Inspiration from Meghan

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Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce and Ketchup


There's a reason that all my recipes 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 innocently 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 more 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 stop with packaged food and 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 and 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.

The point is- it is so easy to make yourself, which invites you to put as much, or as little sweetener, salt and vinegar in as you like.

If you are ready to make your own, here is my world famous ketchup recipe.

Tomato Ketchup


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A homemade ketchup recipe, without the sugar and agave that's often added to ketchup you might find on a grocery store shelf.

  • 10 cups tomatoes (Roma preferred), chopped and seeded
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 large tart apples, cored and chopped
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 pieces of whole or pinches of ground all spice
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbs Sucanat (raw unprocessed sugar- if you don’t have any, I suppose you could use regular sugar)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage (or 1 Tbs dry)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or ½ Tbs dry)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Make It Like So
  1. Measure out all the spices (except sage and rosemary) and tie them up in a little square of gauze, cheesecloth, or light cotton fabric (good use for an old but clean t-shirt) with a thread to form a little bag.
  2. Process tomatoes, onions and apples in a food processor or blender. As this is a large recipe, you have to do this in batches.
  3. Pour processed ingredients along with the spice bag into a pot. Simmer until volume is reduced into one half
  4. Chop the sage and rosemary and add to the pot.
  5. Add salt, vinegar, sucanat and cayenne powder and bring to a boil again.
  6. Turn off the heat and pour hot ketchup into jars. If using sterilized jars, seal immediately. Otherwise let cool and then cover and store in fridge or freezer.

Yes, this ketchup is great and all, but recently I took my love for things made with tomatoes to the next level, and also wanted to woo my husband at the same time. I took on the discerning challenge of barbecue sauce. It was to be slathered across the top of a beautiful veggie loaf and so I got mixing, matching, simmering and sizzling.

Simmering BBQ sauce in Le Cruset pot

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.

Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce


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Cook time: 

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Love a good BBQ sauce without the additional preservatives or refined sugar? Whip up a batch of this Gluten-Free Barbecue sauce and you'll never look back.

  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 500ml jar tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp or more sambal olek or organic hot sauce (I use this one occasionally)
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup organic dijon or honey mustard
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • ½ tsp sea salt or more to taste

Make It Like So
  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.

If your homemade barbecue sauce and ketchup are left unopened, it will last a few months. Once opened, consume within 3-4 weeks.

If you are into making your condiments, then you should probably try out this cashew ketchup, this balsamic maple glaze, my favourite red pepper pestosalsa, and my horseradish.

Question- have you tried making your own condiments or sauces? Which ones? Share below!

20 Responses to “Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce and Ketchup”

  1. Sarah Garstka said…
    The new layout is BEAUTIFUL!
  2. franceslea said…
    How long will this keep in the fridge and can you freeze it? How much does it make???
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      We've kept ours for over a month now and all good. The trick is that you can fill and clean jar, seal it and keep it in the fridge almost indefinitely. Once you open it though, best to use in a couple weeks- or until you see fur on top :)
  3. Kanika said…
    So happy to have come across this site! Over the past couple of years I've become more conscience about what I'm putting into my body. I know DIY is the best way. Thanks for sharing!
  4. Anastasia said…
    You got me with the ketchup and bbq sauce recipe! I can't wait to try it! I so appreciate your fresh and up beat approach to how to enjoy the full spectrum of cooking and eating…without giving up the need for healthy, quality food that nourishes us. Thanks! Looking forward to more!
  5. […] or two on instagram already, but I realized a similar variation of the BBQ Sauce is available on Meghan’s blog (the curry powder does not appear to be posted there), and so I thought I might turn this into a […]
  6. Naomi said…
    Hi, Meghan - I'm excited to try the ketchup recipe! What's the yield? Thanks!
  7. Vaishali said…
    Hi Meghan - I am going to try the ketchup recipe? Do you remember approximately how many pounds i 10 cups of tomatoes?
  8. Sarah Bester said…
    I was just looking up this recipe for about the millionth time so I thought I would post a comment and let you know how much my husband and I LOVE it! I't so nice to have a sauce that I feel good about slathering on my food all summer. We've made it for many guests and plan on making it for a big group up at the cottage this summer. So amazingly tasty. Thanks for the amazing recipe :)
  9. […] ½ cup + ¼ cup BBQ sauce […]
  10. Melissa said…
    I never thought of making my own ketchup. Definitely going to try this!

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