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What To Serve With Fried Calamari – 15 Best Side Dishes

This article was updated on the 24th of August 2023 for clarity and freshness.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your fried calamari, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 15 of the most popular side dishes for fried calamari.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best dishes to serve with fried calamari are baked fries, Thai green papaya salad, jambalaya, and pasta puttanesca. You can also serve pad thai, vegetable stir fry, seafood nachos, and cheesy grits. Try mango slaw, Israeli couscous, tempura, and fresh spring rolls for healthier options. 

For each side dish, I’ve provided alternative options to cater to various diets and lifestyles, including vegan, quick and easy, and health-conscious options.


Fried calamari is often served as an appetizer, but all you need is a starchy dish on the side to transform it into a complete meal.


5.0 ⭐️ (44 ratings) | 1 hour

Beef up your fried calamari and turn it into a complete meal with a hefty helping of jambalaya. 

This one-pot dish isn’t just rice — it’s also packed with sausage, chicken, and prawns, making it extra hearty. Plus, it’s seasoned with a Cajun spice blend that brings everything together and provides a prominent lip-smacking spiciness.

It’s the ultimate flavorful base for a rather plain dish like fried calamari.

What readers are saying…

“This was a really great recipe!! I will definitely be making this again!!”

“Amazing? definitely the best jambalaya I’ve ever had.”

“Oh My God! This was amazing. I followed the recipe to the letter (using file rather than okra) and it was the best I have ever eaten.”

Herbed Rice Pilaf
😇 Mushroom Cauliflower Rice
🧘‍♀️ Lemon and Herb Quinoa

Pasta Puttanesca

5.0 ⭐️ (48 ratings) | 25 mins

Craving a simple, hearty dish to serve with your fried calamari? Look no further than a classic pasta puttanesca. 

This Italian classic features a tomato sauce made with chopped tomatoes seasoned with garlic, anchovies, olives, capers, and pepper flakes. It boasts an earthy, spicy-savory flavor that pairs well with your fried calamari’s mild sweetness.

This recipe uses regular spaghetti, but you can use any pasta you like — I personally love bucatini. It’s thicker than spaghetti and has a hollow center, which means extra space for that delicious puttanesca sauce to cling to.

What readers are saying…

“I’ve made this multiple times, and my husband and I both love it!”

“This is fabulous and a go-to recipe year-round.”

“Love, love, love this sauce! I’ve made this sauce many times now and just made a double batch to put sauce away in the freezer.”

🍅 Pasta Pomodoro
🇮🇹 Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
🌿 Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pad Thai

5.0 ⭐️ (343 ratings) | 30 mins

If you haven’t tried Pad Thai yet, you’re seriously missing out. The main star of this dish lies in its flavorful sauce which brings a combination of sweet, sour, and savory flavors that’ll leave you wanting more.

The secret ingredient in this sauce is the tamarind puree, but recipe creator Nagi also includes a ketchup-based substitute you can use in a pinch.

Pop a couple of your fried calamari over a bowl of this restaurant-style pad thai, and you’ve got one heck of an Asian-inspired comfort meal.

What readers are saying…

“This is the best Pad Thai recipe! My family loved it! The sauce is delicious. I doubled the recipe (sauce and noodles.)”

“I’ve made this recipe many times and it’s always incredible. As good or better than I can get at most restaurants in my area.”

“Delicious! I’ve only had Pad Thai a few times in my life, but this recipe was so yummy! My partner also loved it. Will be adding it to the regular recipe list.”

🥵 Garlic Chili Oil Noodles
😇 Pad Thai Zoodles

Cheesy Grits

4.7 ⭐️ (6 ratings) | 25 mins

Add a fun twist to your classic shrimp and grits by swapping the shrimp for fried calamari instead. 

Calamari has a similar mild sweetness that pairs well with the grits’ cheesiness. Plus, the crunch of your fried calamari is a pleasant texture contrast to your luscious, creamy grits. 

Just pile on your fried calamari rings on top of your grits and dig in.

What readers are saying…

“Oh My! I followed this recipe using half water and the other half whipping cream! These are the creamiest grits with a smooth and creamy texture that I ever had!”

“A very big Thank You for this recipe! It was easy to follow and end result came out creamy and much better than expected.”

Baked Cheese Grits
🤩 Pimento Cheese Baked Grits
🇮🇹 Parmesan Polenta

Israeli Couscous

4.7 ⭐️ (67 ratings) | 35 mins

If you’re looking for a hearty and healthy dish to serve with your fried calamari, give this Israeli couscous a try.

The couscous is cooked in a tomato and olive mixture, which infuses it with a lightly briny, sweet-acidic flavor.

You can also add feta to complete this dish’s Mediterranean twist, but I prefer gorgonzola cheese. It adds a creamy richness that elevates the flavor of the couscous further.

What readers are saying…

“This was delicious, I added a little feta cheese but it really doesn’t need it! Easy to make too! Would definitely make this again.”

“This was so delicious. I couldn’t find pearl couscous so I used medium size and I thought I had garlic so I used powdered garlic instead…”

“This is my favorite dish from now on! The flavors are amazing together.”

🍋 Lemon Couscous Salad
🍂 Sweet Potato and Kale Couscous

Fresh and Light Sides

Fried calamari tends to be greasy, no matter how well you deep-fry it. That’s why veggie sides and salads are excellent options if you want to keep your meal light and healthy.

Thai Green Papaya Salad

5.0 ⭐️ (3 ratings) | 20 mins

Fried calamari can be pretty heavy, so a light and healthy salad like this Thai papaya salad is a great accompaniment.

Aside from the fresh, juicy veggies, this salad has a spicy, tangy dressing that ties everything together and also pairs nicely with your mildly sweet calamari.

And if you’re not a fan of spicy food, don’t worry. You can easily customize this salad to fit your taste. You can even use green mango in a pinch if you can’t find papaya!

What readers are saying…

“I crave this salad! The papayas we grow aren’t always great ripe, but they all work for this. I use green mango for it, too.”

“I love the tangy dressing and the smell of Thai basil. Pleased that this was fairly simple… and tastes like it’s from a Thai restaurant.”

“This was really good! The trickiest part for me was shredding the papaya. Thanks for a great recipe!”

😍 Thai Green Mango Salad
😋 Thai Glass Noodle Salad
🇻🇳 Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Vegetable Stir-fry

5.0 ⭐️ (186 ratings) | 25 mins

Turn your calamari into a tasty, nourishing meal with a serving of this vegetable stir-fry. This classic takeout dish is an excellent way to utilize any odd vegetable ends and pieces you have sitting at the back of your fridge.

And the best part? It features a simple but delicious stir-fry sauce that will have you licking your plate clean – that’s how good it is. 

Psst… drizzle a spoonful of this stir-fry sauce over your fried calamari. Yum. 

What readers are saying…

“Perfect exactly as created! My family loved it and fought over the leftovers.”

“This is a well-deserved nutritious full-course meal, we love it.”

“Such a quick delicious stir fry!! I ended up using a mix of different mushrooms, frozen broccoli, shredded carrots, and some frozen roasted corn. Soooo good!”

💨 Air fryer Roasted Vegetables
😇 Steamed Vegetables

Butter Lettuce Salad

4.6 ⭐️ (7 ratings) | 15 mins

Out of time to cook another dish to accompany your fried calamari? Don’t worry – this butter lettuce salad has your back.

Aside from the lettuce, it’s packed with crunchy radish slices and creamy avocado. Everything is tossed in a simple lemony dressing that helps cut through the greasiness of your crispy fried calamari.

It’s the perfect salad for an invigorating meal that won’t weigh you down.

Psst… I also like adding parmesan shavings for extra flavor.

What readers are saying…

“Butter lettuce is so wonderful, isn’t it!? The texture is so soft. I eat so many salads, I’d love to switch things up a bit with this bright and crisp salad!”

“This salad is so appropriate for the first day of spring. Looks so fresh and tasty.”

“Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. I have made this salad two nights in a row and I just can’t get over how good it is. Such a perfect combination of ingredients.”

🤤 Caesar Salad
🍂 Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pear Salad
🥗 Red Leaf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Mango Cucumber Slaw

4.0 ⭐️ (155 ratings) | 15 mins

This mango cucumber slaw is the epitome of summer salads — crisp, vibrant veggies and juicy mango chunks all tossed in a refreshingly tangy vinaigrette. Sounds divine, right?

The recipe also calls for the addition of either cilantro or mint, but I like using both. The cilantro brings a fresh burst of citrus, while the mint adds a cooling sensation that’ll refresh your taste buds.

Enjoy this colorful slaw with your crisp calamari for the ultimate summer meal.

What readers are saying…

“So good!! I had to tweak since I didn’t have or don’t use some of the ingredients but it was still amazing!”

“This looks like a fresh summer version of slaw. This will be great for summer bbqs.”

“This salad was absolutely DELICIOUS! I’ll definitely be making this over and over again.”

🥑 Mango-Avocado Salad
🌱 Vinegar Coleslaw
🥒 Cucumber Jicama Slaw

Spicy Sriracha Green Beans

5.0 ⭐️ (45 ratings) | 13 mins

Looking to use up some green beans in your fridge? Whip up this easy recipe, inspired by a popular dish from the restaurant chain PF Chang’s.

It only calls for six ingredients (green beans included) and brings a delectable sweet-spicy kick that’ll have you coming back for more.

The sriracha gives this dish just the right amount of heat, but I like adding an extra pinch of red pepper flakes because I love spicy food!

What readers are saying…

“The sauce is delicious. I used asparagus instead of green beans but the result was the same, a great tasting side dish. It was actually very easy to make, too.”

“I made these for dinner so awesome can’t say enough about them. Full of flavor go well with many dishes. There definitely an 11 no 10. Truly a game changer.”

“This is mouthwatering! Way to take a tasty side and kick it up a notch! I know this is a side dish but I could eat this as a main dish!”

🍄 Green beans Mushroom Stir Fry
🍂 Green Bean Salad

Appetizers and Snacks

Serving fried calamari as a game-day snack? Complete the spread with these tasty treats!

Baked Fries

4.8 ⭐️ (26 ratings) | 47 mins

Move over fish and chips. There’s a new food pairing in town – fried calamari and baked fries!

French fries are typically fried, but I prefer baking them. This method is healthier, plus, you won’t need to deal with boiling hot oil. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

And to complete the meal, don’t forget to whip up a dipping sauce for your fries and calamari. Tartar sauce is always a solid choice, but you can also try a zesty chipotle mayo to shake things up.

What readers are saying…

“THESE FRIES. I’ve only made homemade fries once before, but I’m going to have to try these ASAP.”

“I’ve made these twice now to rave reviews both times they’re so simple! So much better than a bag of frozen fries. So full of flavor!!

“LOVE this recipe. So delicious and I don’t have to feel bad about eating them either! Been craving them all day and will probably have to make them again this week.”

Air Fryer French Fries
🧘‍♀️ Baked Jicama Fries
😇 Parmesan Zucchini Fries


4.8 ⭐️ (199 ratings) | 1 hr 15 mins

Make the ultimate crispy snack platter with fried calamari and tempura. 

The lightly crisp but tender vegetables have a mild sweetness that goes well with fried calamari. Plus, you can also make these two dishes simultaneously to save time – you can even use the tempura batter for your calamari for a crispier bite!

Psst… tempura is even better with a dipping sauce. The recipe includes instructions for making a classic tentsuyu, but I also like whipping up a Sriracha mayo as an extra option.

What readers are saying…

“Thank you for this recipe. Your instructions are excellent. It was my first time making tempura, and actually first time deep-frying as well.”

“Your recipe worked a treat! My half-Japanese wife loved tonight’s tempura which I made.

🌶 Beer Batter Shishito Pepper
🥰 Gluten-Free Tempura

Fresh Spring Rolls

5.0 ⭐️ (77 ratings) | 45 mins

Fried calamari and these spring rolls are the perfect party food combination. Your guests can easily grab and enjoy a portion of each dish. 

The spring roll wrappers are filled with noodles, fresh vegetables, and shrimp before being rolled and secured. They add a fresh bite to fried calamari.

This recipe comes with two different dipping sauces for you to choose from — a classic nuoc cham made with fish sauce and a peanut dipping sauce. You can dip your calamari into either of these sauces too!

What readers are saying…

“I made this recipe tonight. First time ever making spring rolls and the video tutorial was great! These were so good and the dipping sauces were out of this world!”

One of my go-to recipes when I want something that looks like it was a lot of work but was secretly really easy!”

🇵🇭 Lumpia
🇻🇳 Vietnamese Spring Rolls
🦀 Crab Rangoon

Ahi Tuna Poke Wonton Nachos

5.0 ⭐️ (77 ratings) | 45 mins

While nachos are traditionally associated with Mexican flavors, why not experiment with some culinary fusion?

In this recipe, the nacho chips, ground beef, and salsa are replaced with wonton chips, slices of sesame-crusted ahi tuna, and a creamy spicy mayo. Sounds fabulous, right?

It may sound unusual, but the flavors and textures work so well together. 

Serve these fusion nachos alongside your calamari for a fun, seafood-filled snack.

What readers are saying…

“This recipe is my favorite!! So much flavor. It is easy to make and fun to eat.”

“Amazing Recipe!! We made this last night and it was a hit! It’s going on the regular rotation.”

“Sooo good and surprisingly easy to make!”

🏝️ Caribbean Seafood Nachos
🧘‍♀️ Cheesy Cauliflower Nachos
🤩 Oven-baked Nachos

Parmesan Baked Popcorn Shrimp

4.8 ⭐️ (5 ratings) | 26 mins

Can’t get enough of seafood? Pair your calamari with a platter of this parmesan baked popcorn shrimp for the ultimate seafood bonanza!

These juicy shrimp are coated in a panko and parmesan mixture before baking, which gives them those delightfully golden, crunchy crusts.

They’re tasty even with just ketchup, but you won’t regret pairing them with a garlic aioli — it goes superbly with your fried calamari too.

What readers are saying…

“Thank you for the fantastic recipe. My family loved it! I used gluten-free Italian seasoning panko bread crumbs. I did add a little bit more oil and dried parsley.”

“Just made these tonight as a surprise for my Husband. He loved them. Will definitely put this into recipe rotation.

🔥 Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
🥥 Coconut Shrimp

What To Serve With Fried Calamari – 15 Best Side Dishes

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your fried calamari.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: All
Keyword: fried calamari side dishes, what to serve with fried calamari
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 175kcal


  • 1 portion jambalaya
  • 1 portion butter lettuce salad
  • 1 portion vegetable stir-fry
  • 1 portion cheesy grits
  • 1 portion mango cucumber slaw
  • 1 portion tempura … and more


  • Prepare your fried calamari according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: baked fries, jambalaya, pasta puttanesca, Thai green papaya salad, vegetable stir fry, tempura, mango slaw, pad thai, cheesy grits, Israeli couscous, butter lettuce salad, fresh spring rolls, and ahi tuna poke nachos
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 175kcal

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