WHAT IS CALAMARI?
Calamari is a delicious appetizer that can be commonly found on most restaurant menus around the world. Calamari is a type of squid with tender and firm meat. There are different ways to prepare calamari, but the most common is deep-fried. To deep fry, lightly cover the fresh calamari in a flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour, and then deep fry the calamari in hot oil until golden brown.
Deep-fried calamari only needs 2-3 minutes to cook, and then use a slotted spoon or mesh basket to remove the calamari from the oil. Toss the fried calamari in a large bowl with a little more seasoning and sprinkle with finely diced red onion, fresh Italian parsley and red pepper flakes for a little extra heat. Serve with fresh lemon wedges and squeeze the lemon juice over the calamari.
Deep frying calamari in hot oil can be a little intimidating, so if you have an air fryer, you could place the calamari rings in the air fryer basket. The result will be crispy and tender calamari!
If you’re looking to turn your calamari from an appetizer into a main dish, consider serving side dishes! Here are some of the best sides for calamari..it’s time to get creative! Check out my favourite options below that I think you will love as well. One of my favourite combinations is serving calamari with rice, greek salad, and tzatziki.
1. Easy Greek Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
Tzatziki is one of the best side dishes (or dipping sauce) for fried calamari. These two foods were meant to go together! Tzatziki is cool, tangy, and full of garlicky flavour. It’s made with strained, full-fat Greek yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, white wine vinegar, and fresh herbs. This creamy tzatziki sauce is waiting to be dipped into with calamari!
2. Thick Homemade Tzatziki Sauce With Sour Cream
This thick tzatziki recipe uses 18% MF sour cream instead of Greek yogurt. The result is just as delicious. A super creamy, smooth, fresh dip that goes so well with calamari!
I like to switch it up and serve calamari with salsa. The heat and freshness of the salsa works well with calamari and is a dairy-free dipping sauce option.
4. Sweet Chili Sauce
This one may be surprising, but it’s so good! The sweetness of the Thai sweet chilli sauce perfectly balances the crispiness and saltiness of the calamari.
5. Homemade No Yeast Pita Bread
With its soft, chewy texture and delicious flavour, there’s nothing quite like the taste of homemade warm pita bread. Making your own pita bread is easier than you think, and the results are definitely worth it. Serving pita bread with calamari and tzatziki is the ultimate indulgence.
6. Greek Roasted Vegetables (Briam)
Greek roasted vegetables are a healthy side dish. As the vegetables bake in the oven, the vegetables become sweet and caramelized. Briam goes perfectly with crispy calamari. Another option could be to combine greek rice, roasted vegetables, calamari and tzatziki in a bowl and serve them together.
7. Greek Salad
Made with crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, green peppers, Mediterranean olives, thinly sliced red onion, creamy feta cheese, olive oil and a sprinkling of herbs and spices, Greek salad is a delicious and healthy choice. It’s also so easy to make at home and ready in minutes!
8. Greek Herb Rice
Greek herb rice is made with simple yet satisfying ingredients. Made with sautéed white onions, chicken base or broth, short grain white rice, fresh herbs, lemon zest, and smoked paprika. You can’t go wrong with greek rice and calamari, in my opinion.
9. Creamy Whipped Ricotta
Creamy, smooth, indulgent whipped ricotta dip. Spread this delicious dip over fresh thick toasted bread, and add a little bit of honey and crushed black pepper.
10. Spicy Feta Cheese Dip (Tirokafteri)
Tirokafteri is made with feta cheese, cream cheese, spicy peppers, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. This savoury dip is perfect for pita bread, grilled vegetables, or calamari. The rich and creamy texture of the dip combined with the bold flavours of the peppers and cheese make for an irresistible combination!
11. Greek Pasta Salad
This Greek pasta salad comes together so easily and is made with crumbled feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, kalamata olives, and toasted pine nuts. Greek pasta salad with calamari would be a great summer dinner idea!
12. Greek Dandelion Greens (Horta)
Greek dandelion greens are a healthy option to balance out the fried calamari. Dandelion greens don’t take too long to prepare and have numerous health benefits. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, and you’ve got a quick and nutritious meal.
13. Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) is made with homemade phyllo dough, fresh spinach, creamy feta cheese, fresh herbs, and green onions and baked until the phyllo dough is golden brown. Spanakopita also goes so well with tzatziki and calamari. If you’re looking for an easier or faster recipe, then you can also make spanakopita with phyllo pastry or puff pastry.
14. Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce
Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this creamy tomato pasta made with juicy plum tomatoes, garlic, fresh cream, seasonings and parmesan cheese. A rich and satisfying dish to serve with tender calamari!
15. Easy Oven Roasted Tiny Lemon Potatoes
Crispy and golden brown on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. These potatoes are loaded with Greek flavours like oregano, garlic, feta cheese, and lemon. Drizzled with a generous amount of delicious honey mustard sauce, dried oregano, crumbled feta cheese, and fresh rosemary. Because the potatoes are so small, this satisfying dish is ready in under 30 minutes!
What To Serve With Fried Calamari? 15 Tasty Side Dishes
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