Warm cheese filled rolls with marinara sauce for dipping, spinach pizza bites make a great dinner entree or hearty appetizer.

Two pizza bites on plate with bowl of red sauce.

Creamy ricotta cheese blended with sharp Parmesan, spinach and Italian seasoning, is the yummiest filling baked inside warm bread rolls. With spicy marinara sauce for dipping, these pizza bites are pretty hard to resist. Great for parties or a light entree!

Today is a special day. It’s my friend Nelly’s (aka: Marnely, author of Cooking with Books, one of the nicest girls around, etc.) big day! She’s getting married and we’re throwing a {virtual} wedding shower in her honor. I’m bringing a quick and easy appetizer that is sure to please everyone. It tastes like pizza and who doesn’t love pizza?

We’re all giving Nelly and her man advice or words of wisdom for her new marriage.  There are so many things that could be said like:

“Don’t go to bed mad” (Sometimes easier said than done. Let’s be real here.)

or

“Always make time for each other”

or

“Make sure to plan date nights” (Hubs and I? Not so good at this one!)

But really? I have one word of wisdom. Marriage isn’t always easy, any married person will tell you that. For my husband and me, not being married is not an option. We take our vows very seriously. We’ve seen “better,” we’ve seen “worse.” And I’m positive there are more “better” times and more “worse” times to come.

Because that’s life.

But we’re committed to each other and our marriage. Divorce isn’t an option for us. How can something happen if it isn’t even an option? That’s our mindset.

Sidenote: Obviously in situations where there is infidelity or abuse sometimes new “options” have to arise, but that is a different conversation for a different time. I just don’t want any nasty emails. 

Honestly though? Brian cooks for Nelly and Nelly bakes for Brian. What else do you really need? I see a long and happy marriage for these two!

Two pizza bites on square white plate, one intact and one broken open, with bowl of sauce in background.

About these spinach pizza bites

These appetizers are pretty easy to make. The rolls are made from pizza dough, divided into twelve parts and rolled flat. You don’t have be fancy with this. They can be pretty rustic looking. My husband, who says he could eat these every day, calls them pizza “balls” if that gives you a picture of how fancy they are.

Simply place a tablespoon of filling onto each round of dough and fold it over. Press the edges gently to seal them. Pop them in the oven until they’re nice and toasty brown. 

What will I need to make pizza bites?

  • Frozen pizza dough, thawed and at room temperature
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Frozen spinach, thawed and excess moisture pressed out
  • Italian seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Marinara sauce, for serving

Add your favorite pizza toppings to these pizza appetizers. Gooey, melty mozzarella cheese is always a good choice, but small pepperoni, finely diced peppers or onions, or olives are great ideas, too.

If you prefer using your own recipe for pizza dough, by all means do that. Frozen bread dough works great, too, and whole wheat dough is an option, as well.

 

Closeup of partial pizza bite in bowl of marinara.

 

Pizza, Pizza!

Like I said, who doesn’t love pizza? Try one of these delicious riffs on our favorite Italian pie:

 

Spinach pizza bite broken open to show filling, with small bowl of marinara sauce in background.

Spinach Pizza Bites

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

These spinach pizza bites are great for a party — kids will love them too!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed and at room temperature
  • 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and as much moisture as possible squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • marinara sauce for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut pizza dough into 16 pieces.
  3. In a bowl, combine drained spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. In another small dish, combine olive oil and Italian seasoning.
  4. Stretch a piece of dough into a 3 inch round (it doesn’t have to be perfect!). Fill with one tablespoon of the spinach mixture and bring dough around the filling. Place in pan with seams side down. Repeat with the remaining dough and spinach mixture.
  5. Brush tops with your oil/seasoning mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. You can also sprinkle some Parmesan on the top.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with marinara sauce.

Notes

  • Add your favorite pizza toppings to the filling like mozzarella cheese, mini pepperoni, finely chopped red or green peppers, onions, etc.
  • Use whole wheat pizza dough, if desired. Make your own pizza crust dough if you like.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 324mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Closeup of pizza bite broken in half and dipped in marinara sauce.

What advice would you give to a newlywed?

Special thanks to Sanjeeta kk at Lite Bite for hosting, and Heather for the beautiful logo.

CONGRATS NELLY! We love you!