This easy, no-cook vegan barbecue sauce recipe takes nearly no time to make. Though I'm all for good store-bought sauces as shortcuts, I've never found a prepared BBQ sauce I've really liked, so I rely on this one. It's especially delicious with plant-based protein foods—tofu, tempeh, and seitan—prepared on the grill. See Barbecued Tofu, Tempeh, or Seitan for ideas and directions. Photos by Rachael Braun.
Makes: about 2 ½ cups
- 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon molasses (or substitute an extra tablespoon
of agave or maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
If time allows, cover and let stand for an hour or so to allow the flavors to combine more fully. If you need to use it right away, by all means do so, as it will still be quite good.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: Calories: 32; Total fat: 1g; Protein: 0g; Carbs: 6g; Sodium: 266 mg
- Use a few drops of hot sauce or Sriracha sauce if you'd like a spicier effect
- Use a teaspoon of liquid smoke or 1 to 2 teaspoons mesquite seasoning if you'd like a smoky flavor.
- Find more recipes for grilling in VegKitchen’s The Vegan Barbecue.
- Find more ways to make Special Occasions and Entertaining easier and healthier.
- Here are lots more recipes for simple sauces and such.
What is the tomato sauce?a can of tomatoes, ketchup or puree?
Elisha, sorry, your question went under my radar. It is tomato sauce that comes in a can...literally labeled tomato sauce. A 15-ounce can should be sufficient for this.
Cisneros Cares says
Blend some tomatoes with tomato paste. Best tomato sauce.
awesome recipe!! I used my food processor to purée cherry tomatos. This Made my sauce a bit thinner than normal BBQ sauce, but the flavor was exceptional!!
Thanks, Cyd -- glad you enjoyed it. Chances are if you refrigerate it overnight, it will thicken up a bit.
I was short on the tomato sauce (only had an 8-oz can for 1 cup) so I substituted some Annie's organic ketchup for the last 1/2 cup. This sauce was amazing!
Made it tonight. Quick and easy -- and it tasted terrific!
Thanks, Rebecca and Kris — I make this a lot, as I find store-bought sauces have an odd aftertaste. I tried to make this as easy and as flavorful as possible and glad you enjoyed it!
What brand of tomato sauce would u reccomend to make the bbq taste good?
Zaeem, most tomato sauces taste pretty much the same, though I tend to choose organic products like Muir Glen. But I think you'd be good to go with whatever brand you prefer.
RuthAnn Funderburk says
I loved this sauce. I added a 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke. Yummmm
Great idea RuthAnne!
My family loves this sauce! We make barbecue lentil sliders with it. Thank you for all you share on your site!
Thanks for your kind thoughts, Kim! I'm glad you and yours enjoy this and the rest of the site.
emily heap says
I'm soooo excited I found your website! I'm about a month in almost completely vegan & I am so happy to find a BBQ sauce!! As well as all your other amazing recipes too. Getting off of processed foods etc is one thing..now I gotta put my big girl pants on and learn to cook. 😉 So on that note..what is smoked flavoring and where can I buy it? is it vegan and or an organic product, I assume so, but I'm really new to what isn't all natural. Crazy right? But it's also so exciting & an adventure. Anyway..sorry for the long post... Thanks again!
About how long would this last in the fridge for?
Let's say up to a week in the fridge; you can also freeze any unused portion for later use. Enjoy!
I think some of the confusing regarding "tomato sauce" may be that the Brits and other commonwealth countries call tomato sauce what Americans know as ketchup. In those countries, American "tomato sauce" is called tomato puree. Hopefully that can clear this up for non-Americans 🙂
Definitely gonna do this with the quorn pigs in blankets I'm making in school on Wednesday.
Great idea! 🙂
Wish I had read the comments before making this. The ketchp vs. tomato sauce detail ruined dinner.
Sondra, I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm not sure what went wrong on your end, so if you see this, let me know and I'll try to help.
I followed the recipe before reading the cmments, and the resulting sauce is very thin. I'm going to cook it a little to thicken it up.
Ketchup is thick and comes in a bottle in the U.S.. It contains "tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring". Is this what the Brits call tomato sauce?
My can of tomato sauce contains "water, tomato paste, onion powder, citric acid, garlic powder". The difference seems to be the corn syrups, vinegar, and texture.
It would be nice to know whether we were expected to use ketchup, tomato paste, or tomato sauce. This was the only vegan recipe I saw that was not ketchup-based, which is why I chose it.
All's well that ends well!