Homemade BBQ Sauce

Summers coming… for those of us in Phoenix it is right on our door step. In addition to the heat, summer brings on cookout season. If this is your first summer living a plant-based lifestyle you may be a little intimidated by all of the upcoming barbecue invitations. Don’t be, I’ve got you covered.

Today I’m going to share one of my secrets. Homemade BBQ Sauce. I’ll share tips another day.

This Homemade BBQ Sauce is sweet and tangy. My husband said it tasted like candy but his palete is really sensitive to sweetness. Actually, at first you taste the sweet then the tangy hits.

You can use this sauce on anything! Baked Potatoes, Lentil BBQ or my Spaghetti Squash BBQ Sandwich, BBQ Chickpeas, BBQ tofu and more. The sauce is really versatile and you can change it up by using less sugar or more vinegar. You can also add Siracha for a little more kick.

Homemade BBQ Sauce that is vegan and gluten-free. It's perfect for all of your barbecue needs.

Homemade BBQ Sauce


  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (more or less) of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water (add it a little at a time to obtain the right consistency)


  1. Add all ingredients except water in a small sauce pan place on low heat.
  2. Stir often as you add each ingredient.
  3. Once everything except water is added taste and make any changes.
  4. Add water a little at a time while stirring until you reach the right consistency. You’ll probably need between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup.


Use this BBQ Sauce as you would a bottled sauce. If you have leftovers store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

Next I’ll share my Cauliflower BBQ Bites recipe!

Make sure you read the labels on all of your ingredients. Some versions may not be vegan or may contain gluten. I always check ingredients to make sure it is safe for my family but your family may have other needs.

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Fire Up the Grill

I’ve already been proclaiming that Summer is here. It may be Spring for you but it is Summer in Arizona. Since Memorial Day is only days away I wanted to leave you will some grilling ideas.

Vegan grilling ideas

If you get invited to a barbecue you will be prepared. Just don’t go empty-handed!

portobello's on the grill

Portobello Mushrooms

You can’t go wrong with grilling Portobello Mushrooms. Consider grilling Portobello Steaks, Portobello Fajita’s, or Portobello Burgers. Mushrooms are incredibly versatile and work great on the grill. Since they are large they “fit” better and don’t fall in the fire.


Many veggies can be grilled as well. Summer Squash, Onions, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Asparagus. I even grill Avocados, yes you read that right.

You can arrange veggies on skewers or just toss them on the grill. There are also really neat products available like this Emeril Grilling Veggie Basket that you can flip over to allow both sides to cook. Or, this Weber Style Professional-Grade Vegetable Basket that is open on top for easy stirring. I always loved eating kabobs but when grilling for company (and kids) these grill baskets make much easier options in my opinion. They are even Father’s Day gift worthy!

dips for a cookout

Side Dishes

Baked Potato Wedges, Potato Salad, Dirty Mashed Potatoes, Baked Beans, Chip & Salsa or Pico De Gallo are great side dishes if you are planning to grill.

If you are getting together with friends or family I always enjoy bringing stuff like chips and salsa, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Green Chili White Bean Dip, Unfried Pinto Beans, Faux Cheese Dip for dipping. I’ll often bring a quinoa-black bean salad too. I like to bring chips and dips because these look “normal” to everyone else. I feel like dips are always safe to bring to a party. I sometimes feel weird bringing a whole separate entrée (unless I was asked ) to someone else’s party.


Don’t forget to BYOB! I don’t drink alcohol and I’m rarely invited anywhere with it as an option (actually I’m rarely invited anywhere at all, I think everyone is too intimidated by my son’s allergies. That is the reason I’m going with. I’m fabulous, who wouldn’t want to hang out with me? I digress.) I prefer to bring my own drinks. Usually it is just water. I’m a water snob. We have a filter so I have a hard time drinking tap water.

Basically, don’t assume there will be something you can drink. I regularly attend events where lemon water is the only option. I prefer my water straight up. If you love lemon you must check out Sarah’s Stevia Lemonade at Gazing In!

gluten free vegan brownies


Probably the most important part of any cookout. I don’t typically grill dessert but we occasionally grill peaches. Just cut them in half, remove the pit and put them on the grill. Serve them with vegan ice cream! It will taste kind of like peach cobbler without all the work.

If I’m taking dessert somewhere it is almost always my Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies. They travel well, don’t need to be refrigerated and everyone loves them.

4 Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun

If you plan to spend some time outside make sure to check out my recent post with 4 Tips to Keep You Safe in the Sun! I also share about learning a had a pre-cancerous mole years ago. If you don’t know what sunscreen to buy read the post!

This post contains affiliate links.

Extended Family July…week 3

I hope you have been inspired this month as we’ve talked about how to cook (and eat) while beating the heat. So pour yourself a cook drink and sit back and relax.

Brittany Jan pic


Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?
I LOVE to cook outside, get me a grill and a large glass of lemon water and I am in paradise. My favorite foods to grill are almost ANY vegetable, specifically: onions, brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, and eggplant. I also love pineapple and peaches on the grill!
Do you use a slow cooker (Crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?
Please don’t shun me from the blogging community, but I have never used a slow cooker!! AH! I have eaten meals made in them though, and for me a big hearty soup is the way to go! Lots of beans, legumes, and veggies.
Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?
My favorite no cook recipe would have to be my No Bake Energy Bites! Perfect for JUST about anything, and kept in the fridge to help cool you off on the hot days! Second to that would be a classic PB&J ;).
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Suzanne jan pic
Suzanne & Carlos
Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?
No, we do not cook outside during the summer. In San Antonio, it gets to about 100 degrees, give or take a few, everyday. So, no thank you, we prefer to stay indoors!
Do you use a slow cooker (Crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?
I have a slow cooker, but I have not used it in ages. In fact, I forgot that I had it until I started answering this question! I guess I need to pull it out and start using it!
Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?
I have a few favorite no cook recipes. My everyday lunch is a giant salad consisting of whatever vegetables we have on hand.  We love to eat mock tuna and it is very easy to make. I also like to make my black bean, mango, quinoa salad.
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What is your favorite No-Cook Recipe? What about a semi-no-cook recipe? I love this super easy Taco Salad! When I want a sweet treat I love this Fresh Fruit Parfait, Chocolate Mousse, and these Chocolate Frozen No Bake Bites.

Extended Family July…week 2


Is it too hot to cook? Maybe it’s only too hot stand over the stove? Either way this month I’m asking the Extended Family to share some alternate ways of cooking. Anna at Stuffed Veggies left a comment last week sharing a whole page of Vegan Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Recipes that her family LOVE! I don’t even know where to start but I feel like dusting off my Crock Pot.

Time to check in with the Extended Family!

Erica B Bio pic

Erica & B

Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?

Not too often.  My hubby has long days most of the time and I am no good at grilling.  Grilled veggies are awesome and we love Fat Free Vegan’s Ribz.

Do you use a slow cooker (Crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?

YES!  Love my crock-pot.  I make oatmeal, beans, soups, chilis, etc in it.  Recently I made “roasted” veggies in the crock-pot instead of the oven.  Turned out awesome.

Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?

I can’t really think of any.  Maybe just a finger food night?? Crackers, non dairy cheese, raw veggies/dip, fruit.

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DalyFamilyKim & Family

Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?

Absolutely! We love to toss whatever fresh vegetables we have from the garden or farmer’s market with olive oil and salt/pepper and grill. Serve on a bed of quinoa with homemade curry sauce for a quick and easy meal. Grilled watermelon, peaches and pineapple make a wonderful side dish or dessert!

Do you use a slow cooker (Crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?

Couldn’t live without mine! Favorite recipes include Marinara Sauce, Granola, Sloppy Lentils (great with a fresh cole slaw!), and Vegetable Pot Pie.

Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?

By far it’s my Tofu Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce. They are a bit of a labor of love, especially for first-timers, but practice makes perfect and nothing beats this fresh, no-cook recipe on a hot day. Perfect as either an appetizer or a main dish!

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Do you have a favorite recipe to share? I love grilling Marinated Portobello Mushrooms, onions, and red bell pepper. Those are also my got to ingredients for a quick stir-fry.

Extended Family July…week 1


I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend. The Extended Family post was postponed a few days. My husband had a few days off and we have been spending some wonderful family time together. We went out of town last weekend so this weekend we stayed around the house. I’ve been avoiding my computer as much as possible but I’ll catch up in the next week.

This month I’m asking the Extended Family about cook, specifically cooking when it is hot. Please offer your own suggestions for eating well while beating the heat.

Chris and Kara

Christopher & Kara

Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?

We do a lot of grilling. We like grilled corn, zucchini and a yummy hot German potato salad.  

Do you use a slow cooker (crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?

I have had a hard time finding any decent crock-pot recipes that are plant-based. The only thing I use it for is chili in the fall.

Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?

We just found a really great summer pasta salad with olives, tomatoes and Italian dressing. Tastes great after spending a day marinating in the fridge. We have been eating it as a side dish for the past 3 days!

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Emily Pic

Tony & Emily

Do you cook outside? What are your favorite foods to grill?

Yes we enjoy cooking outside.  We grilled today for lunch! We love to grill asparagus, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, pineapple, etc. My hubby got a grilling book and it has some great recipes!

Do you use a slow cooker (crock-pot) and if so what are your favorite recipes?

Sometimes we use a slow cooker but we haven’t lately. I don’t have any favorite plant-based crock-pot recipes yet….

Do you have a favorite No-Cook recipe?

This time a year we like to cut up watermelon and other fruits and veggies…but as far as no-cook recipe…that isn’t something I have really thought of…honestly my hubby enjoys cooking more than I do….I can handle easy meals like breakfast, lunch and snacks for the kids….but a lot of the cooking he ends up doing.  No-cook meals for lunch are just easy pb & j sandwiches, fruits and veggies, crackers etc.

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What are your favorite Crock-pot recipes?