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Nightshade Free Tamarind BBQ Sauce

Marinara and a good barbecue sauce. I miss those guys. I omitted nightshades from my diet a little over a year ago. It wasn’t a decision that came lightly.  Some of my favorite vegetables are nightshades! I was the queen of roasted eggplant, big heirloom tomato BLT’s and sweet pepper stir -fry.  So why did I give up my beloved vegetables? Well, they are trigger foods for me. When I read about the autoimmune protocol I immediately knew those would have to go. Even before I knew about leaky gut, before I know my Hidradenitis Suppurativa was an autoimmune disease and what those are… I had a feeling my flares correlated to eating these foods. Especially eggplant.

Obviously marinara is a no go, but so are ALL restaurant and grocery store options for barbecue sauce. They all contain tomato and/or some form of pepper (cayenne, paprika, chile powder). Faux-mato sauces are not so hard to make, I’ve been quite satisfied with a blend of orange and red veggies,herbs and wine or vinegar that lend themselves to pizza and zoodles.

A good, fingerlicking, thick, sweet, tangy sauce for my grilled meats… not so easy. Recently I discovered the wonder that is tamarind. I actually prefer the plan tamarind paste to most faux-mato sauces. After using it in a few different ways, I finally gave it a shot… I made a tamarind BBQ sauce. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s not autoimmune protocol compliant because it contains seed based spices, which I CAN eat. It’s good. Real good. I hope you enjoy!

Yields 16 ounces

Nightshade Free Tamarind BBQ Sauce

45 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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  • 1 1/2 cup tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Tin Star Foods brown butter ghee
  • 1 onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp carob powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • optional: 2 drops liquid smoke


  • First make tamarind paste by peeling then simmering tamarind pods in water until tender & broken down.
  • Remove the hard outer shell, and place the sticky pods in a large pot.
  • Add water until the pods are just submerged, and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to a simmer, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes until it's nice and tender and the sticky paste has let go of the seeds.
  • Strain thoroughly through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Scooping a large spoonful at a time and pressing down to release the paste. A lot of it will gather at the bottom of the mesh sieve, use a spatula to grab it and put it on the bowl.
  • 1lb of tamarind makes almost 2 cups paste.
  • Peel & slice onion and garlic.
  • Sautée on low with ghee & bay leaves until tender & caramelized, about 8 minutes.
  • Let onions cool.
  • Then add all the ingredients to a blender & purée until smooth.
  • Makes 16 ounces. Store in the fridge.


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4 Thoughts to “Nightshade Free Tamarind BBQ Sauce”

  1. JA
    I once heard someone on Chopped say "This sauce is so good - I just want to pour it on a loved one and lick it off!" and nothing is a more fitting description of this sauce. I have been tomato free for a few years and this has brought quality bbq sauce back into my life! Thank you!
    1. You made my day! Thank you. Happy Holidays!!!
  2. Angela
    I dont understand how this is an AIP approved recipe. It includes fennel, coriander and mustard which all come from seeds.
    1. It'a not AIP, it is Nightshade Free. I don't state it is AIP in the post. I did however TAG it under AIP since a lot folks who are in their re-introduction phase can enjoy it. The autoimmune protocol isn't only about the elimination phase, and many of us beef recipes along the tricky re-introduction phase as well :)

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