Aaah. Calzones. How dare you to exist. As a kid I always loved the idea of shoving all kinds of pizza ingredients into a thick crust with a ton of cheese. Of course, I didn’t cook this… my dad would, but they were always so good. My dad actually used to make homemade pizza dough and everything! Him and my mom actually met at a pizza parlor when they were in high school and are still together over 30 years later. Yay parentals! They really are the greatest.
Anyway, I have an obsession with all things pizza and I always try and find ways to lighten them up so I can have my pizza and still fit into my jeans. In fact, one of my first posts was an awesome skinny deep dish pizza! Gah, I want some now.
OK back to the point. I have been wanting to develop a skinny version of a calzone for a while, just never got around to it. Basically because I tend to be lazy once I get home from food styling and cooking at work all day and don’t have the energy or the patience to figure out how to correctly roll out and shape the dough into a calzone. Guess what? Not that hard! Not that hard at all.
Now, I do love to make my own pizza crust, but honestly I love Trader Joe’s wheat pizza dough. The stats are great and it tastes awesome. It also requires like 10 min prep compared to hours to make your own dough. But feel free to use whatever dough you like, just keep in mind the calories may be a bit different since Trader Joe’s crust is so low cal. I recommend using whole wheat if anything. It’s just a nice bonus of fiber and protein.
So, I am kind of weird because I actually prefer a veggie pizza over a meat-loaded one. I also prefer the taste and texture of turkey pepperoni over the standard. I decided to stuff these calzones with tons of veggies so I can cut down the cheese and meat, while still keeping these impressively large and tasty. Success! These we’re HUGE — take a look at the photos. I am not trying to trick you by putting these on a small plate and making them look large. That is a standard large dinner plate!
So not only are these large and in charge, the ratio of filling to cheese is totally acceptable and they clock in at less than HALF the amount of calories a Pizza Hut Pepperoni P’Zone has. Yeah — steer clear of those, they have 900 calories and 34g fat for a whole one! Yikes… Oh, so I know these are pretty high in sodium, unfortunately it’s from the crust, canned tomatoes, sauce and cheese. All pizza staples you can’t do without. If sodium is an issue, choose no salt added items. Also, keep in mind that the P’Zone has 2,200mg of sodium!
So onto the recipe! These aren’t hard to make, trust me! Just remember to let your dough rest (if previously refrigerated) for at least 20 – 30 minutes before assembling your calzones. This just helps the dough be more pliable and easier to work with.
Ahh just writing about these is making my mouth water! I want them NOW! Make them!
Veggie Loaded Pepperoni Calzones
1 lb. whole-wheat pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
17 slices turkey pepperoni, quartered
1/2 cup premade pizza sauce
1 cup canned diced tomatoes in Italian spices, drained
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook and stir mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers until softened, about 8 minutes.
Transfer cooked veggies to a large bowl and blot away any excess moisture. Add pepperoni, pizza sauce, and diced tomatoes.
On a lightly floured surface, separate dough into 4 equal portions. One at a time, roll out into a circle about 8 – 10 inches in diameter.
Place dough circles on the baking sheets. Top each circle with 2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese onto the bottom half of each dough circle, leaving a 1-inch border. Evenly top cheese covered half with veggie-sauce mixture followed by remaining 2 tbsp. cheese each.
Fold and stretch the plain half of the dough over the topped half meeting the edges. Press to seal and roll edges onto each other to completely close. Use a knife to cut a small slit into the top center of each calzone.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.