What To Serve With Salt and Pepper Calamari: A Comprehensive Guide

As a seafood lover, then you know that there is nothing better than fresh and fried calamari. Salt and pepper calamari is one of the most famous seafood dishes in the world. It is healthy while being very delicious too. You can have it as a snack, or you serve and can eat it with other dishes.

However, what to serve with salt and pepper calamari? There are many choices when it comes to this dish. You can serve it with:

  • A variety of delicious dipping sauces
  • Vegetables and Salad
  • Great choices of pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, and many others.
what to serve with salt and pepper calamari
Salt and Pepper Calamari with Fresh Green Salad. Credit: canva

Now, what makes people love salt and pepper calamari? How to make it and what to serve with it? If you’re looking for something new and different, then these are great dipping sauces and side dishes that will be perfect with your calamari!

What is Calamari?

About Calamari

The most common (and accepted) explanation is that calamari (which means “squid” in Italian) is simply the culinary name of dishes containing squid.

Fried squid is a common food in the Mediterranean. In Lebanon and Syria, it is usually served with tartar sauce. In New Zealand, Australia, the United States and South Africa it is sold at fish and chip shops.

Calamari is found in the Mediterranean, and it can also be found as a salt and pepper fried dish in Asia. It is usually eaten as a bar snack, street food, or starter dish.

Squid can be prepared in many different ways. In some countries, they eat the squid raw. Some people also use it to make sushi, sashimi, and tempura food. Squid can also be grilled, stuffed, or covered with batter before cooking it. It can also be cooked in gravy and stir-fried

Shredded dried squid is a snack that people eat in Asia, including East Asia.

Calamari Vs Squid: What’s the Difference?

Squid for Calamari. Credit: canva

Some people believe that calamari is just the fancier name for squid. This is a common assumption.

People used to think that squid was not very nice food. And people thought that it was hard to eat because it is tough. But now, people know that squid tastes good.

Do you know the difference between calamari and squid? The difference is very small. Calamari is a type of larger squid. But there are also other types of squid.

Squid is generally Nototodarus gouldi, also known as Gould’s squid, but the type called Teuthoidea is also targeted. Calamari comes from the genus Sepioteuthis. The word “sepia” comes from their ink.

The differences between calamari and squid are that calamari is usually smaller. Both squid species have an ink sack for self-defense and side fins. But the squid’s fins are short and calamari’s are the full-length bodies.

Thirdly, squids have flaps that are shaped like arrows and are at the end of their body. These are different than the flaps on calamari which are like triangles.

Lastly, calamari is also generally more tender than squid. So people prefer to cook calamari.

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Calamari?

Nutritional Information

A 4-ounce serving of raw squid contains:

  • Calories: 104
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams

Calamari is also a good source of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Calcium

Health Benefits

Squid is a great addition to a healthful diet due to its high protein content, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.

Those health benefits include:

  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Heart Health
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Source: webmd.com

Tips for Buying Calamari

How to Buy

The best calamari is found in the refrigerated section of your seafood market. When you’re picking it out, make sure that there are no cuts or bruises and that the color looks good. The flesh should be white all the way through without any brown spots on it.

How to Store

If you buy it fresh, make sure that the calamari is tightly wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. If your market does not wrap it up for you, do this yourself with plastic wrap and then put a tight lid on top of the container.

You can also eat it right away if you like because calamari is very quick to cook. If you want to store it for a day or two, just make sure that the container is tightly sealed and refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

What is Salt and Pepper Calamari Dish?

What To Serve With Salt and Pepper Calamari: A Comprehensive Guide
Calamari with Breaded Button Mushroom. Credit: canva

Salt & pepper calamari is a dish of fried squid that is generally sprinkled with salt, black peppercorn, chili peppers, egg whites and bread crumbs. It is usually served with lemon wedges.

How to Prepare Salt and Pepper Calamari?

To make salt & pepper squid, you will need:

  • squid pieces / calamari pieces
  • plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • cornstarch (optional)
  • black pepper or white pepper
  • chili peppers (optional)
  • green onion finely chopped (optional)
  • egg whites
  • bread crumbs
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • lemon wedges for serving (optional)
  • vegetable oil


  1. Place the squid bodies on a slotted spoon or in a colander to drain. Pat the squid dry with kitchen paper or kitchen towel.
  2. Dust the calamari with flour, then shake off excess (some people use flour with cornstarch for crispy pieces).Dip squid in beaten egg to coat.
  3. Mix the bread crumbs, black pepper, chili pepper, and a pinch of salt in shallow bowl. Coat squid with the seasoned flour on both sides.
  4. Half fill the skillet with oil to deep fry. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot enough to sizzle when you drop in the first piece of calamari. Or you can use deep fryer.
  5. Cook calamari in batches at a time for even cooking. Cooking time each side is around 2-3 minutes or until golden color.
  6. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels, if necessary.
  7. If desired, sprinkle with chili peppers before serving. Serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing over the cooked calamari or serve in a sauce of your choice.

How to Prepare Salt and Pepper Squid?

Basically, the ways to prepare and cook salt and pepper are similar to preparing the calamari one. However, since squid is a bit tough and harder than calamari, it takes more time and some tricks to make it tender.

Some people insist you can make squid as tender as calamari by marinating it with kiwi fruit. Try buying smaller squid, chopping up their fins and tentacles and stuffing these back into the hood with breadcrumbs, and slowly cooking in a tomato and garlic sauce. The slow cooking tenderizes the squid’s flesh.

What to Serve with Salt and Pepper Calamari (Squid)?

What To Serve With Salt and Pepper Calamari: A Comprehensive Guide
Calamari with Marinara Sauce. Credit: canva

What dipping sauce are perfect for salt and pepper calamari?

Here are some sauces that go well with salt and pepper calamari:

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Grilled Lemon Salsa (available in the grocery store) or a fresh lemon salsa of your preference. And most importantly, put plenty of chopped parsley on top! Parsley is a great addition to this dish.

Best vegetables for salt and pepper calamari

There are plenty of veggies that can be served with salt and pepper calamari. Here is a list:

  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms – Shiitake, Portabella, Oyster (for seafood lovers) or any other kind you like the most. Also, it goes well with green beans

How to serve salt and pepper calamari?

calamari with seafood pasta
Fried Calamari with Seafood Pasta. Credit: canva

Here is a list of the best ways you can serve salt and pepper calamari:

  • With rice
  • Pasta or noodles – spaghetti, linguini, fettuccine (we recommend whole wheat pasta)
  • Bread with olive oil and garlic
  • Steamed vegetables – zucchini, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower. You can also serve spinach instead of these veggies if you like it better

If you want to make a meal with salt and pepper calamari, we recommend serving the dish with pasta (whole wheat is recommended) and steamed vegetables.

What side dishes are to serve with salt and pepper squid or calamari?

Here are just two ideas for side dishes to serve with salt and pepper calamari:

  • A simple green salad
  • Asian salad
  • Pasta e Fagioli (pasta in a bean soup)
  • Risotto Milanese or Champagne Risotto
  • Marinated cold Cucumber Salad, which can be made ahead of time. You will need to marinate it for at least an hour before serving with some olive oil, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.


Is calamari a squid or octopus?

Many people confuse octopus with calamari, but these two dishes actually have different tastes and cooking methods.

Why do they call it calamari?

The word calamari was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of “calamaro” or “calamaio,” which comes from Medieval Latin noun calamarium meaning “inkpot or pen case.”

Why is calamari so expensive?

Prices for squid have been going up. The reason is that not many people are catching squid and there is a lot of demand.

With the state of resources and demand, there will be very tight supplies and rising prices for squid.

How do you tenderize calamari before frying?

To make squid less chewy, soak it in lemon juice or kiwi fruit juice for 30 minutes before cooking it. You can also soak the squid in milk overnight.

How long does calamari take to cook?

It is best to cook calamari for 30-45 minutes in boiling water, testing its texture with a fork every 15 minutes until it’s tender. I love using this method as the first stage of cooking as it helps to soften my calamari before finishing it in a pan or on the grill.

Is squid bad for arthritis?

DHA-rich oils, like calamari oil, may also help to reduce female platelet aggregation. Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood have been linked with soothing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

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