Apricot Barbecue Sauce [Vegan Option]

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Apricot Barbecue SauceApricot Barbecue Sauce

Well, the first week into being 25 has been quite the unfortunate whirlwind; It’s bizarre how this crazy world works. Two Fridays ago, Wyatt and I were enjoying our last day at the cabin with an early morning canoe trip. The air was slightly crisp, the water completely calm, and not a soul was in sight; the whole experience reminded me of a family summer vacation we took when I was 7 up to the boundary waters for a week of backpack camping. The feeling of awe and excitement that I felt as a little kid on that trip was all rushing back to me that morning as I scanned the rocky shores that drifted by parallel to the canoe. All these memories from the trip that I hadn’t thought of in at least a decade were coming back — bathing in the ice cold Canadian waters with endless wilderness as our backdrops, stopping for lunch on islands along the canoe route, giggling as my brothers attempted to chase a family of moose, and watching the sunsets over the wild wilderness along the shores of our campsite. On that early morning canoe trip, I felt overwhelmed with gratefulness that I was able to have those experiences growing up and so proud that motion of paddling felt more natural than driving a car. That morning, I was thinking of the family I had spent that canoe trip with: my mother whom had grown up in the city but had come to love the wilderness due to marrying my stepfather, my brother who can get me more annoyed than anyone on the planet but who I suddenly missed terribly, my stepbrother whom I had drifted apart from almost a decade earlier, and my stepfather who was always so strong and the leader of the bunch on our outdoor adventures.

Apricot Barbecue SauceApricot Barbecue SauceApricot Barbecue Sauce

When I came back from that serene morning on the canoe with Wyatt, I had 5 missed calls and 2 voicemails. The phone reception at the cabin wasn’t very good and after a solid 10 minutes of trying to reach someone, I got a hold of my mother who had called me to say that my stepdad had just had a heart attack.

Fast forward 3 agonizing days in the hospital, numerously heartbreaking phone calls to friends and family, and one funeral later. I am now back home and looking back on our little cabin retreat earlier this month. I wish that I could hold the memory of that serene canoe trip close as the wonderful experience it was but instead it will just be a reminder of the day I found out about Al’s heart attack. He was so good to our family and such a strong man. He loved food and I hope that I can carry on his curiosity with cooking for him. This recipe is for you, Al – I miss you already.

Apricot Barbecue Sauce recipe below:

Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Apricot Barbecue Sauce [Vegan Option]
Adapted from Chic Eats / A fruity homemade barbecue sauce.
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
  • 1 pound of apricots , sliced in half
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey (omit if making vegan)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (use olive oil if making vegan)
  • 1 jalapeno , chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Salt / Pepper , to taste
  • Hot sauce , optional (if you like your bbq spicy – I used sriracha)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Mix together the apricot halves, olive oil, honey (if using), and a little salt in a bowl until all the apricots are coated. Transfer the apricots to your prepared baking sheet with the flesh sides up. Roast for 30 minutes and then add the thyme sprigs and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the apricots are completely soft. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  2. Heat the butter in a large stock pan over medium heat and add in the onions, garlic, and jalepeno. Saute over medium for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Next, add in the chili powder and let cook for 30 seconds or until very fragrant. Remove from heat and throw in the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Us an immersion blender to puree the sauce and return your pot to the burner. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has reached your desired thickness. Make sure to add more salt and pepper if needed. Let cool and then lather all over your favorite snacks. This should keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a week and can be froze if you want to keep it longer.


Note: I enjoyed my barbecue sauce with these amazingly delicious chickpea fries from Food52.



  • Ashlae
    September 14, 2014

    Tears. So many tears. The world is indeed bizarre and crazy, and sometimes so fucking cruel. Sending happy thoughts and good vibes your way, lady. <3

    • Shellywest
      September 17, 2014

      Thanks, Ashlae! Good vibes is exactly what I need! Well…good vibes and maybe some chocolate…

  • soulbeet
    September 14, 2014

    Hi Shelly,

    I am so sorry to hear about your stepdad. As Ashlae said before me, the world can be so cruel. Things can change so suddenly. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    This is the first time I have visited your blog and I am in love. I love your simplicity, your beautiful photography, your words. Hang in there and I am looking forward to learning more about you!

    • Shellywest
      September 17, 2014

      Welcome! Glad to hear you are enjoying VV and thank you for the kind words! Hope to hear from you more around here in the future. 🙂

  • Monet
    September 15, 2014

    I’m so sorry to hear about this loss. I’m sending you thoughts of love and healing and peace. I remember when I got the news about my sister’s death. The world stopped…and yet it didn’t…and I struggled to understand how we all go on.

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    September 15, 2014

    Sending thoughts your way, so sad to hear about this!

  • molly yeh
    September 15, 2014

    ohmygoodness, shelly, this is heartbreaking. i am so sorry for your loss. sending major hugs and good thoughts your way. xoxoxo

  • la3172
    September 15, 2014

    So very sorry for your family’s loss and may the joy of your Birthday memories bring you grace and ease.

  • Laura
    September 15, 2014

    This life is crazy, beautiful, monumental, but also so short, and sometimes it’s really fucking hard too. Sending a big hug and thinking the good thoughts for you this week, Shelly.

    • Shellywest
      September 17, 2014

      Beautifully said, Laura! Couldn’t agree more!

  • dinnersforwinners
    September 15, 2014

    Oh, my gosh. I am so saddened to hear about your stepfather’s passing. He sounds like such a wonderful, amazing man and this is a beautiful tribute to him. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  • Kris
    September 15, 2014

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Shelly. I’m sending you and your family lots of goodness at this time. You are such a gift to the food world and the blog world. I have no doubt that Al will feel you carrying out his curiosity. xoxo

  • Katie @ 24 Carrot Life
    September 15, 2014

    So sorry to hear this Shelly. Hope you are doing ok!

  • Gabby @ the veggie nook
    September 15, 2014

    I am so so so sorry Shelly. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. It’s so nice that you have such wonderful memories of him to look back on.

    Despite the sadness this is such a beautiful post- the words, recipe and pictures, all of it.


  • Grace
    September 16, 2014

    Ugh. This is so sad. If we were friends in real life and you were here I would hug you so hard.

    • Shellywest
      September 17, 2014

      I would love a hug from you, Grace! Gonna have to do an IOU for that one day we do finally meet up to nerd out over healthy food and blogging. 🙂

  • kristie @ birchandwild.com
    September 16, 2014

    So sorry to hear about that. Thank you for the beautiful words and photos, though. Very inspiring.

  • seosborn
    September 16, 2014

    I am so sorry to hear about your stepdad Shelly, and I’m sending some healing thoughts for you and your family. This is such a beautiful and well-written post.

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
    September 17, 2014

    I’m so so sorry for your and your family’s loss, Shelly. Life can be so unfair. Sending you lots of love and good vibes from overseas.

    P.S. Apricot barbecue sauce? Stunner!

  • Cynthia @ Chic Eats
    September 17, 2014

    My goodness, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Shelly. I love your take on the recipe – especially the addition of thyme – and am glad to be a part of your food adventure. Best to you and your family.

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    So sorry to hear that Shelly – stay strong and my thoughts are with you 🙂 This looks stunning too!

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