Pesto Calzones

This recipe for vegan calzones is a great weekend cooking adventure for two. It’s not quick, but it is pretty easy, and most importantly, it’s truly delicious. We paired our dinner with Da Vinci 2010 Chianti, and a good movie.

Begin by visiting your local farmers’ market and purchasing a small bunch of fresh basil (enough for 1 cup), a fat heirloom tomato (enough for 2 cups), a garlic pod, two zucchinis (I found yellow zucchini, but any variety will work), and a small carton of button or portabello mushrooms.

Next, make the pesto. You can use basil from the market, but my advice is to start a small herb garden of your own. It’s infinitely more cost-effective, and herbs grow well in the partial shade offered by a small apartment porch.

Basil Pesto

1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tbs sunflower seeds
just under 1 tbs lemon juice

Fill a small blender (I use a Ninja pulse, but I also highly recommend the Magic Bullet for quick jobs) with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. I added 1 garlic clove, 2 tbs nutritional yeast, and 2 1/2 tbs sunflower seeds. You could use traditional pine nuts, but they’re expensive, and sunflower seeds work just as well. Add a little less than 1 tbs lemon juice, and then pile the basil on top. You’ll have a smoother end product if you keep your wet ingredients near the blades of the blender. Blend all until smooth and set aside.
Your next step is to prep the tomato, zucchini, and mushrooms.
 Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes
1 large heirloom tomato, or enough for 2 cups
aluminum foil
medium-sized baking pan
2 tbs oil

Cut the tomato in quarters, and seed it. Wrap in foil with olive oil and place in baking pan. Roast at 250 degrees for 35 minutes, or until tomato is soft and fragrant.

Roasted Zucchini with Onions and Herbs

2 zucchini, enough for 2 cups

aluminum foil
medium-sized baking pan
2 tbs oil
3 tbs red onion
3 tbs chives, or the green stalk from green onions
1 sprig of rosemary

Dice the onion, chives, and rosemary and toss with oil. Slice zucchini lengthwise (about 1/4″ thick), and cut into 2″ squares. Pour mixture over zucchini and wrap in foil. Roast at 250 degrees for 35 minutes, or until zucchini is soft, but not slimy.

Marsala Mushrooms
1 small carton of button mushrooms, or 2 caps portabello, rough chop
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks green onion, bulb and green part, chopped
5 tbs Marsala cooking wine (You could also use a dry white or Sherry.)
2 tbs oil
Prepare a large skillet with 2 tbs oil, and 5 tbs Marsala cooking wine.  Add 1 clove of garlic and 2 stalks of green onion, both the bulb and the green part.  Slice mushrooms into rough chunks (about 1/4″–they reduce a lot when you cook them)  Saute for about 10 minutes on medium heat.  Drain. 

FINALLY… time to piece it all together!


We bought whole wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods for $3, divided it in half, and rolled each half out using a rolling pin on a lightly floured countertop.  Roll the dough out into a circle.

Spread the pesto on one half of the round, and layer on all the other ingredients.  You can add toppings like faux pepperoni or sausage, roasted red peppers, olives, pepperocini, or artichokes.  I bought Turtle Island Brand and lightly fried them first in a little oil to make them crispy.  I chose Lisannati mozzarella-style cheese.  


Seal the calzones by folding over the top layer.  Brush with water to seal, and smush the edges of the dough together.  Then, brush the top, sides, and bottom of the calzone with olive oil.  



Bake at 475 degrees for 20 minutes.



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