BBQ Sauce

Naturally Sweet and Spicy

Preparation info

  • Makes

    2 cups

    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      30 min

Appears in

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Well Fed 2

By Melissa Joulwan

Published 2013

  • About

Any respectable BBQ sauce balances sweetness and spice with a touch of sour, all the better to enhance the meatiness of hunks of slow-smoked beef, pork, or chicken. The problem is that most recipes rely on various forms of sugar as their base: commercial ketchup (a.k.a., corn syrup), molasses, brown sugar, honey, and in one classic version, three cups of cola! In this sauce, a humbly-sweet, dried date, sugar-free apple sauce, and the natural sugars in tomato paste do the trick.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter (no sugar added)
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 date, pit removed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch ground allspice



    In a blender or food processor, combine the water, tomato paste, applesauce, vinegar, coconut aminos, mustard, sunflower seed butter, hot pepper sauce, and date. Purée until smooth.

    Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cayenne, dry mustard, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and allspice. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Pour the tomato mixture into the saucepan, and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

    Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.