The first time I ever heard about gluten, it was in the context of gluten-free. I know there are a lot of people out there who can't eat gluten, so I'm sorry about that -- this recipe is not for you. For those who can eat it, I highly recommend gluten as a fun alternative to soy and other usual vegan protein sources. It's really quite easy to buy the gluten flour and to make homemade seitan. From there, you can dress it up any way you want. In all honesty, I'm not a huge fan of the seitan I've had in restaurants. Most often you see it in BBQ sandwiches (not too bad) or in Asian stir-fry or curry dishes (pretty bad), and I'm just not a fan all the way around. I have to admit that I've never even had the nerve to buy the pre-packaged seitan they sell at my natural food store. It looks so grey and slimy that it honestly turns my stomach looking at it. BUT, this recipe for homemade seitan (which came pretty much directly from Susan Voisin at Fat Free Vegan) tastes nothing like any seitan I've ever eaten. It's chewy and firm and just a perfect texture. Slather it in barbecue sauce and slap it on the grill and I promise you a delicious cook-out that will satisfy all of your cravings and please your meat-eating guests. Hey, it's almost summer. Break out the grill and give this a try!
First you have to make the seitan. Think of it as a very dense loaf of bread. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together.
1 cup gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chile powder
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder or 2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
Once the ingredients are mixed, go ahead and knead the dough with your hands for a good 2-3 minutes. You will notice the gooey, stringy texture of the gluten holding everything together. Lightly spray a square 8x8 baking pan and use your fingers to stretch the dough to fill the entire square pan. Next, take a knife and scar the dough once down the middle and then 7 times across. This will help the ribs cut apart more easily at the end. Bake the seitan in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. When it's done you should be able to easily lift the entire thing out of the pan with a spatula.
If you want to make your own barbecue sauce for this dish, go ahead. Myself, I'm pretty happy just using the All Natural Barbecue Sauce from Trader Joe's. Either way, you need about a cup of it to make these really tasty. Fire up the grill and let it preheat for a while. Brush the ribs generously with barbecue sauce on both sides and grill for about 8-10 minutes or so. Flip the ribs and give them another coat of sauce and grill until you think they look done. I like them pretty well done where the sauce is getting crispy and there are dark black grill lines. Serve it up with some baked or mashed potatoes and some veggies and you have yourself a pretty awesome vegan version of an American classic. My dad even liked it. I bet yours would too.