This Eggplant Calzone has all the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan encased in a crispy pizza dough crust making it the perfect combination dish that everyone will love. Leftover filling is amazing on noodles the next day and the calzones keep great. Read on to find out more about this amazing eggplant calzone recipe.
What is a Calzone?
A calzone is a type of Italian folded pizza, often referred to as a “pizza turnover” or “stuffed pizza.” It is made from pizza dough that is rolled into a circular shape and then filled with various ingredients such as cheese, meat, vegetables, and tomato sauce. The dough is then folded in half, sealed along the edges, and baked in the oven. The end result is a crispy, golden-brown exterior with a hot and flavorful filling inside. Calzones are typically served as a single serving meal, but can also be sliced and shared as an appetizer.
What is Eggplant Parmesan?
Eggplant Parmesan, also known as “melanzane alla parmigiana” in Italian, is a classic Italian dish made with thinly sliced and breaded eggplant that is layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese, then baked in the oven until golden and bubbly.
To make eggplant Parmesan, eggplant slices are typically coated in a seasoned breadcrumb mixture, then fried or baked until crispy. The slices are then layered in a baking dish with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese, and baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. The dish is often served as a main course with a side of pasta or a salad.
Eggplant Parmesan is a delicious vegetarian option and a popular dish in Italian-American cuisine.
What is this Eggplant Calzone Parmesan?
Well, as you may have guessed this delicious dish is the perfect combination of a traditional Italian-style calzone stuffed with the flavors of eggplant parmesan.
Ingredients in Eggplant Calzone Parmesan
For the Eggplant Parmesan Filling:
Red Onion– red onion really gives the best and most authentic flavor for this eggplant dish
Parsley-you can use either curly or Italian-style parsley
Garlic-use freshly minced or pressed garlic for the best flavor
Eggplant-about one medium eggplant is all you will need for this dish. If you cannot find a medium eggplant, opt for two smaller ones instead of using a portion of a larger one as larger eggplants can sometimes be bitter
Tomato Paste-one standard can, or you can use an equal amount from a squeeze container
Soy Sauce-regular or lower-sodium will work just fine
To Assemble the Calzones:
Pizza Dough-you can use whatever type of pizza dough you like: homemade, from a can, or fresh from a pizza parlor.
Mozzarella Cheese-Freshly shredded soft mozzarella cheese will give you the best flavor for your calzones; however, you can use pre-shredded if the other is not available.
Parmesan Cheese-Again, I used freshly shredded, you can use pre-shredded if that is what you have on hand.
Pizza sauce or Tomato Sauce to dip-this is totally optional. The saucy filling really gives these calzones more moisture than most already; however, if you like it some sauce can definitely be used to dip these calzones.
How to make Eggplant Calzones Parmesan
To make the filling:
Begin by heating your pressure cooker over saute. Add the olive oil and allow it to warm through. Cook the onion and parsley briefly and then add the garlic until it becomes fragrant.
Add in the eggplant, salt and water and cook until the eggplant softens. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir well. Turn off the saute function.
Add the lid to the Instant Pot and set for 20 minutes. Allow the cooking time to elapse and then turn off the pressure cooker. Allow the eggplant parmesan filling to sit for a few minutes during which time it will begin to thicken a bit. After that, place the mixture in a fine strainer to remove any excess liquid. This will prevent your pizza dough from becoming soggy when you get ready to assemble them.
To assemble the calzones:
Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet. While optional, this will make cleanup a 2-second operation, always a win in my book.
Divide the pizza dough in 4 even pieces. Roll each piece out into an even circle. Layer half of each dough with the thinly sliced or shredded mozzarella. Make sure to leave a bit of room around the border. Top with 2-3 Tablespoons of the Eggplant Parmesan filling and an even amount of the parmesan.
Fold the dough over and seal the dough rounds into half circles using a calzone press or a fork. Mine almost always open anyways, which I honestly prefer, so don’t over-stress on this step. Finally give the tops a spritz of olive oil and bake.
Allow the calzones to cool slightly before serving and enjoy.
Do I need to salt the eggplants before cooking?
No, for this recipe I did not salt the eggplants in advance.
Can I make the Eggplant Parmesan filling on a stovetop?
Sure, just follow the directions in the recipe; however, instead of pressure cooking, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the eggplant has broken down and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
Additions or Substitutions for Eggplant Calzones?
If you prefer your calzones a bit spicier, consider adding some crushed red pepper flakes to the eggplant mixture
Some fresh basil, if you have it on hand, would be a nice fresh addition to this recipe.
Is there a difference between pizza dough and calzone dough?
Nope, same dough, just different uses.
Do calzones usually contain ricotta?
They often do; however, this one does not.
How to use Leftover Filling?
Leftover filling is perfect for dipping breadsticks, serving over noodles or couscous or mixing with some eggs for an amazing scramble.
What are some great sides for Calzones?
- Put your Instant Pot on double duty with this easy vegetarian Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Or try some Italian Roast Vegetables, for a light, simple meal
- Some Simple Garlic Butter Noodles would be a perfect pairing
Eggplant Calzone Parmesan
- pressure cooker
For the Eggplant Parmesan Filling
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium eggplant chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup water
For the Calzones
- 1 pound pizza dough
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 Tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
- Pizza sauce optional to dip
For the filling
- Begin by making the sauce. Heat your Instant Pot to saute and add the olive oil for a minute or two to heat.
- Add the onion and parsley and cook to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the eggplant, salt and Tablespoon of water and continue to cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce and remaining water and stir well.
- Add the lid to the Instant Pot and set to normal pressure for 20 minutes. When the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure. Turn off the pressure cooker and allow the eggplant mixture to sit for a few minutes to thicken. Place the mixture in a strainer to remove any excess liquid.
Assemble the Calzones
- Heat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle. Layer half of the circle with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, making sure to leave a bit of an edge. Top with 2-3 Tablespoons of the Eggplant filling and a Tablespoon of parmesan. Flip the dough over and press the edges lightly together. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes
- Serve warm with pizza sauce for dipping if desired.