” However, I am working on a version without it. One that is truly WFPB using beans as the base. So keep checking back! Meanwhile, give these a try – I think you’ll like them!

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Shiny Ribz

recipe from Lisa Rice's Kitchen Plantastic


1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce I love Austin’s Own or Stubbs original)

2.5 cups vital wheat gluten

2 cubes vegan “beef” bouillon (or vegan beef or mushroom powder)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Dry rub:

3 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp mustard powder

3/4 tsp chili powder (I love this New Mexican chili from Rancho Gordo)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Other ingredients:

1 20 oz can jackfruit in brine

1 large portobello, finely chopped or pulsed in processor

2 T minced garlic from a jar (better than fresh for this recipe)

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

3/4 cup low sodium veggie broth

1/4 cup unsalted/unsweetened smooth nut or seeds butter (I like almond for this)

3 T maple syrup

3 tsp liquid smoke

2 T soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari


Put the vital what gluten in a large mixing bowl. Pulse your “dry rub” in a blender or food processor until everything is powdered and combined well and whisk into the wheat gluten

Drain your jackfruit, and pull apart all of the pieces until they are shredded and small (or use a food processor and pulse – but don’t over pulse – you want to keep the texture intact). Toss in with the dry ingredients to coat.

Dry saute your mushrooms until the liquid has evaporated and add to the bowl and mix to coat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients then add to the bowl with the gluten mixture. Stir well until you’ve got a batter then knead for 2-3 minutes until it begins to stiffen (but it will remain somewhat soft).

Spread evenly in a 9×13 pyrex baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Without removing, carefully cut into ribs (cut across lengthwise, then cut crosswise creating 1.5 inch wide rectangles). Generously baste the top with your BBQ sauce until fully coated and bake another 20 minutes. Carefully flip over in the pan (you will probably have to do it in sections so the ribs do not come apart). Generously baste until fully coated and bake 20 minutes more. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

*you can use parchment paper in your pan. I find it’s not needed, you will just need a knife to cut along the edges to free the ribs from the dish once they’ve cooled.

For the grill:

Pre-heat your grill. Baste the ribs with some sauce and cook one side until you get nice grill marks, then flip and grill again.

Serve with extra sauce in the side.

Lisa Rice

Sr. Health Mentor & Director of Content and Promotion