Easy Eats

Calamari Salad

People are so scared of squid! I just don’t get it. I’ve been talking about this calamari salad for a week or so since I’ve made it and a lot of people are kind of put off by the idea. News flash though people: If it’s good deep-fried, it’s probably good other ways. Not to mention that calamari is really inexpensive and cooks in seconds.

What’s not to love about calamari? Couple it with some really fresh and colorful veggies and you end up with a delicious and light salad.

You could basically pick apart this recipe from the above picture except for maybe the light dressing. The dressing was a bit of an experiment but it turned out great.

Serves 2-4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Calamari Salad


8 ounces calamari
2 Cups cherry tomatoes, chopped in half. I used yellow and red.
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 bok choy, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 avocado, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons peanut oil


1 Tablespoon Thai chili sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 lime or lemon, juice only
1 Teaspoon sriracha (optional)
Adjust this dressing to your tastes. You might also add 1 Teaspoon of sesame oil or maybe just some olive oil if it is too spicy for your liking.
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1) Cut all the tomatoes in half and dice up the red pepper and onion.

2) Peel the leaves off the bok choy like you would stalks of celery, wash them really well, and then chop them once down the middle and dice them up.

3) Mix up dressing ingredients and toss it in with veggies.

4) If calamari isn’t cleaned, clean it by rinsing and removing the innards. Roughly dice cleaned calamari.

5) Get oil going on high heat.

6) Toss in garlic and red pepper flakes.

7) Let simmer for about 30 seconds and then throw in calamari.

8) Cook calamari for 60 seconds. You might need 90 seconds depending on the size of your calamari, but basically pull them off the heat as soon as they start to turn opaque. They will continue to cook off the heat for a minute or two.

9) Toss in with the veggies and serve up in individual bowls or family style!

Prepping the Veggies

This whole salad doesn’t take very long to pull together. The hardest part is chopping all the veggies. Just cut all the tomatoes in half and dice up the red pepper and onion.

Tomatoes and Peppers. Pretty standard.

Tomatoes and Peppers. Plus some thumb…

If you’ve never used bok choy before it is basically like a leafy cabbage. It’s really good! You could actually substitute cabbage for it if you can’t find bok choy. If you can though, give it a shot.

Peel the leaves off like you would stalks of celery, wash them really well, and then chop them once down the middle and dice them up.


I need a new cutting board.

The dressing for this salad is really good… if you like the below three things:

Salad Dressing?

Salad Dressing?

I think these give a lot of flavor to the dish. I guess you could leave out the fish sauce and just do like a Thai chili and citrus dressing with some peanut oil or sesame oil. That would be good I think. These were in my fridge so I used them, but I encourage experimentation for the dressing!

Regardless of what you use, mix it up separately and then toss it in with your veggies!

Pretty much the whole rainbow.

Pretty much the whole rainbow.

Cooking the Calamari

Don’t worry. I didn’t forget about the calamari. It’s just really important to do it very last because it takes no time to cook and everything else should be done before you even worry about it.

I got lucky and my calamari was cleaned already when I got it. It will most likely come cleaned for you if you buy it at the grocery store. If you buy it at the fish market (fresher!), you may have to clean it yourself. Don’t fret about it. It isn’t so bad. Check out this video. It’ll guide you through cleaning these guys.

Don't throw away the tentacles!

Don’t throw away the tentacles!

Seriously. The tentacles are the best part in my opinion. You could of course just use the rings though if that’s your style. You’ll need to buy more though as you’re basically throwing out half the calamari if you don’t use the tentacles.

To cook them get your oil going on high heat. I like to use peanut oil for this, but you can substitute liberally here.

Then toss in your garlic and red pepper flakes.

Smells good.

Smells good.

Let those simmer for about 30 seconds and then throw in all your calamari. There will be steam. There will be shriveling!

Set a timer for 60 seconds. One minute. That’s it for these guys. Calamari is kind of tricky to cook. Basically, if you cook it for one minute, it will be perfect. If you cook it for two minutes it will be rubbery. If you then continued to cook it for like 30 minutes, it would be perfect again. Weird stuff.

Anyway, you might need 90 seconds depending on the size of your calamari, but basically pull them off the heat as soon as they start to turn opaque. They will continue to cook off the heat for a minute or two.

And also, people eat them raw so don’t freak out about a little medium-rare action.

1 minute. No more. No less.

1 minute. Maybe 90 seconds.

You can serve individual servings like I did in the first photo or do a family style thing like this!

Family style.

Family style.

There is a lot that I love about this salad. It’s spicy. It has calamari in it. It has avocado in it. And it’s really healthy!

Seriously, give it a shot. Don’t fear the squid!

17 comments on “Calamari Salad

  1. I'm not afraid of squid. In fact, I love it (every way, except fried). I've had calamari salad many times with Italian type dressing/preparation, but I really like the Asian-inspired salad you made. Love the inclusion of bok choy and the great vinaigrette flavors. Not that it needs it, but I think I might sprinkle some toasted and chopped peanuts on top.

  2. You are not supposed to tell everyone that the tentacles are the best, silly rabbit! It's a secret. Soon everyone will be eating them and there won't be any left for me! Ignorance (them) is bliss (us).

  3. Hey Nick!!

    This looks super yummy! I tried it on my own a few months ago and it was awful; Julie can vouch for that. Where did you get your calamari? You've inspired me to try again!

  4. Beautiful step by step photos! I LOVE Calamari in salads and those tomatoes look so fresh too! YUM! Fish sauce and chili sauce are my fav Asian ingredients!

  5. I completely agree! My boyfriend loves calamari, but the second he looks at squid, he freaks out. I try to explain that the only difference is the battering and deep frying, but somehow when you can actually *see* the squid, it's scary.

    This salad looks great. I must admit I don't normally cook with the tentacles, but that's only because the squid I buy already has them removed. I'm going to have to find me some tentacles and give this recipe a try, I think!

  6. Hello,

    This is an absolutely wonderful recipe! I made this the other night and it was great. It was a tough choice since you cook so many delicious recipes. I am really impressed with your site and will be a regular reader! I would love to know your thoughts on my nutrition blog, I do have a recipes page but not quite as extensive as yours :) here is the site: http://www.shar-on-nutrition.com

    Take care!

  7. Dude, chopping veggies used to be the bane of my existence. But I got me a Slap Chop, and it actually works really well. I realize I sound like a plant with this, but it is seriously a really great veggie chopper.

  8. Squid is great, raw or cooked. And your approach is a really colorful way to end the summer. I only wish it were easier to find whole squid with their ink – know of a source? (Oh, and it also was great meeting you at the IFA mixer!)

  9. I'm with you about the calamari being underrated. I love the stuff — fried or lightly cooked. And the tentacles are awesome! Great tip on the cooking. Your salad is stunning.

  10. I fully agree with you on the fact that the tentacles are the best when it comes to Calamari. I am also quite fond of calamari sushi. The recipe looks great I will have to give it a shot sometime as squid is one my favorite foods.

  11. OMG this looks fantastic! definitely on my bookmark list for the next time calamari shows up at my house. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Loved this recipe! Didn’t use sriracha (it was optional anyway). Got about 12 oz of squid instead of 8 (and that was a perfect amount for 2 squid lovers). Will be making this again and sharing it with dear friends. Thank you!

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