Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Make It: Will’s Protein Calzones


My son, Will, loves to experiment with comfort food recipes, making them healthier than their original counterparts, using ingredients that we might normally have on hand. This calzone recipe is one of his favorites, using his staple “protein dough” and whatever meat/sauce/cheese/spice combination he might crave that day. The day that the photo for this recipe was taken, he used turkey pepperoni, marinara sauce, and low-fat mozzarella cheese.

Other favorites include ground venison and spices with provolone cheese, venison sausage and diced mushrooms, a mixture of minced venison, potatoes, garlic, and spices, or sofrito and rice mixed with diced, cooked wild turkey. The beauty of this recipe is that you can be creative with your filling, and know that the dough will also be good for you!


3 cups self-rising flour, plus more for kneading (the self-rising flour can be substituted with 3 cups all-purpose flour, 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt)

1 cup plain yogurt (Will prefers fat-free plain Greek yogurt)

Egg wash (optional)


Any combination of roughly 1 cup (total) of:
o Finely-diced (or ground) cooked meat with spices
o Finely-diced pre-cooked and seasoned veggies
o Cooked whole grains (e.g., rice, quinoa, beans, etc.)

With additional:
o Cheese (~2 ounces, shredded, sliced, grated)
o Sauce (~1/8 cup)
o Seasonings (~1 Tablespoon, if liquid)


Will’s Protein Calzone. Photo by MB Mitcham.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line the baking tray with parchment paper or silpat (or lightly oil the baking tray) and assemble the ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, combine self-rising flour and plain yogurt. Use a spatula to combine the ingredients until fully incorporated.
4. Turn the dough onto a clean, lightly-floured surface, and quickly knead to ensure that dough is fully incorporated (Will recommends oiling the dough with non-stick spray because it can be sticky).
5. Separate dough into two separate sections. Spread one out on baking tray, stretching so that the dough is around ¼ inch thick.

6. Evenly spread filling ingredients across half of the dough. Pull the un-filled other half of the dough over the top of the filling, pinching the edges so that the seams are tight. Brush top of calzone with an egg wash (if wanted), and sprinkle with additional herbs if desired.
7. Repeat with the other half of the dough and other fillings, if wanted.
8. Place calzone(s) in oven and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until fully cooked (around 15 minutes, or until dough is lightly browned on top).
9. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

*Note from Will and MB that the thicker the calzone is, the longer it will take to cook. The trick is to keep the filling thin, so that everything cooks beautifully!

Photo at top: Will’s Protein Calzone. Photo by MB Mitcham.


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MB, an ADK 46-R, is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Online MPH Program at George Mason University. In her free time, she can usually be found scampering up and over mountains whilst munching on eggplant bacon, writing odd things, or doing zoomies with Sig and Bella, the shollie and entledoodle dynamic duo who own me. She can also be found at:

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