Dressings, Sauces + Dips

Nutritarian BBQ sauce no oil no sugar no salt Dr Fuhrman Plan 6 week eat to live program PBS specialSauces just make life yummier!  But when you’re on a no-salt, no-sugar, no-oil nutritarian diet it is completely daunting to find any sauces that will “work” at your local grocery store.

Enter this easy nutritarian BBQ sauce recipe that you can make with your high-speed blender and a little bit of time on the stove!

So, what’s the problem with store-bought BBQ sauce?

Well, sugar, salt, and more sugar.

That’s right, BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar–you know, the straight-up white, processed sugar (that is going to kill you early and Dr. Fuhrman recommends you avoid at all costs)!

My favorite Trader Joe’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City BBQ sauce has “sugar” listed as it’s second ingredient, followed by molasses.

According to Wikipedia, molasses is a by-product of the refining of sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar.  That’s even more, you guessed it, sugar.

So, yeah… there’s a whole lotta sugar going on in store-bought BBQ sauce–just grab yours right now and check it out!

There’s also salt.

Just 2 tablespoons of my old favorite BBQ sauce has 420 mg of sodium–that’s almost half of Dr. Fuhrman’s 1,000 mg recommended intake.

Okay, so now you definitely know that you need to stay away from store-bought BBQ sauce…

Are you ready to make all your nutritarian BBQ sauce dreams come true?

Sugar free SOS diet Nutritarian BBQ Sauce recipe Dr fuhrman Eat to Live Program no salt no oil no sugar added vegan gluten free recipe 6 week eat to live planAfter struggling through my first 6 weeks on Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live nutritarian plan, I’ve learned that making your own sauces, dips and condiments makes a huge psychological difference and sets you up to be a veggie-eating machine!

You’re going to eat more of the good stuff if you take a little bit of time to make your own sauces.

This BBQ sauce is prefect to slather over tofu or cauliflower and bake in the oven, grilled veggie kabobs for those summer cookouts to come or drizzled over your favorite beans for some extra flavor!

So, how do you get that sweet BBQ sauce flavor without using sugar or molasses?

Two things: jelly & dates.

I used Trader Joe’s organic Superfruits Spread:

The flavor of this jelly is insane!  Cherries, grape, blueberries and pomegranate make for a bold, deep taste.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s around just look for a fruit-juice-sweetened jelly.  That just means no “sugar” listed in the ingredients.

Your jelly along with some super-quick-to-whip-up date puree is going to give you that sweet flavor you’re accustomed to in your BBQ sauce!

Nutritarian plan Dr Fuhrman 6 week eat to live program recipes PBS specialSo, I get it, people like different kinds of BBQ sauce.

I’m going to do my best to explain how this BBQ tastes and which ingredients are supplying which flavors–you know, should you feel the need to modify!

The flavor of this nutritarian BBQ sauce is:

  • bold
  • bright
  • slightly sweet
  • smoky
  • slightly spicy

The base of the sauce is tomato puree–I used the organic canned variety.

Date puree is added to supply some sweetness.  Then the fruit-sweetened jelly is added for more sweetness, color and texture.

Apple cider and Dijon mustard brighten up the sauce and balance out the tomato flavor.

Finally, spices deliver that smokiness and traditional BBQ flavor you’re looking for.

Feel free to adjust the flavors as you see fit! I like to add extra apple cider vinegar for brightness and extra paprika for heat!

Nutritarian BBQ sauce recipe pic
4.84 from 6 votes

Nutritarian BBQ Sauce

A no-processed-sugar, oil-free BBQ sauce that is perfect for following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 1/2 cups
Calories 78.2 kcal
Author Kristen Hong


  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup date puree (see detials below)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp fruit juice-sweetened jelly (no sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the date puree:

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups water


  1. Make the date puree first by combining dates and water is high-speed blender and puree until smooth.  Reserve 1/2 cup for BBQ sauce and store the rest in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. 

  2. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot using a whisk.

  3. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Store your BBQ for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Recipe Notes

Use on tofu or veggies and bake in the oven. Pour over your favorite beans for extra flavor.

Nutrition Facts
Nutritarian BBQ Sauce
Serving Size
0.5 cup
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please leave a comment if you give this BBQ recipe a try, I love getting your feedback!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • Kathleen says:

    Tomato purée is that tomato sauce or tomato paste or something completely different? I was just thinking about trying to make bar b q baked beans! I love all your recipe ideas.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kathleen!

      So, yes tomato puree is it’s own “thing.” I saw it listed in my favorite Trader Joe’s brand BBQ sauce, so I thought I would start there!

      I think you could absolutely substitute tomato paste mixed with some water! I’m not sure about tomato sauce’s texture, puree seems a bit thicker.

      Hope you give it a try!

      xo, Kristen

  • Mary says:

    Just found your website. Interesting information. I am sure that I would like this recipe but to me, you have replaced “sugar” with other sugars in the dates and the jelly. I have been off sugar for 5 months and any time there is a sweetener of any kind in a food, I can taste it and usually won’t finish it. It’s amazing how little time it takes to change your taste buds. Still working on salt, though! This sauce would work for those who are looking to replace refined sugar with a more “natural” sugar. Thanks for your blog.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Mary!

      So glad you found the site!

      Wow, that is very impressive that you have no sugar of any kind!! I have followed Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian guidelines for the last 3+ years and he advocates fruit consumption because of the many phytochemicals found in fruit, especially berries!

      As far as dates are concerned you might want to take a look at this video that covers a 2009 Israeli study on date consumption. Here’s the transcript:

      “Dates are whole foods, but, by weight, are 80% pure sugar. Just to put that in perspective, Froot Loops are only 40% sugar. Half the sugar content of dates—and has fruit-shaped marshmallows—so it’s got to be healthy. Straight frosting? Only 60% sugar. Jelly beans? Only 70% sugar. Dates: 80%.

      Yes, dates have fiber; they have phytonutrients. But the concern about consuming high-sugar foods is that they can raise our blood sugar, raise our triglycerides, oxidatively stress our bodies, and make us fat. So, last year, Israeli scientists took a bunch of people, stuffed them full of dates for a month, and measured what happened.

      Are dates bad for us? Do the sugar and fiber kind of cancel each other out? Or are dates good for us?

      Dates are fantastic. No adverse effects on blood sugar or weight, and beneficial improvements in triglycerides and antioxidant stress levels. Check out the title of this review: “Possible…best food…?” Concluding that “dates may be considered as an almost ideal food.”

  • Victoria Soledad says:

    Hi Kristen, I just made a small batch of your BBQ sauce and it tastes better than store bought, hands down. I did not have the fruit spread and I improvised with some of the ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge. In place of the fruit spread, I used frozen blueberries. My sauce is more of a deep purple, but it tastes amazing. I can’t wait to try your actual recipe though. So glad you shared this, along with your entire website. You have helped me more than you’ll ever know in my ETL journey. Thanks Kristen!

    • Kristen | Hello Nutritarian says:

      Hi Victoria!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review and comment!

      I love how you improvised with blueberries–I’m sure it was delicious!

      It means me so much to hear that you’re finding the site helpful in your nutritarian journey!

      xo, Kristen

  • Errin says:

    Hi Kristen, thank you for creating this blog. I’m finding so many tasty whole food recipes with complicated flavors that go beyond Dr. Fuhrman’s very basic recipes in Eat to Live. I made this barbecue sauce, and I saw the comment about adding frozen blueberries, so I did that, too since I didn’t have jam. In addition to the blueberries I blended in some prunes as well. I used smoked paprika because for me it’s not bbq if it’s not smoky! The sauce turned out very piquant, but the smoke still wasn’t deep enough so I added 1/4 teaspoon Wright’s Hickory Liquid Smoke. That made it just right, and it took care of my Smoky Barbecue craving! I’m going to eat some for supper with tofu and broccoli, maybe a bit of baked potato. I gave the as-is recipe 4 stars because of the lack of smoke but with the added smoke I would give it 5! Cheers!

    • Kristen | Hello Nutritarian says:

      So wonderful to meet you Errin!

      Oh I love what you added to the recipe–I totally agree that liquid smoke would totally round it out (I need to experiment with that for sure!).

      I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to leave a recipe review and such a thoughtful and helpful comment!!

      xo, Kristen

  • Kate says:

    Tried this recipe tonight and WOW is it good! I followed the directions except I used smoked paprika instead of plain. I can foresee this becoming a staple at our house 🙂

    • Kristen | Hello Nutritarian says:

      Hi Kate!

      Thank you so, so much for taking the time to review the BBQ sauce!!

      YAY!! I love hearing that you enjoyed it and I love that you used smoked paprika too!!

      xo, Kristen

  • Vickey says:

    Hi, Kristen. I tried signing up for email updates & the 7 day cleanse ebook, but it wouldn’t take my email address (which has more parts after the @ than most, but I’ve never had this problem before.) Can you please sign me up from your side? Thanks!

    P.S. I’m going to give the dried plums and berries-in-lieu-of-jam version a try.

  • Michelle L. Vadeboncoeur says:

    Wow! I can’t believe how authentic this sauce taists! Amazing job combining the right ingredients to make such a sweet, tangy, smokiness delight! I had to make a batch of super fruit jam myself since I had all the ingredients except that one . I puréed some dried blueberries, cherries and prunes and it seemed to do the trick. I also used a mix of Spanish and smoked paprika to get a smoky but not too smoky finish. It made the tofu chicken fingers a big hit with my 16 yr old daughter .
    Thank you 😊

  • Chava says:

    I love this sauce! Not only that, but it introduced me to date puree, which I didn’t know about. Another amazing addition to my new lifestyle.
    I made the sauce for some mushroom and oats burgers, which I didn’t love. But, with this sauce, they are much better.

    Thank you so much!

    • Kristen | Hello Nutritarian says:

      SO, so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe, Chava!

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment and recipe review! And I agree, date paste is a life-changing discovery!

      xo, Kristen

  • Becky says:

    I was thinking if you didn’t want or need extra date pure would you be able to just add 1/2 cup medjool dates pitted and 1/2 cup water to the blender along with all the other ingredients?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Becky! I didn’t try it out that way but in theory it should be okay! If you give that method a try I’d love to know how it turned out!

  • Nikki Wyatt says:

    Hi Kristen! Thanks for the lovely sauce recipe. I did make a couple of minor changes to account for what I had on hand (I used half an apple for the jelly, smoked paprika, and a smidge more dijon & garlic). Since I added chunks of fruit, I blended everything in the Vitamix first and then transferred it to a pot for the stove. I will say two things: First, just a gentle reminder to keep whisking it while it is over the heat. I knew to do this, but stepped away for just a moment to get something for my kiddo and came back to popping splatters of sauce that didn’t feel too great landing on my skin, not to mention the mess on the stove! Secondly, I’m thinking this would really shine with some pepper in it. Perhaps a mild chili or a seeded jalapeno? Have you tried kicking it up a notch or two?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Nikki! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing tips for making this recipe with items you have on hand–very much appreciated and I know wo many people will find this info helpful!

      I have not tried adding any chili yet but I think that’s a wonderful idea–please come back and let us know if you do!