5 New Ways to Use BBQ Sauce (Plus a DIY Healthy BBQ Sauce Recipe)

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

If you think the only way to use barbecue sauce is on chicken and ribs, you need to expand your barbecue sauce repertoire without hesitation. There’s so much more you can do with this sweet and tangy condiment.

Check out LIVESTRONG.COM’s Berry-Sweetened Barbecue Sauce recipe (below), which gets its touch of sweetness from strawberries and unsweetened ketchup and its tanginess from apple cider vinegar. We’ve also included five creative and healthy ways to use this low-sugar barbecue sauce in your kitchen — from seasoning roasted chickpeas to flavoring homemade ranch dressing.

Recipe for LIVESTRONG.COM’s Berry-Sweetened Barbecue Sauce

Each serving of this barbecue sauce contains 16 calories, zero grams of fat, four grams of carbohydrates and three grams of sugar.

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 9

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons


  • 2/3 cup of Sir Kensington’s Ketchup (any fruit-sweetened or unsweetened ketchup will do)
  • 1/3 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper


Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Cover and puree. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the flavors are well combined, about five minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, add a pinch of salt to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a jar for up to one week.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

5 Creative Uses for Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue Chicken Avocado Toast: Lightly brush whole-grain sourdough bread slices with olive oil, then grill. Lightly brush boneless, skinless chicken thighs with olive oil, add seasonings and grill, slathering with barbecue sauce as desired. Top grilled toasts with smashed avocado, a pinch of salt and a squirt of lime juice. Top with slices of barbecue chicken and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Barbecue Carrot Vegan Hot Dogs: Sculpt large carrots into seven-inch-long, three-quarter-inch diameter hot dogs using a vegetable peeler. Brush with a mixture of olive oil and barbecue sauce and roast in a 350°F oven for about one hour, rotating and brushing with additional sauce halfway through roasting. Serve in buns with toppings of choice, such as coleslaw and fresh cilantro.

Barbecue Roasted Chickpea Snack: Drain a 15-ounce can of chickpeas and pat dry. Toss with a mixture of two tablespoons each of olive oil and barbecue sauce. Arrange on an unbleached parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast in a 425°F oven until chickpeas are browned and slightly crisp on the outside, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Pulled Portobello Sandwiches: Saute thinly sliced portobello mushroom caps in a little avocado or grapeseed oil until fully wilted. Toss with barbecue sauce to taste. Serve in whole-grain rolls or buns along with your favorite coleslaw.

Barbecue Vegetarian Tex-Mex Salad: Whisk together an all-natural ranch dressing and add to it your desired amount of barbecue sauce. Add torn romaine lettuce leaves to a salad bowl. Sprinkle with corn, black beans and broken blue corn tortilla chips. Drizzle with barbecue ranch dressing. Sprinkle with shredded Gouda cheese, if desired.