Divinely Decadent Vegan Calzones Your Family Will Love!
You don’t have to give up your favorite comfort foods just because you’ve gotten animal protein out of your diet. I have fed these amazingly decadent calzones to numerous of my carnivorous friends and acquaintances, and everyone has loved them. Most recently, I took a couple over to my veterinarian and his nurse to thank them for taking such good care of my geriatric kitty. He texted me effusively, “Thank You!!!! Yum!!!” You’ll receive equal praise when you serve up these satisfying, delicious treats to your friends and loved ones.
While there are several steps to this process, this recipe is not particularly difficult. The cheeses whip up in less than ten minutes each and can be prepared up to three days in advance. I have individual recipes for these, so check out Quick and Easy Vegan Mozzarella and Dairy-Free (Vegan) Basil Ricotta Cheese. The pizza dough takes about fifteen minutes to mix, including yeast activation time, and another thirty minutes to rise. While the dough is rising, you can prepare your vegetable fillers (caramelize onions and peppers, sauté mushrooms, and steam spinach), cut up artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, and Chipotle Mexican Sausage. The sauce also comes together in about thirty minutes.
All of these steps can also be done a day or two in advance so that all you have to do is lay the ingredients out in the order you plan to layer them in the calzone and reheat the sauce while the dough is rising. Even the dough can be prepared up to a month in advance and stored in your freezer in individual calzone-sized balls wrapped in plastic. Just take out what you need and allow them to thaw in your fridge overnight or on your countertop an hour before using. I like to cook more calzones than I need so I can freeze a couple to reheat for a second or even third meal.
Divinely Decadent Vegan Calzones Your Family Will Love!
For the Dough:
- 13 1/2 ounces water (warm) (preferably by weight)
- 1 teaspoons organic sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 packet or 1/4 oz)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 255 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour aprox. 2 cups
- 255 grams organic all-purpose flour aprox. 2 1/4 cups
For The Filling:
- 1 recipe Oil-Free Calzone Dipping Sauce
- 1 recipe Dairy-Free (Vegan) Basil Ricotta Cheese
- 1 recipe Dairy-Free (Vegan) Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup Caramelized Onions and Sweet Peppers
- 1 cup Artichoke Hearts slice in half lengthwise
- 1 cup Pineapple cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 cup Sliced Sautéed Mushrooms
- 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives or black olives
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 link Vegan Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage, cut in 4 pieces lengthwise, then cut across into 1/4-inch pieces
- 14 - 24 ounces fresh spinach (depending on whether you are using them raw or cooked)
- Prepare the vegetables and fruit, cheeses, and dipping sauce. These can be done up to three days in advance of assembling the calzones. If you break these down into manageable steps, making the calzones becomes a breeze.
- Sauté mushrooms until their juices have released. Either drain at this point or continue to cook until golden brown and the juices have resorbed or evaporated. Alternatively, blanch the mushrooms in boiling water for two minutes and drain.
- Rinse spinach and shake off most of the moisture. The remaining moisture is enough to steam the spinach. Place in a sauté pan with a cover and cook on medium heat until the spinach is wilted. This should only take two or three minutes. If you are using raw spinach, skip this step. I like to use cooked spinach because you can add much more to your calzones, adding flavor and nutrition. Place the spinach between layers of an absorbent, clean kitchen towel and wring out to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
- Prepare Calzone Dipping Sauce according to the recipe, simmering uncovered for thirty minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until needed.
- Prepare the onions and peppers according to the method shown in Carmelizing Onions Without Oil.
- Prepare dough. In a clean bowl, mix sugar, water, and yeast. When the yeast becomes active (3-10 min), stir in flours. Knead for a few minutes and form into a ball. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and allow to rise for thirty minutes or until doubled in size.
- At this point, while the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Be sure to place the pizza stone inside the oven on the middle rack BEFORE preheating. This is an important step. The oven and the stone must be preheated before baking the calzones. Do not place a cold stone into a hot oven or it may break!
- While the oven is preheating and the dough is rising, make or reheat the dipping sauce. Lay the mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, and pineapple on a clean absorbent cloth to remove excess moisture. This prevents your calzone from becoming soggy. Have your onions and peppers, cheeses, spinach, and sausage within reach.
- After the dough has risen deflate it by punching it down slightly. Divide it into 4 equal portions.
- Transfer one portion to a floured board and flour rolling pin. Roll the dough into a nine or ten-inch disc. Check to make sure there is enough flour on your board that your calzone will slide around easily on it. This will become important when you have to slide the calzone from the board onto the baking stone.
- To assemble the calzone, spread the ricotta cheese on the bottom half of the dough disc closest to you, from the middle to one-quarter-inch from the edges. This will allow for crimping the edges together later. The second layer should be the spinach, whether it is cooked or raw. Add the onions and peppers, mushrooms, garlic, black olives, pineapple and sausage pieces. Finally, add several dollops of the vegan mozzarella cheese.
- Fold the top half to the dough over the half with the layered ingredients, pressing the edges together to form a half-moon. Crimp the edges together with the tynes of a fork. Make sure the calzone will still slide on the board. If not, add a little flour to the board, underneath the calzone.
- Pull out the oven rack so you can easily reach the stone. Slide the calzone onto the baking stone. With a spatula, push the calzone to the farthest edge of the stone taking care not to puncture it. Set the timer for 13 minutes. Close the oven door and quickly assemble the second calzone. Add it to the stone just as you did the first, noting the time you put it, in or set another timer.
- After thirteen minutes has passed, start checking the first calzone for doneness. It should be slightly browned. Don't bake them more than fifteen minutes. If you wait until the calzones look golden brown, you will likely overcook them. They appear much less brown in the oven than they do outside of it. Repeat with the remaining calzones.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce.
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