Originally I was going to call the recipe in this post “Baked Veggie Sandwiches with Mozzarella,” but then I shared the photo on Facebook and my friend David was all “HOT POCKETS!!” And I was like, “Hey, they are hot pockets!” Except better.
Each golden brown “hot pocket” is stuffed with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, sauteed portabella mushrooms, spinach, red onion, pine nuts and zucchini. I seasoned the mixture with thyme and sage, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever veggies and herbs you like. Each “hot pocket” is a lunch or dinner unto itself and is made even better with a small bowl of warm marinara sauce for dipping.
Homemade “Hot Pockets”
This recipe makes 4 loaves, each of which serves 1-2 people, depending on your appetite.
For the dough:
- 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup whole milk, warm
- 1/2 cup olive oil (plus 1-2 tablespoons during assembly)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
Place the warm water and milk in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
Add the olive oil, sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla to the milk mixture. Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix vigorously, until mixture is smooth (about 10-15 seconds). Add the rest of the whole wheat flour 1/2 cup at a time. Add the all-purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time.
When the dough forms a ball, switch to the dough hook and knead for 4 minutes, sprinkling extra flour 1 tsp at a time as needed, until the dough is soft, firm, and springs back from a thumbprint. (If you are making the dough by hand, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead until it reaches the consistency described above.)
Grease a large bowl with 1 tsp of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning once to coat, and allow to rise in a warm dry place for 1 hour.
Filling & Assembly
You can use whatever vegetables & cheeses you like and have on hand. Mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, shredded carrots, Monterey Jack Cheese…
Fills four loaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups broccoli rabe or spinach (or a mixture of both), roughly chopped
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
- About 8 oz of sliced baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon dry sage
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (Other cheeses to try: Monterey Jack, Muenster, etc. Any soft, melting cheese will do.)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli rabe and/or spinach, zucchini, red onion and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini, onions and mushrooms have softened. Add the pine nuts and cook another 4 minutes. Remove from heat, mix well and cover.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a large non-stick pan with butter or non-stick spray.
Punch down your dough and shape it into a ball. Cut the ball into four even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and put them back in the bowl the dough rose it, cover with plastic wrap. This is to keep the dough moist while you’re shaping each pocket.
In a small bowl pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Get your pastry brush ready. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove one ball of dough from the boll and roll it out on a lightly floured surface so that the long side is perpendicular to your body. It should have a relatively rectangular shape and be only slightly thicker than paper thin. Brush the surface of the dough with olive oil, especially around the edges. Sprinkle a quarter of the mozzarella cheese over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges of the dough. Top with a quarter of the veggies and a quarter of the Parmesan.
Place your hands on either side of the dough and left and right sides in towards the filling. Now tightly roll the dough into a mini-loaf, jelly roll fashion, with the rolling action going away from your body. When you reach the end, gently grab the last portion of dough and pull it towards you. Seal the roll by pinching this last portion of dough against the roll. Smooth out with your fingers by gently pressing the seam. Place the pocket into onto the prepared baking sheet seam side down.
Repeat this process for the remaining 3 balls of dough.
Beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush over the dough and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. With a sharp knife, gently slash the top of each pocket three times – this is to prevent steam from bursting the crust as it bakes.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Let it cool for 30 minutes before digging in. Serve with small bowls of warm marinara sauce for dipping, if you like.
Note: These pockets will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Warm each pocket either in the microwave or by heating it in the microwave for 1 minute, then warming it in a 350 degree F toaster oven for 7-10 minutes. I prefer the latter method as it preserves the crispness of the crust.