BBQ Tofu Ribs

BBQ Tofu Ribs

Introducing to you, my friends, my BBQ Tofu Ribs. These are incredibly tasty and if you get the tofu right, can act as a great meat replacement. I’ve been working on this recipe for a while, so I really hope you enjoy it! If you do, let me know!

BBQ Tofu Ribs

How to Make My BBQ Tofu Ribs

  1. Firm Tofu (400g): Firm tofu serves as the base for your BBQ tofu ribs. It provides a meaty texture and protein source for the dish, making it a suitable replacement for traditional ribs in a vegetarian or vegan recipe. Pressing the tofu removes excess moisture, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the BBQ sauce.
  2. Tomato Puree (1/2 cup): Tomato puree serves as the primary tomato base for your BBQ sauce. It provides a rich, tomatoey flavor and contributes to the sauce’s thickness and color.
  3. Brown Sugar (3 tbsp): Brown sugar is a sweetener that adds a pleasant sweetness to the BBQ sauce. It balances the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar, giving the sauce its classic sweet and tangy profile.
  4. Liquid Smoke (1/5 tbsp): Liquid smoke imparts a smoky flavor to the sauce, mimicking the smokiness of traditional barbecue cooking. It enhances the overall flavor and aroma of the BBQ sauce.
  5. Onion Powder (1 tsp): Onion powder contributes onion flavor without the stronger flavour and texture of fresh onions. It adds depth and savory notes to the sauce.
  6. Garlic Powder (1 tsp): Garlic powder provides garlic flavor without the need for fresh garlic cloves. It enhances the savory aspect of the sauce and complements the other spices.
  7. Smoked Paprika (1 tsp): Smoked paprika not only adds a smoky flavor but also contributes a mild, earthy spiciness and a reddish color to the sauce. It’s a key ingredient in creating a BBQ sauce’s distinctive flavor.
  8. Balsamic Vinegar (2 tbsp): Balsamic vinegar brings a tangy and slightly sweet element to the sauce. It provides acidity and depth of flavor, balancing the sweetness of the brown sugar.
  9. Water (1/2 cup): Water is used to thin out the sauce and achieve the desired consistency. It also helps to control the overall thickness of the sauce.
  10. Cornflour (1.5 tsp): Cornflour (cornstarch) is used as a thickening agent. It helps to give the BBQ sauce a smoother and more cohesive texture. It’s mixed with water to create a slurry that thickens the sauce when heated.
BBQ Tofu Ribs

What is Typically in BBQ Sauce?

Traditional BBQ sauce recipes can vary by region and personal preference, but there are some common ingredients you’ll find in many BBQ sauce recipes. These common ingredients include:

  1. Tomato Base: Most BBQ sauces start with a tomato base, which can be in the form of tomato sauce, ketchup, or tomato paste. Tomatoes provide the sauce with its rich color and tomatoey flavor.
  2. Sweeteners: BBQ sauce is known for its sweet and tangy taste, so sweeteners are essential. Common sweeteners include brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, or corn syrup. The type of sweetener used can influence the flavor profile of the sauce.
  3. Vinegar: Vinegar adds acidity and tanginess to BBQ sauce. The type of vinegar can vary, but cider vinegar, white vinegar, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are common choices.
  4. Spices and Herbs: Spices and herbs play a significant role in the flavor of BBQ sauce. Common ingredients include garlic, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and chili powder. The specific blend of spices can vary widely, and some regional BBQ sauces are known for their unique spice combinations.
  5. Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke is sometimes added to BBQ sauce to give it a smoky flavor, especially if you’re making a sauce for indoor cooking and want to replicate the smokiness of outdoor BBQ.
  6. Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce is a common ingredient that adds depth and complexity to the sauce. If you want to make a vegetarian or vegan BBQ sauce, be sure to use a vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce, but today we’re using soy sauce as the vegan option.
  7. Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavor of the sauce and balances the sweetness and acidity.
  8. Optional Ingredients: Depending on the region and personal taste, you might find additional ingredients like hot sauce, mustard, liquid sweeteners (like agave syrup), fruit juices (such as orange or pineapple), or even whiskey or bourbon for added flavor complexity.

    You’ll notice that there are certain ingredients here that aren’t vegan (e.g.Worcestershire Sauce), so I’ve made my own vegan bbq sauce instead!
BBQ Tofu Ribs
BBQ Tofu Ribs
BBQ Tofu Ribs
BBQ Tofu Ribs

BBQ Tofu Ribs

Georgina Burgess
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 400g block firm tofu drained and pressed

For the BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 tsp cornflour


  • (Optional Step – you don't need to do this, but it helps with texture) Freeze your Tofu and defrost prior to making this recipe. This can help create a 'meaty' texture for the ribs.
  • For the BBQ sauce, add the tomato puree, sugar, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, balsamic vinegar and water to a saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Make a cornflour slurry by stirring the cornflour into 1 tbsp water and add this to the sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Slice the tofu into thick rectangles. Spread a few spoonfuls of the sauce onto a lined baking sheet and spread out. Line the tofu sticks over the sauce and then pour more sauce on top. You can leave this to marinate for 20 minutes, or put it straight in a preheated oven at 200C for 30 minutes, flipping half-way through. Serve with more of the barbecue sauce and enjoy!

Why Not Try These?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating