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Smoky and Sweet BBQ Sauce


The Stars at Night, are Big and Bright…

All my fellow Texans just clapped in their heads and sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. Admit it, you know you did! I’m certainly missing Southern California, but I am happy to be back in my great state. Texans are a proud people, and one of the things we pride ourselves on is our BBQ. You can find at least one little BBQ joint, if not three or four, in pretty much every tiny town in Texas, and probably every single one boasts it’s own “special BBQ sauce”. I love BBQ sauce; I cook with it, dip things in it, and top things with it! It’s so versatile; sweet, spicy, tangy…and loaded down with refined sugar. A popular brand of BBQ sauce has a staggering 16g of sugar in only 2 tbsp of sauce, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25g of added sugar for women and around 12 for children, depending on their age. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want nearly all of my sugar consumption for the day to come from a measly 2 tbsp of BBQ sauce.

So what are we supposed to do when we want that sweet, tangy sauce? Make some with no added sugars! This BBQ sauce is sweetened using dates, which are a sweet and sticky fruit, so the sugar content is natural and unrefined. The smokiness comes from charring an onion, and the tangy flavor comes from apple cider vinegar and garlic. This sauce is delicious in my Barbecue Meatloaf, is perfect to top shredded chicken or pork with, or use as a marinade. However you use it, I know you will love the flavor, and relish in the fact that there are no added sugars. Healthy food doesn’t have to be flavorless or boring; enjoy it!

Smoky and Sweet BBQ Sauce

Makes about 2 cups.


  • 1.25 cups of water, or more for a thinner sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste, no salt or sugar added
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 yellow onion, charred either over gas burner or in the broiler
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of cayenne, depending on taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of chipotle powder, depending on taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat
  • Stir until combined and just starting to steam
  • Carefully transfer ingredients to food processor or blender
  • Puree until desired consistency
  • Use immediately, or store covered in fridge for up to 2 weeks

For other flavorful sauces, be sure to check out my Dairy free Garlic Herb RanchSpicy Garlic SalsaClassic Garlic Hummus, and Lemon Garlic Aioli. For creative ideas on how to use this BBQ sauce, check out my Barbecue Meatloaf, or possibly with leftovers from my Roasted Chicken with Carrots. And, of course, all BBQs need a delicious side of Mustard Potato Salad. Yum!

I hope this BBQ sauce inspires you to cut out added sugars and to truly enjoy healthy foods! Cover everything in sauce…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

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Lemon Garlic Aioli


Before Whole30 I had never made my own mayonnaise or aioli, but after trying it, I will never go back! My husband is a mayo hater, and even he loves this aioli because it doesn’t taste “mayonnaise-y”, and it is a wonderful sauce to have on hand. You can eat it with burgers or roasted meats, dip your veggies in it, or use it as the base for dressings (such as my Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch),and it’s great for mixing into chicken or potato salad! On top of being tangy and delicious, it is incredibly versatile!

You have a few options for oil, but you don’t want to use a bold olive oil as it will negatively affect the taste. I’ve tried a few different types of oil, but my favorite so far is grapeseed, as it is a light oil without a strong taste. Other good options are avocado oil, light olive oil, or even canola oil; you could also do a combination.

You will feel so fancy and accomplished for making your own aioli, and I hope it will soon become a staple in your fridge!

Lemon Garlic Aioli

Makes one cup.


  • One egg
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One large garlic clove
  • One tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • One cup of grapeseed, light olive, avocado oil, or a combination


  • Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor or blender, blend until combined
  • Add a quarter cup of oil in at a time, blending well (on medium-low or low speed) after each addition.
  • After all the oil is added, it should be a thick consistency, like mayonnaise. If it is still too runny, add more oil a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week

I hope making this helps you feel like a whiz in the kitchen! Spread it on your sandwich or make some ranch…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

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