8 Squid and Calamari Recipes – Easy Ideas for Your Summer Menu

Written by Kremena Ruseva

Seafood and fish are healthy and they can be prepared very quickly. What do you think of when you hear calamari? Usually, the first that comes to mind is the crispy fried rings that everyone has tasted. Whether grilled, fried or stuffed, squid and calamari recipes offer an incredible variety of preparation options. Have you tried cooking calamari at home? Find below some useful tips as well as delicious and easy ideas how to cook squid and calamari.

Squid and Calamari Recipes – Tips for Successful Preparation

Squid and Calamari Recipes Easy Ideas for Your Summer Menu


When you want to try squid and calamari recipes, it is important to know that the cooking time is very short – otherwise they will be too tough and rubbery. When properly cooked, they are a real delicacy and a true culinary delight!

how to cook squids or calamari


You can buy frozen calamari tubes or squids, but for best results, it is better to work with fresh products. Of course, fresh seafood is not available everywhere and at all time but any recipe can be cooked with frozen seafood. However, if you found fresh calamari or squid, you need to clean them before processing.

How to clean fresh squid?

how to clean fresh squid

If you bought freshly frozen squid, you need to let it thaw completely in the refrigerator.

Once thawed completely, start by removing the head from squid body. Hold the squid tail in one hand and the head in the other. Pull apart, twisting lightly and the head and innards should easily slip out.

Next, remove the ink sac. It is located in the innards and looks like a black vein. Be careful, it is easily removed, but squid ink stains so wear gloves and an apron.

Cut the tentacles. Place the knife underneath the eyes of the squid and cut straight down.

Remove the beak. It is located at the base of the tentacles where they connect to the head. When you have cut the tentacles, just squeeze the connective tissue at the top and the beak will come out.

Clean the tube from the cartilage. This is the transparent, inedible bone in the tube.

Remove the skin of the squid, wash thoroughly the inside of the tube to remove any residual innards and pat dry.

Are squid and calamari healthy?

homemade fried calamari tips

It is not a surprise that calamari and squid have an important place in Mediterranean cuisine. They are nutritious and have many health benefits. They contain vitamins E and D and are also rich in vitamin B12. In addition, they provide copper, selenium, zinc, calcium, etc. The low calorie, carbohydrates and fat content as well as the high protein content makes them a great choice for those observe their weight.

Calamari Salad Recipe

Calamari Salad recipe healthy lifestyle menu

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 pounds/250g cleaned fresh or frozen calamari (squid), thawed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced, optional
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 can (8 ounces/220g) mushroom stems and pieces, drained, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup pitted Italian olives, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

Chop calamari tentacles; cut body into 1/2-inch/1,3 cm rings.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add anchovies if using, stir in parsley and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add wine, mushrooms and seasonings. Add calamari and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, covered, until calamari is tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly.

In a serving bowl, toss celery, olives, lemon juice and calamari mixture. The salad may be served either warm or cold.

Easy Calamari Recipes – Pan Fried Squid with Garlic, Chili and Parsley

Squid with Garlic Chili And Parsley

Ingredients:

  • 4 squid tubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ red chili, diced
  • A handful parsley, chopped
  • Juice of ¼ lemon

Directions:

Using a sharp knife, score the tops of the squid tubes in a few places and cut away the tentacle pieces. Pat dry the squid really well to remove any surface moisture. Set aside and prepare the aromatics.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Once really hot, add the squid and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with sea salt.

Add 2-3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Reduce the heat slightly. Add the garlic, chili and most of the parsley to the pan and sauté in olive oil for a minute until the garlic is golden brown. Add the squid pieces back in and stir through. Cook together for 20-30 more seconds and drizzle with a little lemon juice.

Serve on a plate with all of the garlic and parsley oil topped over the top.

Grilled Calamari Recipe

grilled calamari recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 squid tubes, about 1/2 pounds/ 250 g each, cleaned
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions:

Rinse the squid and pat dry with paper towel. Cut each tube open by slicing down one side. Carefully score the inside of the flesh in a diamond pattern, without cutting all the way through.

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl to make a marinade. Rub the marinade into the squid, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat a barbecue or non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the squid for about 2 minutes on each side or until the flesh curls and changes color.

Serve the squid garnished with the coriander, and with lemon wedges for squeezing over the squid.

Deep-Fried Calamari Recipe

Fried calamari recipe Mediterranean diet menu

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb/450gf squid, thawed and cleaned
  • 1/3 cup fine corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

Thaw, clean and rinse your calamari. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a bowl, add flour, corn flour, corn starch, salt, pepper and mix well.

Toss the calamari in the flour mixture and let stand while you pre-heat your oil for frying, then shake off excess flour. Fry the calamari in about three inches/7 cm of oil

When the oil reaches a temperature between 365-375F/185-190C, fry the calamari for 3-4 minutes per batch.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Calamari Recipes – Stuffed Squid with Rice and Parsley

stuffed squid with rice and parsley

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 small squids
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 oz/80 g risotto rice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • juice of half big lemon
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Clean the squids very well. Remove the head and the tentacles from the body. Cut the head and the eye which is attached to the tentacles and discard them. Wash the tentacles under running water and cut them in small pieces.

In a small saucepan heat half of the olive oil over high temperature and saute the chopped onion and the chopped tentacles for about 2 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium.

Add salt, pepper, chopped parsley, 1/2 cup water and 4-5 drops of lemon juice.

Cook for 30 minutes stirring often. Add the rice and cook for another 10 minutes. If you need to add a little more water you can do so. Remove from heat.

Stuff the squid bodies with the rice mixture to 2/3 of capacity of each body.

Heat the remaining olive oil over high temperature and saute the stuffed squids both sides for a minute.

Add the lemon juice, 1 cup of warm water, salt, pepper and a little chopped parsley.

Cook over medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes.

Calamari Alla Marinara

Calamari Alla Marinara recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds/225g small calamari, washed, cleaned and tentacles separated
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 6 small tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed

Directions:

Set the tops of the calamari on a clean work surface and cut each one into 4 or 5 crosswise pieces.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the calamari and sauté, turning once or twice, for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, parsley, oregano and capers and cook over low heat until the liquid begins to thicken.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Calamari Fra Diavolo

calamari fra diavolo

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ½ cup clam juice or chicken broth
  • 1 can whole peeled tomato, drained
  • 1 lb/455g calamari rings and tentacles, cleaned
  • ¾ lb/340g dried linguine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped, divided

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil of medium-high heat.

While the water is boiling, make the sauce. In a separate large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté for 4–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the tomato paste and mix. Cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste has thickened. Deglaze with the red wine and clam juice, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer for 4–6 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the whole peeled tomatoes and, using a potato masher, break up the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Add the calamari and stir to coat in the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the calamari is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Season with the remaining teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste.

When the calamari has 6–8 minutes cooking time left, drop the linguine into the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water.

Using tongs, transfer the linguine directly to the calamari sauce. Add the reserved pasta water and toss well to combine. Cook for 2–3 minutes, until the linguine is well coated in the sauce. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and half of the parsley.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter and garnish with remaining parsley and red pepper flakes.

Calamari Recipes – Squid in Spicy Sauce

spicy calamari recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds/900g fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into small rings
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste, mixed with two tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Add the calamari and onion and saute together for two minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and saute for another minute.

Add the white wine, tomato paste, sea salt, and black pepper and stir together. Cover the pot and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer the calamari for about 60 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately with slices of bread.

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