whole-wheat onion, pepper, and sausage calzones.

The way to a man’s heart…

is through these calzones.

These are hands down one of the most addictive things I have made in a long time.

They also make an impressive presentation at the dinner table with a small group of guests, and the leftovers are crazy delicious.

The assembly for these babies is as follows:

My basic whole-wheat pizza dough,

a dollop of chunky homemade pizza sauce,

a layer of grilled spicy turkey sausage,

sweet caramelized onions and bell peppers,

and melty mozzarella cheese.

All packaged together in a ginormous golden brown pocket that’s sliced into two for serving.


Big props to my older sister for getting me on the calzone bandwagon.

Without her I’d only be eating regular old pizza for the rest of my life, which wouldn’t be so terrible I guess. 🙂

peaches & cake

Whole Wheat Pepper, Onion, and Sausage Calzones
Adapted from CookingLight, July 2009
Makes 8 servings (4 large calzones = 8 half-calzone servings)
Time: about 3 hours

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  • 1 batch Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (recipe below, or use store-bought dough if desired)
  • 1 batch Homemade Pizza Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into ½-inch thick slices
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Dash of sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 pound (4 links) Jennie-O hot Italian turkey sausage (or sweet Italian turkey sausage for sensitive palates or kids)
  • 5 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • Mixed greens and vinaigrette, for serving
  1. Pre-heat oven to 500⁰F. Remove Homemade Pizza Dough (recipe below) from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the calzones.
  2. Make one batch of Homemade Pizza Sauce (recipe below) and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  3. Spray one grill rack or pan and one wide sauté pan with cooking spray and preheat both to medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion and pepper slices to the sauté pan and season with fresh ground pepper. Spread the vegetables out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and translucent. After 10 minutes, sprinkle a dash of sugar over the vegetables to help with the caramelization process. Add 1-2 Tbsp. water to the pan to keeping the onions from drying out as they cook. Remove from pan and cut vegetables into smaller pieces, about ½-inch strips (or keep in the pan and cut manually with a kitchen scissors).
  5. Meanwhile, add the turkey sausage links to the grill pan and cook 15-17 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Remove from pan and cut diagonally into thin slices.
  6. Spray a large aluminum baking sheet with cooking spray.
  7. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9” x 5” rectangle or oval (it doesn’t have to be perfect).  Carefully transfer to the baking sheet. Spread about ¼ cup Pizza Sauce over each rectangle/oval, leaving a clear border around edges. Arrange sausage evenly over half of the rectangle/oval; top evenly with onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle with about 1/3 cup cheese. Fold other half of dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. If you have enough dough, you can roll that edge up (simply fold it over on itself) to form a more secure seal. If the dough doesn’t stick, a little pat of water will help it seal onto itself.
  8. Coat calzones with cooking spray or olive oil. Cut 3 small slices in the top of the calzones with a sharp knife, if desired. This allows steam to escape, but it is not totally necessary. Bake at 500⁰F for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let stand 3 minutes. And don’t worry if some filling spills out – there is always at least one explosive calzone in every batch, and they will still be delicious. Carefully cut each calzone in half; serve with remaining warm Homemade Pizza Sauce. The calzones pair well with mixed greens and vinaigrette on the side.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 4 large calzones
Tip: make ahead of time and refrigerate!

  • 1 packet or 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  • ½ cup + another ¾ – 1 cup warm (not scalding) water (105 – 115˚F)
  • 1 tsp. + another 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for rising
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup whole-wheat flour (or use 4 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Combine yeast, warm water, and 1 tsp. sugar in a measuring cup and let sit few minutes until foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, put 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour (or 4 cups AP flour), and 1 tsp. salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse twice.
  3. When yeast is foamy, add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of sugar to the yeast, then slowly pour the whole mixture into the feed tube of the food processor while pulsing continuously.
  4. Add about ¾ – 1 cup of warm water, ¼ cup at a time, as needed, until the dough releases from the sides of the bowl. Add more water if too dry, and more flour if too sticky. This will vary depending on your climate. You want the final product to be just a little sticky.
  5. Remove dough from the food processor and pat into a ball. It should feel like a belly.
  6. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a medium bowl and roll the dough around in the bowl.
  7. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
  8. Punch dough down and knead gently on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes.
  9. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Punch dough down if it rises in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
Makes about 2 ½ cups, enough to fill each calzone plus a little extra for topping each serving.
Tip: Double the recipe if you want extra for leftovers!

  • 1 ½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can petite cut diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  1. Add olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to burn.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer at least 10 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally.

chow down time


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