BBQ ribs for a ‘vegan before 6’


I’ve become a VB6er. Yup, I’m following that hip new lifestyle all the kids are talking about based on Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 books. It started when I realized all of my piddly individual efforts to help save the planet from out of control global warming were not making much of a difference. There are only so many reusable bags I can store in our compact car. There are only so many plants we can stick in the yard, hoping to lure the bees to our relatively organic patches of fruits and vegetables. I felt like I needed to make more changes, thus VB6. I wrote about it last week at Called to the Table.

Eating like a vegan before dinner makes me more mindful of my relationship with food, the people who grow my food, the seasons, and my hunger. That mindfulness is supposed to carry over to dinner. But I am full-out head-on into grilling season, and even Mark Bittman understands that a plate of ribs occasionally trumps vegetable kebabs. Each piece of burning charcoal replaces mindfulness with guilt: charcoal releases twice the carbon of a gas grill. We’ll switch to greener solutions soon. Meanwhile I sooth my guilt by buying direct from our favorite farmers and by using seasonal vegetables in every way I can imagine.

At Called to the Table today is a recipe for a versatile and delicious Rhubarb Ginger Starter Sauce. I like it on Bittman’s Walnut Banana Bread, stirred into salsa, and converted into BBQ sauce that is judiciously brushed over dry-rubbed and slow-roasted ribs.

RhubarBQ Sauce

3 cups rhubarb

¼ cup pickled ginger (Japanese sushi style)

½ cup dried cranberries or raisins

½ cup sugar

¼ cup water

Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in medium-sized saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 1 to 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce and 1 tablespoon butter. Simmer 5 minutes or until flavors are well blended. For homemade sauce add 1/2 cup brown sugar or maple syrup, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup good spicy mustard, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon salt. Finish with butter.