Grain-Free Stromboli with Ham, Havarti, and Pesto:
Super Snacks for the Big Game

I may not be an expert in football, but I sure know how to whip up some fantastic food to feed the fans. One thing I’ve always loved about game-day grub is how it often revolves around snacking—lots of easy, hand-held foods that keep me interested, regardless of the occasion. And few other sporting affairs demand such a fun spread of yummy snacks as the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, for a vast part of the population, Super Bowl spreads are usually just a ton of junky food choices. Add the inevitable alcohol and sugary beverages, and you’ve got a recipe for a serious Super Bowl hangover. In the past, I’ve been able to find at least a few foods I want to eat during a game-day party away from home. I also arrive with a platter of something I know I’ll want to eat, particularly if we go somewhere unfamiliar. I’m perfectly content enjoying a plate of cheese, meats, veggies, and artichoke dip at these parties.

But for those times when I want something a little different, this Stromboli checks off all the right boxes: tasty, not boring, hand-friendly, kid-friendly, keto-friendly, hot-or-cold-temperature-friendly, and a little-bit-healthier than your average Super Bowl fare. With all of that going for it, you’ve got a fun addition to any game-day spread or party (one that’s just as good for a simple, quiet meal at home).

With its bold Italian flavors full of robust tomatoes and fragrant summer basil, this dish

reminds me of a cross between a calzone and a panini sandwich—but with the benefit of being grain-free. The savory notes of salty sliced ham and Havarti cheese pairs wonderfully with the bite from the basil. Yet because this Stromboli is so easily customizable, you could easily swap in whatever meats or cheeses you prefer or have on hand.

Store-bought pesto and marinara sauce make this fairly easy to prepare, though of course if you have the time to make your own (or if you have any left from your summer harvest), that would be ideal. The crust is also cheese-based, and very filling. With a ton of flavor and interesting texture—and the downright delicious crunchy browned cheese edges—it may just be the best part, in my opinion.

For large groups and easy snackability let the Stromboli cool slightly before cutting into slender fingers and serving with warm marinara for dipping.

And watch these babies get gobbled up before the first touchdown.

Grain-Free Stromboli with Ham, Havarti, and Pesto

Makes 4 Stromboli (6–8 fingers each)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


For the grain-free crust:
2½ cups shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
Salt and pepper

For the filling:
8 oz. sliced ham
7 oz. Havarti cheese, sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup homemade or quality store-bought basil pesto
2 cups homemade or quality store-bought marinara sauce


  1. Prepare crust: Place shredded mozzarella and cream cheese in a large bowl nestled over a big pot of water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cheese has melted. Whisk in eggs. Add coconut flour, almond flour, oregano, garlic, and a nice pinch of salt and pepper. Knead until dough comes together, then let rest for 5–10 minutes. Divide roughly into four equal discs before proceeding with recipe.
  2. Prepare Stromboli: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place one disc of dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Layer a fourth of the ham, Havarti, and onion in the center of the dough. Spread a dollop of pesto on top. Carefully, fold dough over filling. (If it breaks, no problem, just press it back together with your fingertips, adding extra dough if necessary. This dough is very forgiving, but try to enclose the filling as best as you can.) Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
  3. Once all four Stromboli have been transferred to the baking sheet, bake for about 15 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on tray for 5 minutes, then cut into serving slices. Meanwhile, warm the marinara in a small pot and pour into a small bowl for serving with Stromboli fingers.

Image from Briana Goodall. 

Briana Goodall, CPC

Briana Goodall is Chef and Owner of Green Cuisine Personal Chef Service. Visit her website at

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