Maple-Balsam Barbecue Sauce

Barbecued chickpeas have long been a fond favourite of mine.  It’s a tasty, simple dish involving the obvious two ingredients, plus a drizzle of oil, then baking at 375 to 400 for about 20 minutes.  Finding an appropriate barbecue sauce, often leaves me barreling down the foodstore aisles shouting profanities in opposition of the needlessly high sodium content and presence of high fructose corn syrup and, not rarely enough, Worcestershire sauce (hello, anchovies.  Why are you in my food.)

In the past, I’ve occasionally whipped up a slacker’s homemade sauce with a cheater’s ketchup base.  Not that I’m scorning this corner-cutting route: I’ve done it before and, left hungry enough and short enough on time, I might do it again.

But since I found myself home a little early, and organized enough to start dinner before starvation had fully set in, I decided to try a proper, from-scratch version.  I’m wild about the sweet sting of balsamic vinegar, and I’ve already made my feelings about maple syrup known, so I was sure to include those to lend tasty sweetness to this sauce.


1 Tbsp oil
1/3 cup chopped baby leek
2 medium-large garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups pureed canned tomato (I’m sure fresh would be nice too: they’re not yet in season here, though, and I luckily had some home-canned jars from last summer)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 grates freshly ground nutmeg (about a pinch or two)
3/4 to 1 tsp salt (I was using a very mild, totally unprocessed sea salt harvested from a Bahamian salt pond, so went for 1tsp)


1. Heat oil over medium, in a medium pot.  Add leek and garlic, and cook until just starting to brown.
2. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly, but maintain a rolling boil.  Cover and allow to cook 20-30 minutes, or until thickened.

Simple, tasty, and really very low maintenance.  Just as well, since I was making every other dish under the sun simultaneously!

Also present were freshly pulled Yukon gold and banana fingerling potatoes from our garden...
Also present were freshly pulled Yukon gold and banana fingerling potatoes from our garden…
...along with baked zucchini fries...
…along with baked zucchini fries…
...broccoli, yellow peppers, and beet greens...
…broccoli, yellow peppers, and beet greens…
...roasted beet tops...
…roasted beet tops…
Not to be forgotten...bbq'd chickpeas.
Not to be forgotten…bbq’d chickpeas.
Ah yes.  Dinner is served.
Ah yes. Dinner is served.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ally says:

    Oh wow! A veritable feast! It all looks delicious. I am a chickpea fan from way back.
    Oh, I’ve been meaning to tell you- I thought of you recently when I saw radishes for sale. I bought a bunch, and baked them. They were delicious! Your radish recipe inspired me to cook them. 🙂

    1. Hey, this is exciting news! I’m glad you tried cooked radishes…they’re such a treat. I never tried baking them, but roasted veggies of all kinds are one of my weaknesses, so I’ll give that a shot next time I get a bunch in hand.

      It really was a feast. I have been known to lazily make just three or four dishes for dinner, but I pulled out all the stops this time! It’s amazing what a little time to spare in the evening can do for kitchen ambition.

  2. Lemongrass says:

    yukon gold are my favorite potatoes……not counting sweet potatoes. BBQ sauce is low down on my things to make, but I love, love chickpeas……… a million different ways. I will settle with ‘currying’ it using tumeric and home-made spice mix instead of curry powder. I also enjoy baking it with lots of spices including jalapeno peppers.

    1. Hmm, homemade spice mix sounds delicious, Lemongrass! In my experimenting and investigating, I haven’t gotten down to exploring homemade spice blends, but I’m intrigued. What do you bake with jalapeno peppers?

      1. Lemongrass says:

        I grill my potatoes in the oven with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, red onions, rosmary and sliced halapeno peppers. I started making my spice blends when I started grow herbs in my backyard. I always grow the herbs i love to use, and once in a while a friend would give me a new herb to try. When the herbs are in ‘full swing” i gather a potion from each plant, dry them in a brown paper bag or cotton pillow case in my kitchen. When dried, i remove them from the stems, run them the coffee grinder and bottle them. The herbs you have growing can be use to make different herbal/spice combinations, then bottle them to use in your cooking. Give it a try. Start with three different herbs…………then go from there. eg. spearmint, basil and tarragon.

      2. Oh, yum! You’ve convinced me. I love the idea of creating fancy blends, and the community garden is always overflowing with herbs begging to be pruned. Thanks for sharing this!

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