Have you missed Chinese hoisin sauce ever since going paleo? Well, your healthy condiment wishes have been granted: I have a thick, fragrant, lip-smacking hoisin sauce that you can whip up in 15 minutes—and it’s Whole30-friendly, too!
What is hoisin sauce?
Hoisin sauce—a centuries-old Chinese barbecue sauce—can be hard to pin down. A thick, robust sauce used as a glaze or condiment, hoisin literally means “seafood” in Cantonese, even though the sauce actually contains zero seafood, and isn’t typically served with it. In the West, this tangy-sweet sauce is often misidentified as plum sauce or raisin sauce, despite containing neither plums nor raisins. To top it off, there’s a dizzying number of hoisin sauce varieties out there, and each one offers a slightly different flavor profile.
After weeks of tinkering, I came up with a fantastic Whole30 version of this rich sauce using Paleo-friendly ingredients that still delivers all the complexity and flavor of the classic, with none of the soy, wheat, sugar, or preservatives!
How do you use hoisin sauce?
The possibilities are endless if you love hoisin sauce. Traditionally, it’s used as a dipping sauce for meats or slathered on buns or wraps filled with Moo Shu Pork or Peking Duck. You can also mix it into marinades for grilled meats because hoisin sauce imparts a sticky and savory yumminess. Squeeze bottles filled with hoisin sauce are also commonly found at your table when you’re dining at Vietnamese restaurants because it’s used to flavor steaming bowls of phở.
Can you substitute the sunbutter?
Yes! I’ve tried this recipe with almond butter and tahini in place of sunbutter, and both work well in this recipe.
How long can you keep the hoisin sauce?
This condiment can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 1 week. (If it gets too firm, just stir in a tablespoon or two of water when you’re reheating it.)
Ready to make Paleo Hoisin Sauce?
Makes ¾ cup
- 4 large dried Medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup sunflower butter
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Small saucepan
- Silicone spatula
- Immersion blender
First, use a sharp knife to mince and mash up the dates until they’re the consistency of a thick, sticky paste.
Next, combine the minced dates with the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens and darkens. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Want a smoother sauce? Blitz it with an immersion blender until it reaches your desired consistency.
Time to slather this paleo hoisin sauce on everything! Make some Moo Shu Pork already!
Looking for more amazing paleo and Whole30-friendly sauce recipes? Grab our cookbook, Ready or Not!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
Paleo Hoisin Sauce
- First, use a sharp knife to mince and mash up the dates until they’re the consistency of a thick, sticky paste.
- Next, combine the minced dates with the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens and darkens. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Want a smoother sauce? Blitz it with an immersion blender or high powered blender (my Vitamix gets it super smooth) until it reaches your desired consistency. Time to slather this paleo hoisin sauce on everything!