Just like the calzone, stromboli is a sensational spinoff of the prized pizza. It’s a heartwarming favorite. This stromboli recipe features a thin, golden pizza crust, with layers of fresh mozzarella melted over the moist chicken center. And as a bonus, it packs some healthy greens too!
What is Stromboli?
Stromboli is a rolled-up version of pizza. It’s an Italian-American turnover. The savory pastry features a filling made of cold meat cuts and ricotta cheese.
A typical stromboli has pizza ingredients like pepperoni, pizza sauce, and ricotta. They’re added as a filling to pizza dough and rolled into a sort of wrap. Finally, the stromboli is baked and served piping hot.
Differences Between Stromboli and Calzone
Stromboli and calzone are closely related. But a better look at the dough, filling, and origins distinguishes the two.
Stromboli originated in America. However, it’s open to debate on where exactly, or who invented the dish. A calzone, on the other hand, is 100% Italian street food.
Though both Stromboli and Calzone are made from pizza dough, stromboli has a rectangular shape. You then roll it up with the filling, like a log, and bake it. Whereas, calzone dough is circular. You fill and fold it into a crescent shape before baking.
It gets a touch tricky here. Some think a stromboli filling should include the sauce. While others believe, just like a calzone, the sauce should be a dip. We, however, think it’s up to you. If you appreciate a messy, sauce-dripping bite, which delivers an avalanche of flavors— by all means, go for it!
Tips for Making the Dough
Stromboli typically features a pizza dough crust. In this stromboli recipe, we’ve gone for simple pizza dough. It’s easy to make and produces a light crust that complements the rich flavors from the filling. Making dough can be therapeutic, and you have the added bonus of knowing exactly what’s in your food!
When making the dough, a warm environment for the yeast to rise is essential. Foolproof this step by preheating your oven to 140-160°F. When the dough is ready to proof, turn off the oven and pop the dough in.
Though optional, you can mix the salt with the already proofed yeast. This dissolves the salt to make for a smoother dough. Just don’t add it to the yeast mixture before it has fully proofed, as this could risk killing the yeast.
A final tip is to transfer the dough onto the sheet pan before adding the fillings. Not to say your attempt to quickly place a thin, full, heavy-packed and rolled dough onto a baking sheet will fail, but it definitely eases the process.
How Healthy is Stromboli?
Stromboli doesn’t usually take a front seat in the ‘healthy’ section. There’s plenty of room for improvement. So we’ve made a more nourishing stromboli recipe. One that monitors the fat and replaces them with healthy, beneficial calories.
Our dough recipe is not only delicious but lower in sodium content, too. Monitoring sodium in food and restricting it to levels under the recommended daily intake (2300mg) may help improve disease associated with kidneys, blood pressure, and heart disease.
Combining mozzarella and ricotta cheese enriches the flavors of the stromboli. They’re also a monitored way to up the healthy calories. Cheese, in moderation, is beneficial in building bone strength. It’s a high-energy, flavorful tie to all the elements.
A mixture of chicken and spinach makes a healthful, meaty center. In addition to iron, spinach is high in vitamin K, which contributes to growing stronger, healthier bones. Plus, it’s extremely enjoyable when eaten with cheese and bread products like this stromboli crust.
For this stromboli recipe, swap the typical cold cuts for chicken instead. Compared to salami or ham, chicken has a significantly lower sodium content. It’s also a low-fat, high-protein substitute, so a little really goes a long way.
Best Side Dishes
Because stromboli is a rich, creamy-centered dish, we propose a mild side dish to round up the texture and flavors. Healthy side dishes like salads or homemade sauces are the best way to go. Here are some suggestions that complement stromboli beautifully:
A Healthy Greek Salad
Including a healthy salad is always a bonus. Not just for added texture, but also because it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Romaine lettuce, for instance, is significantly low in calories and provides recommended nutrients like vitamins A, C, and fiber; an ingenious way to finish this meal.
Garlic Pesto Sauce
To add a punch of pungency, you can whip up a simple garlic and herb sauce. With most ingredients readily available, it’s a quick, low-cost option. Herbs like basil and parsley are naturally high in vitamins A and K, and help to defend the immune system.
Broccoli and Tomato Roast
If you’re keeping the theme of a warm meal throughout, a light vegetable roast could be a fitting way to do it. Both broccoli and tomatoes are low-starch veggies. So they’re a low-calorie, fibrous addition of nutty and intense roast flavors.
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour divided (1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
- 1/2 oz egg beaten
- 1/4 tbsp olive oil for greasing
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Hunt’s tomato paste
- 4 oz tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp dry oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper spice
- 1 1/2 tsp dry basil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 oz skinless boneless chicken breast cut into cubes
- 8 oz spinach coarsely chopped
- 3 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3.5 oz ricotta cheese
- 3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 tsp fresh parsley chopped
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- Preheat oven to 150°F.
- In a pan over medium heat, heat water to between 105-110°F, or until just warm enough to dip your finger in. Transfer to a bowl and add yeast and sugar, leaving the yeast mixture to proof for 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and olive oil, and mix. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl and mix until the dough forms a ball.
- Using 2 tablespoons of flour, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 3-4 minutes. Add more flour if it’s too sticky. Use the poke test to check for readiness; the dough should bounce back when you poke it. If it doesn’t, continue to knead.
- Grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside the bowl. Cover with cling wrap.
- Turn the oven off, place the bowl with the dough inside and close the oven door. Leave the dough to rise for 1 hour, until it doubles in size. Leave it for a further 30 minutes if it hasn’t doubled in size.
- Prepare ingredients for the pizza sauce and filling.
- Start by preparing the pizza sauce. In a small saucepan, add olive oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
- Add tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes, black pepper, sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
- Finally, add water and leave to simmer for 2 minutes at medium-low heat.
- Preheat the oven to 470°F.
- To make the filling, heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add butter. Once melted, add chicken and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and transfer the chicken into a bowl. Cling wrap the bowl to trap steam (this makes the chicken softer and easier to shred).
- In the same skillet, sauté mushrooms and spinach at medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Use your hands (or forks) to tear the chicken into small, shredded pieces. Add it into the skillet with the mushrooms and spinach. Turn down to low heat, add salt and mix the ingredients for 15 seconds.
- To assemble the stromboli, knead the dough with your hands for 1 minute to loosen it. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 16×18 inch rectangle.
- With the longer end close to you, leave ⅓ of the strip bare and spread the pizza sauce evenly across the dough. Following this order, sprinkle half the mozzarella cheese followed by the chicken filling, the ricotta cheese, the remaining mozzarella cheese, and finally ¾ of the parsley.
- Beat the egg and brush onto the bare strip. Roll the dough starting with the end nearest to you. Once all the dough is rolled, tuck the ends in underneath and brush the egg white all over the dough. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with a healthy salad and some cucumber water.
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