The time has come! I’ve been hinting at these vegan calzones for a while now, and I have finally brought them to you. This recipe has been tested more than any other that I have shared. And my husband has not complained one little bit. I think he would be thrilled if I put them into a weekly rotation. Although, the other night, I offered to make them, and he was all, “nah, I’m calzoned out.” After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I set off to make…pizza. With all the same ingredients I normally put in a calzone. He ate it with gusto. Go figure.
Not only have I tested this recipe a bazillion times, I have also tested it while talking my mom through the process step-by-step. My little man (three months old now!) was born via emergency c-section, and for the first two weeks I wasn’t able to do much at all, including cook. I have a very sweet memory of my mom coming over to make calzones, and me in a rocking chair in the kitchen feeding Josh and telling my mom what to do. She’d walk over and give me little taste tests along the way, and I would tell her to add more salt, or garlic, or whatever. And she did a fantastic job! Go Mom!
So, yes, a calzone is basically a folded pizza. But for some reason, it seems like a totally different thing. And a great one, at that. Ready to dive in?
Ok, so the dough. I’ve tried several different doughs for this recipe, and believe me when I tell you that while it might be (slightly) cheaper to make your own, please make things easier on yourself and use a storebought dough. Most grocery stores have them ready to go. My favorite is the whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s – it’s a dream to work with and is very affordable. You can even ask to buy dough from your favorite pizzeria! One day, I might perfect the whole wheat calzone dough at home, but for now, I’m a fan of convenience. Did I mention I have a toddler and a baby?
Whatever dough you use, just bring it to room temp on the counter while you’re preparing the filling. Easy peasy. This is also a good time to start warming up your favorite tomato sauce on the stove. And preheat your oven to 425 F. I know, I know, I’m posting this in the summer. But THESE ARE WORTH THE HEAT. Trust me.
Next we have, the cheese! Being me, of course I found a way to get some veggies in it. This spinach ricotta is vegan, but you would NEVER KNOW IT. It’s crazypants delicious. And, it’s oil-free! Let’s get to it.
First, pulse one cup of raw cashews along with garlic, salt, white/light miso, and nutritional yeast until it is a very fine meal, but isn’t starting to break down into cashew butter. Like this.
Next, add two cups of fresh spinach (or 1 cup of frozen spinach) along with some extra-firm tofu and basil and pulse that bad boy up until it looks, well, like spinach ricotta.
See what I mean, yo?
One last thing about the ricotta before I forget. I have been using these great little frozen cubes of garlic and basil by Dorot lately. I found them in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s and they are so wonderful! When cooking from scratch it’s really great to be able to cut the prep time down, even if just for a couple of ingredients. Just had to share.
Ok, that’s done. Now we need the rest of the filling, which is baker’s choice. I typically go with more veggies, but I often throw in some Italian Field Roast sausage. But there are always, always mushrooms in our calzones. This time around I went with mushrooms and olives. Watch out for the olive bandit! She’s a sneaky little thing.
Sauté your veggies and toss them with a few tablespoons of your sauce of choice. This brings a little extra flavor to the party and also helps the filling and the cheese stay together in the dough.
Ok, now you have a decision to make. Do you want 8 small calzones or 4 big ones? Once you’ve made up your mind, cut your dough ball into equal pieces. As you can see, I went with 8. They are easier to hold and eat, and I have a lot of experience to back up this claim.
Roll out a piece of dough into a circle-ish shape (it doesn’t have to be perfect), as thin as you can get it without it breaking. I like to use a little bit of olive oil on the rolling pin to make the rolling process easier and prevent sticking, but that’s optional. Top the dough with about 1/4 cup of the spinach ricotta, and another 1/4 cup of the filling.
Fold one half of the dough over the top, and pinch all of the open seams closed by folding small sections of the bottom piece of dough onto the top piece. This is strangely therapeutic and fun.
Ta-dah!!!! You are a calzone master! Big time high-fives to you, my friend. Now, we bake. Poke a few holes into the top of each calzone with a fork to let steam escape, and then bake those suckers up for 15-18 minutes at 425F, until they are golden brown and have that “come hither” look about them.
Now, dish up some of the sauce, plate these babies up and nosh your little heart out. And when you do, take a picture and share it on Instagram with the tag #eatwithinyourmeans. I can’t wait to see your calzone skills!
- 1 pound pizza dough of your choice (I like the wheat dough from Trader Joe's)
- 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 6 ounces extra-firm tofu (drained, half a package)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1 cup frozen spinach)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves*
- 2 cloves of garlic**
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon light miso (white (yellow, or chickpea))
- 2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 4 cups veggies of choice for filling (ideas: mushrooms (olives, broccoli, red bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, artichokes))
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- In a small/medium saucepan, warm the tomato sauce over low heat.
- Place pizza dough on the counter to come to room temperature while you are preparing the filling.
For the Spinach Ricotta
- Pulse the cashews, salt, miso, garlic, and nutritional yeast in a food processor until finely ground, but not turning into cashew butter.
- Add the spinach, tofu, and basil, and pulse until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed.
For the filling
- In a medium/large skillet, sauté your veggies of choice over medium/high heat until just cooked, 3-5 minutes. Stir in a few tablespoons of the sauce to coat the veggies.
- Section the dough into 4 or 8 equal pieces, depending on how big you want each calzone to be.
- Roll a piece of dough into circle as thin as possible without breaking the dough.
- Place 1/4 cup of the spinach ricotta in the center of the dough, and top with 1/4 cup of filling.
- Fold the dough over the filling, and seal by folding small pieces of the bottom dough over the top piece, pinching the dough together as you go.
- Continue rolling, filling, and sealing until all the calzones are assembled.
- Place the calzones on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and poke a few holes in each one with the tines of a fork.
- Bake at 425 F for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
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Beth, I LUUUUUUV that TJ’s pizza dough! I always keep some frozen in my freezer. Ssssshhh… don’t tell any of my blog readers who think I make EVERYTHING from scratch. 🙂
Your secret is safe with me. 😉
Kim Bradbury says
I also have a great memory of making these fabulous calzones for Beth and her family. I can attest to their scrumptiousness! The “come hither” look that Beth spoke of is also known as “GET IN MY BELLY!”. We used the Italian Fieldroast sausage in the batch I made, but I’m sure they would have been great with just the veggies. I don’t cook very much these days, so it was a treat to have something homemade with a great instructor guiding me. Give these a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Love you, Mom. 🙂
I made these tonight and they were a bit hit! Used the simple tomato sauce from this blog and my son ate it with a spoon thinking it was tomato soup. I used kalamata olives, mushrooms, white onion and green pepper. Yum. And I made sure to double the spinach ricotta so I have some extra in the fridge for whatever (spoon to mouth right out of the container anyone?). Thanks for a great recipe!
I think it’s so cool (and flattering) that you made this on the same day I posted it. I’m so glad you all liked it!
Hannah Elizabeth says
YAY! Oh, yum. Just. No. Words. I want one, right now!! The recipe looks just as delicious as your photos. I so, so am making this happen!! I don’t even think I can wait till the hot weather goes for good. Your ricotta sounds out-of-this-world…and so genius! I tend not to be a fan of chunks of olives, but I like your “baker’s choice” suggestion of mixing up the veggies. But mushrooms always!!
Thanks for the veteran-TJ’s-shopper tips!! I’d never heard of any of those (though regular shopping at TJ’s is a relatively new thing for me), and I will definitely have to check those out!!
I seriously wish there was a Trader Joe’s on my side of town. Wait…that could be bad. 🙂 The ricotta is truly wonderful. In fact, a certain young man named Alex recently said that he “would like a hat made of bread that was full of this pesto spread”. Talk about making my day. 🙂
Lol, that back and forth with Michael! Made me laugh so hard because I could just see it.
These look so good! I’m so happy Hannah said she was going to make them, because I was going to say that I really wanted to try them. Miss you guys! <3
Right? It totally was just like that. Of course, Michael said I “dissed” him. Nay! I told the truth. 🙂 We miss you all too!
Nichole Kraft, Food Writing Copyeditor says
Wow, these look delish! And I absolutely love that tip about coating your rolling pin in a bit of olive oil! I get so frustrated when my pin sticks and tears dough. Never even thought about applying a little oil. See? You keep making my life easier, Beth!
I really think that my litmus test for a successful post should be whether or not I made your life easier. 🙂
Nichole Kraft, Food Writing Copyeditor says
Ha ha! I would love to be the standard by which your posts are judged. 😛
Seriously, though, I’ll take all the life-easing tips I can get. The busier I get, the more I appreciate all these little shortcuts. 😉
Jessica Gavin says
Beth, these looks great! I too love TJ’s dough, affordable and tasty, a mom’s dream! I’ve been doing a lot of grilled pizzas with them. I would LOVE to try this recipe, the pesto looks so yummy, thank you for sharing!
Thanks, Jessica! Ohhhh, that pesto on a grilled pizza…I’m drooling just thinking about it. Let me know if you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think. 🙂
Jessica DeMarra says
I haven’t had a calzone in years and these ones look awesome! Love the green colour of the spinach ricotta. So fresh and wonderful 🙂
Thanks, Jessica! I hope you give them a try sometime and let me know how you like them. 🙂
Lovely to make your acquaintance through veganmofo. I have not had Calzone since my Uni days and that was over 10 years ago, I am bookmarking your recipe to make in the future. Its one that would be perfect come the winter too.
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
What a wonderful memory of you and your mother in the kitchen with your beautiful little guy. This recipe looks delicious!
I know you’re probably getting sick of all my substitution questions, but do you think I could use walnuts instead of cashews? Or some other kind of nut?? Thanks!
OMG thank you for this post!! I have the calzones in the oven as I type and cannot wait to eat them. I tried to make 8 but overstuffed them so they don’t look very good but when I made a bigger version they actually look like a calzone, ha! I have leftover ricotta but it’s so delicious it wont last long and I am excited to see what else I can use it with. So happy to find your blog.
Hi Jennifer! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I am THRILLED that you made the calzones! It’s worth it for the ricotta alone, isn’t it? I’m suddenly hungry. 🙂 I have a recipe for lasagna that uses that ricotta and it’s coming very soon! Get excited! 🙂
Looks delicious! Do you think there is a way to skip the nuts? Can’t send nuts to school… I’m vegetarian, not vegan, if that makes a difference. Thanks!
Hi Sangeetha! Yes, absolutely. I’ve had really good luck subbing in raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) for the cashews. Or, you could simply use more tofu or dairy ricotta cheese. Hope that helps!
I only had pepitas so used those instead of cashews, and I could tell no difference. They were AMAZING!!!
Hi Beth! I have just recently found this recipe and I love it. I made a slight change and used steamed broccoli for the spinach (what I had on hand). I used a whole wheat pizza crust recipe that I have previously made for my room mate’s portion and I used a white pizza crust for me. Let me just say, I am not a vegan and I meant to use some cheese in this recipe and it totally doesn’t need it at all! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.
Delicioso! Yum yum ???????? 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Kristen Irven says
I made these calzones tonight and WOW! So delicious. My husband and I agreed they were the best calzones we’ve had. And they’re vegan!!!
I used walnuts instead of cashews and it worked perfectly. I bet the filling would also work great in lasagne!
i only have brown rice miso – do you think i can use this as a substitute?
Hi Esha! I think that should be fine! 🙂
Do you have any recommendations on how to prep these and freeze for later?
I just made these tonight they were DELICIOUS, they didn’t look as pretty as yours though. So glad to find your site. We made your twice baked potatoes last week they were also fantastic. So nice to eat plant based without eating just salad 🙂
Oh yay!!! So glad to hear that Rachel! Mine never look very pretty really, it’s hard to make bread stuffed with anything look good, but they sure are tasty! And omg, I forgot about the twice baked potatoes! I need to make those again! My husband will be thrilled. 🙂
M C says
Delicious! My meat-eating husband said they were great and so did I 🙂 I also used Walnuts but otherwise as per recipe. Thanks!