Calamari, Roasted Bell Peppers and Pickled Grilled Red Onions Salad

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

It’s been awfully quiet around here over the past few days… well, ever since the Olympics started.

You guys are probably all nailed to your TV screens, watching your favorite athletes compete for their country, hoping to bring home the gold!

I used to be just like that. You couldn’t remove me from my seat while the games were on. Sadly, I haven’t really had time to watch much of the action this year, but I do try to catch up at every occasion I get.

To me, these athletes simply command an incommensurable amount of respect for all their hard work, commitment and dedication. They are an example for all to follow and I have nothing but admiration for each and every single one of them.

I sometimes wish I had been one of them…

Anyway, I’m sort of hoping that this slowdown in traffic is a direct consequence of the Olympics fever and that it has nothing to do with me, the things I say or the recipes I have to offer.

Mind you, I probably won’t be helping my cause with today’s recipe…

I admit it, this one is not for everybody. Most people like their calamari generously dipped in batter, cooked in a great big tub of super hot oil and served with a decent amount of spicy dipping sauce.

Remove that crispy batter and the poor fish suddenly loses all of its appeal. It even becomes repulsive to some.

To me, “naked” calamari not only tastes great, but it also represents an amazing source of  lean protein at a very low calorie cost!

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

I also happen to love its chewy texture and especially appreciate the tentacles…

Yeah, I know!

But wait, before you simply make the decision to pass on that one, know this: even if you really don’t care for the little beasts, this salad might very well be for you!

The addition of pickled red onions and vinegar from said onions pretty much covers the “fishy” taste of the calamari.

All that you are left with is a brilliant array of all sorts of textures and refreshing flavors. The vinegary onions bring soft and crunchy, tangy and sweet to your palate, while the creamy roasted peppers and parsley help tone the vinegar down a bit and bring a whole lot of freshness to the dish. Of course, you get some chewy action from the calamari, but if you cook them right, it’s a very pleasant and soft chewiness that you will be getting… not rubbery!

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

And if you really don’t care to even give this one a try, you might still benefit from this post, if only for the Quick Pickled Grilled Red Onion recipe.

Seriously, I never thought that these things would be this good. And I never thought that it would be possible to actually pickle something so quickly and effortlessly.

But really, you can, and they are!

Plus, they don’t leave you with stinky onion breath. How perfect! See, I really love onions, but I tend never to eat them, or garlic for that matter, because of the nasty taste they leave in my mouth and well, foul odor they put on my breath.

I just can’t take it.

Especially not now that I’ve decided to give up on gum! 😉

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

But I am telling you, these pickled onions, they’re almost like candy! Soooo good and super sweet and tangy, they’re nice and soft but do retain a little bit of a crunch to them… I’m hooked! This is so much better than the little pickled pearl onions we buy in a jar. This is one thousand times better.

And they’re ready in about 15 minutes!

Like I said, they go admirably well with this calamari salad, but no doubt they would be absolutely delicious in a sandwich or to garnish a hamburger.

They are also plain fabulous on their own, right out of the jar, especially when standing right next to the fridge with the door wide open while you stick your fork (or fingers) in to grab one or two slices…

Did I mention that they made this salad a wonderful thing?

They did… 

Calamari and Pickled Red Onions Salad

Yield: Serves 1

Nutrition Facts based on: 334

Macros per serving: Carbs 26g | Fat 6g | Protein 42g


    For the pickled onions
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp unpasteurized liquid honey
  • For the salad
  • 1 roasted orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 200g calamari (rings and tentacles)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • For the vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp Old Fashion grain mustard
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tbsp vinegar from pickled onions
  • ½ tsp Hymalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


    For the pickled onions
  1. Preheat your grill to medium high heat;
  2. Slice the onion into ½ inch thick slices and place them on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until they get nice grill marks and the onion starts to soften up a little bit.
  3. Remove the onion slices from the grill and stuff them directly into a half pint Mason jar
  4. While the onions are cooking, bring vinegar and honey to a boil
  5. Pour this over the onions after you have placed them in the Mason jar.
  6. Close the lid and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  7. For the salad
  8. Roast the bell pepper over the open flame of your gas range or grill, until skin becomes charred all around. Remove the skin and cut into long strips. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
  9. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium high heat. While this is happening, pat your calamari really dry, pressing them between two pieces of paper towel. When your skillet is hot enough, throw in the calamari and cook for a few minutes only, until it starts to curl and turns opaque. Add to the bell peppers.
  10. Throw in the fresh parsley and set aside while you get working on the vinaigrette.
  11. For the vinaigrette
  12. In a small mixing bowl, all add the ingredients and mix to combine.
  13. Pour over reserved salad, add half the jar of pickled onions and toss gently.
  14. Serve immediately.

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Calamari and Pickled Onion Salad | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie



  1. says

    This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I LOVE unbreaded calamari (and octopus) and you flavoring sounds perfect for a refreshing summer lunch. I never thought I would try a recipe like this at home but after seeing your post I think I have to! Thanks again for another awesome recipe :)

    • says

      So good to see I am not alone. I thought for sure people would be throwing tomatoes at me for posting “tentacles” on here… 😉 And isn’t octopus awesome? One of my faves for sure, although I never dared making it at home yet. I was planning on giving it a try this summer but I chickened out. Maybe I should put it back on my to-do list… 😉

      And if you end up making this one Heather, let me know hot it turned out!

  2. Donna says

    Yet another succulent summer salad!..I love “naked” calamari and squid (especially the tiny “supion” one finds easily here in France…your addition of the pickled onions sounds fabulous and the gorgeous colour provided by the orange bell pepper, red onion and capers (yum!) makes for a perfect presentation..cannot wait to make this. As always, thanks for sharing with us!

    • says

      So happy to hear! Glad to see I’m not the only one who digs “naked” calamari. Have you ever tried grilled octupus? It would be one of my favorites, although I never tried making it at home for it seems soooo long and complicated. This salad would be the next best thing for me I guess. Much easier, and quicker, to put together. Let me know how you liked it if you end up trying it, Donna! :)

  3. Eha says

    Absolutely the ‘bestest’! Quite one of the main ‘proteins’ I eat, arranged in the most appetizing way! Yes, of course, TdF and the Olympics have played a part timewise of just ‘del’ing an interesting post: in the US/Canada holiday period and or freeezing time in Oz, flus/colds and all, may have played a part!! Don’t, for one abysmal moment, think of it as personal . . . just wait it out and do it ‘your way’! In this case, I do absolutely love the recipe, and cannot wait for the next . . .

    • says

      Oh yay! So you still like me Eha, even though I decided to go sugar free for 3 weeks? 😀 Told you I was still gonna be making stuff that you would like! 😉 I should’ve known this one would be right up your alley. You know, you got me wanting to give herrings another try. Never been big on ’em, but so much as changed in my life since I last ate ’em, who knows, I might fall in love with them this time. I’m actually sort of WANTING to eat herrings with Dijon, red onions and capers… and that all started when you described your breakfast the other day. So I’m totally blaming you for that one! 😉

      And thank you for saying it’s not me! I truly appreciate that. :)

      • Eha says

        Herring fillets are acidic, so methinks the best way to ‘attack them’ is gently, perhaps with finely chopped red onions atop a plain yogurt all on a piece of grainy or rye bread. Little cubes in a potato salad etc also give a lovely flavour. Back to calamari for a moment: they are pretty popular crumbed and deepfried here also: as far as I am concerned, you taste the unhealthy breading, that is all, whereas in your salad you taste the sea . . .

        • says

          Hmmmm… now you REALLY got me wanting to try herring fillets again. I have to agree with the rye bread. The 2 of them must go really well together! I’m thinking open face sandwich now. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

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