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Calamari Salad Recipe

Updated on January 18, 2015
chezchazz profile image

Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

My Italian Grandmother's Calamari Salad

It is a tradition in Italian families to have a seafood feast on Christmas Eve. One of the traditional seven fish dishes served annually is calamari (since you are reading this lens on Squidoo, I assume you know what that is).

Breaded and fried or stuffed or, as my Grandmother did, in a simple but tasty salad that served to complement the other richer menu dishes. There are many variations of Italian Calamari Salad, but this is the basic recipe. You can add olives, carrot curls, green and yellow pepper, and a bit of garlic if you like. But Nana made it this way and this recipe is my version of Proust's madeleines at the holiday time.

Serve as part of a traditional Itallian Christmas Eve Feast but don't restrict enjoying Calamari salad to once a year.

It also makes a great appetizer or you can serve it on a bed of salad greens with a basket of fresh, crusty Italian bread and a glass of wine for a refreshing summer lunch.

In colder weather, try calamari salad accompanied by a steaming bowl of hot hearty tomato soup or seafood bisque and sesame breadsticks.

Start with this basic Italian Calamari Salad recipe and add your own creative touches.

Healthy, low calorie, economical, satisfying and delicious year 'round.


  • 2 lbs. cleaned and cut calamari (tube rings and "claws"), See Note Below*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large sweet red pepper, cleaned and diced
  • vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste

You can buy whole and cut calamari frozen or start with fresh whole squid, which is a lot better if available and my personal preference, in which case you'll need a bit more to yield about 2 lbs cleaned and sliced (See below for how to clean squid)

How to Clean Fresh Whole Calamari (Recommended) (Or Use Cleaned & Frozen and Skip This Step)

  1. Rinse whole squid under cold running water.
  2. Cut off tentacles just above eye and remove "button" (eye) in center of tentacles, which should pop out easily. Run fingernail over "suction cups" on each "arm" of the tentacle to remove a small circle of harder material at the base of each. Rinse tentacles and put aside.
  3. Remove the ink sac, center cartilage "bone" (looks and feels like thin plastic) and eyes as one piece and discard.
  4. Cut off and discard fins
  5. Wash body and tentacles thoroughly under cold running water, rubbing and peeling off outer skin.

Here's a video that shows you how - It is a lot easier than you think!

Cut squid
Cut squid

Instructions Part 1

The squid body should be cut into rings if whole. If using frozen, follow package directions.

Bring a large saucepan filled about 2/3 of the way with water to a boil and blanch squid rings and tentacles.

Note: Do not "cook" it as it will get tough and rubbery if left in the boiling water too long. Squid should not be raw but it only takes a minute or two to blanch enough to keep it tender.

Drain the blanched squid in the colander and run under cold water to cool and stop it from cooking further

Calamari Salad
Calamari Salad

Instructions Part 2

Put drained calamari in large mixing bowl. Add sliced onions, diced pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and vinegar.

Toss and chill for several hours or overnight, tossing once or twice again after a few hours and returning to fridge (I actually prefer this made a day in advance).

Serve cold. Makes about 4 to 5 cups.

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5 stars from 1 rating of Calamari Salad

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© 2010 Chazz

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have not made calamari in quite a long time. No one likes it at my house now. I don't cook anymore as I am visually impaired. My daughter cooks. She will barely eat fish once in a while. Her BF is Vegetarian, so I have to wait and see who else cooks and loves calamari and ask them to use this recipe! Great lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Mmmm seafood ... I'm not a big fan of fishes, but when it comes to calamari you can count me in:). This recipe looks really delicious, I'll definitely try it, thank you for sharing.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      7 years ago

      This is the first time I've heard of this recipe. Looks yummy though.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks tasty! My favourite way to enjoy squid is in Vietnamese black bean sauce over rice or vermicelli. :::blessed:::

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 

      7 years ago

      looks good =]

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      8 years ago from Connecticut

      Wow, this brings me back to my Grandmother's house. She also made stuff calamari with gravy (she never said tomato sauce). Thanks for sharing your family recipe.

    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 

      8 years ago

      @KathyMcGraw2: I love to put some fresh chili to make it spicy.. Hmm delicious.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      8 years ago from California

      I think I would need a ton of garlic and a blindfold to eat calamari :)

    • SeanVernall LM profile image

      SeanVernall LM 

      8 years ago

      This looks like a great dish. I'm even thinking about making it for luch today. Oh and a big thumbs up for including a section on cleaning the squid... this really helps.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love calamari and this recipe makes me want make it straight away :)

    • Krafick profile image


      8 years ago

      I like calamari. I'm sure I'll love your salad.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      8 years ago

      I like deep fried calamari squid - the salad looks interesting -:)

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 

      8 years ago

      Def. my LEAST favorite about our Italian Christmas Eve! LOL.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      8 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      this recipe is new for me. let me try first. any how thanks for your recipe

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 

      8 years ago

      There is something about eating squid on a squidoo lens that's either ironic or disturbing. At any rate, I like mine fried.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A seafood feast on Christmas eve reminds me of a tradition our family had for many years on Christmas eve, King Crab legs ~ your Calamari Salad would have been a perfect compliment.

    • mahimattphoto profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent! I love calamari and even better when not fried!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed calamari when I was a kid ~ my mom had various recipes to cook them and everyone of them better than the other. Thanks for sharing yours. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, being Italian, my father treated the family with Calamari from time to time.

      It was a treat I enjoyed and is one of my fond memories about my Dad.

    • Shoputopian profile image


      8 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      I'm a big fan of calamari, haven't tried it in a salad yet will have to now...

    • chezchazz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New York

      @AnnRadley: That's right. If you make this salad and it is too tough, you have overcooked it. Calamari should be either cooked high and fast (like for this salad or for fried calamari) or low and slow (as in our stuffed calamari recipe).

    • AnnRadley profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds so delicious --I love calamari --as long as its not tough - which it shouldn't be if you cook it right...right?

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds great! Italians are experts on seafood.

    • shauna1934 profile image


      8 years ago

      Yum!!! I want to try this!!


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