Calamari with Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Calamari served with Broccoli white bean soup 225x300   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari served with Broccoli white bean soup


Previously I made a beer-battered calamari, which, while delicious, was a pain to fry and the batter was nearly overpowering the seafood in flavor.

This calamari ‘recipe’ (it’s so simple, is it a recipe?) is much lighter, and reminiscent of the fried calamari I frequently ordered in Greece– large tender pieces of squid with a light batter, covered in lemon–no sauce necessary.

I didn’t have lemon, so I opted to make a cilantro-lime dipping sauce for this dish.

Calamari (serves 2):

  • 4 squid (I only made 2 and I could have easily eaten double, but if you are having this as an appetizer or side dish, 1 per person is enough)
  • 1 C flour
  • Club soda (for marinating)
  • Seasoning: salt/pepper/paprika or cayenne pepper (basil/oregano if you desire)
  • Grapeseed or other frying oil


  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

Calamari Directions:

Slice the squid into fat rings, or whatever size you prefer.  I like to taste the squid, personally.
Submerge the calamari rings in a bowl of club soda for about ten minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices.
Drain and gently squeeze some moisture from the calamari.  I did this one by one to let the other rings soak a bit longer.

dredging calamari in flour 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

dredging calamari in flour

Dredge calamari in flour / spice mixture.  Set aside.

Calamari before frying 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari before frying

Heat grapeseed oil on the stove in a deep pan for frying.  I don’t really have appropriate pans for this so I used a deep wok with a nonstick finish.
Once oil is hot, add each ring and cook a minute or two on each side, until light golden, depending on how fat the rings are.  Don’t overcook or it will be chewy.  If you overcrowd the pan, the cooking temperature will go down and the squid will stick together.

Calamari frying 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Calamari frying

Place fried squid on paper towels to soak up excess oil.



Cilantro-Lime Dipping Sauce:
Combine mayo, lime juice, and cilantro.  Stir until blended.
I’d really like to try this with yogurt instead of mayo.  I hate mayo..  This sauce was yummy, but why not make it healthier!?

Cilantro lime sauce 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Cilantro lime sauce

We enjoyed the calamari served along with some leftover broccoli white-bean soup.  Delicious, and filling!

calamari and soup dinner 300x225   Calamari with Cilantro Lime Sauce

calamari and soup dinner

June 15, 2011
Food, Recipe


Healthy Veggie-Stuffed Squid


When living in Greece, I developed a taste for calamari..  Not the tiny rubber band-sized rings so heavily coated in batter that you wouldn’t even notice if they’d left out the squid, except for the fact that the texture resembles a rubber band as well.  Not that kind.

The calamari in Greece was generally in thick slices or rings, lightly coated in batter, fried just until tender and topped with fresh lemon, so that you could still taste the squid.  MM.

You can see my attempt and this here.. though I admit the beer battering was heavier than necessary.  And I need a fryer.

The other way I enjoyed squid abroad was baked or grilled whole, stuffed with something delicious.  This could be crab meat, feta, dandelion greens, etc.  I decided I wanted to try something new and healthy with my squid and settled on this:  Baked, vegetable-stuffed whole squid.  The basic premise involves pureeing some of the vegetables to stuff inside the squid, then chopping the rest and adding a little tomato sauce and broth to the pan to bake the calamari in.


  • 2 whole squid (I used wild turbo squid from the H Mart)
  • 8 button mushrooms (half blended for the stuffing, half chopped for baking)
  • 1 yellow squash (1/3 blended for stuffing, the rest chopped for baking)
  • 3 or so stalks (tops) of a fennel plant (you can probably use any part, really). Blend half for the stuffing, chop the rest
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3″ section of leek
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 can Canellini (white beans)
  • 1 leaf Kale or any other green
  • 4-5 stalks Chinese broccoli (you could alternatively use more greens like kale and regular broccoli, or sub some other crunchy and leafy veggie.  Chinese broccoli has both–crunchy stalks and leafy tops)  Blend 2 stalks/leaves, chop the rest for the baking dish
  • Tomato if you have it (dice and lay over the dish), if you have enough you can leave out the pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C tomato sauce or pasta sauce.  If you have homemade, this would make me happier.  I had no tomatoes so I had to use a jar of sauce, which is easier and still works.  You could just use a lot of fresh tomatoes.
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Season with: black pepper, oregano, paprika


Step 1: Make the stuffing

  • First puree the leek, garlic and ginger.  Set 1/3 of that aside to add to the baking dish, and put the rest in a bowl for the stuffing mixture
  • Next blend in a food processor (in batches, if necessary–it took me 2) 1/3 of a yellow squash, 3-4 mushrooms, 2 stalks of Chinese broccoli,  kale, and 1/3 of the can of white beans.  You should leave the mixture somewhat chunky, not completely pureed.

    IMG 0938 300x243   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Fennel, Mushroom, Squash in the food processor

  • Add all the blended ingredients to a bowl and mix together

    IMG 0942 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid stuffing: pureed mushroom/squash/fennel/ginger/garlic/leek/chinese broccoli/kale/white bean

Step 2:  Stuff the squid

  • Thaw and rinse the squid and pat dry
  • Turn each squid inside out.  One reason for this is so that you can clean it better, in case it hasn’t been completely cleaned.  You can try to rip off any extra membrane which ensures your squid will be more tender and less chewy.  The other reason is that the squid will tend to curl up outwards as it bakes due to the difference in texture inside and outside.. if you flip the squid inside out, it will curl inwards, holding the stuffing inside.
  • Use a toothpick to hold the ends together as you stuff the squid.

    IMG 0944 255x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Turn the squid inside out, place toothpicks at one end if both have holes in them, and stuff with mixture

  • Place squid in a baking dish and generously coat the stuffed squid with fresh squeezed lemon

    IMG 0946 300x228   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    After stuffing, use toothpicks to close up the ends slightly. Place in a pan and squeeze a lemon over each squid.

Step 3: Add the rest of the veggies and sauce

  • Chop the rest of the squash, 3 more stalks of Chinese broccoli, any tomato you have, and fennel and add to a bowl
  • Add the rest of the drained cannelini (white beans), and the rest of the blended garlic/leek/ginger mixture
  • Mix all ingredients with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Spread veggies over the squid in the pan
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock

    IMG 0948 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Cover squid with chopped veggies (chinese broccoli, squash, mushroom, white beans, garlic, leek), 1/2 C (chicke/veggie) stock, 1/2 C tomato or pasta sauce, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, paprika, oregano, black pepper

  • Season with fresh ground black pepper, paprika, and oregano

    IMG 0953 241x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid baking

  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  Optionally uncover for the last 5 minutes of baking.  Cooking times may vary depending on how large your squid are and how thick your veggies are in the pan.


Serve each squid with veggies and sauce from the pan.  Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how big your squid and appetite are 🙂

IMG 0958 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Plated squid and veggies. Add a squeeze of lemon.


IMG 0959 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

Baked stuffed squid

April 12, 2011
Food, Recipe