Healthy Barbecue Sauce

Healthy Barbecue Sauce

Healthy barbecue sauce is difficult to find. I know because I recently went barbecue sauce shopping to put on slow cooker pulled pork. Most supermarket varieties have a ton of sugar and “modified” ingredients, so I was challenged to make my own. Instead of refined sugar or corn syrup, this barbecue sauce uses the natural sweetness of tomatoes, honey and molasses to add depth of flavor.


Although it seems like a daunting amount of ingredients, you’ll already have most – if not all – in your pantry. If you want to speed up the process, simply use store bought tomato sauce (ideally organic) rather than making your own. Then, just boil all ingredients together and blend! Simple yet full of smokiness and spice.


Healthy Barbecue SauceWHY IT’S HEALTHY// Tomatoes! Tomatoes are the richest food source of  lycopene, an antioxidant which is great for the skin, making it less sensitive to UV light damage (which is what causes wrinkles). Lycopene has also been shown to improve bone mass as well as reduce the risk of certain cancers. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant vitamins A and C, which fight cell damaging free radicals. Molasses has a lot of minerals, especially a high amount of copper, which helps rebuild skin and hair structure. It also contains a high amount of iron, which carries oxygen to blood cells. And of course, there are many health benefits of honey.


Enjoy with slow cooker pulled pork and vegan gluten-free cornbread.


Healthy Barbecue SauceHealthy Barbecue Sauce

Healthy Barbecue Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A healthy barbecue sauce, with deep bold flavor and without refined sugar. A perfect, easy alternative to store bought sauce. Enjoy with slow cooker pulled pork and vegan gluten-free cornbread.
Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 12
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cups apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup wine (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups thick tomato sauce (I used best quick tomato sauce, boiled down)*
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (soy sauce for vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 chipotle chili with 1 tsp juice (optional, for smokiness)
  • 3 tablespoons liquid smoke (I like Lazy Kettle Brand)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil over medium heat, add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar, molasses, honey and wine and bring to a boil.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil again and then reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until desired consistency.
  4. Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.
*If using store bought sauce, you may need to cook longer than 20 minutes in Step 4 to reduce to a thicker consistency.


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