Spicy, Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce with a Touch of Miso

Spicy Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce

Go to any grocery store in the country, high-end, low, or somewhere in the middle, and you will find a dozen different barbecue sauces. Smoky, tomato-y, sweet and sticky—pretty much whatever you want. So why make your own?

Two words: Ingredient labels. In the case of BBQ sauce, they are about 13 lines long, usually with some variation of franken-sugar as the first and thus most plentiful ingredient. Homemade BBQ sauce has a lot of ingredients, a fact I cannot deny, but you can tweak the recipe below exactly to your taste. Want it to taste more Mexican? Throw in more cumin. Sweeter? More coconut nectar, or maple syrup, or, if you like, brown sugar. I guarantee that even if you’re liberal with the sweetener, you’ll still be doing better than the commercial brands.

Spicy Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Pop on over to the Blueprint section and you’ll see that, as long as you get all the stuff out in advance, making BBQ sauce if pretty simple. It starts by sautéing plenty of onions, with the veggies of your choice; in this case, I went with what New Orleanians call the Trinity, with celery and green pepper serving as the second and third points (onions, of course, being the first). Here they are, cooking up with a little garlic and ginger added at the last minute.

The Trinity of onions, peppers, and celery goes into Spicy Sugar-free Vegan BBQ Sauce.

Next, you add spices, whatever floats your boat, though chili powder and paprika are pretty much de rigeur. Once the spices are cooked in, add liquids, then the thick paste-type ingredients—I used chipotles in adobo and pepper paste from the Middle Eastern store (instead of tomato paste), coconut nectar—and once that’s stirred up, your giant can o’ tomatoes. Let it bubble merrily on the stove.

Spicy Sugar-free Vegan BBQ Sauce bubbles on the stovetop.

My secret ingredient is miso paste, which I find lends that deep dark “what the hell is that?” umami. Miso’s fermented, and it’s somewhat delicate, though thankfully it keeps in the fridge for a while. You want to thin the miso in a separate bowl with a small amount of sauce, mixing until it’s liquid, then pour it in right before serving. If I’m not going to use all the BBQ sauce in one sitting, I wait to add the miso when I serve; the proportion is 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of miso for each cup of sauce.

In addition to the usual uses, I like to use BBQ sauce In places that might call for ketchup or plain tomato sauce. I used this batch to flavor two very different bowls, and added a cup to a meatloaf I made from turkey, which needs a little help in the flavor department. The 20 minutes of prep—mostly just getting stuff out, with a little chopping and some stirring—was time well spent.

Enjoy.

Spicy, Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce with a Touch of Miso

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Spicy Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce
Spicy, sweet, and complex, this BBQ sauce kicks up the flavor of grilled vegetables and/or meats.
Spicy, Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce with a Touch of Miso
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Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 10-15 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 10-15 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Spicy, Sugar-Free Vegan BBQ Sauce with a Touch of Miso
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-heat. When hot, add coconut oil. When coconut oil is hot, add onion. Sprinkle with salt. Sauté 4-5 minutes, until onion begins to be translucent. Add celery and green pepper and sauté an additional 5 minutes, until vegetables are just beginning to brown.
  2. Add garlic and ginger and sauté 30 seconds. Add powdered spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and cloves) and stir until well incorporated into the vegetables. Add balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. When liquids are incorporated, add chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and tomato or pepper paste. When paste is liquid and mixture is bubbling, add sweetener.
  3. Allow sauce to simmer over medium-low heat 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat; if desired, blend on medium to high speed until desired consistency. Place miso paste in a bowl and add a small amount of sauce; thoroughly mix the miso with the sauce until it is liquid, then stir into the sauce.
Recipe Notes

BBQ sauce will keep in a jar up to 2 weeks. When using the BBQ sauce, do not boil, which will harm the miso. Gently rewarm and use as desired.

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