What To Serve With Fried Calamari: Best Side Dishes

What To Serve With Fried Calamari

Summertime means fried seafood.

Especially if you’re living in New England.

Once summer rolls around, the lines at the clam shacks are outrageous, and you could be waiting for up to an hour to even get your hands on the basket of fried calamari you’ve been eyeing from the restaurant menu for weeks.

This is when I started to learn how to make it at home using Mortadella Head’s very own calamari recipe.

The best part? They’re so easy to make.

All you need is a basic clam fry all purpose flour mixture, some salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika, and some type of fryer to fry the fresh squid in.

Once they come out of the high heat all golden brown, they’ll be absolutely delicious.

Here lies the issue, though:

What the heck are you supposed to do with them?

Sure, you can eat the tender calamari directly out of the fryer with a side of banana peppers, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges if you’d like.

This is how they’re sold most of the time at restaurants, and it’s a surefire way to enjoy your fresh calamari rings.

But there are other options, too. And I love all of them just as much as your standard dipping sauce, if not even more.

Here are all of my favorite side dishes and different ways to serve fried calamari.


Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is an easy side dish to serve with calamari.

It’s light, tasty, and super easy to whip up in the broiler.

If you really want to take it to the next level, make garlic bread out of a hot dog roll, and toss your squid rings inside of that along with some tartar sauce.

This main dish will put any lobster roll to shame.

But if you get hungry enough and eat all the calamari in one sitting, well, there’s always next time.


Another obvious choice for a calamari side dish is coleslaw.

A popular option to serve with seafood, coleslaw gives you the creamy and crunchy healthy side dish you’re looking for, but without the guilt of eating another starchy or fried food.

Plus, it’s one of my all time favorite ways to eat vegetables.

Just make sure it’s thoroughly seasoned with some fresh herbs, and you’ll be in business.

French Fries


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You know what they say: fried calamari is the king of the kitchen, french fries are the queen.

Well, I’m not sure anyone has actually ever said that before.

But they should, because it’s true.

Especially if the fries are extra crispy, your tastebuds will be taken on a New England fried seafood extravaganza with this popular combo.

Grilled Vegetables

This is one of my favorite side dishes to serve with crispy calamari.

It lets me enjoy the seafood in more of a guilt free way, and if prepared right, they can taste delicious.

My favorite vegetables to grill as a side dish for fried calamari are zucchini and summer squash.

When perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper, they come out absolutely delicious.

Rice Pilaf

I don’t know about you, but for me, rice is always one of my go-tos when it comes to eating seafood.

It’s extremely light and delicious, which pairs well with the heaviness of the crispy fried calamari.

Plus, when cooked with just the right amount of butter for some extra flavor, it makes for a delicious side dish!

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Mashed Potatoes

Specifically homemade mashed red potatoes.

This is a side dish that’s on repeat in my house, and you’ll love it just as much.

Boil as many red potatoes as your heart desires. When soft enough to pierce with a fork, throw them in a large bowl, and use a hand mixer and combine them with milk, garlic powder or garlic paste, salt, pepper, and a ton of parmesan cheese.

These will be the most delicious mashed potatoes you’ve ever eaten.

Macaroni Salad


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I chose this side dish because it’s just so versatile.

Over the summer, it can go with anything.

It’s such a delicious appetizer.

I like to toss my macaroni pieces with a ton of chopped vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, and feta cheese.

That’s it. That’s all you need to make a delicious pasta salad.

Caesar Salad


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This is the perfect option for when you just want a healthy option, but you want it to be a little bit fancier.

A caesar salad is the perfect combination of light, crunchy, and creamy. It’s the perfect addition to your fried calamari.

If you were really looking to be adventurous, try mixing some of the calamari in with the salad. It’ll taste delicious!

Caprese Salad

One of my favorite salads to eat with fried calamari is a nice caprese salad.

It’s easy, quick, and delicious.

There are many ways to eat a caprese salad, but my favorite way to prepare this is with individual slices of tomato.

A slice of tomato, followed by a piece of mozzarella, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

How could you possibly go wrong? 

Bruschetta Crostinis


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Similar to above, bruschetta crostinis are also delicious.

They’re prepared a little differently, though.

But this is still one of the most delicious recipes there is.

Slice some pieces of french bread and get them lightly toasted. While the bread is toasting, dice up some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, and toss them in a bowl together with fresh basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Rub the toasted bread all over with a clove of garlic. Spread the bruschetta mixture on top, and drizzle with some balsamic glaze.

It’ll be delicious!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

One of the best vegetables to serve with fried calamari is roasted brussels sprouts.


These are so good, and when roasted perfectly, they pair super well with the fried squid.

I like to rinse off my brussels sprouts, cut them into quarters, and toss them around with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, and a ton of grated Romano cheese.

I bake them in the oven at 425° for about 25 minutes, and they come out like sheer perfection.

Seriously, that’s all that it takes.

This side dish is so easy to make.

Roasted Asparagus

Sure, you can grill this too.

But my favorite way to make asparagus is by roasting them.

Just as you did with the brussels sprouts, trim off the woody ends of the asparagus, and toss them in a bowl with parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Roast them in the oven, and they’ll taste like sheer perfection.

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Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I do love these roasted potatoes.

They’re so easy when baked in the oven.

All you do is cut them into quarters, drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and roast them in the oven for about an hour.

They get all crispy and delicious, and are perfect for fried calamari! It’s seriously the best recipe.

Sweet Potato Fries

Nothing goes with fried calamari like sweet potato fries.

And they’re so easy to make, too.

Cut your sweet potatoes into strips, and toss them with tons of salt, black pepper, and just enough oil.

In a single layer, put them in your air fryer basket. Into the air fryer they go, on 400° for 15 minutes. Or, if you prefer, into a deep fryer with some hot oil.

Set them on a plate with some paper towels to soak off all of the excess oils when done.

Toss them with some more salt at the end, and they’ll taste perfect.

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