Barbecued veggie ribs

Barbecued veggie ribs

These are soooo delicious! I’ve made veggie ribs before, with wheat gluten. They were good, but faux meat made almost entirely from gluten always seems to sit a bit heavy in my stomach afterwards (which is why I like to add other ingredients like tofu or besan when making seitan).

These ribs are not made with gluten at all, but with a product somewhat unappetisingly called “bean curd sticks”.  The sticks are soaked in water for several hours to rehydrate them, then coated with a savoury paste and baked. Barbecue sauce is slathered over the top and they are baked again.

The veggie ribs are nice and chewy, and absorb all of the flavours beautifully. They will make a regular appearance on the menu at Chez Thrifty.

The recipe is originally from the book Kathy Cooks by Kathy Hoshijo, but I found it via i eat food. I changed the quantities and ingredients slightly. When I saw the price of barbecue sauce at the supermarket, I decided to make my own, based on an Epicurious recipe. Any barbecue sauce can be substituted.

Barbecued veggie ribs

British       American
200-225g   dried bean curd (yuba) sticks   7 to 8 ounces
3-1/2 tablespoons   nutritional yeast   3-1/2 tablespoons
3-1/2 tablespoons   tahini   3-1/2 tablespoons
5 teaspoons   miso   5 teaspoons
5 teaspoons   vegan margarine, melted   5 teaspoons
1 teaspoon   paprika   1 teaspoon
500ml   barbecue sauce   2 cups

1. Put the bean curd sticks into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over and let soak until soft enough to cut. Then drain and cut into 10 to 15cm (4 to 6 inch) lengths. Put sticks back into bowl and cover with fresh boiling water. The sticks will float, so weigh them down with a plate on top so they stay submerged. Let stand again until the sticks have completely softened. Drain and squeeze out excess water, then cut off any hard bits that remain. Return sticks to bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

3. Combine nutritional yeast, tahini, miso, margarine and paprika. You’ll have a thick paste. Add this to the sticks in the bowl, then use your hands to rub the paste into the sticks until they are evenly coated.

4. Lay sticks on prepared tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip sticks over, rotate tray and continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until starting to crisp.

5. Remove from oven and coat with barbecue sauce. Flip the sticks over and coat the other side with sauce. Return to oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, rotating tray once.

Makes four servings.

Barbecue sauce

British       American
2 tablespoons   olive oil   2 tablespoons
80g   onion, minced   1 small
1/4   small bell pepper, minced   1/4
1   clove garlic, minced   1
5 tablespoons   ketchup   5 tablespoons
5 tablespoons   passata (tomato sauce)   5 tablespoons
2 tablespoons   cider vinegar   2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons   brown sugar   2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons   prepared mustard   2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons   lemon juice   4 teaspoons
4 teaspoons   molasses or date syrup   4 teaspoons
1 tablespoon   vegan Worcestershire sauce   1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon   smoked sweet paprika   1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon   hot sauce, or to taste   1/2 teaspoon
to taste   salt & freshly ground pepper   to taste

1. Saute minced onion over medium heat for two minutes. Add minced bell pepper and continue to saute for four minutes, until softened. Add garlic and saute an additional minute.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients, and 175ml (2/3 cup) water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.

3. Remove the barbecue sauce from the heat and adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste and more cider vinegar, hot sauce, and/or brown sugar to taste.

Makes 2 cups.


  1. Ooooh YUMMERS!
    I’ve made Ribz with VWG many a time – they are delicious. But I’ve refrained from eating gluten for a while now as it started making me feel funny so I am so excited to learn about this alternative!
    Now I just need to find a supplier of Yuba. I have an excellent Asian store in town but I’ll have to find out how you say Yuba in Chinese as they don’t speak much Spanish.
    Awesome recipe – thank you.

  2. hey felicity!! nice to meet you!! found you on denise’s crazy blog.

    i haven’t heard of bean curd sticks before. i’ve eaten regular seitan meat before and i really liked it. everyone in my house is totally “anti-fake meat” and they spit it on when i gave them some. haha

  3. babe…jo riot here is an amazing person…i am glad to introduce you to her!

    and do i know your lil’ bbq heart or what? big massive wink.

  4. oh i cook with yuba all the time…but ya just gave me another way to cook it…god i love you woman. i truly do!

    Ps: am very crazed with things to do…i owe u an email. did not forget that.sorry:(

  5. Jeni — you could always show them a pic of the packaging… this one is pretty clear:
    bean curd sticks

    joanna — fake meat rocks. imho.

    Denny — don’t worry about the email. i am pretty bizzy myself lately…

  6. Great. A DIY alternative to Gardenburger’s Veggie Riblets. Have you tried the Neatloaf?

  7. Georgia — mmm, I remember Riblets, they were soooo good. I haven’t tried that neatloaf, but I like the sound of it. yumm.

  8. This is one of those recipes I know my husband would go crazy for. He is a fan of riblets and these look even better. Thanks for the bean curd sticks pic–I am going to have to try and track some down!!

  9. oooh had no idea WF goes by fresh & wild…interesting..thanks for sharing and your bags too:D

    I am gonna try this bbq recipe one fine day…the lack of time makes me miss out on great eats…




  10. looks really good. I LOVE yuba! there is a place in seattle that uses it a lot, bamboo garden. in deep fried stuff and in thick stews.

  11. Thanks for that Felicity – I will print this out and take it with me.

  12. GOT SOME!!!

    But they are sheets and not sticks – you reckon I could just roll up the sheets?
    Now I need to buy some Miso and I can give this recipe a go.
    Miso is SOOOO expensive here, is it expensive there as well?

  13. Jeni — YAY!! Yes, I’m sure you could just roll up the sheets. I’ve had the sheets as well, and I’m sure it’s the same stuff as the sticks. One thing I’ve always wanted to try with the sheets is use them as sausage “skins”. You can also make veggie “duck” with the sheets. Miso is expensive here as well, even in the Chinese shop… it was £4.25 for a 500g package. Have fun 😀

  14. That recipe is SO bookmarked!
    The garden is doing great. Already I’ve harvested Rocket, Lettuce and Tomatoes and coming along nicely is Courgettes, Radishes, Cucumbers, Water Melon, Spinach, Carrots and even more Tomatoes. Just planted some Asparagus as well which I’m rather excited about as I’ve never grown Asparagus before.

  15. Jeni – I think this thread is pretty old, but I’m guessing you are in Spain & I would love to know where you found the yuba!

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