Dinner & Lunch

Healthy Homemade Calzones

A calzone is a big old pocket filled with everything you like in a pizza. They’re really easy to make and they’re a great place to ‘hide’ veggies from your family. Any in-season vegetables work well in a calzone—experiment and enjoy!


If you have a bread maker, place the dough ingredients in the kneading basket in the order recommended by your manufacturer. Set to ‘dough’ or ‘pizza dough.’ This step will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


For the dough:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • Olive oil

Suggested filling ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 to 2 cups dark greens (spinach, dandelion, kale, swiss chard all work well; do a taste test as you cook as some may be a bit bitter and require a pinch of sugar)
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 pound ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Pizza sauce, for dipping


For the dough:

Step 1: If you have a breadmaker, see notes.

Step 2: If you are kneading by hand, place 1 cup warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) and 1 tablespoon honey or sugar in the bowl to dissolve.

Step 3: Use a whisk to stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour. When it gets too thick to whisk, mix with a floured hand. This will take about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Oil the surface of the dough with olive oil. Place a warm, damp cloth over the bowl and set aside is a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Suggested filling ingredients:

Step 1: While the dough is rising, saute the vegetables. In a large pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sautee 1/2 minced onion, 1 to 2 cups dark greens and 2 to 4 minced garlic cloves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2: In a large bowl, toss cooked vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1 pound ricotta or cottage cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remember that the cheeses and some filling choices may already add enough of a salty flavor.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Oil a baking tray.

Step 4: Punch down the dough and divide into 6 sections. Roll each section out, one at a time, on a floured board, forming circles.

Step 5: Place about 1/2 cup of filling in the center of each circle of dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border. 

Step 6: Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over, crimping the edges with fingers or a fork. Make small holes in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape during baking.

Step 7: Arrange the calzones on the oiled baking tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. To create a crispier crust, you can brush oil or melted butter on the top crust during the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve hot with pizza sauce for dipping.

This recipe was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.