Whole Wheat Spinach Ricotta Calzones
I am in love with a man who loves Pizza Rolls. Several of our first dates involved heated debates about the pros and cons of Pizza Rolls. My list of cons always ended up being more substantial than his “They just taste good” list of pros. Once I even let him prepare a taste testing session for me in an effort to convert me to the Pizza Roll Fan Club. Fail. While I have yet to try the imitation recipes floating around out there, I have come up with a semi-decent substitute.
These whole wheat calzones may not pack the same mouth-melting explosion of Pizza Roll volcanic lava filling, they are healthier and tastier! They are endlessly adaptable, can be filled with whatever you can dream up and if you stick with the creamy spinach riccotta filling you can actually slip some veggies into your football-friendly munchies without anyone even noticing! Simple to whip up, these calzones can be frozen ahead of time so you are ready to go for a fast weeknight dinner or easy game day snacks.
Since discovering how simple it is to make your own whole wheat pizza dough at home, I’ve yet to dive into the field of pre-made, store-bought dough. In fact, I try to always keep a 1 pound dough ball in the freezer to pull out for a quick pizza dinner. However, if you are in a pinch, premade dough would certainly work fine in this recipe.
Like individual pizzas, these calzones are a great family meal since each person can pick their own calzone filling. The Pizza Roll Lover of the house insists on a combo of pepperoni and black olives, while I tend to prefer a more veggie-packed calzone. With one batch of dough and one baking pan, you can manage to keep everyone happy. (If you have extra spinach filling left over, it makes a wonderful mix in for a morning egg scramble!)
If you want to make these ahead of time and freeze them, go ahead and cook them all the way through. Once they have fully cooled, wrap carefully in plastic wrap and foil before freezing. When you are ready to eat them, just give them a few hours to thaw, then zap them in the microwave or reheat in the oven until fully heated.
Whole Wheat Spinach Ricotta Calzones
Yield: 6-8 calzones
1 two pound ball whole wheat pizza dough (see the recipe here)
2 (15 oz) packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 large shallots, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for brushing)
Salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add shallots. Continue cooking until softened, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add drained spinach. Stir to coat with garlic and onion mixture. Add nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella and spinach mixture. Add salt. Stir to combine.
- On a floured surface, divide the pizza dough into equal sized pieces (6-8 depending on how many calzones you want to make). Press each piece into a ball and flatten slightly. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, turning the dough after each turn to ensure an evenly round disk. Roll until each piece is roughly 6 inches in diameter. (If the dough is sticking, you can place it between two pieces of parchment paper and roll the dough out through the parchment paper. Once you have the desired size, remove the parchment paper.)
- Fill each dough disk with roughly 1/3 cup of the spinach mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and turn up the edges and squeeze both sides together to form a seal. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all dough disks have been used.
- Brush each calzone with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Using a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors, cut 2-3 small slits on the top of each calzone to allow steam to release during cooking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, rotating pan halfway through to ensure even browning. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Serve with a side of warmed marinara sauce for dipping!