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What to Serve with Calamari Steaks? 10 BEST Side Dishes

If there’s seafood with just the right balance of sweet, savory, and umami flavors, it’s got to be calamari, the Italian word for squid.

While most people have a love-or-hate relationship with calamari, it’s no secret that this sweet and briny seafood is a worldwide sensation, especially when it is flattened (like steaks) and cooked into delicious meals.

This article will discuss what to serve with calamari steaks so that you can enhance their flavors like never before.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Calamari Steaks?

If you’ve consumed a fair share of seafood, you know how overwhelming it can feel on your palate.

Besides, they come with a fishy smell that can put you off almost immediately.

Although calamari steaks rank lower on the ‘fishy’ scale, you can still make them taste better.

And you can do this by using side dishes with complementary flavors.

Side dishes will improve your meal’s flavor profile and ensure you receive balanced nutrients.

That way, your meals will always remain well-rounded.

What to Serve with Calamari Steaks? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Our ten favorite side dishes for calamari steaks comprise everything from refreshing salads to delectable condiments and seafood.

You’ll love them just as we do.

1 – Spicy Mussel Soup

Calamari steaks (especially when fried) can leave a dry sensation in your mouth, so a soup will help quench your thirst and keep your meal balanced.

Salty mussels prepared into a spicy soup can help achieve an appealing result; this is especially convenient if you want a seafood-themed meal.

Calamari and mussels vary in flavor profile and are an excellent way to juxtapose and enjoy the flavors of the sea simultaneously.

The soup’s heat help balance the mussels’ saltiness, but it also enriches the mildness of calamari.

It is also essential to include a variety of diced veggies in your soup.

Bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions provide myriad textures while enhancing the broth to suit the mussels.

2 – Mixed Grain Salad

Having a mixture of grains with calamari steaks is essential to balancing your meal’s nutritional value.

Because calamari steaks lack dietary fiber, a salad with plenty of grains and fresh veggies is one healthy option.

When choosing grains for your salad, you want to include whole grains instead of refined ones as they have their bran intact; this is rich in fiber, hence better for your health.

While you can buy premixed grains at grocery stores, if you’re customizing them yourself, consider using quinoa, brown rice, and spelt for an exciting combo of flavors and textures.

Regarding veggies, you can get creative by adding various colors and textures.

Besides the fiber, this side dish introduces plant protein into your meal.

3 – Aioli Sauce

Fried seafood dishes are incomplete without a garlicky aioli, and dipping calamari steaks in this Mediterranean sauce will enrich their flavor with garlicky goodness.

But to make it a lot more exciting, consider flavoring this garlic-olive sauce with lemon zest and juice.

This citrusy aioli sauce has a thick consistency that comprises bright, tangy, and spicy flavors.

It is the ultimate dipping sauce for fried and grilled calamari steaks because it contains two favorite companions of seafood: garlic and lemon.

The best part about this sauce is that it adds extra flavor to the calamari and refreshes your palate.

4 – Assyrtiko

This light-bodied dry white wine is a masterpiece of Santorini’s famous Assyrtiko grapes.

You can consider it a seafood’s soulmate because of how beautifully its taste and texture align with the marine saltiness.

Assyrtiko’s sharp acidity helps tone down the squid’s briny taste.

So, if you’re serving calamari steak with rich sauces and seasonings, allow this wine to quench your thirst and bring out your seafood’s innate flavors.

This wine also tastes excellent with grilled and fried calamari steaks, so you can enjoy its bold taste and achieve a wide range of flavors.

5 – Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley are the star ingredients of this Middle Eastern salad.

It is bright and refreshing and uses a wide variety of ingredients that everyone likely has in their kitchens.

This side dish is packed with plant protein and fiber, so you can enjoy your calamari steaks without fearing post-dinner stomach upsets.

Fresh lemon juice and olive oil are responsible for bringing out the salad’s flavor to its best.

Because no seafood dinner is complete without a light and refreshing side, this quinoa tabbouleh will highlight the flavor of calamari steaks and also function as a palate cleanser.

6 – Miso Noodle Soup

Umami-rich seafood like calamari steaks benefits much from rich miso.

This fermented soybean paste is pretty dense in flavor, so it enriches all kinds of soup broth, regardless of whether it contains meat or veggies.

Guests can easily identify a miso soup as a main dish.

However, you can keep it from overwhelming the calamari by making a miso noodle soup with veggies.

Doing so tones down the soup’s flavor profile and keeps your meals balanced.

Serving this side dish will satisfy your palate and provide you with many essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

So, it is a soup that’ll boost immunity and improve your gut health.

7 – Shaved Fennel Salad

You can never have too many salad options for calamari, especially when they contain tangy, crunchy, and sweet elements.

Raw fennel shaved into thin strips makes the most of this salad and contributes mild sweetness and licorice-like flavors.

It is best complemented by red onions, lemon zest, juice, and shredded goat cheese; all these flavors help bring out the calamari’s flavors to their best.

This salad is a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Its complex flavor profile gets even more delicious with a garnish of toasted walnuts, so if you have them at hand, don’t think twice about adding a few.

8 – Chimichurri Sauce

Seafood and astringent flavors are a delightful combination, and it’s even better when there are spices and herbs to back the flavor.

Wondering where you’ll find all these?

Try a simple chimichurri sauce; it requires less than ten ingredients and comes together in under 5 minutes.

This sauce is a simple way to elevate your calamari steaks, but the difference it makes speaks volumes.

Chimichurri introduces herby and tangy flavors enveloped in hot spices; with this sauce on the side, you will not think of it as a separate but consider it as an extension of the calamari dish.

9 – Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

This popular pasta dish translates to ‘spaghetti with garlic and olive oil’ and has just the right flavor to complement calamari steaks.

It has the creamy, garlicky goodness that pairs well with most seafood dishes.

As its name suggests, spaghetti aglio e olio has a pretty simple preparation, but this is one of the plus points about the dish.

After all, everyone loves a good pasta dish that requires no complex ingredients yet delivers excellent flavors.

This side dish is perfect for spicing up any weeknight dinner or last-minute meal prep.

Veggies and herbs help bring out exciting accents to this dish, so be sure to use a handful.

10 – Stuffed Celery

Celery isn’t on everyone’s list of favorites, but not with cheese.

In fact, everything’s better with cheese, including celery which tastes like pungent scallions.

And if you pair celery with seafood like calamari, you’ll only realize that wrong food pairings were the sole reason you couldn’t appreciate its taste sooner.

Unlike most recipes that use the leafy portions of celery, this recipe uses its stalk, stuffing the channels with cream, cheese, and everything delicious.

This dish works well as an appetizer but also makes impressive side dishes, especially when serving calamari steaks for lunch.


Calamari steaks are like any other seafood: flavorful on the palate and full of rich aroma.

However, not many people prefer the flavors of the sea to overwhelm their taste buds.

So, you should consider side dishes to balance your meals.

The ten sides we’ve recommended should give you a good start to meal planning.

Now that you’re familiar with the best flavors to pair with calamari steaks, try them on your next meals; you might find some new favorites.

What to Serve with Calamari Steaks? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Seeking complementary sides for calamari steaks? Explore our curated list of the top 10 side dishes that perfectly complement the delicate flavors of this seafood delicacy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Spicy Mussel Soup
  • Mixed Grain Salad
  • Aioli Sauce
  • Assyrtiko
  • Quinoa Tabbouleh
  • Miso Noodle Soup
  • Shaved Fennel Salad
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
  • Stuffed Celery


  • Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  • Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  • Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  • Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Keyword What to Serve with Calamari Steaks
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