Let’s celebrate National Spinach Day with an easy calzone recipe that uses prepared pizza dough, frozen spinach, and three kinds of cheese. This may be the best way to get something green into your kids. I like to serve it with a side of warm marinara sauce for dipping.
As a kid, my family spent weeks vacationing along the Jersey Shore. I cherish the memories of those days and food often evokes those memories.
Calzones, with their cheesy, doughy goodness, is one food that always makes me nostalgic. Basically a pizza that is folded upon itself, rather than baked flat and sliced, a calzone is an almost perfect ‘walking’ food – Hello Wildwood NJ boardwalk!
It’s also a great way to use up what’s left in your refrigerator and still have your whole family devour them. How often does that happen?
WHAT CAN YOU PUT INTO A CALZONE?
The best thing about this easy calzone recipe is that it’s endlessly customizable! If you can put it on a pizza, you can put it in a calzone.
- Try ground beef, onions, green peppers, and provolone cheese for a Philly Cheesesteak calzone.
- Chopped ham and pineapple for a Hawaiian calzone.
- A meat lover’s calzone could include Italian sausage, pepperoni, and salami.
- Go for a Southern flair with barbecue chicken, cheddar cheese, and jalapenos.
TIPS ON MAKING THIS RECIPE
- Use any kind of pizza dough that you enjoy. You could make your own or use a ball of fresh dough from the grocery store, a can of refrigerated pizza dough, or even frozen bread dough.
- If you are using fresh vegetables, you will want to saute them first. This will keep your calzone from getting soggy.
- Similarly, if you are using sausage or ground beef, you will want to cook it fully and drain off the fat. You can also saute pepperoni, salami, or any Italian deli meat to render off some of the fat as well. You don’t want a greasy, oil heavy filling in your calzone.
- Allow some of the liquid to drain off of ricotta or cottage cheese by spooning it into a fine-mesh sieve that you line with a paper towel.
- Don’t be tempted to overfill the calzone. Too much filling will make it hard to seal the dough and make the crust soggy. Plus, you don’t want the filling to bust out and make a mess in your oven.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH EASY SPINACH CALZONES?
If you are looking to keep the meal very kid-friendly, but still healthy, these Cheesy Baked Zucchini Fries will do the trick. The kids love them and you’ll like how easy and nutritious they are.
EQUIPMENT USED FOR THIS RECIPE
- AirBake Nonstick 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set – These baking sheets are insulated, helping the bottom of your baked goods get perfectly browned, but not too brown.
- AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2 – Why pay for the fancy French name? These are amazing…and inexpensive.
- OXO Good Grips Silicone Basting & Pastry Brush – Use this on the grill, on chicken, pork, and throw it into the dishwasher. Love that!
- Tebery 4 Pack Cooling Racks Baking Rack – 16″ x 10″ – I use these for cooling baked goods and also use them to ‘oven-fry’ frozen french fries, frozen wings. You get the idea.
Sure to be one of your family’s favorite, this easy calzone recipe is a great way to get something green into your kid’s. Serve with a side of pizza sauce for dipping and a side salad for an easy and healthy meal.
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, very finely minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pound fresh pizza dough, room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Line a fine-mesh sieve with a paper towel and spoon the ricotta cheese into the lined sieve. Place the sieve over a large bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow some of the extra moisture to drain.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute until the onion becomes soft and translucent.
Stir in the red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, and spinach until well combined. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add the drained ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and ¼ cup of grated Parmesan. Stir well.
Lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Place the dough onto the floured surface and cut the ball into 4 equal pieces.
Using your floured hands, flatten each piece into an 8-inch round and place on the baking sheet.
Spread ¼ of the spinach filling evenly over half of each dough round, leaving at least a 1-inch border around all edges.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: easy calzone recipe, spinach recipes, Italian food, Italian recipes, weeknight meals, weeknight dinner ideas