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Marinara Sauce on Pizza Dough
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5 from 4 votes

Grilled Tomato Marinara Sauce

This marinara pizza sauce is as summery as it gets, made with grilled ripe tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and dried chile flakes. Make a double batch when tomatoes are growing in the garden, then freeze it to enjoy when the warm months are long gone.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time17 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: grilled pizza, grilled tomatoes, marinara sauce, pizza sauce
Makes: 2 cups
Cost: $5


  • Outdoor grill or grill pan
  • Food processor


  • pounds (4 medium to large) beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes (ripe but still firm), halved horizontally
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes (I prefer Urfa pepper)


  • Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan. If you have a gas grill, ignite the propane and turn the dials to high. If you have a charcoal grill, light the coals and arrange them in the grill for high direct heat. If you're using a grill pan, place the pan on your stovetop and set the burners to high.
  • Coat both sides of the tomato halves generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  • Place the tomatoes on the hot grill or grill pan. Grill for about 6 minutes per side, until both sides have dark grill marks. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate; let them sit for 10 minutes.
  • Pour off any accumulated juices from the plate with the tomatoes, then transfer the tomatoes to a food processor. Add the 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, garlic, and dried chile flakes. Pulse just until the mixture looks like a chunky sauce. Taste and add more salt or dried chile flakes as desired.
  • Spread ½ cup to ⅔ cup of sauce on a 12- to 14-inch round of pizza dough, or toss the whole recipe with a pound of cooked pasta. Pour leftover sauce into an airtight container; refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.