Vegan, Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce

There’s a reason that all my recipes – like this barbecue sauce – start from scratch, despite many other health cheerleaders offering simpler recipe options that include shortcuts using pre-made sauces and such.

I want to make sure you’re not being misled by food marketers to think you’re buying something whole or natural when it’s really the same sugar-laden, processed sauce in a homey-looking bottle. It is for this reason you will never see ingredients like yellow mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise (vegan or otherwise) in any of my recipes, unless I offer you a recipe for that ingredient. Then it is up to you what you want to do.

Call me a control freak, but I want to know what I’m eating and if you’re following my guidance, I also want to know that you’re eating the best, too. When packaged food just gets too complicated, well, that’s when I just do it from scratch.

The typical Heinz ketchup you buy in stores is made from tomato concentrate, white vinegar and not one but two kinds of corn sweetener — the high fructose variety and the regular corn syrup variety. They do also have an organic variety but as we know, organic doesn’t always mean healthy. In this version, they simply swap the GMO corn sweeteners for organic sugar.

Heinz also has a reduced sugar option, that throws the sugar right out the door and replaces it with artificial sweetener in the form of sucralose. Yep. Or my personal favourite, the no-salt ketchup that instead contains something they call “ALSOSALT®” which is a salt substitute made of stuff you are better off scrubbing your floor with — potassium chloride and L-lysine monohydrochloride.

Our favourite organic brands from the health food store are typically not that much better, often replacing the sugar with agave.

Recently, I took on the discerning challenge of making homemade barbecue sauce. It was to be slathered across the top of a beautiful veggie loaf and so I got mixing, matching, simmering and sizzling. And wowza – is this what making love in the kitchen is truly all about.

The final product was amazing. Just enough zip, though you could always add more, and this made up two 250ml jars full. The first one vanished in the first weekend.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Vegan, Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce

  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 500mL 1x


  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 500mL jar tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp or more sambal olek or organic hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup organic dijon or honey mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and then add the onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and let it gurgle with love for 25-30 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Taste test your sauce and decide if you want more heat or sweetness to it.
  4. Remove from the heat and let sit to cool.
  5. Run the whole mix through your food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to jars, allow to cool completely, seal and store in fridge or freezer.
  6. If left unopened, it will last a few months. Once opened, consume within 3-4 weeks.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: condiment, sauce