Mini calzone with beetroot, thyme and pumpkin seed pesto and cheddar cheese

Mini-calzone-beetroot-thyme-pumpkin-seed-pesto-cheddar-haywards-pickles

This vegetarian recipe for mini calzone with beetroot pesto and cheddar cheese is made using Haywards Pickles cooked beetroot. It's a great unusual way to use beetroot and makes a delicious veggie lunch or dinner.

Have you ever had a jar of piccalilli at the back of the cupboard? Or some pickled onions you weren't quite sure what to do with? Well wonder no longer because Haywards Pickles are out to change the face of the pickle and have a whole load of gorgeous recipes on their website to help you out, including lots of ways to use pickles to liven up salads. 

Plenty of people, Mr Sneaky Veg included, like nothing more than to tuck into a pickled onion or a gherkin. My Granny was never without a jar of bright yellow piccalilli in her pantry. For the rest of us however, pickles can be something we're not quite sure about. 

When we were invited to join Haywards Pickles at a cooking event I jumped at the chance, as there's nothing I like more than to challenge myself by cooking something new. At the event we were shown how to make a couple of these recipes - including a piccalilli curry and a slaw made with pickled cabbage and onions. We then had the chance to make a recipe of our own and I helped to make a caramelised onion goats cheese tart - using Haywards pickled onions of course! The tart was delicious, and the onions caramelised beautifully.

In case you've ever wondered, this is what I look like after I've eaten a 'strong and zingy' pickled onion.  Photo: Kaye of fordtography.co.uk

In case you've ever wondered, this is what I look like after I've eaten a 'strong and zingy' pickled onion.  Photo: Kaye of fordtography.co.uk

It was certainly an eye opener to see what you can do with a jar of pickle. My favourite idea - although I didn't try it because it wasn't vegetarian - had to be the piccalilli curry. When you think about it the idea of using piccalilli in a curry makes complete sense as it's largely composed of cauliflower, onion and spices. 

We were sent home with a selection of pickles to try including some pickled beetroot. I made the beetroot into a pesto using pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and thyme leaves and used this as a filling for calzone with some cheddar cheese. They turned out to be delicious, although only had a semi success rate with the kids. Baby S loved them as beetroot is pretty much his favourite thing in the world. Miss R tried them and ate a little bit. R, of course, refused to go anywhere near them. But us grown ups loved them and I'll definitely be making them again.

Mini-calzone-beetroot-thyme-cheddar-haywards-pickles-sneaky-veg

Here's what to do:

Ingredients (makes eight)

For the dough
400g strong white bread flour
200g spelt flour
1 tsp fast action yeast
1.5tsp fine sea salt
400ml warm water
2 tbsp olive oil

You can use any pizza dough to make this recipe but if you choose to use this one the method is based on Dan Lepard's pizza dough recipe from his cookbook Short and Sweet. I love how he makes bread as the kneading time is so much less and I find it works much better for me with kids around. If you've never made bread in this way and don't believe it'll work - trust me - it really does! Dan goes into it in a lot more detail in his book. Incidentally you'll have more than you need to make these calzone. I usually divide the rest into three balls, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in the freezer to make pizzas another day.

To make the pesto
1 x 400g jar of Haywards Sliced Beetroot (260g cooked beetroot), drained
50g pine nuts
50g pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped

50g grated cheddar
1 egg, beaten

To make the dough put the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it for 10 minutes. Lightly oil your work surface, turn out the dough and knead it for just 10 seconds. Put it back in the bowl and leave it for another 10 minutes. Repeat this kneading and resting process twice more then leave it for an hour until it's risen in size by a half.

While the dough is rising make your beetroot pesto by placing all the ingredients into a food processor and pulsing until smooth. Grate the cheese and beat your egg.

Divide into five pieces and freeze three of them as mentioned above for use another day. Shape the remaining dough into eight small balls with flour and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. 

On a lightly floured surface roll out your dough into a circle. Place a large spoonful of the beetroot mixture into the centre and sprinkle over some of the grated cheese. Be careful not to overfill. Fold in half and press the edges together with your finger tips. Transfer to a baking tray and brush with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a green salad.

Mini calzone with beetroot, thyme and pumpkin seed pesto and cheddar cheese. Vegetarian calzone made using Haywards Pickles beetroot.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Haywards Pickles.