A rich and flavourful pizza sauce made with roasted cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and herbs. This pizza sauce is quick and easy to make and a fantastic way to use the abundance of cherry tomatoes you grow during the summer months. It can be frozen and will keep for several months so that you can eat homemade pizza all year long.
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As any vegetable gardener would know, cherry tomato plants can be prolific and often leave you with an abundance of the tasty little fruit at the end of the season.
There is nothing quite like the flavour of freshly grown cherry tomatoes. They are bright, sweet and just slightly acidic. And while they are fantastic on a fresh veggie tray or chopped up for salads or salsas, they also make amazing tomato sauce.
We eat a lot of homemade pizza in our house, and since my cherry tomato plants have been exploding with tomatoes, I decided to make some homemade pizza sauce.
The result is a flavourful sauce, slightly sweet, with the flavours of roasted garlic, bell pepper and herbs.
This recipe makes about one and a half cups of sauce, which is perfect for 3-4 14-inch pizzas, depending on how much sauce you like. The leftovers can be kept in the fridge for about a week or frozen for months so that you can have homemade pizza sauce all year long.
What Type of Cherry Tomatoes Should I Use for Sauce?
The great thing about this roasted cherry tomato sauce is that it will work with any variety of cherry tomatoes you have.
This year I grew Pomodoro cherry tomatoes, Sweet Millions, and Black Cherry and have used them all in various combinations to make my pizza sauce.
The flavour of the sauce will vary a bit depending on the varieties and quantities of each you use, but any will work.
As long as the tomatoes are ripe, you can use them in any stage of ripeness. This recipe is a great way to use up cherry tomatoes that have over-ripened or even cherry tomatoes that have begun to split.
For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Cherry tomatoes – You can use any variety of cherry tomatoes or a combination of cherry tomatoes that you have. I’ve used Pomodoro cherry tomatoes, Sweet Millions, and Black Cherry in various combinations, and this sauce has always turned out beautifully.
Sweet bell peppers – You can use any colour you like. I’ve used red, yellow, and orange. I’ve also used freshly grown snackable bell peppers, as well as other small varieties such as mocha swirl.
Garlic – Fresh garlic is a must. When roasted, it takes on a deep flavour, slightly sweet and caramelized, that tastes delicious with the slightly acidic tomatoes. I find 3-4 cloves are perfect, but you can use more or less depending on the size of the cloves and your flavour preference.
Shallot – Shallots have a milder flavour than other onions and pair well with the flavours of this sauce. If you don’t have a shallot, I’d recommend using a sweet onion or red onion in a slightly smaller quantity.
Olive oil – Olive oil is a classic ingredient in tomato and pizza sauce. It will help to caramelize the vegetables and keep them from drying out.
Dried herbs – I like the combination of oregano and basil in my pizza sauce. You could also use herb mixes such as Italian seasoning or add some chilli flakes if you want to add a bit of spice.
Salt – A bit of salt will help bring out the flavour of the sauce. I like using kosher salt in all of my recipes. You are free to use any salt you like and adjust to your taste.
Brown sugar – While it may seem strange to add sugar to pizza sauce, just a tiny bit of sugar will help balance the acidity of tomatoes. You can leave this out until after you’ve blended the sauce if you prefer, and then add sugar according to your taste. You may want more or less depending on the variety of tomatoes you use.
Step by Step Instructions
Roast the Vegetables
Step 1 – Line a 9×13 baking sheet with parchment paper, then add the cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, garlic cloves and chopped shallot. Drizzle with olive oil, and then add the kosher salt, oregano, and basil.
Step 2 – Place the tray in a 400°F oven and roast for 40-45 minutes until the veggies are slightly browned, and the cherry tomatoes are blistered.
Pro-Tip: Lining the baking sheet with parchment paper will make for easier cleanup and makes transferring the roasted vegetables to the blender easy.
Puree the Pizza Sauce
Step 3 – Remove the tray from the oven and allow the veggies to cool for 10-15 minutes, then add them to a blender or food processor along with the brown sugar.
Step 4 – Place the lid on the blender or food processor. Turn the appliance on, starting at a low speed and gradually increase the speed to puree the sauce. Puree until smooth or the consistency you prefer.
Give the sauce a taste, and if needed, add a bit more brown sugar, salt or herbs, depending on your flavour preference.
Move the pizza sauce to a container or jar for storage.
Pro-Tip: It is important to let the roasted vegetables cool before pureeing to avoid steam burns and splashing while pureeing.
Substitutions & Variations
If you are looking for substitutions of ingredients or want to add variety to your pizza sauce, there are a few things you can do.
Tomatoes – While this recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, and you can use any variety you like if you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can use fresh Roma tomatoes instead, or in addition to cherry tomatoes if you don’t have enough of them. Cut the Roma tomatoes in half before roasting and roast them cut side up. You will likely need to add more sugar to the sauce as they are more acidic and less sweet than cherry tomatoes.
Bell peppers – Use any colour of bell pepper you like. You can use large bell peppers or mini bell peppers. If you don’t have bell peppers, you can use other varieties of sweet pepper. I’ve grown and used mocha swirl peppers, and they work beautifully in this sauce, as do snackable red peppers. If you don’t like the flavour of peppers, you can leave them out.
Shallot – Shallot works well for this recipe because it adds a slight onion flavour, but the shallots are milder than other onions. If you don’t have a shallot, you can use regular onions, such as yellow, white, red or sweet onions. However, I would recommend using a slightly lesser amount.
Herbs – Oregano and basil are classic flavours in pizza sauce. You are free to use them in any quantity you like or replace them depending on your flavour preference. You could also use an Italian seasoning blend or pre-packaged pizza seasoning or add some chilli flakes if you want a spicy sauce. If you are going to use pre-packaged seasoning, you will want to watch the salt content as you may need to omit adding extra salt to the recipe.
Brown sugar – I like brown sugar in this recipe as it pairs well with the tomatoes. But you can use white sugar if you prefer. Sugar can also be omitted from the recipe. However, the sauce will be slightly more acidic tasting.
There are only a few pieces of equipment you need in order to make this delicious roasted cherry tomato pizza sauce.
Small baking sheet – For a single batch of sauce, a 9×13 baking sheet is perfect. You can use a larger sheet if that is all you have or if you want to double or triple the sauce.
Blender or food processor – A blender or food processor is necessary in order to puree the sauce to a smooth consistency. The Vitamix blender is one of my favourite kitchen appliances, and the high-speed motor helps to puree the sauce as smooth as you want. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor will work just fine. However, depending on the speed of the motor and the type of blade you have, it may not be quite as smooth.
This homemade pizza sauce will keep well in the fridge for about a week. Simply store it in an airtight container. Small mason jars are my favourite for this.
You can also freeze this pizza sauce in small containers, and it will keep for months. It can be frozen in mason jars; just be sure to leave about an inch of room at the top for expansion. If you are going to freeze in jars, straight-sided, 8 oz jars work best.
Top Tips & FAQS
- The pizza sauce will vary in thickness depending on the variety of tomatoes used and how juicy they are. If the sauce is too thick after blending you can slowly add a bit more olive oil to thin it.
- Taste the pizza sauce after pureeing. If needed, add more salt, herbs or sugar to suit your taste.
- Store leftover sauce in a small container or jar in the fridge for up to a week. If making a large batch, you can freeze in containers or jars for several months. If using jars, be sure to leave room for expansion.
This pizza sauce is naturally gluten-free. However, you will want to ensure that any dried spices you use are labelled gluten-free as well.
Yes, this homemade pizza sauce is completely vegan.
More Homemade Sauce Recipes
Recipes to Try With Homemade Pizza Sauce
Roasted Cherry Tomato Pizza Sauce
- 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes any variety, or combination you like
- 1 cup sliced bell peppers any colour combination you like
- ⅓ cup chopped shallot approximately 1 medium shallot
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a 9×13 baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse and blot dry the vegetables. Cut the peppers and shallots into large chunks.
- Spread the tomatoes, peppers, shallots, and garlic on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, oregano, and basil.
- Place the tray in the oven and roast for 40-45 minutes until the vegetables are slightly charred and the tomatoes are blistered.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Move the roasted vegetables to a blender or food processor, along with the brown sugar. Place the lid on the appliance and puree until smooth, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to avoid splashing.
- Taste the sauce and add more sugar, salt, or seasoning, if needed. Then move the sauce to an airtight container.
- This recipe makes approximately one and a half cups of sauce.
- The pizza sauce will vary in thickness depending on the variety of tomatoes used and how juicy they are. If the sauce is too thick after blending, you can slowly add a bit more olive oil to thin it.
- Taste the pizza sauce after pureeing. If needed, add more salt, herbs, or sugar to suit your taste.
- Store leftover sauce in a small container or jar in the fridge for up to a week. If making a large batch, you can freeze it in containers or jars for several months. If using jars, be sure to leave room for expansion.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.