Things that I really really love: sandwiches and pizza. So why not make a sandwich out of pizza (aka, a calzone)? And why not try to make it semi-healthy by using whole wheat dough, healthy fillings, and low fat cheeses? Well I couldn’t think of a single reason, so I went ahead and did it. Not only were they super fun to make, they also have infinite filling options to please any one. You can make mini calzones as an impressive app or full sizers for a healthy and filling dinner. For mine, I used broccoli rabe, turkey sausage, and white beans, and a creamy lowfat cheese mixture. You will not regret entering the calzone zone, I promise.
It wasn’t the quickest meal I’ve ever made, have to be up front about that. You have to first cook your filling ingredients, mix the cheese, roll out the dough, and construct these cute little pockets. But to me it was so worth it. Here’s a close-up of the filling. I could have stopped right there and just eaten the filling it was that good. But I was on a mission.
And here’s the best part…the construction. I love crafting more than the average person, so this put me right in my happy place. Once you top your pizza dough rounds, you fold over half and seal it either by making little pleats in the dough or going around the edges and pressing together with a fork. Add slits for ventilation and pop um in a super hot oven to get golden brown. Enjoy your healtified pizza-wich (or what a normal person might call a calzone).
Nutritional Highlights: This is a perfectly balanced meal in a cute little pocket. The filling has lean protein from the turkey sausage, more protein/fiber/healthy carbs from the white beans, and all the powerhouse vitamins from the broccoli rabe. By using lowfat cheeses and using a small amount, I didn’t add too much fat to the dish. The whole wheat dough, rolled out thinly, is full of fiber and healthy whole grains. Serve with a salad and you’ve got yourself a healthy and satisfying meal that even the pickiest people will enjoy.
Broccoli Rabe, White Bean, and Turkey Sausage Calzones
- Whole wheat pizza dough (I buy from my favorite pizzaria but many grocery stores sell it too)
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12 oz), stalks trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 8 oz turkey italian sausage (I used the spicy kind!)
- 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
- 1 cup skim or part skim ricotta
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- marinara sauce for serving
For the filling: In a large sautee pan over medium high heat, remove turkey sausage from casings, break up, and cook until browned. Set turkey sausage aside. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat and add the sliced garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant and add in the broccoli rabe. Cook down the broccoli rabe for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the white beans and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Add your browned sausage back in.
For the cheese mixture: In a separate bowl, mix the shredded mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat your oven to 500 with the pizza stone inside if you have one. Cut your dough into about 6 even portions. Sprinkle a large flat surface with flour and roll out each dough piece into a very thin round, about 9 inch diameter. Spread on the cheese onto each round, leaving about an inch around the edge without any cheese. Then top half of the cheese with a scoop of the sausage/broccoli/white bean mixture. Fold half of the round over the filling and pleat the edges to seal the calzone shut. Repeat with the rest of the calzones. Brush the top of the calzone with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cut a few slits in the top of the calzone.
Carefully transfer to your hot pizza stone and cook for about 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve along with some marinara sauce. Enjoy calzones at home!