If you’re looking for healthy recipes to make with calamari for dinner, you need to try this delicious easy rice and calamari skillet recipe!
It’s packed with vegetables, full of flavor and it’s super tasty and satisfying. More than that, it’s the perfect meal prep idea, as it stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
This is basically the best recipe to use calamari without frying it. Well, okay, I have another one for garlic tomato squid that’s pretty good as well. But this one, this one is more of a family meal. Ready in about 20-30 minutes it is one of the quickest and most delicious recipes for dinner that you can make when you have calamari or squid and some cooked rice.
I’ve actually been putting off sharing this healthy meal for a while now. Like a year or so. Can you believe it? You think I’m dramatic, but it’s a big deal, you’ll see when you make it. I’m telling you, once you try it, you’d be pretty mad at me I didn’t share it sooner.
Sounds a bit like one of those clickbait videos on Youtube: I wish I knew this recipe sooner. This healthy calamari recipe changed my life. This dinner with squid can write your emails for you. And so on. But you will really wish you knew about it sooner.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Rice and Calamari Recipe
Now after this commercial, which let’s be honest can easily make a Superbowl commercial cry, let’s get into some reasons you’ll actually love this calamari and rice recipe for dinner! Whether you want to meal prep it or devour everything at once with your family, you’re going to be happy you made it, because it’s:
- extremely delicious and satisfying
- super easy to make and quick
- full of wonderful flavors
- really healthy and packed with vegetables
- great for meal prep as it won’t go bad for days
And you thought the commercial is over. You’re welcome for the free marketing lesson. Or is it PR? Someone tell me the difference.
Healthy Rice and Calamari Ingredients
Now, to make this healthy dinner with rice and calamari you’ll need good healthy ingredients, here are the main ones:
Calamari. Or squid. Both will work here (if there’s a difference). And hey, if you’ve got shrimp or chicken or salmon – those can be used in this rice dish as well. You can even make it vegetarian by using some green beans or tofu. But the calamari is the winner for me. I used frozen. And I recommend you do to, because unless you catch calamari yourself, that calamari you bought “fresh” is in most cases just defrosted. So get frozen and thaw it yourself. Mine had a decorative “pineapple cut”, which is what you’ll see in the pictures.
Rice. If you’ve got cooked leftover rice, then this meal is the perfect way to use it up. If you don’t – it’s time to cook up some rice. I also recommend cooking it separately.
Cauliflower Rice. I love using cauliflower rice in actual rice dishes. Why? Because my 5-year-old is not a fan of cruciferous vegetables and that’s a good way to sneak them in. For me, I’d go full-on cauliflower rice like here, but for the family, I just sneak it in. And nobody will ever know, mainly because cauliflower rice is not a green vegetable, and therefore invisible to the naked eye.
Tomato paste, Pesto and Garlic. These are extremely important to bring flavor to the calamari dish! The sweetness of tomatoes, the unbeatable flavor of pesto and garlic. Come on.
Mozzarella Cheese. This can be optional if you’re dairy-free, but if you’re not – adding some fresh mozzarella cheese will make this meal creamier and more satisfying. If your problem is lactose, you can also go for Parmesan cheese, as it’s lactose-free.
How To Make Rice And Calamari
Now that we’ve got all the ingredients ready, it’s time to make our healthy rice and calamari recipe for dinner (or whenever you want to eat it!). And it’s pretty easy.
To start off, make sure you have cooked rice. Or another cooked grain (quinoa or bulgur will work just as well).
Then it’s time to chop the vegetables, rice the cauliflower and mince the garlic. We used bell pepper, onion, and chopped some olives as well.
Once you’ve got everything prepared, it’s time to stir fry with some olive oil in this order: onion, bell pepper, cauliflower rice, oregano and paprika. Stir this for 2 minutes until the cauliflower absorbs the flavors and the colors.
Now, it’s time to add tomato paste, some more olive oil and calamari. Stir them in and add a little bit of water in order to spread out the tomato paste. Cover and cook this for about 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
Can you believe we’re almost there? What you want to do now, is stir in the garlic, rice, pesto and olives. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in some salt (to taste, if needed) the mozzarella cheese, letting it melt for 1-2 minutes.
Lastly, turn the heat off and sprinkle cilantro, parsley, basil, dill or arugula over the dish and serve immediately. If your family members aren’t fond of greens, then chop them up and keep them on your plate only. Otherwise, go crazy!
What Makes This Calamari Recipe Healthy?
Now is it really healthy though? Yes, this calamari and rice recipe surely is a super healthy dinner idea!
For one, we sneaked in some cauliflower rice and some extra vegetables. That’s already a huge win. We need to be eating anywhere between 500 and 800g of fruits and vegetables a day to stay healthy and most of us aren’t. So my strategy: drink a huge smoothie every day and sneak vegetables into dishes. Have a salad with every meal. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, especially, are a daily must-have if you want to stay healthy. (source)
Now, as for squid aka calamari – it’s a great source of protein, magnesium and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids with a great ratio to omega-6s. So it’s a great idea to add it to your weekly menu.
Now if you want to make this healthy calamari recipe your own, there are many many variations you can try! Here are just a few:
Switch grains. As I mentioned, you can use cooked grains other than rice in the recipe. Quinoa or bulgur would be great options too. Moreover, if you’re looking to make the meal low-carb – go full-on cauliflower rice here.
Change the protein. You can use any type of protein for this recipe. I love this meal with seafood, so my go-tos would be shrimp or fish. However, you could also use cooked chicken or even tofu!
Add more vegetables. If you want to up your vegetable intake, you can add in more greens like spinach, kale or arugula. Furthermore, you can chop up some carrots, zucchini, jalapenos or broccoli and add them to this one-pan meal as well.
Other than that, this recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free and nut-free and therefore suitable if you have an allergy or sensitivity to those foods.
How To Serve
I always like to serve rice-based dishes with some salad on the side. Whatever is in season! For example, during summer I’d go for tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula, while during colder seasons I’d make my salad more spinach- or cabbage-based. I recommend you do it too, but if you enjoy this meal as is – it will be perfectly delicious as well!
More Healthy Dinner Recipes
Well, there’s probably not much more I can say about this rice and calamari dish, other than try it! It really is one of the most delicious healthy calamari recipes you can cook for dinner! I really hope you love it as much as we did and if you need even more healthy dinner ideas, try some of our favorite recipes here:
- 15-Minute Pesto Chicken Cauliflower Rice
- Quick and Easy Spicy Shrimp and Quinoa
- 30-Minute Salmon and Rice Recipe
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- 12oz/340g calamari
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 cups cauliflower, riced
- 1 tbsp pesto
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 oz mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp chopped olives
- chopped cilantro to garnish
- To start off, make sure you have cooked rice. Or another cooked grain (quinoa or bulgur will work just as well).
- Then it’s time to chop the vegetables, rice the cauliflower and mince the garlic. We used bell pepper, onion, and chopped some olives as well.
- Once you’ve got everything prepared, it’s time to stir fry with some olive oil in this order: onion, bell pepper, cauliflower rice, oregano and paprika. Stir this for 2 minutes until the cauliflower absorbs the flavors and the colors of the spices and the bell pepper.
- Now, it’s time to add tomato paste, some more olive oil and calamari. Stir them in and add a little bit of water in order to spread out the tomato paste. Cover and cook this for about 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
- Stir in the garlic, rice, pesto and olives. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add some salt (have a taste, if needed). Then, stir in the mozzarella cheese, letting it melt for 1-2 minutes.
- Lastly, turn the heat off and sprinkle cilantro, parsley, basil, dill or arugula over the dish and serve immediately. If your family members aren’t fond of greens, then chop them up and keep them on your plate only. Otherwise, go crazy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g