The ultimate vegan calzone stuffed with veggies, spinach and plant-based cheese. Made with authentic thin crust Italian pizza dough and served with a thick homemade tomato sauce for dipping. Really easy to make and simply the best!
Vegan Veggie Calzone
“Calzone” is literally translated from Italian as Stocking or Trouser, but when it comes to food it is actually a savory turnover originated in Napoli, Italy.
A pizza pocket of sorts, made with the best vegan pizza dough, stuffed with cheese (plant-based of course), vegetable or vegan meats and then oven-baked and served with a thick savory marinara sauce on the side. If you asked me the spinach and cashew ricotta Calzones are the real deal too.
Calzones can be made without the oven (like yours truly does often), using a hot cast iron griddle / skillet instead. It’s definitely a faster process this way + it gets those nice grill marks with a little hint of smokiness.
Vegan Calzone Stuffing
I stuffed mine with sautéed mini sweet peppers and scallions today but you can go for an assortment of veggies that are in season right now. Think of it like you would about a lasagna filling. Any leftover roasted broccoli, fried mushrooms, eggplant, salty capers and tomatoes, our fan favorite vegan chicken + our jackfruit ribs. They are all delicious homemade fillings, but to save some time on a busy weeknight you can also go for store bought beyond Italian sausage, smokey tempeh or marinated meatballs.
Just like baking and reheating a pizza or Stromboli, it’s best to reheat your leftover calzone in a hot oven on a pizzas stone. The toaster oven is a great option and so is the microwave in a pinch. All things considered, this is also nice enjoyed at room temperature or straight out of the fridge. It’s all a matter of taste.
- What is a Calzone vs Panzerotti or Panzarotti? – A Panzerotti or Calzoni Fritti is usually a small calzone that is fried instead of baked and that originated in Southern Italy. So the more indulgent version of a classic calzone.
- Stromboli vs Calzone – Stromboli was actually invented in the United States in the 1950s and named after the classic movie Stromboli. Similar to a calzone and a Wellington, a stromboli is essentially a baked rolled up pizza. So imagine preparing a thin crust pizza with all your favorite toppings, then rolling it like a newspaper and baking it. That’s all!
Vegan Veggie Calzone
- Make sure to prepare the pizza dough in advance according to directions in the recipe. You will only use half of it ( 4 dough balls) and you can freeze the rest for later. (If freezing it you can do this right after kneading it, no need to proof it first).
- Rinse and slice the peppers into thin slices, discard the core and the seeds. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and toss to coat.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet on medium low flame and quickly saute the pepper and scallions together until nice little char marks start to form, a few minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and mix with the sliced spinach. Set aside until ready to use.
- (If using any store bought vegan meatballs, sausages or chicken make sure to cook it first before adding it to the calzone)
- Sprinkle some flour on a board board or kitchen counter and place the pizza dough on top. Sprinkle more flour on top and using the palm of your hand gently press each dough ball down to form a circle. Sprinkle more flour if needed so the dough doesn’t stick. (do not knead the dough at this point)
- Use a fork to gently poke the dough in a few spots so it won’t puff up while cooking.
- Spoon some of the tomato sauce over half of the dough, sprinkle with some of the vegan cheese and some of the pepper scallion mixture or your favorite fillings. Sprinkle with more cheese and gently fold over the dough to create a pocket.
- Gently pull the bottom of the dough to fold over the top as in creating a nice seal of the pocket all around.
- Preheat a large cast iron griddle or grill pan on medium heat and gently transfer the calzone to the hot grill. ( you should be able to slide them right off of the board you were working on or using a large spatula).
- Cook for a few minutes on each side until nice grill marks form. Use a spatula to flip the calzone and repeat the above process until all calzone pockets are done. Allow them to cool off for a few minutes for the cheese to set before cutting into them.
- Preheat your oven with a pizza stone inside to the highest temperature for a good 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. You want it blasting hot.
- Place the calzone on a lightly floured pizza peel or cardboard box and carefully slide it on top of the pizza stone. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown to your liking. Transfer to a wooden board and allow the calzone to cool for 5 minutes or so for the cheese and all ingredients to set. Serve warm with the remaining tomato sauce on the side.