Ah do I love Greece. The blue of the water and the white of the buildings are colors that deserve their own palate and names. Then there's their food. The variety of different types of fresh fish made me a happy and healthy eater while I was there.
Mediterranean food is full of great health benefits. Recent studies have shown that people who eat a Mediterranean are 47% less likely to develop heart disease. Then of course there's that thing about Mediterranean food just tasting really good.
I got to take a trip down Mediterranean lane when Melissa's Produce invited me to a tasting and book launch for International cuisine expert Amy Riolo's new release, The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. The delightful Riolo includes a great mix of recipes in her new book, combined with details on the Mediterranean tradition of dishes, as well as health benefits.
One recipe that caught my eye was her Greek Island Style Stuffed Calamari with Rice and Herbs. I'm a big fan of squid - the grilled kind, instead of the deep fried ringlets, though there's a time and a place for everything. This sautéed calamari with tomato caper salsa is still one of my favorites, and I'm happy to now add a new calamari recipe to my files.
I California-nized her dish a bit and dropped the rice and replaced it with quinoa, because you know how good quinoa is for you. If you need a refresher, take a read of the 27 Science Backed Health Benefits. I added a few other tweaks to the recipe and I think you could do the same, stuffing the calamari with whatever you like, as long as it would hold up under the cooking technique.
I love this dish with a crisp white wine. It is after all a healthy recipe with Mediterranean roots.
Quinoa Spinach Stuffed Calamari
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 pound fresh spinach, stems removed
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (instructions here)
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha (add more or less to your taste)
- 1 pound squid tubes - cleaned and dried
- Place one tablespoon of olive oil in a warm pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, quinoa, parsley and basil and stir until combined and spinach has wilted - about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Stuff each tube with the quinoa spinach mixture until nearly full, leaving 1/2" at the top to fasten a toothpick across.
- Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the tubes to brown on all sides. Work in batches, flipping as you go, about 3-5 minutes or until the calamari is opaque. Serve immediately.
I was a guest of Melissa's produce and received Amy Riolo's cookbook and some ingredients for recipe testing at no cost, but all opinions are always my own.