This simple calzone recipe features a homemade pizza dough and a spinach, mushroom, and two-cheese filling. Calzones are the ultimate weekend dinner!
Alex and I love making our own pizza, so why not calzones? While sharing half a pizza is wonderful, eating that same pizza half in the form of your own personal pizza pocket is that much more fun! You can use any vegetables you like in this easy calzone recipe, especially if you’re not a mushroom lover (we’d recommend substituting artichokes if that’s the case). Even better, use any cooked vegetables (or meat) that you have on hand, which is the easier and more traditional Italian way. Keep reading for our easy calzone recipe.
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What is a calzone?
Calzones originated in Naples, Italy (where all the best food comes from) and are essentially a giant pizza pocket. Although they can be packed with anything you’d like, they’re traditionally filled with cured meats, cheeses, and whatever veggies you have on hand. Calzones typically don’t have any tomato sauce in them, as you’re supposed to dunk them in sauce before each bite. (For this recipe, we’ve included a bit of the sauce in the filling for more flavor.) Calzones are folded over and crimped along the edges to seal all the fillings in, and are baked until the outside is golden brown and the cheese filling is bubbly.
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How to make a calzone
Unsure how to make a calzone from scratch? Many people mistakenly believe that calzones are a tricky dish best left to the professionals at your local pizza parlor. However, homemade calzones surprisingly easy to make! They’re a little more effort than making a full pizza, but you really don’t need a lot of specialized skills to make one of these bad boys.
Arguably the most important part of making a calzone is the filling. Make sure to sauté your veggies before filling the calzone; this not only ensures that the calzone will be fully cooked through once it goes golden brown on the outside, but sautéing the vegetables also releases most of their liquid. This last bit is especially important because there’s no way for steam to be released from a calzone. If you don’t sauté the veggies, you’ll wind up with a soggy calzone.
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When filling the calzone, put in less cheese and vegetables than you think you’ll need. An overstuffed calzone will start oozing in the oven and the crust will get soggy. Overfilling it will also make it tougher to crimp the edges of the calzone closed and will make the whole process incredibly messy (it’d still be delicious though!).
If you’re planning to make this easy calzone recipe for guests, we’d recommend making the pizza dough in advance. Our easy pizza dough recipe can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before making it, and it also enhances the flavor! This way it’s on hand the day you’re ready to start baking: you’ll just need to let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes while making the filling. You can also make the red sauce ahead of time as well, although it’s not much trouble to whip it up while the calzones are baking.
Looking for more vegetarian Italian recipes?
Looking for Italian recipes? Here at A Couple Cooks we specialize in Italian recipes outside of this easy calzone recipe, here are some of our favorites:
- 15-Minute Gnocchi with Romesco Sauce
- Tomato Basil Gnocchi Soup
- Pumpkin Sage Stuffed Shells
- Skillet Eggplant Marinara
- Italian Vegetable and Gnocchi Soup
- White Egg Pizza with Pecorino
- Easy Marinara Sauce
- How to Make Artisan Pizza at Home
- Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
- Our Best Vegan Pizza
- All our Italian recipes!
This recipe is…
This easy calzone recipe is vegetarian.Print
This easy calzone recipe features a homemade pizza dough and a spinach, mushroom, and two-cheese filling. It’s the ultimate weekend dinner!
- 1 recipe Best Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe or Food Processor Pizza Dough
- 16 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves
- 6 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach leaves (roughly chopped and washed, if using standard spinach)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil (or a handful of chopped fresh basil if in season)
- 1 cup Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce, plus more to serve (make 2 x the recipe)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- Kosher salt
- Follow the Best Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe or Food Processor Pizza Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.) After kneading, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Brush the bottom of a container with olive oil, then brush the dough balls with olive oil on all sides and place them in the container. Cover the container and allow the dough to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make a double recipe of the Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce, but use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder in place of the garlic clove (so 1/2 teaspoon garlic in all). One cup will be used in the calzone filling, and the remainder will be used as a dipping sauce.
- Make the filling: Slice the mushrooms. Mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté the mushrooms, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until soft, around 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir; sauté for 1 minute. Add the pizza sauce and spinach and cook down until the liquid has mostly cooked out. Remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Stir to combine with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Working dough 2 balls at a time, place the dough on a floured surface and gently press each into a roughly 5 to 6-inch circle (it’s helpful to measure to make sure it does not get too large). On one half of each dough circle, add a 1/3 cup of the filling mixture, making sure to leave 1/2 inch of space around the edge of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over so that the calzone forms a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges together using a fork (we used a large serving fork). Use a spatula to transfer the calzones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for all 8 calzones, split between two baking sheets.
- Beat the egg together with 1 tablespoon water and brush the egg wash onto the top of the calzones.
- Bake the calzones until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then serve with the remaining pizza sauce on the side.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Easy Calzone Recipe, How to make Calzones, Calzone Recipe, Italian, Vegetarian Calzone, Vegetarian
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.