Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce

Everybody should have an easy BBQ sauce recipe that they can use whenever the mood strikes! This super simple Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce contains no refined sugars, is paleo friendly and takes under 20 minutes to put together!

Paleo BBQ sauce in a jarBBQ Sauce Recipe

Homemade BBQ Sauce is surprisingly easy to make once you have the right formula! We love our Sweet & Smoky BBQ sauce because it’s so simple to make and is a great sauce for so many dishes! For this recipe all you need to do is add all of your ingredients to a pot and simmer away!

Usually barbecue sauces you buy at the store are laden with hard-to-pronounce ingredients and so much sugar. While our recipe has sugar because we like it sweet, we opt for a cleaner alternative and use refined-sugar-free coconut sugar. We also skip the addition of ketchup and use a mix of tomato paste and tomato sauce to get the Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce just right.

barbecue baked chicken

Paleo Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

What I love most about this recipe is how much control you have over the ingredients for this homemade BBQ sauce. While I’ve got nothing against ketchup, unless you are buying a really high-quality brand there can be some suspect ingredients in it. So we ditched the traditional ketchup and instead use tomato sauce and tomato paste! We’re using coconut sugar here as well, to keep this refined-sugar-free, but if you didn’t have that on hand you could swap it with maple syrup or even organic brown sugar.

  • Tomato Sauce (buy organic, if you can!)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Molasses
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Mustard
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Homemade barbecue Sauce being brushed on ribs

This Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce would be perfect on:

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Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15 oz. can Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce
  2. 1 6 oz. can Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste
  3. 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  5. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce* (can omit if you can't find a nice clean one in your grocery store)
  6. 1 tbsp molasses or raw honey (use molasses for extra dark coloring)
  7. 1 tsp ground mustard
  8. 1 tsp smoked paprika**
  9. 1 tsp paprika
  10. 1/2 tsp hot sauce (use 1 tsp if you like more of a kick)
  11. 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  12. 1 tsp onion powder
  13. 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  14. 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  15. Optional: 1 tsp cayenne
Instructions
  1. 1. Place all ingredients into a large pot (it will splatter slightly, so avoid using a small pot), and mix well to combine
  2. 2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes
  3. 3. Taste and adjust spices to your liking
Notes
  1. *Worcestershire sauce often contains soy, wheat, and sugar, if you can't find a clean brand in your store, omit and add an additional 1/2 tbsp of molasses
  2. **Smoked paprika gives this BBQ sauce it's nice smoky flavor!
  3. Yields roughly two cups!
Lexi's Clean Kitchen https://lexiscleankitchen.com/

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Beef Barbacoa Recipe (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

This Beef Barbacoa Recipe, made in either the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot, is so flavorful and versatile. This barbacoa meat is perfect for tacos, meal prep bowls, served with rice or cauliflower rice.

Barbacoa meat on a taco with toppingsBeef Barbacoa Recipe

My go-to dinner when I’m serving a crowd is almost always tacos. And this Beef Barbacoa recipe is easiest way to get delicious, hearty, taco meat on the table. It’s easy to throw together, affordable, and everybody loves it. You can make it in either the slow cooker or Instant Pot. This barbacao meat also works great for meal prep for a variety of meals. Serve over a bed of lettuce for a taco salad, or over rice with some veggies for a taco bowl.

Braised beef barbacoa recipeHow to Make Instant Pot Barbacoa:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the spices and then rub them all over beef.
  2. Sear the meat on all sides.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients to make the sauce and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes with a natural release.
  4. Once done, shred with two forks and serve as desired.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa:

  1. Pre-heat broiler.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the spices and then rub them all over beef.
  3. Sear the meat on all sides under the broiler.
  4. Meanwhile, add diced tomato, chiles, onion, garlic, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a large slow cooker. Add in the seared beef and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  5. Once done, shred and use as desired.

How to Make Barbacoa Meat on the Stove Top or Oven:

Don’t have an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker? You can still make this barbacao recipe, using the same idea of cooking this low and slow. On the stove top, use a dutch oven and follow the same directions to sear the meat on all sides. Then, add all your ingredients, cover and cook on low on the stove until the meat is tender and falling apart, about 3-4 hours.

For the oven, sear the meat in a dutch oven. Once you’ve added all the ingredients, place in a preheated 300ºF for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.

shredded beef barbacoa meat with a fork

What Kind of Meat is Barbacoa?

This recipe calls for buying beef to make the barbacoa meat. You want to use a piece of beef that has a nice amount of fat marbling and that can withstand a long cook time in the slow cooker and pressure cooker. For this this recipe use:

  • Chuck roast
  • Beef shoulder
  • Brisket

Barbacoa Taco Toppings:

  • Tortillas (not a topping, but a must!)
  • Shredded Cheddar
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Pickled Jalapeños
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Chopped Scallions
  • Avocado Slices
  • Fresh Lime Wedges
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Hot Sauce

Sides to Serve with Barbacoa Meat:

barbaca meat on a taco

If you like this beef barbacoa recipe, try these other recipes: 

Beef Barbacoa

Prep Time 8 min Cook Time 7 hr Total Time 7:08

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lb. grass-fed beef shoulder

Rub

Sauce

Directions

  1. Put broiler on high.
  2. In a bowl combine rub ingredients.
  3. Press rub ingredients into the beef shoulder on all sides.
  4. Broil on high for 4 minutes on each side.
  5. While in the oven, combine all sauce ingredients in your slow-cooker.
  6. Once beef is done in the oven, carefully place it into the slow-cooker and set on low for 7-8 hours.
  7. Once done, assemble as a salad or breakfast bowl with desired toppings: fried plantains, tomato, lettuce, onion, scallion, avocado, etc. or serve as tacos

Recipe Notes

How to make Beef Barbacoa in the Instant Pot:

  1. In a bowl combine rub ingredients. Press the dry rub ingredients into the beef shoulder on all sides.
  2. Sear meat using sauté function for 2 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients in the insert of your instant pot.
  4. Place beef into the insert of your Instant Pot and set on high pressure for 50 minutes.
  5. Once done, let naturally release. Shred with two forks.
  6. Assemble as a salad or breakfast bowl with desired toppings: fried plantains, tomato, lettuce, onion, scallion, avocado, etc. or serve as tacos!
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup is the perfect cold weather meal! Loaded with all of your favorite stuffed pepper flavors, but without the hassle of having to actually stuff peppers. It’s easily cooked in either the crock pot or the Instant Pot and this hearty soup is also gluten-free and optionally dairy-free.


Stuffed Pepper Soup

Are you guys ready for soup season yet? I am just about ready. And today we’re bringing an oldie but a goodie out from the archives. This Stuffed Pepper Soup has been a favorite at LCK for a while. It’s hearty, flavorful and dead-simple to make. We’ve updated the photos and have now added instructions so that you can make it either in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot. This soup has all that stuffed pepper flavor we love, but doesn’t require a lot of the steps needed to actually make stuffed peppers. It’s gluten-free and optionally Paleo and Whole30 friendly, if you omit the rice and cheese.

Stuffed Pepper Soup Ingredients

  • Ground Beef
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Beef or Chicken Stock
  • Bell Peppers
  • Uncooked Rice (omit for Paleo or Whole30)
  • Onion
  • Coconut Palm Sugar (omit for Whole30)
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper

To make this Whole30 and Paleo friendly omit the white rice. You can substitute in cauliflower rice to cook at the end until heated through.

How to Make Stuffed Pepper Soup

There are a few different ways you can cook this soup! I love the choice of being able to use either the crock pot or Instant Pot when making soup depending on what my day looks like, so we’re including instructions for both. Additionally, this soup is easily made on the stove as well.

To Make Crock Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup:

To make this in the slow cooker, all you need to do is brown the meat and then add the remaining ingredients and cook on high for 4-6 hours. When I originally published this recipe I listed in the instructions to add in cooked rice at the end. Adding fully cooked rice right at the end prevents too much liquid from being absorbed by the rice during cooking. However, we’ve updated the recipe to use a small amount of raw rice instead. The reason for this is because using raw rice enables this to be a truly set-it-and-forget-it meal that doesn’t need any preparation such as making rice beforehand. The rice does lose its shape a bit, but we actually found we liked how it thickened the soup, just like a stuffed pepper would. However, if you do happen to have leftover rice and wish to add that in at the end of cooking just to heat through, feel free to do that instead. Additionally, the longer this soup sits, the more liquid the rice absorbs, the same as it would any soup with added rice.

To Make Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup: 

To make this in the Instant Pot, you brown the meat, add the remaining ingredients and then cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes with a natural pressure release for 5 minutes. It’s truly a super simple quick way to get dinner on the table!

To Make Stove Top Stuffed Pepper Soup:

Don’t have a slow cooker or Instant Pot and still want to make this soup? No problem! To cook on the stove:

  1. Heat a large pot and add a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook through until no longer pink. Drain off all excess fat except 1 teaspoon.
  3. Add in the peppers and onions and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook until the vegetables and the rice are tender, about 20 minutes. Add any additional broth as needed to thin out the soup.
  5. Serve immediately with garnish of choice.

If you like this soup recipe, check out these others:

If you like this stuffed pepper recipe, check out these others:

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:15 Inactive Time 00:10 Total Time 00:30 Serves 4-6

Ingredients

To Garnish

Directions

To Make in the Crock Pot:

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot cook the beef until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon of oil.
  2. To a slow cooker add browned beef and all remaining ingredients except the rice. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the rice over the top of the mixture and close the lid.
  3. Let cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  4. Once the rice is cooked through, season to taste and serve, garnish with optional scallions and cheddar cheese and serve.

To Cook in the Instant Pot:

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute function. Heat oil and add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon of excess oil.
  2. Add onions and peppers and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Shut off the saute function.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and stir well.
  4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing.
  5. Cook on manual high pressure for 10 minutes, with a 5 minute natural release. Release any remaining pressure. 
  6. Garnish as desired, and serve immediately.

To Cook on the Stove top:

  1. Heat a large pot and add a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook through until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon of oil.
  3. Add in the peppers and onions and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook until the vegetables and the rice are tender, about 25 minutes. Add any additional broth as needed to thin out the soup.
  5. Serve immediately with garnish of choice.

Recipe Notes

  1. We are instructing to use uncooked rice here for the ease of making this without needing leftover rice. If you DO have leftover rice you wish to use up, feel free to make this soup as stated and add in the leftover rice at the end of the cooking time until it is warmed through.
  2. To make this Whole30 and Paleo friendly omit the white rice. You can substitute in cauliflower rice to cook at the end until heated through. Also for Whole30 omit the coconut sugar.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Herb Butter Salmon with Blistered Tomatoes and Green Beans

This easy sheet pan dinner is packed with flavors straight from the farm! Use up that fresh basil, parsley, cherry tomatoes, and green beans in this Herb Butter Salmon with Blistered Tomatoes and Green Beans dish! It comes together in under 20 minutes and will be a hit with the entire family! 

herb butter salmon with tomatoes on a plateSheet Pan Herb Butter Salmon Recipe

This Sheet Pan Herb Butter Salmon recipe is is the ultimate summer meal! It utilizes fresh veggies like cherry tomatoes and green beans and cooks quickly under the broiler. The herb butter makes the salmon really special and gives this dish a bright finish. This sheet pan fish dish is a light and quick weeknight dinner you can get on the dinner from start to finish in roughly 30 minutes with minimal clean up! It’s gluten-free, low-carb and paleo friendly.

Sheet pan dinners are the best because they minimize clean up by utilizing one cooking vessel and they make cooking hands-off. This sheet pan dinner is low carb for a nice light meal that is still going to leave you satisfied. It is packed with flavor and loaded with fresh, in-season vegetables. 

herb compound butter in a bowlHow to Make Herb Butter

An herb butter is a compound butter! A Compound butter is simply a mixture of softened butter and flavorful components like herbs and spices. For this salmon recipe we combine butter with a bunch of fresh herbs. We love using grass-fed butter like Kerrygold or Vital Farms, but really any butter you use will have an improved taste with the addition of herbs!

To make herb butter simply combine softened butter with the prepared herbs. You can make it up to 2 days ahead, if kept in the refrigerator.

Tips for Sheet Pan Cooking:

  • Read the recipe all the way through (of course) and plan to use a timer! Most recipes require different cooking times, so make sure to use a timer so you can truly walk away from the oven and not have to worry about when your adding anything in to the oven.
  • Do the prep ahead of time to make for a quick meal: Clean the vegetables and make the herb butter the night before or that morning if you are looking to speed up the process when it comes time for the actual cooking.
  • Use parchment paper to make clean up a breeze.
  • Use the correct size sheet pan. When we say sheet pan we are referring to the rimmed half sheet pan which is 18″ by 13″. The size of the sheet pan matters because you do not want to overcrowd the pan when cooking, so if you are using a smaller sheet pan you may need to use 2 to achieve the same result.

herb butter salmon with tomatoes

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If you like this sheet pan recipe, check out these others:

Herb Butter Salmon with Charred Tomatoes and Green Beans
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  2. 4 cups string beans
  3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted grass-fed butter
  4. Pinch sea salt
  5. Pinch cracked black pepper
  6. 1 pound wild-caught salmon
For the Herb Butter
  1. 1/4 cup grass-fed butter
  2. 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
  3. 1/4 cup packed fresh basil
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. Pinch fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to broil high.
  2. In a bowl toss tomatoes and string beans with oil or butter. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes.
  4. While broiling, combine butter ingredients in a blender and blend until combined.
  5. Brush onto salmon and add the salmon to the baking sheet.
  6. Broil for 7 to 9 minutes (longer for thicker salmon), until veggies are blistered and salmon is cooked through. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired.
Lexi's Clean Kitchen https://lexiscleankitchen.com/

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Tomato Vinaigrette

This Grilled Chicken and Vegetables recipe with Tomato Vinaigrette is loaded with perfectly grilled chicken, tons of grilled veggies (whatever vegetables you wish, really), and a delicious tomato-based vinaigrette dressing. It’s the perfect way to throw together dinner without turning the oven on!

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled veggies, perfectly grilled chicken, and my favorite dressing… Dinner is SERVED! The summer is great for so many reasons but one of my favorites is because of the abundance of vegetables available right from the farm. This salad is the best example I know of a summer vegetable bounty. I love how the grilled chicken and veggies are tied together with this savory tomato vinaigrette. This meal is totally customizable based on what vegetables are available to you and is sure to be a new family favorite.

Tips for Grilling Chicken

  1. Marinate your meat! Any meat that has had a change to be infused with flavor will taste better and be juicier (thanks to the addition of salt).
  2. Prep your grill: Make sure your grill is preheated and that the grates are clean! You want to make sure the grill has come up to the proper temperature. Cleaning the grates will ensure your chicken doesn’t stick. Right before you cook you can rub a little oil on your grates as well!
  3. Cook over indirect heat: While you want your grill to be preheated you do not want to cook over direct flame. Cooking over indirect flame will ensure the chicken doesn’t burn before it is cooked through inside.
  4. Cover your grill! Covering your grill will make sure the grill stays hot and that your food cooks quicker.
  5. Use a thermometer! Sure there are plenty of other tricks to figure out if your chicken is properly cooked, but the most fool proof is to use an instant read thermometer. You want it to read 165º in the thickest part of the chicken.

Can I make it without a grill?

Yes! While we love the charred smoky taste of the grill, this dish would still be perfectly acceptable on a grill pan inside of even if you need to, in a regular skillet! Do what works for you, either way a nice marinated juicy piece of chicken will be delicious with all these veggies and tomato vinaigrette.

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If you like this chicken and veggie recipe, check out these others:

Grilled Veggie & Grilled Chicken Salads with Tomato Vinaigrette

Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 0:30 Serves 2

Ingredients

    For the chicken

    For the veggies

    For the Tomato Vinaigrette

    Directions

    • Toss chicken in extra virgin olive oil and spices, set aside
    • Cut veggies and toss in oil and salt, set aside
    • Spray the grill and heat to 350 400 degrees
    • Place the chicken breasts on one side
    • On the other side place a layer of greased tin foil and place the veggies on top
    • Cook for about 7-8 minutes then flip over
    • Cook veggies until desired softness, and cook chicken until fully cooked
    • Make the dressing by combining ingredients in your high-speed blender and blending until smooth
    • Taste and adjust spices as needed
    • Serve with veggies warm or hot over a bed of spinach!
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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    Roasted Eggplant Dip

    Roasted Eggplant Dip {Dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, vegan friendly} | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    This Roasted Eggplant Dip is such a delicious and healthy appetizer or snack for weekend entertaining! You will not believe how simple the dip is to prepare. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, Whole30 and Paleo friendly. Serve with some delicious homemade crackers and veggies and you’ve got an appetizer win!

    Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Dip with veggiesRoasted Eggplant Dip Recipe

    It’s mid-summer and I can guess you are looking for ways to use up all those veggies you are either harvesting or finding at your local farmer’s market or CSA, right? This Roasted Eggplant Dip recipe is the perfect way to do so! This veggie dip couldn’t be simpler to make: roast off a few veggies, puree and serve with homemade gluten-free crackers and raw veggies. This flavorful eggplant spread is the perfect healthy appetizer to serve guests for your next BBQ or party! Plus it’s dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!

    Eggplant Dip Ingredients:

    • Eggplant
    • Fresh Tomatoes
    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Lemon Juice

    Eggplant Spread with Homemade crackers on a platterIs Eggplant Healthy? 

    Eggplant is a low-calorie nutrient-dense food that is high in fiber and many other nutrients. You should feel good about eating this healthy dip!

    Can you Make This Ahead of Time?

    You can make the dip 1 day ahead of time. Let dip come to room temperature, or warm briefly in the toasted oven before serving.

    Roasted Eggplant Dip with Homemade Garlic, Herb, and Sea Salt Crackers | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    If you like this eggplant recipe, check out these others:

    If you like this healthy appetizer, check out these others:

    Homemade Garlic, Herb, and Sea Salt Crackers

    Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 1 hour Total Time 1:10

    Ingredients

      Roasted Eggplant Dip

      Homemade Crackers

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
      2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
      3. Place cut veggies and whole garlic cloves on baking sheet and drizzle with sea salt, pepper, and oil; roast for 40 minutes. Let cool.
      4. Transfer vegetables into food processor and add lemon juice.
      5. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
      6. While dip is cooling, make crackers.
      7. Bring the oven down to 300 °F.
      8. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well
      9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or your slipmat
      10. Place ball of dough in the center and cover with another piece of parchment paper
      11. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until 1/8 inch thick. The thinner the crispier they will be!
      12. Using a pizza cutter, cut squares to desired size.
      13. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
      14. Place dip in desired serving bowl and serve with crackers, carrots, and any other veggies of choice!

      Recipe Notes

      *Photos updated April, 2017.

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      There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!