Growing up, I dreaded Friday’s during Lent. My family is Catholic so we follow the whole “no meat on Friday’s” rule. It was awful. Lunch was normally a cheese sandwich; white American cheese on Stroehmann white bread. Thin bread, not those weird, thick family style slices. Also, no mayo or veggies of any kind because, gross. Dinner was the scary part. If we were lucky, my mom would make homemade pizza. But most of the time we were stuck with fish sticks. Let’s let that sink in…fish sticks.
I don’t think I’ve shared this with everyone yet, but I hate seafood. I always have. I’ve tried it on multiple occasions, but have never managed to make a face that doesn’t lead someone to believe I need a napkin immediately. So, for a kid who hated seafood, fish sticks were my nemesis! They were normally accompanied by Kraft mac and cheese, which was delicious. But, it wasn’t enough to eat the cheesy noodles and leave the fish sticks. Nope, I was required to eat those too.
I remember there always being three fish sticks on my plate. I guess that was the number my mom deemed minimum acceptable. They were the short, small ones about the same size as a mozzarella stick. I would stare them down with a sneer hoping they would vanish off my plate, but I was never that lucky. Enter ketchup. I probably put close to a tablespoon of ketchup on each stick. Then I would stare it down a little longer; this didn’t work the first time, but it was always worth a second try. Finally admitting defeat, I would decide it was time to bite the bullet. I’d hold my nose, shove the whole stick in my mouth, chew the minimum amount to not choke, and finally swallow.
Needless to say, after moving out of my parents house I have never eaten another fish stick. In fact, Friday’s during Lent as an adult are actually enjoyable. I found that once I was responsible for feeding myself I could experiment with all types of different meatless dishes. One of my favorites is calzones with kale and golden raisins. Zac and I received this recipe in one of the Blue Apron boxes we tried. I was skeptical of the golden raisins at first, but they actually provide a nice sweet balance to the richer tomato sauce and cheeses. Seriously, try it with the raisins. It’s one of those meals we both craved and make probably about once a month.
I’d love to hear what kind of meatless dishes everyone makes on Friday’s during Lent, or any time really! Let me know in the comments!!
Notes on this recipe:
- Typically, I would make my own pizza dough, but pre-made dough is readily available in markets now. If you don’t have time to make dough I suggest grabbing it from your local market. I picked up ours from Trader Joe’s.
- I also like to make my own pizza sauce, but your favorite jarred sauce will work just as well.
- I prefer lacinato kale versus regular kale. It is more tender and less curly, but does not have a distinct difference in flavor. If you cannot find lacinato kale, regular kale will work just fine.
Calzones with Kale and Golden Raisins
Adapted from Blue Apron
Total Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 25 minutes
Yields: 2-3 large calzones or 4-5 small calzones
Shelf Life: about 1 week airtight in the fridge
1 bunch lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale)
1 - 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella, torn
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons golden raisins
½ cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons parmesan or grana Padano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup flour (all-purpose or semolina)
1 cup pizza sauce (prepared or from the recipe below)
1 lb pizza dough
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Making the Kale
- Wash the kale, destem, and roughly chop.
- In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add in the chopped kale along with the 2 tablespoons of water and golden raisins.
- Season with the ¼ teaspoon of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes; the kale should begin to wilt. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Remove from the heat and drain any excess water from the kale. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes before adding to the rest of the calzone filling.
Making the Filling & Stuffing the Calzones
- Preheat the oven to 475.
- In a large glass bowl, combine the fresh mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and 1/3 cup parmesan.
- Add in the cooled kale along with 2/3 cup of the pizza sauce. Stir to combine. Reserve the remaining pizza sauce for dipping.
- Sprinkle half of the flour onto your clean, dry work surface. Divide the dough into equal pieces. I like to make smaller calzones so I divided the dough into 4 equal parts, but you can easily make larger calzones with more filling.
- Stretch the dough into a rough circle about ¼ of an inch thick.
- Divide the filling between the dough circles, placing the filling towards the middle of the circle.
- Fold one side of the circle onto the other side. Using a fork or your fingers, crimp the edges closed.
- Carefully transfer the calzones to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- While the calzones are baking, prepare the parmesan garlic oil. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Stir to combine.
- After the initial 18-20 minutes, check the calzones. They should be lightly golden brown. Baste the calzones with the parmesan garlic oil. Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven; let stand for 3 minutes then serve with the remaining tomato sauce.
Total Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Inactive time: 20 to 30 minutes
Yields: approximately 1.5 cups
Shelf Life: about 1 week airtight in the fridge or frozen for about 3 months
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup shallot, finely chopped
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
¾ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add the shallot to the oil and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in garlic and sauté 1 minute longer.
- Add in the Italian seasoning and Aleppo pepper. Stir to combine with the shallots and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If using for the calzones, let cool before adding to the filling.