Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Minced mushrooms make for a healthy, hearty calzone filling with kale, black olives and ricotta, while a sprouted-wheat crust crisps up and perfectly browns on the pizza stone. 


Well, it looks like we all survived the first day of school! In the mixed-level school where I work, there were certainly a lot of tears from the little ones - and a lot of excited chatter from the older ones who hadn't seen their friends in a while. With all the usual snafus of class lists and schedules, one thing can always be counted on to bring everyone to their seats for at least a few minutes - LUNCH. If the kids in your life are anything like ours, the clock starts being watched at about 10:30 (right after snack!) and once the magical "tidy up time" rolls around you'd swear children could never move that fast.

Of course, after the kiddos eat and bolt out the door for recess, it's the grown-up's time to nosh. I like to think we have a bit more of a sophisticated palate, if not a whole lot of time, so something that tastes gourmet with minimal fuss in the middle of the day is paramount. I for one favour a throwback to my childhood - the pizza pocket. I guess, if I'm trying to sound frou-frou and all grown up, I should call them calzones, but it's quite hard to stay in "adult" mode after working with children all day!

Mushroom "meat" browning nicely!
Regardless, the flavours of these doughy pouches - whatever you choose to call them - are definitely more suited to the mature palate than the one of a 9 year old. Underneath a homemade, spouted-wheat crust lies a veggie-packed ricotta filling. Along with the obvious tomatoes (I went for my favourite canned pizza sauce since I didn't have any homemade left over), a full head of garden-grown kale and a slew of mushrooms were cooked up in red wine and vegan Worcestershire before being finished with briny olives and fresh basil. Paired with the cheese and sweet, nutty dough, they are meals fit to be served at any high end bistro - just cheaper.


I won't lie though - these do take a bit of time to put together. However, I simplified things by making four batches of sprouted wheat pizza dough as well as the filling on Saturday, stashing 1 in the fridge and preparing the other for freezing. To do that, I rolled out oblongs of dough about the size of a cookie sheet, then rolled them up into logs with wax paper inside (to prevent sticking), finally sealing each log in cling wrap and foil. This way, they're ready to go once defrosted - no need to break out the rolling pin again! By Sunday, the dough and filling had rested and chilled enough that rollong, cutting and sealing was a breeze. All that was left was to fire up the oven with a pizza stone and bake them off.

Obviously, this makes a lot at once, but freezing the leftovers works like a charm, and they even microwave well without much quality loss. You could, if you had time, heat defrosted ones in the oven (about 30 minutes at 350F) but truly, microwave is fine.

Here's wishing you all a fantastic school year of full minds and full bellies!

Makes 12
Basic Sprouted Wheat Pizza Dough:
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm, unsweetened plain soy milk (you get the best texture with this, but you can use regular milk)
1 tbsp vinegar
4 ¼ cups sprouted whole wheat flour (you can use regular whole wheat too, sprouted is a little sweeter)
2 packets "pizza yeast"
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ lb mushrooms, minced
¼ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp black pepper
pinch aleppo pepper flakes (or hot paprika or chili flakes)
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried oregano
Pinch dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz kale, minced
2 cups pizza sauce
¼ cup red wine
⅓ cup minced black olives
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp fresh basil, minced

Flour for dusting work surface
1 batch Basic Sprouted Wheat Pizza Dough (above)
cornmeal, for baking sheet

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, soy milk, vinegar and flour. Mix to combine thoroughly.
  2. Let stand 30 minutes.
  3. Add the yeast and begin kneading for 8 minutes. Halfway through, add oil and salt. Dough will be smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or freeze, see notes above)
  1. Heat the oven to 425F with a pizza stone on the lower rack.
  2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat and add the mushrooms.
  3. Cook until well browned and shrunken, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, pepper flakes, onion powder, oregano and rosemary until well incorporated.
  5. Add the garlic and kale and cook until kale has wilted.
  6. Add the pizza sauce and red wine.
  7. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and is no longer “runny”, about 5-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the olives, cheeses and basil. Let cool completely (I chilled mine overnight).
  9. Roll out the pizza dough ⅛” thick and cut into 12 pieces (I found it easier to do in 2 batches).
  10. Spread the filling on half the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides (using a 1-tbsp disher helped make sure everyone got equal share - about 2 tbsp per calzone).
  11. Fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges together.
  12. Snip vents in the top of each calzone and place on a rimless baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
  13. Transfer the calzones to the pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the calzones are light brown (otherwise bake on the baking sheet about 20 minutes).
  14. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 288.1
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 8.1 mg
Sodium: 658.9 mg
Total Carbs: 40.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.0 g
Protein: 11.5 g

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