Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce

This Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce is also the BEST vegan barbecue sauce! It’s sweet and savory; tangy, but not too sour; spicy, but not too hot. You’ll love it on seitan ribs, tofu kabobs, veggie burgers and more. Made without refined sugars or fats, this thick sauce starts with sweet dates and savory crushed tomatoes with a tangy kick from fruity balsamic vinegar. Then after adding a mix of natural plant-based seasonings and spices, it’s heated to meld the flavours together and ready to use in 10 minutes or less. Click here for the printable recipe.

Video Tutorial for Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce

The ‘Healthy’ inspiration for this Vegan BBQ Sauce

I made up this recipe one day when I was out of the store-bought stuff and needed barbecue sauce for making BBQ lentil buns for a hike the next day. My hiking buddy avoids refined sugar, refined fats and excess salt as she normally eats a “Furhman-approved” diet so I tried to avoid these things.

Blend the tomato and dates together. You could blend everything all at once but this way lets you adjust the seasonings more easily.

Blend the tomato and dates together. You could blend everything all at once but this way lets you adjust the seasonings more easily.

Ingredients to make Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce

To sweeten, I used dates. Actually, I had wanted to use up some dates that had been sitting in my fridge for almost a year. That sounds like a long time but they can actually last a lot longer. While they are more amazing when fresh, dates can keep for years if kept cool and dry so I buy them in bulk once every year or so to get a great price. They do tend to shrivel up but even when they are hard as rocks, they can be used. Simply soak them until they are plump and re-hydrated before removing the hard pits and using in recipes.

Blend until smooth. Unless you want chunky BBQ sauce for some reason.

Blend until smooth. Unless you want chunky BBQ sauce for some reason.

I used canned crushed tomatoes for this recipe out of convenience; it’s what I had at the time. Since that first time, I have made this recipe with tomato paste mixed with water since but I still prefer the sauce made with crushed tomatoes.


While it’s possible to make this sauce without salt, a little salt does make a big flavour difference. I tried using celery salt as a compromise but it turned out to be no compromise at all. Celery salt has about as much salt as regular salt but it has a bunch more flavour so you don’t have to use as much. At least for this recipe. Cayenne and other spicy ingredients can have this effect as well; adding flavour so you don’t have to use as much salt to get a satisfying taste.

Store in a clean container in the fridge. It should keep at least a week.

Store in a clean container in the fridge. It should keep at least a week.

This is one of the few recipes were I threw a bunch of things together and the result came out perfectly the first time. I hope it’s the same for you! What will you put this Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce on? Let me know in the comments below. And please let me know how you liked it by leaving a review. Thanks so much for reading!

Printable recipe for Date BBQ Sauce

Yield: 1 1/2 cups vegan barbeque sauce

Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce (with dates)

Healthy Vegan BBQ Sauce (with dates)

This delicious thick barbeque sauce is a well balanced mix of sweet, savory, tangy and smoky flavours without any refined sugars or fats. Dates provide sweetness with a honey-like flavour along with fiber and other essential nutrients. Perfect for seitan ribs, tofu kabobs, veggie burgers and more! Don't be surprised if this becomes your favourite BBQ sauce!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup of pitted dates soaked in water*
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt


  1. Blend crushed tomatoes and pitted dates until smooth. If necessary, add a small amount of water to help your blender along.
  2. Transfer the smooth tomato date puree to a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. While stirring constantly, cook the mixture over medium high heat until bubbling.
  3. Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust for salt and other seasonings if you like. Store in a clean jar in the fridge; it will keep for at least one week. Enjoy!


*About those dates

If your dates are fresh and gooey, you may not need to soak them. Measure 1 cup of plump pitted dates; about 10-12 dates depending on size.


This BBQ sauce tends to be very thick and the taste is quite concentrated so you can thin it out with broth or water before each use.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Erika

    Tks for sharing , i love such sauces, and i start to go vegan. I hope to have more recipes from you .

    Tks a lot

    • Mary

      You’re most welcome, Erika!
      Sorry for being so late to reply. I hope your journey is still going well 🙂

  • Leah

    I made this today with canned sliced carrots, apple cider vinegar, and ancho chili powder subs (food allergies). It was really thick so I watered it down a little. It tastes amazing! Great tasting and easy recipe!

    • Mary

      Yay so glad you were able to make it fit you! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing,

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