A few years ago, I put out this vegan barbecue sauce recipe, but recently, I decided it needed to be revised. Now, there are fewer ingredients. That said, it’s still a naturally sweetened date barbecue sauce that has no ketchup. And it still smells and tastes incredible. It’s sweet, slightly spicy, and deliciously smoky. If you love sweet barbecue sauce, you can’t lose with this stuff!
There are so many ways to enjoy it. Mix it with jackfruit for BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. Use it as a dipping sauce for fries. If you’re into barbecue pizza, it makes a nice pizza sauce.
This recipe makes 4 ½-5 cups of thick, rich date-sweetened bbq sauce. If you like it a little thinner, add more water, and then, adjust the seasonings, if needed. I used ancho chili powder in this recipe, but I have also used chili powder in the past with success. Either works, but the ancho chili powder has such an awesome flavor!
Can barbecue sauce be frozen? This one can! If there are lots of leftovers, add them to a sealed container, and throw it in the freezer. When you’re reheating it in a saucepan or slow cooker, you may need to add a bit of water to it. It works great and still tastes amazing 😊
Smoky Medjool Date Barbecue Sauce
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
A dash + ½ tsp salt
2 cups (OR ~18) Medjool dates, pitted and cut into thirds
2 ¾ cups water
⅓ cup (or 6 ounce can) no salt tomato paste
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (OR gluten free tamari)
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp liquid smoke
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ancho chili powder (see note above)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1. First, you need to caramelize the onions for the barbecue sauce. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, add the onions, olive oil and a dash of salt over high heat. When it starts to sizzle, constantly stir it for 2 minutes or until the onions get soft and look like the photo above. Then, immediately turn the heat down to low.
2. Allow the onions to cook over low for 5 minutes. Then, give them a good stir for about 30 seconds. Let them sit for another 5 minutes over low heat. Then, given another good stir for 30 seconds. Let them sit for another 5 minutes, and then, stir for 30 seconds. At this point, they should be golden, maybe a little browned, and look similar to the photo above.
3. While the onions are caramelizing, add the medjool dates, water, tomato paste, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke and ½ tsp salt to a high speed blender. Set aside.
4. In the pot, add the garlic cloves, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, mustard powder, garlic powder and ground cloves. Stir around for 60 seconds. Then, spoon the entire contents of the pot into the high speed blender. Reserve the pot, because you will use it again.
5. Blend everything in the high speed blender until completely smooth. Taste the barbecue sauce, and make adjustments, if needed (soy sauce? apple cider vinegar? salt?). Pour the contents of the blender back into the pot. Stir around.
6. Cover the pot with a lid, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and taste the medjool date barbecue sauce. Make adjustments to the flavor, if needed. Use in whatever and however you like!