Lemon & Cilantro Calamari with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Calamari is one of those things that sounds really intimidating to the home cook. Especially if they are a little seafood-scared. But that little bit of squid-squick-factor may be one of the things that makes this wild caught seafood option stay relatively affordable: where I live, a delightfully land-locked state, already cleaned calamari is often cheaper than the shell-on shrimp you can get in the freezer. Add that perk to the fact that it can be pan fried in about 5 minutes, it’s one of my favorite sea-originated proteins.

Lemon Cilantro Calamari with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce | http://meatified.com #paleo #glutenfree #whole30

I like to keep the actual calamari really simple, especially since I like to cook it so lightly. This lemon-cilantro version is probably my favorite. If I’m going to serve it as an appetizer, I like to keep it breading-free and fresh, paired with a more zingy dipping sauce which people can load up as high as they want (or not). This roasted pepper sauce is, again, super fast because I have no problems using ready roasted red peppers. Try saying that one 3 times, fast. You can warm the sauce, but I don’t bother. The still-warm, just out of the pan, calamari almost taste better against the raw sauce because of the temperature contrast.


Lemon & Cilantro Calamari with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Super fresh calamari takes center stage with a light lemon-cilantro flavor, accompanied by a robust roasted red pepper sauce.

  • Author: Rachael Bryant / Meatified
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



For the Calamari:

  • 1lb of cleaned calamari tubes, sliced into inch long pieces
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbl coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped

For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:


  1. In a bowl, toss the calamari, lemon juice and coconut oil. Set aside to marinate.
  2. Make the red pepper sauce: drain the roasted red peppers of any excess liquid by placing in a sieve and pressing down on them gently with the back of a spoon. Add them to a blender along with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Liquefy until smooth.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium until hot. Tip the calamari, oil and lemon juice into the pan; it should sizzle. Cook, stirring frequently, until opaque and until the edges are just beginning to take on a little color, about 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the calamari with the chopped cilantro and serve while hot alongside the roasted red pepper sauce.

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  1. I made this tonight and it was amazing! I’m putting together a round-up of my favorite Whole30 recipes that I hope to post in the next month or so. This will definitely be on the list!

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