Mediterranean Stuffed Squid in Tomato Sauce ☀️


Delicious large squid stuffed with herbs, olives, and tentacles, cooked in tomato sauce Mediterranean style

Recipe Intro

For all seafood enthusiasts, squid is a special delicacy—albeit a bit pricey these days. Yet, the sight of squid at the fishmongers triggers a cascade of cravings, envisioning grilled, BBQed, and stuffed squid in countless variations! It’s a divine dish, and if only one could indulge in it every day.

This recipe draws inspiration from the simplicity of traditional Croatian and Italian stuffed squid, typically featuring tentacles and breadcrumbs or rice with parsley as a simple stuffing. Traditionally, this dish uses smaller squid, paired with polenta or rustic homemade bread.

Mediterranean small variety stuffed squid in tomato sauce served with palenta slices
Mediterranean stuffed baby squid in tomato sauce served with polenta


However, here’s a more luxurious rendition, a delicious Mediterranean Stuffed Squid in a rich tomato sauce, perfect for special occasions or a decadent Christmas Eve feast. Prepared with large squid variety, serving one per person, offering not only deliciousness but also incredible visual appeal.

Of course, feel free to adapt and enjoy this recipe with smaller squid varieties!
In this recipe, I’ve spiced things up a bit by adding a few whole fresh langoustines, turning it into a tasty elegant edition.


Essential Ingredients & Substitutes
  • large squid – This recipe calls for large squid, approximately 20cm long (excluding tentacles), providing one generous portion per person. If sourcing large squid proves challenging, opting for smaller varieties is perfectly acceptable. Be prepared for a bit more intricacy in stuffing as it can be a tad fiddly with the smaller ones.
  • shellfish stock – If you can get your hands on ready-made shellfish stock that’s ideal – many UK supermarkets stock it. If not, no worries; you can substitute it with a few fresh whole prawns or langoustines, even a lobster tail.
  • olives – Green olives are the preferred choice – for the stuffing and the sauce. If you opt for black olives, keep in mind that they will add dark bits in the stuffing and the sauce, affecting the visual appeal.
  • herbs – Don’t hold back on parsley, the recipe suggests a minimum amount, so feel free to add more; it brings extra flavour. Now, with dill, exercise caution – stick to the stated quantity as too much can overpower the filling.
  • chopped tomato – Canned tomatoes work the best, you can prepare with fresh but buy sweet, ripe ones. The sauce needs that rich flavour, and canned chopped tomatoes do the job. If you find San Marzano tomatoes, that’s a bonus!
  • white wine – Any white wine will do the trick, but dry is ideal. Feel free to play around with sweet varieties. If you’re feeling adventurous, red wine is an option, but it’ll darken the colour and deepen the sauce’s flavour. I’d recommend sticking to white wine; it pairs perfectly with fish and seafood.
  • stuffing – This is just one version for stuffing; feel free to customize it to your liking. Add spices for a kick or more herbs if you wish. You can omit olives and add capers, for example, but don’t skip the egg as it holds the whole thing together, allowing your squid to slice nicely even in thin slices.
Preparation & Cooking Tips

This recipe is designed for two generous portions, one squid per person. If you decide to add two more squids, you don’t have to double all the sauce ingredients since there’s already an ample amount. I usually make dishes with plenty of sauce, so with the additional squids, just add a bit more of the sauce ingredients. Feel free to be flexible with the amounts ( for the sauce) , it’s all about personal preference, whether you prefer a smaller or more generous serving of sauce.

It’s essential to cook the squid for an extended period, more than 30 minutes, to avoid potential toughness or rubberiness. When pan-frying or grilling, limit the cooking time to a maximum of 2 minutes. For boiling/simmering, on the other hand, aim for at least 40 minutes. Cooking squid for more than 2 minutes and less than 30 results in a rubbery texture, and the extended cooking time is necessary to soften the meat once again.

The stuffing can be made in advance, allowing it to chill in the fridge overnight. You can also prepare and stuff the squid ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then cook it the following day. This makes the cooking process more convenient and flexible for your schedule.

Presentation & Serving

You can serve this as a starter, simply topping it with a small amount of sauce.
As a main meal, the possibilities are endless. Traditionally, it is served with polenta, mashed potato, or rice—the choice is yours, depending on how elegant you want it on your plate 🙂

Mediterranean stuffed squid served as a starter with tomato sauce topping
Mediterranean stuffed squid with tomato sauce topping served as a main meal alognside salmon and vegetables

In my serving, I paired it with plain spaghetti dressed with olive oil, parsley, garlic, chili flakes, sundried tomato pieces, and surimi.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it turns out. Additionally, if stuffed squid is a traditional dish in your country, drop me a message below and share how you make it and how different it is from this mediterranean stuffed squid! Happy cooking!

Recipe Card

Mediterranean stuffed squid in tomato sauce

Try this delicious tender squid, filled with a mix of chopped tentacles, fragrant herbs, and a hint of wine, all nestled in a rich tomato sauce.
Servings 2 people
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes


  • 2 large squid


  • squid tentacles
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 spring onion
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp Vermouth or sweet white wine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • salt - to taste


  • 400 ml chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp sliced green olives
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 400 ml shellfish stock
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • salt, pepper - to taste
  • olive oil



  • Hold the squid firmly and twist the head off. Pull out the tentacles along with the soft, transparent backbone. Chop the tentacles as they will be used for stuffing.
    Remove Quill: Look inside the body for a thin, transparent quill (a plastic-like piece). Pull it out gently.
  • Clean Inside: Reach inside the body and remove any remaining soft parts, such as membranes and ink sacs. Rinse the inside thoroughly.
  • Peel off the spotted skin from the squid's body. You can do this by grabbing the edge with your fingers and pulling it away.
    Rinse the cleaned squid under cold running water to remove any remaining residue.


  • Finely chop squid tentacles, onion, garlic, spring onion and parsley,
  • Add oil in a pan and fry the mixture, sautéing for about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool slightly.
  • Add one egg, dill, lemon zest and breadcrumbs. Mix well.
  • Stuffing is now ready.


  • Fill cleaned and washed squid tubes with the stuffing mixture, leaving some space at the end as the squid will shrink during cooking. Secure the ends with a toothpick.
  • Lightly dust each squid with flour. Place in a deep pot with a little oil and fry for about 1 minute until they gain a golden color. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.


  • In the oil where you fried the stuffed squid, add finely chopped onion and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic, and sauté for another half a minute. Add chopped tomatoes, olives, and pour in wine and shellfish stock or add a few whole prawns or langoustines. Add tomato paste and sugar. And stir well.
  • Return the seared squid to the sauce and continue cooking for 45 minutes to 1 hour over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Towards the end, add chopped parsley and balsamic vinegar and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve one squid per person, sliced in 1 cm thick slices.


Approximate total calories for the entire dish are around 1300. Please note that these are rough estimates and may vary based on specific ingredients and quantities used.
Calories: 650kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Croatian, Italian, Mediterranean
Diet: Low Fat

#StuffedSquid #SquidRecipe #ChristmasEveFood #mediterraneastuffedsquid

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