Six- Ingredient Tempeh BBQ “Babyback Ribs” #VeganStyle

Healthy Recipes

4 June 2015

I want my baby back baby back baby back baby back riiiiiiibs.

That’s the song that pops into my head whenever I hear the phrase “baby back ribs.” So kudos to you Fat Bastard and Chili’s for capitalizing on that catchy ish.

Tempeh BBQ Baby Back Ribs

But really, long ago before my vegan days of yore, one of my favorite summer meals used to be baby back ribs straight from the grill. Satisfying, messy, sweet, spicy, smokey and smothered in bbq sauce- to me they were the ultimate indulgence. Obviously times have changed and I no longer crave the meat from the ribs, but rather a similar taste, texture and nostalgia of that summer staple.

So I decided to recreate that experience, vegan style with tempeh. And the results were on point.

BBQ tempeh baby back ribs and grilled asparagus on a plate

If you haven’t yet read about my love affair with tempeh, this vegan protein substitute is legit. It’s a plant-based fermented soy-bean product (sounds yummy I know ;)) but it actually has amazing texture and does a fantastic job of absorbing marinades, sauces and flavor. The fermentation process also increases the digestibility (so no bloat here-perfect for swimmy season) and nutrient absorption of all it’s protein, fiber, probiotics and minerals. Oh and have I mentioned it’s the MLF’s (meat lovin fiance’s) fave?!! #WINNER

So not only are these “ribs” nutrient dense and healthy as heck, but they are so stupid easy to make and only require six ingredients and 20 minutes of your grilling time (plus some marination time to really seal in the flavor).

Plan on bringing these bad boys to summer barbeques and be ready to impress. In fact I dare you to not even tell your friends it’s vegan and see if they notice. They might even thank you twice- once for the amazing taste and later when it’s pool time ( #banishthebloat).

Tempeh BBQ baby back ribs on a white plate

4.75 from 4 votes

Six- Ingredient Tempeh BBQ “Baby Back Ribs”

Tempeh BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Author: Lauren Chambers


  • 1 package organic non-GMO Tempeh (I like this brand)
  • 2 tbsp GF soy sauce
  • ½ cup of your favorite organic bbq sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 dash liquid smoke


  1. Try to prep your tempeh at least 24 hours before. If you forget to do this- don’t worry you can still make the dish. However the flavor won’t be quite as robust. To prep place tempeh in a pot of boiling water on the stove and simmer for 12 minutes. This step softens the tempeh so that it easily absorbs the marinade.
  2. Once tempeh is done boiling, pat dry, cut into halves and rub both sides of each half with garlic powder and smoked paprika.
  3. Place tempeh in a container and pour in gf soy sauce, bbq sauce of choice and dash of liquid smoke. Mix well so that both sides are evenly coated and place in fridge to marinate for 24 hours (the longer the better!)
  4. When you’re ready to cook, fired up your grill. Place tempeh on foil and grill each side for approximately 10 minutes (20 minutes total) or until each side has a nice char to it.
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And that’s all there is to it. So do it. Because I know you want your baby back baby back baby back riiiiiiiibs.

Tempeh baby back ribs and asparagus