Calzone Recipe | Pizza Pockets | Calzone Pocket (Vegetarian)

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Who says that you can’t have the most classic of Italian dishes as vegetarian? Whoever did, bring them to this post of mine! Here, I share one of my most favorite snacks from the cuisine of Italy, the Calzone. And a 100% vegetarian one. Also known as Pizza Pockets or Calzone Pocket, this one is a delicious version stuffed with a creamy, cheesy mixture of herbed bell peppers. The recipe is a bit lengthy and will require your complete attention, but in the end, its going to be worth!

a whole calzone and a halved calzone served on a white plate with text layover.

What is Calzone

A Calzone can be simply described as an Italian style folded stuffed bread that is made with a leavened pizza dough. For this reason, it is also often referred to as a ‘turnover’ or more popularly as Pizza Pockets or Calzone Pocket. The fillings can be made with veggies, cheese, herbs, spices, meats, egg, etc.

Traditionally, large or even smaller Pizza Pockets are baked. But there are many variations like the ‘panzerotti,’ that can be fried too. Calzone Pocket actually resembles the quintessential Indian sweet snack gujiya and karanji, which are essentially festive treats in our country.

It is said that the Calzone originated in the 18th century and has its roots in the region of Naples in Italy. It also has a close resemblance to the Italian-American dish called ‘stromboli.’ However, the difference in the shape is the major factor that makes these two distinct. While a Calzone Pocket is always crescent-shaped, strombolis can be cylindrical or rectangular.

There are many variations of these Pizza Pockets in Italy itself. Each region actually specializes in a certain form of it. Like the ‘panzerotti’ of Apulia, ‘cuddiruni or cudduruni’ of Sicilia and ‘pastizz’ of Basilicata.

The most traditional filling is that of mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan or pecorino, salami or ham. Others include tomatoes, cabbage, olives, onions, chards, provolone, fish, minced meat, etc.

About Pizza Pockets Recipe

Since at home, once in a while, I do make a Pizza. So, I also end up making a Calzone sometimes. In fact, I really feel it is easy to prepare. You just have to stick to a good recipe and thankfully mine, never disappoints.

So, while the dough leavens, you prepare the stuffing which does not take much time. Then, just assemble, shape and prepare the Calzone Pocket. Also, if you have some leftover pizza dough, then it is quick to prepare these Pizza Pockets. These are great as tiffin or lunch box snacks too.

In this recipe of Calzone Pocket, I have used the sponge method for leavening instead of proofing the yeast directly. Also, both all-purpose flour (maida) and whole wheat flour (atta) are used to make the dough. This makes it somewhat healthier. However, you can also make it with only all-purpose flour or only whole wheat flour as well.

I usually prepare these Pizza Pockets with a simple stuffing of bell peppers, onions, basil, cream and cheese. You can even add other regular pizza toppings like tomatoes, corn, baby corn, mushrooms, olives, etc. in the stuffing mixture.

To make it easy for you to navigate through the procedure, I have divided this complete recipe post into 5 parts:

  1. Making sponge mixture
  2. Making dough
  3. Making the veggie stuffing
  4. Making the Calzone – assembling, rolling and shaping
  5. Baking Calzone Pocket
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Calzone

Make Sponge Mixture

1. Warm 1.25 cups water. Add a pinch of sugar and 1 teaspoon instant yeast and stir.

sugar and instant yeast added to warm water in a bowl for making pizza pockets.

2. Add ½ cup all-purpose flour (maida).

adding all purpose flour to the bowl for making pizza pockets.

3. Stir and whisk this mixture very well. There should be no lumps.

whisking the flour mixture for making pizza pockets.

4. Cover the bowl for 30 to 50 minutes and allow the mixture to bubble up at room temperature.

If the room temperature is hot or warm, then this process will take less time. The mixture will have a thin pudding like consistency.

flour and yeast mixture for making pizza pockets.

5. The sponge after 40 minutes has bubbled up.

bubbled up sponge after 40 minutes for making pizza pockets.

Make Dough

6. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt and 1 cup whole wheat flour (atta) in the sponge mixture.

olive oil, salt and whole wheat flour added to sponge mixture for making pizza pockets.

7. Stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon.

stirring mixture well for making pizza pockets.

8. Later, add another 1 cup whole wheat flour and continue stirring till the whole mixture gathers together and starts leaving the sides of the bowl.

more whole wheat flour added to the mixture and mixed for making pizza pockets.

9. Lastly, add the remaining ½ cup whole wheat flour and begin to knead with your hands.

last batch of whole wheat flour added to the mixture and begun kneading with hands for making pizza pockets.

10. Place the dough on the work surface and knead very well till it becomes smooth, springy and elastic. Add more water, if required.

smooth, springy and elastic dough for making pizza pockets.

11. Place dough in a bowl and brush water all over it.

kneaded dough placed in a bowl.

12. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep for 45 minutes to 1 hour for leavening and rising.

dough covered with kitchen towel and kept for leavening.

13. Once the dough has risen well and doubled, divide it in 5 equal balls. Place in a bowl, cover and keep for about 10 to 15 minutes.

doubled up dough divided in equal balls and placed in a bowl.

Make Veggie Stuffing

14. Chop 1 medium to large onion, 2 medium red bell peppers and 2 to 3 small to medium garlic cloves.

chopped onions, red bell peppers and garlic cloves for making stuffing for calzone pocket.

15. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté till the onions soften and turn translucent.

sautéing chopped onions and garlic in hot olive oil in pan for making stuffing for calzone pocket.

16. Add the chopped bell peppers and sauté till they are almost cooked. Some crunch is desirable in the bell peppers.

chopped bell peppers added in the pan for making stuffing for calzone pocket.

17. Then, add the crushed black pepper and salt as required, 1 teaspoon red or white wine (optional), 1 teaspoon chopped basil leaves and 1 teaspoon chopped parsley or coriander leaves.

crushed black pepper, salt, red or white wine, chopped basil leaves and chopped parsley added to the pan for making stuffing for calzone pocket.

18. Mix well and switch off the heat.

spices and herbs mixed well in the bell pepper stuffing or calzone pocket.

19. When the stuffing mixture becomes warm, grate 70 to 80 grams cheese on top of it. For the cheese, use mozzarella of cheddar or an equal mix of these two cheese.

grating cheese on cooked stuffing mixture for calzone pocket.

20. Add 2 tablespoons light cream (or low-fat cream) or 1 tablespoon of whipping cream or clotted cream.

low fat cream added to stuffing mixture for calzone pocket.

21. Mix well and keep this stuffing mixture aside till it completely cools.

cooked stuffing mixture for calzone pocket.

Make Calzone

22. Before baking, preheat the oven 20 minutes before at 250° C/480° F. Take a dough ball on a lightly dusted work surface or board.

dough ball placed on lightly dusted surface for making calzone pocket.

23. Roll into a round of 5 to 6 inches diameter, like a thick roti or flatbread.

rolling dough ball into a thick chapatti for making calzone pocket.

24. Place the prepared stuffing mixture on one side keeping a space of about 1 cm all around the circumference edge.

adding prepared stuffing mixture on one side of the rolled dough chapatti.

25. Gently cover the stuffed side with the remaining halve.

covering the stuffed side with remaining halve.

26. Join the edges.

joining edges to make a calzone.

27. Press with a fork so that the edge is sealed well. You can also brush some water and then press the edges.

The edges have to be pressed and sealed properly as you don’t want the stuffing mixture to come out while baking and create a mess. You can also make smaller Pizza Pockets.

pressing the edges with a fork to seal the calzone.

Bake Calzone

28. Brush the Calzone with oil or milk on the top.

brushing prepared calzone with oil.

29. Gently lift and place them in a greased tray. Make more Pizza Pockets this way.

calzones placed in a greased baking tray.

30. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mine were golden after exact 18 minutes. Remove them with the help of a spatula and keep on a wire rack for cooling. Brush the surface with olive oil when they are still hot.

baked calzones.

31. You can bake all of them at once, if you have a large oven or bake in batches as I have done. When warm, slice and serve Calzone Pocket with tomato sauce or pizza sauce or ketchup.

a whole calzone and a halved calzone served on a white plate with text layover.

Expert Tips

  1. You can use either instant yeast or dry active yeast for the sponge mixture. The conversion for this recipe is 1 teaspoon instant yeast = ½ tablespoon or 1.5 teaspoon of dry active yeast.
  2. Keep in mind that with dry active yeast, you will have to give more time for the dough to leaven. So for the first rise, allow the dough to leaven for 1.5 to 2 hours or more. For the second rise, give a time of 40 minutes to 1 hour. The time taken to leaven will depend on the temperature and climate in your city or town.
  3. Remember to knead the dough very well. It should be soft, elastic and springy. You could also use a stand mixer to knead the dough.
  4. The process of making the sponge mixture will take less time if the room temperature is warm or hot.
  5. Make sure to knead the dough till it becomes smooth, springy and elastic. If needed, add more water.
  6. It is best to cook the bell peppers slightly and not fully. Some crunch in them works well for this recipe. Beside red bell peppers, feel free to add veggies of your choice. You can also add some button mushrooms.
  7. Adding of red or white wine is optional. You can skip it easily.
  8. While shaping, ensure pressing and sealing the edges properly. This way the stuffing will not come out while baking. You can shape the Calzone Pockets in smaller size too.
  9. If you have a large oven, then you can bake all the Pizza Pockets at once. If you  have a small one, then bake in batches.

More Pizza Recipes To Try!

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calzone recipe, pizza pocket recipe

Calzone Recipe | Pizza Pockets | Calzone Pocket

Calzone, also known as Pizza Pockets are classic Italian turnovers that are made with leavened dough. This Calzone Pocket recipe is baked and stuffed with a creamy and cheesy red bell pepper, onion, garlic, herbs filling.
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cuisine Italian, World
Course Snacks
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 5 Calzones
Units

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups water or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast or ½ tablespoon dry active yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt or add as required

For calzone stuffing

  • 1 onion – medium to large, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper – extra large or 2 medium-sized, (you can choose any one – green red or yellow or a mix), chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves – small to medium, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white wine or red wine, optional
  • 1 teaspoon chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley or coriander leaves
  • 70 to 80 grams cheese – mozzarella or cheddar or half-half of both
  • 2 tablespoons light cream or low fat cream (25% to 35% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt as required
  • crushed black pepper or ground black pepper, as required
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil – for brushing the calzones

Instructions
 

Making Sponge

  • Warm the water. Dissolve sugar, sprinkle yeast and the ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
  • With a wired whisk, beat this sponge mixture well and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Close the bowl and allow the mixture to bubble up at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 50 minutes.

Making Dough

  • Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ to ¾ salt (or as required) and 1 cup whole wheat flour in this sponge mixture.
  • Stir and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Later add other 1 cup of whole wheat flour and continue stirring till the whole mixture gathers together and starts leaving the sides of the bowl.
  • Lastly add the ½ cup of whole wheat flour and working with your hands begin to knead.
  • Place the whole dough mixture on the work surface and knead very well till the dough becomes smooth, springy and elastic. Add more water if required.
  • Brush water all over the dough and place in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Allow to leaven and rise for about 45 mins to 1 hour.
  • Once the dough has risen well and doubled up, divide the dough into 5 equal balls.
  • Place them in a bowl covered for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Making calzone stuffing

  • In a frying pan or skillet, heat olive oil. Add the finely chopped onions and garlic and sauté till the onions soften and turn translucent.
  • Add the chopped bell peppers and sauté till the bell pepper are almost cooked.
  • Some crunch is desirable in the bell peppers.
  • Then add the crushed black pepper, salt, wine, basil and parsley or coriander leaves (cilantro).
  • Stir to mix and turn off the stovetop. Set aside the stuffing to cool.
  • When the stuffing becomes warm, grate the cheese on top of it.
  • Add the cream and mix thoroughly.
  • Keep this calzone filling aside till it completely cools.

Assembling and making calzone

  • Before baking preheat the oven 20 minutes before at 250 degrees Celsius.
  • Take a ball and roll into a round of 5 to 6 inches diameter on a lightly dusted board.
  • Place the filling on one side keeping a space of about 1 centimeter all around the edge.
  • Gently cover the stuffed side and join the edges.
  • Press the folded edges with a fork so that the edges are pressed well.
  • You can also brush some water and then press the edges. The calzone have to be folded really well, so that the stuffing does not come out while baking.

Baking calzone

  • Gently lift and place the calzone in a greased tray. Make other calzones this way.
  • Place the calzone in the pre heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till they are golden from top.
  • Remove them with the help of a spatula and keep on a wire rack for cooling.
  • Brush the calzone surface with olive oil when they are still hot.
  • You can bake all of them once if you have a large oven or bake in batches.
  • When they are warm, slice them and serve with tomato sauce, ketchup or pizza sauce.

Notes

  • If you have used dry active yeast or fresh yeast, the leavening time will more. For the first rise, consider a time of 1.5 to 2 hours or more for the dough to leaven. For the second rise, give a time of 40 minutes to 1 hour. Note that the time will vary according to the temperature and climate in your city.
  • Knead the dough to a smooth, supple and soft texture. It should be elastic and stringy.
  • If you do not have olive oil, use any neutral flavored oil like sunflower oil, avocado oil, or grape seed oil. 
  • Make the recipe your own by adding your preferred veggies, cheese, herbs and spices. You can even add button mushrooms. 
  • Oven temperatures vary, so it can take less or more time to bake. If you make smaller sized pizza pockets, the baking time will reduce. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Calzone Recipe | Pizza Pockets | Calzone Pocket
Amount Per Serving
Calories 463 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 450mg20%
Potassium 361mg10%
Carbohydrates 58g19%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 956IU19%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.4mg24%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 5mg25%
Vitamin B6 0.4mg20%
Vitamin B12 0.2µg3%
Vitamin C 33mg40%
Vitamin D 0.1µg1%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 11µg10%
Calcium 138mg14%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 124µg31%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 97mg24%
Phosphorus 326mg33%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Calzone recipe from the archives first published in July 2014 has been updated and republished on January 2023.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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75 Comments

  1. This is just incredibly delicious. Yes, it takes time, but the taste is totally worth it. For those who like I love baked stuff, this is absolutely must try!5 stars

  2. If I have to serve it to 20 ppl then can I half bake it and then re bake quickly

  3. Hi, for baking this, should we heat both the top and bottom rods of the oven? Or just the bottom rod? Generally, baking is done with just the bottom rod but in this case, the top may not get browned.

    1. you can either use both or only the bottom heating rod. in this recipe and in some cake recipes, i have used both the top and bottom heating elements.

  4. I have to make the calzones tomorrow. Can I leave the dough overnight to rise? If yes should I leave on the counter or in the fridge? Please reply ASAP. Thank you in advance.

    1. first rise should be at room temp. after that you keep the dough in the fridge. do not keep overnight as then the dough will becomes sour.

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