These delicious vegan calzones are going to be a new favorite dinner recipe for your whole family! Almost as easy to make as pizza, these are filled with tomato sauce, vegetables and a super simple cashew cream sauce. Perfect grab-and-go meal (just like a pizza pocket!), very versatile and fully plant-based, egg-free and dairy-free.
Here is a fun and delicious twist on homemade pizza: vegan calzones!
I have a few pizza recipes on the blog, such as this vegan white sauce pizza and mini bagel pizza bites, but since calzones are an old favorite of mine I decided to make my own plant-based calzone recipe! And the result is absolutely amazing!
Calzones are quite easy to make, actually not that much more complicated than making regular pizza, but they are so much more fun to eat! They are everything you love about pizza, but with all the yummy filling ingredients locked inside a pocket that's made with pizza dough. It is less messy to eat and a perfect lunch to pack for work.
You can just grab-and-go and eat using your hands, so fun! It is like a vegan pizza pocket or a hot pocket, but much healthier and all-made-from scratch.
In fact, it does not have to be all completely from scratch since you can do like me and simply use a store-bought pizza dough from the store. Then, all you will have to do is to pile the pizza topping ingredients over the pizza dough, fold the dough over, bake until browned and crispy and enjoy!
This version includes regular pizza sauce, but you can also use marinara sauce if you prefer. Then, it is filled with tons of vegetables, such as onions, garlic, spinach, mushrooms and zucchini, but obviously there is lots of room for variation. And since this is a vegetarian calzone made without cheese, it also includes a super simple cheesy cashew cream sauce for more creaminess.
It makes for such a delicious filling dinner recipe your whole family will enjoy or make them ahead and keep for after-school hearty snacks if you have hungry teenagers to feed!
Hope you give them a try and let me know how they turned out! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Delicious and fun way to eat pizza!
- Healthy version of a hot pocket or pizza pocket
- Great for kids, but grown ups too
- Perfect meal-prep ahead dinner recipe
- Very versatile, use your favorite pizza topping ingredients!
- Meatless, cheese-free and loaded with vegetables!
- 100% vegan (plant-based), dairy-free and can easily be made gluten-free
What is a calzone?
A calzone is an Italian-style folded pizza, meaning that the pizza topping ingredients are stuffed in a pocket that's made with homemade dough (usually in a crescent-shape).
The typical dough used to make calzones is either a bread dough or salted pizza dough and usually includes mostly typical pizza topping ingredients, such as meat, ricotta or mozzarella cheese, sometimes eggs and usually vegetables. A classic Italian calzone does not always include a tomato sauce, although you will see most recipes using some stuffed inside or garnished over the pocket when serving.
Ingredients you'll need
- Pizza dough: I used an already-made whole wheat pizza dough from our local market, but use any pizza dough that's available in your grocery store. You can also make your own pizza dough from scratch to make these veggie calzones!
- Pizza sauce: feel-free to use any tomato sauce you like, such as marinara sauce. Using store-bought red sauce will save you some time, but here is a homemade pizza sauce you can use to make this recipe.
- Vegetables: I used a mix of mushrooms, zucchini, onions and spinach, but you can easily swap for any vegetables you like or have on hands. Keep reading to see more ideas you can fill your calzones with!
- Garlic: adds flavor to the roasted vegetables. I used 2 cloves, although you can use a lot more for extra garlicky calzones.
- Dried oregano: to flavor the vegetables, can also use any dried herbs you like, such as thyme, Italian mix, basil or parsley.
For the cheesy cashew cream
- Raw cashews: make sure to use unsalted and unroasted cashews to make the cream sauce.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a subtle cheesy flavor to the calzones.
- Lemon juice: for a nice tang, can also be swapped for a small amount of apple cider vinegar.
How to make vegan calzones
To save up some time, I recommend to use store-bough pizza dough and pizza sauce. You can also make the cashew cream ahead of time if you like to meal-prep. That way, the calzone will be very fast to build up together later.
Also, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 425º.
Make the cashew cream
Soak the cashews in cold water overnight OR in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. This is important to soften the cashews and help blend them to a smooth texture. Then, drain well.
To your blender, add the drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and then add the water. Blend on high until smooth.
You will have to take a few breaks to scrape the walls of the blender and ensure the cream is blended to as smooth as you can. If you have a large blender container like mine, then you will have to scrape the walls a few times since the sauce will tend to stick to the sides (the sauce is a little easier to blend with a smaller blender container for this reason).
Set the sauce aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Cook the vegetables
Warm up a large non-stick pan over medium heat with or without a little oil and then, add the onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly softened but still underdone.
Then, add the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and dried herbs. Cook stirring often until the vegetables are mostly done. If the pan tends to dry out, then add a splash of water (you don't want the garlic to burn!).
Finally, add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute or until the leaves are wilted. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
Roll/shape the dough and fill the calzones
Add a light amount of flour over a clean surface and divide the pizza dough in 4 equal portions. Then, one portion at the time, roll the dough into a circle.
Spread some pizza sauce over half of the circle leaving an edge free of sauce for sealing purposes. Then, pile the cooked vegetables over the sauce, drizzle some of the cashew cream over and fold the other half of dough over the filling. Press all around the edges using your fingers and a fork to lock the filling ingredients inside.
I like to also fold the dough from the edges to really seal the pockets tightly (watch the quick video to see what I mean).
Bake in the oven
Keep going with the remaining dough and filling ingredients and place all 4 calzones over the prepared baking sheet (see tips below).
Brush with some plant-based milk or spray some olive oil over and sprinkle some more dried oregano over.
Then, bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Let the calzone rest for 5-10 minutes and then enjoy!
- If using frozen pizza dough, then let it thaw in the fridge overnight. When ready to use, try to also leave it on the counter at room temperature for an hour or so to help manipulating the dough and let it puff a bit before using.
- I recommend to roll the pizza dough in circles on the counter, but then transfer over the prepared baking sheet before adding the sauce and filling ingredients. I find the calzones to be delicate before baking them, so I prefer to avoid transferring the unbaked filled calzones so they don't break.
- There will be some steam accumulating in the pockets, so you can make a few openings on top of the calzones to help release the extra heat and moisture.
- You can pile the veggies a few inches high when making the calzones, although make sure to leave an edge free of sauce or veggies on the side to allow you to seal it.
Variations to the recipe
I like to make 4 larger calzones, which I think makes for a perfect size that holds well in your hands and that feeds enough for one person. BUT, you can make them smaller, meaning about 6 or 8 mini calzones, if you want to serve kids or at a gathering as a fun appetizer.
Also, there are so many ways you can modify this recipe to your taste. Especially the vegetables, you can easily swap for your favorites! Try making the calzones using these instead:
- Broccoli or cauliflower
- Kale or other leafy greens
- Red pepper
- Green peas
- Cherry tomatoes
- Marinated artichokes
- Black olives
You can also swap the cashew cream for any cheesy vegan ingredients or sauce you like such as:
- Vegan ricotta
- Vegan tofu feta cheese
- Store-bought vegan cheese (we like the vegan mozzarella from Violife).
- Vegan walnut pesto
- Vegan mascarpone
Next time, I want to try making a vegan ricotta calzone recipe filled with spinach (just like my lasagna roll ups filling) and then dip them in marinara sauce at serving, yum!
And although we are not that much into vegan meat alternatives, I think this calzone recipe would be great if adding something like vegan salami to it, which would make it even closer to a vegan hot pocket recipe. Loving It Vegan has a great vegan salami recipe you can try to make and use in these calzones.
You can also include a handful of fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, and you can easily make your calzone spicy by adding chopped jalapeño, red pepper flakes or simply a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce over the vegetables.
As a side note, calzones are made using pizza dough, but don't hesitate to use this recipe simply as an inspiration and make your calzones using puff pastry! Check out my vegan apple turnover recipe to get some ideas on how to handle puff pastry.
You should have some leftovers pizza sauce when making this recipe. In that case, simply warm it up in a small bowl and serve alongside the vegan calzones to dip them in. You can also garnish the calzones with some of the sauce on a plate, which is actually a more classic way to serve calzones.
More dipping sauce ideas includes:
You can garnish with more dried oregano or chopped fresh basil too for a fresh finish.
These vegetable calzones also are great served alongside a side salad, such as kale crunch salad, Waldorf salad or edamame crunch salad. Also goes great with a soup, especially this creamy squash and red pepper soup.
Storage and reheating
Let the calzones completely cool down first and then transfer in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat, I recommend to use the oven and warm up at 400º for a few minutes or until heated through. A mini toaster-oven is perfect for that! You can also use the microwave and heat up 20-30 seconds at the time until warmed up.
You can also freeze the calzones! Either freeze them unbaked or baked, although I think it is a little easier to bake them first before freezing as they are a little delicate unbaked. Keep them in an air-tight container for up to 3 months and thaw them in the fridge overnight (or for a few hours) and reheat using the oven or microwave.
You can, but the calzones are baked only for 15 minutes, which means that the vegetables might remain uncooked. In that case, then use vegetables that don't really require much cooking or that can be eaten on the raw side, such as spinach, red or sweet onion, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, canned artichokes, etc. In that case, make sure to make an opening over the calzones so that the extra moisture can escape.
Yes! You can make the whole calzones ahead of time and simply reheat before enjoying. Or, build then up, cover them well and keep in the fridge and simply bake at dinner time. If they are very cold from the fridge, then you might want to bake them for a little longer to make sure they are heated through.
Yes! Simply use a gluten-free pizza dough to make them. You might be able to find one at your grocery store or make your own gluten-free pizza dough from scratch.
I hope you enjoy this vegan calzone recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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- 1 batch of pizza dough (about 450-500g/1 pound) - divided in 4 equal portions
- 1 cup pizza sauce - or as needed
- 1 small yellow or sweet onion - sliced
- 1 large zucchini - sliced
- 8 oz mushrooms - sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt - to taste
Cheesy cashew cream
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ lemon - juiced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- Make the cheesy cashew cream: soak the cashews in cold water overnight or in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Then, drain and transfer to your blender. Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and water. Blend on high until smooth (take a few breaks to scrape the walls). Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can also use a pizza stone.
- Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil (or not, can be made oil-free). Then, add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes. Once they start to sweat, then add the zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and herbs and cook for 5 more minutes stirring often. Then, add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes or so or until the spinach is all wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Divid the pizza dough in 4 equal portions and then use a rolling pin or simply your hands to shape the dough in 4 circles over a floured clean surface. Then, spread some of the pizza sauce on one half of the circle (leave some of the edges free) and top with the vegetables. Then, dollop some of the cashew cream over. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and seal the calzones using your fingers and a fork. I like to fill the calzones right onto the prepared baking sheet so I don't have to transfer them later, which limits the risk of breaking them (they are delicate when unbaked).
- Keep going until you have 4 calzones and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. You can spray some oil or plant-based milk and sprinkle dried oregano over before baking for a crispier and brown finish, but that's optional. Let the calzones cool down for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy!
- Once the calzones are completely cooled down, then transfer in an air-tight container and then, store for up to 4 days in the fridge or for up to 3 months in the freezer. Reheat using the oven (400º for a few minutes or until heated through) or use the microwave. If frozen, let them thaw in the fridge overnight first.
- This recipe is so versatile! You can easily swap the vegetables for broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, cherry tomatoes, black olives or artichokes. Read the blog posts for more ideas!
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