Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

10 reasons why pizza can actually be good for you

Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Pizza — a beloved food made with dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings — got its start in Italy in the late 1700s, according to Since then, pizza has become loved by millions all over the world. It's estimated that Americans spent $45.1 billion dollars on the greasy goodness in 2018, per PMQ Pizza Magazine.

Pizza may seem an indulgent treat, but the greasy pies really do provide certain nutritional benefits. Here are 10 reasons that pizza is actually good for you, according to the experts.

You can add lots of vegetables and lean proteins to your pizza. Shutterstock

Ordering a pizza that's loaded up with vegetables and lean proteins can provide ample nutrients that a person needs in his or her daily diet. Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, and owner of Chelsey Amer Nutrition, told INSIDER that it is all about making smart choices when ordering up your next slice.

“When we think of pizza, we typically think of greasy comfort food. Pizza doesn't deserve to be demonized as junk food, the way it's often portrayed,” Amer says.

“Pizza can be a balanced meal and there are plenty of ways to boost the nutrition of your average slice of pizza too. Not all slices are created equally.

For example, a greasy slice with extra pepperoni or a deep-dish meat lovers pie may not be your best bets.”

Cheese pizza is a good go-to option. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Take a look at many pizza chain menus and you'll find all sorts of toppings that extend well beyond the standard crust, sauce, and cheese. For a more nutritious slice, Amer suggests sticking to basic toppings sauce and cheese.

“Pizza, the way it was originally designed, is pretty straightforward. It should have a simple crust, plenty of tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese,” says Amer. “Pizza contains a balance of the same three major nutrients we need to build a well-balanced and satisfying meal including carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The crust is your carbohydrate, cheese contains protein and fat.”

Pizza is a better breakfast option than some cereal. Shutterstock/Ryzhkov Photography

According to Amer, it doesn't matter what time of the day you eat pizza, it can still be a balanced meal choice. And yes, that includes breakfast, too.

“When looking for a balanced breakfast, look for a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Pizza contains carbohydrates which are the crust, plus protein and fat, the cheese,” says Amer. “Plus, if you're choosing to eat a slice of pizza for breakfast because you're really craving it, this can prevent you from bingeing on an entire pie later.”

Now, that's not to say that pizza is the most nutritious choice.

“There are more nutritious breakfast options, such as a veggie omelet with whole grain toast and a piece of fruit,” says Amer.

“However, there's protein and fat to balance out the refined carbohydrate crust in a slice of pizza.

This means that your blood sugar won't spike and then crash in the same fashion as it would with a sugary bowl of cereal, for example, which will leave you filling full and satisfied for a longer period of time.”

Adding vegetables to pizza changes it. Vima/ iStock

If you don't enjoy eating your vegetables from a pile on your plate, try placing them atop your pizza. When combined with cheese, sauce, and dough, vegetables can take on a whole new life. While Amer doesn't advise eating pizza for every meal, she does note that pizza can be a good way to eat your vegetables.

“The best topping for your pizza is fresh veggies because they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which host a plethora of health benefits,” says Amer.

“I suggest getting a Primavera pizza, which is a medley of fresh vegetables. The only caveat when opting for veggie toppings is to look out for fried vegetables eggplant.

This adds a ton more calories and fat, which isn't ideal for a well-balanced meal.”

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

More: Features Pizza Freelancer Evergreen story


Healthy Calzone Recipe {Veggie}

Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Homemade calzones are easy to make at home and you will love these veggie calzones! They are stuffed with kale, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese. Serve marinara sauce on the side for dipping! This calzone recipe is a dinner winner!

Family-Friendly Meatless Calzone

I always ask Josh what he wants for dinner. I really don’t know why I ask for his input because we rarely make what he wants. Don’t feel bad for Josh because he eats well:) I just don’t want to make for dinner every night. Josh always suggests pizza. He never gets tired of pizza.

Last week when Josh asked for pizza, I compromised and suggested calzones. Josh loved the idea. He asked what kind of calzones and I told him Kale, Mushroom, and Ricotta Calzones.

I could see the look of disappointment in his face when I didn’t mention sausage or pepperoni.

I told Josh to cheer up because these meatless calzones were going to be incredibly tasty and I was right! Even Josh didn’t miss the meat!

How To Make Calzones

You can make homemade pizza dough or you can use store bought dough for this recipe. If we are feeling lazy, we buy Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods pizza dough. Their refrigerated pizza doughs are excellent!

Once you have your dough, you can get started on the filling. I am on a kale kick and can’t get enough. I cooked the kale with onion, garlic, and tossed in some mushrooms.

Next, I stirred together ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. A trio of cheese, please! I added in a little crushed red pepper, dried basil, salt, and pepper. I added in the kale and mushroom mixture and our filling was ready to go!

Josh rolled out the pizza dough into circles and we filled our calzones with the kale, mushroom, and ricotta filling. We folded the dough over the filling, pinched the edges, and brushed them generously with olive oil. Into the oven they went and 20 minutes later, our calzones were golden brown and ready to be devoured.

We served our calzones with our Easy Marinara Sauce. Our Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce would also be good with the calzones! We had fun dipping and dunking our calzones!

Kale, Mushroom, and Ricotta Calzones are perfect for Meatless Monday…or any night. Josh already asked if we could have these calzones for dinner again and I think I will have to say yes!

If you this calzone recipe, give these pizza recipes a try!

  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups chopped kale ribs and stems removed
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • All-purpose flour for dusting the counter
  • Easy Marinara Sauce for serving
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature. Set aside.
  2. 2. To make the calzone filling, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale and mushrooms, cover and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. 3. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses. Stir in the kale and mushroom mixture. Add the dried basil, crushed red pepper, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal portions, and shape each portion into a ball. Lightly flour your work space. Start with 1 ball and roll it out into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter. Brush the edges of the round lightly with water. Place about a 1/2 cup of the kale cheese mixture on half of the round, leaving a 1-inch border. Gently fold the dough over so the edges meet and pinch the dough together with your fingers. Pierce the top of the calzone with the fork and carefully transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush each calzone with olive oil.
  5. 5. Place the calzones in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the calzones cool for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.
  6. Note-I to use Trader Joe's Kale that is already chopped. Great time saver! And if you don't want to make pizza dough from scratch, we love Trader Joe's and Whole Foods refrigerated pizza dough.

calzone Cheese Dinner Italian Kale Marinara Sauce Mushroom Ricotta


Weekly Meal Plan {Week 42}


Mediterranean Calzone

Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Mediterranean Calzone

Gregory James, Food Styling: Jessica Colley

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


  • 8 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 16-oz pkg whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 small Roma tomato, seeded, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake chicken breast for 15 to 20 minutes, until fully cooked. Meanwhile, steam spinach, garlic and 1 tsp water in a bowl for 2 minutes on high in microwave. When cool, drain excess liquid.
  2. Cover a flat surface and rolling pin with flour. Divide pizza dough into 4 sections by cutting with a knife. Roll out each section into a circle. Place each section on a baking sheet.
  3. Mix ricotta cheese and onion together with spinach-garlic mixture.
  4. To assemble each calzone: Layer 1/4 of ricotta mixture, 1 artichoke heart, 1 tbsp red pepper and 2 oz chicken breast on 1 half of each dough section. Next, sprinkle 1 tbsp tomato and 3 tbsp feta. Be sure to leave 1/4 inch around the perimeter of dough. Fold in half to make a half-moon shape, pinch sides together with water to stick. Brush exterior of dough, on both sides, with oil, gently flipping over calzone to avoid contents ripping through. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until dough is golden and feels crusty to the touch. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Nutrients per calzone: Calories: 580, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 81 g, Fiber: 19 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 42 g, Sodium: 670 mg, Cholesterol: 60 mg

Mediterranean cuisine is not only one of the healthiest, it’s also one of the most flavorful.

Tart lemons, fragrant garlic and sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar are just a few of its trademark ingredients, and we’ve included them all.

These family-friendly pitas also feature bell peppers, which are rich in antioxidants, including lycopene, beta-carotene and ferulic acid, all of which work together to fight potentially cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

Adding silken tofu to our tomato sauce ramps up the quick dish's protein count, while sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, red pepper flakes and diced tomato give it plenty of zesty flavor!

Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this simple mealtime solution is full of flavor and nutritious leafy greens – and it’s just 224 calories!

Winter squashes are rich in antioxidants (though their leafy green companions usually take all the credit). For a new take on an old standard, we shave long strips of butternut squash, which become toasted toppers for our clean pizza.

This complete meal offers nine grams of fiber thanks to hearty bulgur, which is cooked in coconut milk for an extra dose of flavor that compliments the tangy accents on our chicken thighs.

Braeburn chef Brian Bistrong's poultry rub mixes four simple ingredients that take mere minutes to prep. Rub it all over your whole chicken (or even simple breasts) – the result is a moist bird brimming with phenomenal flavor.

Fiber from whole-wheat pita bread and protein from chickpeas turn this typical Eastern Mediterranean salad into a satisfying main dish. Plus, crumbled feta offers plenty of flavor without the need for additional salt.

The usual lard- or butter-laden crusts of this classic comfort dish are far from comforting. We’ve topped our “pies” with tasty whole-wheat biscuits, slimming the eats without forgoing flavor.

Soufflés can seem rather daunting. This foolproof, low-cal recipe is certainly quick and easy, yet still has the effect of impressing everyone who sees it!


Healthy Hawaiian Calzone Pizza Recipe

Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Healthy Hawaiian Calzone Pizza Recipe

We LOVE a pizza here at LDNMuscle HQ, and we know that pineapple on pizza is a big fat yes! Our Healthy Hawaiian Calzone Pizza Recipe is an absolute winner for any fruit-on-pizza lover, and comes in at just under 600 calories and a whopping 46g of protein!

For more delicious pizza recipes, click on any of the recipe titles below:

High Protein Beef Kebabs

Vegan Sweet Potato Curry

Singapore Noodles Recipe


1 tortilla wrap

4 ham slices (cut in chunks)

2 mushrooms (thinly sliced)

2 pineapple slices (chopped)

1 egg (beaten/whisked)

Half a small onion (sliced)

1 tbsp. of passata

40g mozzarella cheese (shredded)

1 tsp. of parmesan

Oil spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Take a wrap and spread the passata over half (be careful not to get any too close to the edge)
  3. Place all the remaining ingredients (apart from the egg!) on one half of the wrap (again be careful not to get any too close to the edge!)
  4. Fold the wrap in half and press down around the edge. Crimp the edges using the back of a fork, then place on a baking tray sprayed with low calorie cooking spray. Brush the outside of the pastry with your beaten egg and sprinkle with parmesan.
  5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 595

Protein: 46g

Carbs: 47g

Fats: 24g

We hope you enjoy our Healthy Hawaiian Calzone Pizza Recipe as much as we do, and be sure to contact us and tag us in your feedback to @LDN_Muscle on social media!

Start your fitness journey today with one of our Transformation Guides, and join the #LDNMFamily now.

We at LDNM Muscle Ltd hope you enjoy the inspired and fun recipes featured on our website, https:// (the “Website”).  LDNM Muscle Ltd is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from the Website or any website linked to from this site.

Recipes may not achieve desired results due to variations in elements such as ingredients, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking ability.

You should always use your best judgement when cooking with raw ingredients such as eggs, chicken, or seafood and seek expert advice before beginning if you are unsure.

You should always take care when using sharp knives or other cooking implements. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, be aware of heated cooking surfaces while cooking. Please review all ingredients prior to trying a recipe in order to be fully aware of the presence of substances which might cause an adverse reaction in some consumers.

Recipes available on the Website may not have been formally tested by us or for us and we do not provide any assurances nor accept any responsibility or liability with regard to their originality, quality, nutritional value, or safety.

Unless otherwise stated, the recipes featured on the Website are not endorsed by any other companies/organization or their affiliates.


Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Muscle food: Healthy calzone recipe

Most calzones consist of mounds of insulin-spiking white dough, stuffed with trans fat-heavy processed meat. Not so the MF version, which is made with blood sugar-steadying wholemeal dough and filled with protein-rich mozzarella and iron-packed spinach.  

The swap: White flour for wholemeal 

‘The white flour in pizza dough leads to fat storage,’ says Gray. ‘Swapping it for wholemeal flour will help to reduce these spikes without compromising taste or texture.’

The bonus: More energy, less hunger

Mozzarella is high in energy-boosting phosphorous, while mushrooms are packed with filling fibre.

The recipe: Ingredients (Serves 4) 

For the dough 225g organic wholemeal flour / 90ml semi-skimmed milk / 50ml water / 1tsp dried yeast / 25ml rapeseed oil / 1 pinch of salt

For the filling 150ml rapeseed oil / 500g chestnut mushrooms, washed and quartered / 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced / 300g spinach leaves, washed and drained / 200ml passata sauce / 125g organic mozzarella, torn into pieces /Salt and pepper to taste

To make


  • Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the rapeseed oil.
  • Add the chestnut mushrooms and garlic and cook for two to three minutes.
  • Add the spinach leaves and cook for two minutes until they have wilted.
  • Place the cooked mushroom mixture into a mixing bowl and add the passata and mozzarella pieces. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and set it to one side to cool.


  • Pour the salt and wholemeal flour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix the milk, water and yeast together in a separate bowl.
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix it all together to form the dough. 
  • Knead the dough for five minutes on a floured surface
  • Slowly pour the rapeseed oil over the dough and continue to knead it until it’s fully absorbed and the dough is firm and smooth.
  • Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover it with clingfilm and set it to one side for two hours.


  • Place a baking tray in the oven and preheat it to 230°C/gas mark 8.
  • Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll them into balls.
  • Lightly sprinkle flour on a worksurface, place the balls on it and roll them out into 20cm-wide circles.
  • Place a quarter of the filling mixture on one half of each dough circle, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge.
  • Brush the edges with water, then fold the empty halves over to cover the filling, pinching the edges with a fork to seal the four parcels.
  • Place the calzones onto the preheated baking tray in the oven for eight to ten minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the filling is piping hot.