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Grilled Pizza Is My Family’s Favorite Tradition

A love letter to my summertime staple and the family members who share it.

I can distinctly remember meeting my cousin’s now wife for the first time. They came over to my family’s house one warm summer night from another state to a counter full of prepped ingredients. “We’re having grilled pizza!” my mother said, to everyone’s confused faces. Little did any of us realize that this one idea would become our new go-to every summer, as well as a core memory for both my newest family member and me.

While a homemade pizza night might not be revolutionary, there’s a certain magic in grilled pizza night. There is pride in stretching the store-bought dough as best as you can into a circle, getting the perfect grill marks on the first side, and adding as many toppings to that crispy-chewy crust as it can possibly hold. Somehow, cooking pizza dough on the grill instead of in the oven seems more approachable and personal. In my family, my mom would divide up the dough so everyone had their own portion. The pieces would get so big once stretched and topped that the only way we could eat them was by using every sheet pan we had.

Grilled pizza night is informal and communal in a way that other grilled dinners just aren’t. It isn’t one person manning the grill, turning over burgers or drumsticks. It’s everyone chaotically taking turns stretching out their dough and sharing the grill, working together to flip and top the dough as quickly as possible to prevent the heat from escaping too much. It’s not just eating together but cooking together too.

You also can see how people express themselves when presented with as perfect a blank canvas as a pizza crust. The traditionalist goes for the simple but classic tomato sauce and mozzarella—nothing more. The contrarian reaches for the pineapple, and the challenger reaches for the hot sauce. You start to learn everyone’s favorites and know which toppings they’re going to want to claim.

Grilled pizza night is the perfect fun and memory-packed evening. If you have never tried doing your own grilled pizza night, here are four of our favorite recipes to get you started:

Grilled Pizzas with Zucchini and Peppers

Lean into whatever fresh produce is available with this easy recipe—a hit with veggie-lovers. Quickly grill the first side of the crusts before topping with your favorite tomato sauce, grated zucchini, two types of cheese, and plenty of grilled and sliced bell peppers.

Get the recipe: Grilled Pizzas with Zucchini and Peppers 

Grilled Salad Pizza with Prosciutto

This recipe is perfect for artisan-pizza lovers. Baby spinach and arugula are lightly dressed before topping a perfectly grilled crust. Shaved Parmesan and ribbons of salty prosciutto finish off this show-stopper. Try this recipe for a simpler pizza night or as an easy appetizer when hosting your next cookout.

Get the recipe: Grilled Salad Pizza with Proscuitto 

Grilled White Clam Pizzas

Channel your inner Connecticuter with this New Haven-inspired spin on grilled pizza. Instead of tomato sauce, top your pizza crust with garlicky clams, Parmesan, and fresh parsley. It’s easy, fresh, and perfect for summer. Love this combo? Keep a can of clams in your pantry to add to your pizza toppings bar!

Get the recipe: Grilled White Clam Pizzas

Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Pizzas

Your go-to dip is now your new favorite topping idea! Pantry and freezer staples like jarred artichokes and frozen spinach keep the prep time under 15 minutes. Simply mix the spinach and ricotta, then top with even more cheese and the artichokes.

Get the recipe: Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Pizzas

By Megan Recce  

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