Oil-free Vegan Barbecue Pesto

Oil-free Vegan Barbecue Pesto

Say whattttttt?! Barbeque pesto?? YES. Forget traditional basil pesto, I have created a new kind of pesto.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love classic pesto, but I love barbeque sauce and the idea of creating a pesto/sauce out of homemade barbeque sauce sounded really good to me. Guess what...it is delicious and I'm sharing with you today a few different ways to use it. It is so versatile!

A little sweet, a little spicy, a little tang and totally delicious. BBQ sauce is one of my very favorite things in the whole universe. It just tastes good on anything.

Serve it as a dip for potato fries or even veggies. Spread it on toast and add some chopped avocado.

Or, my husband's favorite....as a pizza sauce! It is soooo good!!!

Go make this Oil-Free Vegan Barbecue Pesto and come back and leave me feedback on here. Each time you guys make a recipe of mine and leave me feedback, it makes my day!! Also, tag me on Instagram @thevegan8 and also hashtag #thevegan8, so I don’t miss any notifications. Love seeing your photos.

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BBQ Pesto

Homemade barbeque is not only easy and healthier than storebought, but it is incredibly fresh and delicious! I have repurposed barbeque sauce by creating a barbeque pesto that is incredibly versatile and can be used on almost anything your heart desires!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword oil-free pesto, vegan barbecue pesto, barbecue dip
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Author Brandi Doming


  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons dark balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1 cup (160g) pinenuts


  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the pinenuts, to a bowl and whisk really well until completely incorporated. Whisk for a minute or two, as it will thicken as you do this. Set aside.
  2. Add the pinenuts to a food processor and pulse them to break them up into a coarse meal. Add the prepared barbecue sauce and blend until smooth. If you want it thinner, add a tiny bit more water. Serve any way you like.
  3. To serve it in poblano peppers, I simply sliced poblano peppers, sprinkled on salt & pepper and roasted them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, just to soften them some, but not totally char them.
  4. For the potatoes, I cut several red potatoes into wedges, added salt & pepper and roasted them at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they were very golden brown. No oil needed!
  5. You could also use it as a pizza sauce, spread it on toast, or thin it out with a little water and use it as a dressing!

Recipe Notes

*Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free




  1. What a clever one - bbq & pesto! I must try this on a pizza - my copain loooooves bbq sauce on everything so he might like that one more! I <3 your pizza paddle!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks so much Rika! The buttery pinenuts blend so brilliantly with the barbecue sauce because of their natural oil content....it tastes SO good!!
  2. This looks lovely! Do you think it would work O.K. with cashews? I can't afford pine nuts.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Aimee! I haven't tried it with cashews, so I'm not sure of the flavor it would leave, but I'm assuming it would technically work. You definitely would need to soak the cashews first before blending, since the pinenuts are very easily blended up. The pinenuts leave a buttery/oil flavor to the pesto, which works well, so the flavor will change some with cashews and you may need to add a tad more water, but if you try it, let me know how it turns out! I would soak the cashews for at least a couple of hours in warm water, drain and then proceed.
    • I tried this recipe with cashews (soaked) and it came out delicious. Pinons are very expensive here right now too so when they are in season, I will try them. I tried both the roasted peppers and potato fries suggestions and also as a sandwhich spread. Amazing!!!!
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Vivienne, that is so wonderful to hear it worked out so well with cashews too!! I'm so glad to hear that and thank you so much for leaving me feedback, I really appreciate it!
  3. Love the idea of a bbq pesto, I am such a fan of bbq sauce, love that this has structure and texture. YUM!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Me too Suzanne! I basically put bbq sauce on everything!! Thank you!
  4. What a great twist on pesto, this looks delicious :DCheers Choc Chip Uru
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks friend! xo
  5. This looks ridiculously delicious - I love using tomato paste in everything, so nom! I can also sympathize with eating stuff before taking photos, because sometimes it's hard to resist. Only after the feasting frenzy do I want to kick myself in the butt because I have to make something again for snaps :p
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks so much Margaux! I agree...tomato paste is pretty fabulous..it is a great thickener without having to use gums or starches in sauces. I also use it in my cheez whiz recipe and it gives body and depth of flavor. :)
  6. Yowza! This looks Soooooo good! Loving it in those peppers!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Annie! I couldnt' decided which was tastier...on pizza or in the poblano peppers?! Good thing, I got to eat them both, haha!
  7. I love BBQ sauce AND pesto, so this looks amazing! I'm sure it would be so yummy as a pizza sauce. I always like changing up pizza a bit!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yes, it's pretty much awesome on everything, thanks Melanie!
  8. OH SWOON! This looks so good, I haven't had a good BBQ sauce meal in TOO long.
  9. Brilliant! i too love BBQ sauce and pesto so why not combine the two. Those images look amazing. This is a definite "must make".
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Cindy!
  10. Wow!!! This BBQ pesto sounds so nice, tasty and flavorsome! Do you think that I can make it raw vegan? I know molasses and tomato paste make the difference though. I started a raw vegan diet and I feel so good!!! It is unbelievable how your body doesn't need any "animal stuff". Hugs and love xoxo
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Ema! Thank you so much! I don't really think this can be made completely raw, as the molasses and tomato paste are key ingredients. Sorry! Oh, that is awesome to hear about the raw thing....I completely agree too, that is one of the reasons I am vegan, I am sooo much healthier and look and feel better and so is my family! Animal products caused a lot of health problems in my family, which is what started this whole journey, blog, etc. to begin with. I love raw food, but I love cooked food too, so I love to enjoy both! :) xoxo
  11. Delish!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! So happy to hear that! Thank you!
  12. BBQ + PESTO <-- my TWO fave sauces in one!! Pine nuts are my FAVORITE!! I love the rich taste they give to sauces!! This would honestly ROCK my world on pizza, girl!! Can't wait to try!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Ceara! This is one of my favorite sauces ever and it is so versatile! I hope you give it a try!
  13. Omg! I'm typing this as I eat lol!! I'm in love with this dressing and the enchilada fries nom nom!!! Will repeat these again!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay, I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for the feedback!
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