June 18, 2020

Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce

Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce is a healthy alternative to store-bought. It only has a few ingredients and takes a few minutes to make.

I'm keeping it short and sweet today. After all, there's only so much I can write about barbecue sauce.

You can do some fun things with barbecue sauce.

When I was a kid, I used to eat it on broccoli. Weird, I know. But I promise there are other, less strange things you can do.

You could coat vegetables and grill them. Such a great summer recipe! Okay, I admit, that's pretty similar to pouring it on broccoli. But it's definitely more delicious.

You could also make Barbecue Jackfruit Sandwiches. That's why I made this particular batch. Stay tuned for the recipe!

I don't know about you, but if I'm going to make my own sauce instead of buying it from the store I want it to be two things.

  1. Healthy
  2. Easy

This barbecue sauce is both!

Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce


There are only a few ingredients in the sauce, making it incredibly healthy. Many store-bought sauces have added sugar and preservatives. The more we can avoid those, the better off we are!

This barbecue sauce has only six ingredients. All whole foods. All healthy.

  • Diced Tomatoes: Normally barbecue sauces have ketchup, but there is often added sugar in ketchup, so we'll stick with the whole food and build flavor with spices. AND to make it even easier, just buy canned tomatoes and you don't even have to chop them.
  • Date Syrup or Maple Syrup: It does help to have a little sweetness, so we'll use a healthy, plant-based sweetener. I prefer date syrup because it is made from fruit, but if you can't find date syrup or don't have any on hand, maple syrup is a relatively healthy option.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Vinegar adds a tang that barbecue sauce needs. You can also use white vinegar.
  • Mustard: Mustard also adds a necessary tang. I prefer Dijon mustard!
  • Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke isn't vital to this recipe but let me tell you it makes it SO MUCH BETTER. It adds that smoky flavor that takes the barbecue sauce from good to great!
  • Paprika: This sweet spice perfectly complements the date syrup.
  • Cayenne: A hint of spice completes the sauce. If you prefer your barbecue sauce to be entirely sweet, you can omit the cayenne.

And that's it! Just a few good-for-you ingredients.


So maybe I have you convinced that this sauce is healthier than a store-bought sauce. But honestly who is going to make their own sauce if it's a huge hassle? Not me.

The good news is that this sauce can cook in as little as 10 minutes. If you want, you can let it cook down for longer, but in 10 minutes is all you really need.

Seriously. 10 minutes for an easy healthy sauce. There's no excuse not to make it.

Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce

How to make Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce

Step 1. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.

Step 2. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 10-30 minutes. The sauce will thicken. You can let it cook until it reaches your desired consistency.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Enjoy with your favorite barbecue recipe!

Recipe Prayer

Thank you God for giving us the resources and time to make healthy versions of our favorite store-bought items. Amen.

Tried this recipe?

Please leave a review in the comments section below. You can also stay in touch with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok or by subscribing to my newsletter.

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Plant-Based Barbecue Sauce

<p>Recipe Prayer: Thank you God for giving us the resources and time to make healthy versions of our favorite store-bought items. Amen.</p>















  • 1 Cup Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Date Syrup or Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 10-30 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Enjoy with your favorite barbecue recipe!

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January 16, 2022
Tracy Henry
Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious Elizabeth. You got this one just right!
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
January 16, 2022
L Collins
Hi Could you please confirm two things:1. The amount of salt. Seems like too much. 2. The directions say there is lemon juice in the dressing but it’s not listed under ingredients. ThanksL.
Hi there! Confirming that the two teaspoons of salt in the dressing is correct. I didn't salt the cauliflower when roasting it or the salad after it was done, so this amount of salt was perfect. If you're concerned about it you can decrease the amount of salt in the dressing and then add more at the end if you need it. As for the lemon juice, SO sorry about that! It was a typo in my directions and I've removed it now. Hope this helps :)
December 20, 2021
This looks lovely! Do you have a recipe for the red pepper hummus also? Thank you!
Hi Martha! I don't have a recipe for red pepper hummus on my site. I suggest taking a traditional hummus recipe and blending in roasted red pepper.
November 22, 2021
Amanda J Lehmann
I tried these and they were delicious! A bit dense but flavorful and the "buckeye" blend of peanut and chocolate was on point! Recommend!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked them! -- Elizabeth
December 6, 2021
Hi, these look amazing. I was wondering, could I used powdered peanut butter in place of creamy for the recipe? thanks
Hi Grace! There is already some powdered peanut butter in this recipe, so adding more might make the texture more gluey. Also, the real peanut butter adds some fat, which helps create flavor. That said, if you want to use powdered peanut butter, I would suggest mixing it with a high-fat liquid like coconut cream and then measuring out 2/3 cup. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes :) -- Elizabeth
November 15, 2021
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking. -- Elizabeth
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography