Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad: A Bold and Refreshing Seafood Delight

If you’re looking to add a bit of excitement to your summer dining, a Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad might be just what you need. This dish combines the tender, smoky flavor of grilled calamari with a zesty, spicy kick and fresh, crisp vegetables. It’s perfect for a light lunch, a stunning appetizer, or a standout side dish at your next barbecue. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, this salad will delight seafood lovers and spice enthusiasts alike.


For the Calamari:

  • 1 pound calamari, cleaned and cut into rings and tentacles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups mixed greens (such as arugula, spinach, and lettuce)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or another hot sauce (adjust to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Marinate the Calamari: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Add the calamari rings and tentacles, tossing to coat them evenly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  2. Prepare the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If you’re using a grill pan, brush it with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Grill the Calamari: Remove the calamari from the marinade and let any excess drip off. Grill the calamari for about 2-3 minutes per side, until they are charred and just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook, as calamari can become tough and rubbery. Once done, remove from the grill and set aside.
  4. Prepare the Salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, and basil. Toss gently to mix the ingredients.
  5. Make the Dressing: In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, Sriracha, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  6. Assemble the Salad: Add the grilled calamari to the salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat the ingredients evenly.
  7. Serve: Serve the salad immediately, garnished with additional cilantro or basil if desired. Enjoy it as a light main dish or a refreshing side.

Tips for Perfect Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad:

  • Cleaning Calamari: If you’re buying whole calamari, ensure it is properly cleaned. Many seafood counters offer pre-cleaned calamari, which can save time and effort.
  • Marinating Time: Don’t marinate the calamari for too long, as the acidic lemon juice can start to “cook” the seafood, similar to a ceviche.
  • Grilling Technique: Use a grill basket or skewers to make handling the calamari easier and to prevent small pieces from falling through the grill grates.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper and Sriracha in the marinade and dressing according to your heat preference. Add more for a spicier kick, or reduce for a milder flavor.
  • Dressing Versatility: This dressing is versatile and can be used for other salads as well. Adjust the ingredients to your taste preference, adding more honey for sweetness or more lime juice for acidity.

Why This Recipe Works:

Flavor Explosion: The combination of smoky, spicy calamari with fresh, crisp vegetables and a tangy, slightly sweet dressing creates a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Health Benefits: Calamari is low in calories and fat while being a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Paired with nutrient-rich vegetables and healthy fats from avocado and olive oil, this salad is as nutritious as it is delicious.

Versatility: This salad can be served as a light main course, a side dish, or even as an appetizer. It’s perfect for outdoor dining and pairs well with a variety of beverages, from crisp white wines to refreshing iced teas.

Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad is a fantastic way to enjoy seafood with a fresh twist. It’s a dish that’s sure to impress with its bold flavors and vibrant presentation. Give this recipe a try, and bring a touch of gourmet grilling to your next meal.

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