Enjoy the crispy golden taste of calamari and savory chunky marinara sauce right in the comfort of your own home. If you thought that you can only get crispy calamari from a restaurant on special occasions, think again! This easy recipe with minimal ingredients is so tasty and satisfying. Skip the deep fryer and the oil because your air fryer will give you crispy calamari that is just as good, if not better. Plus, when you pair it with a savory chunky marinara dipping sauce with hints of garlic and basil, there is nothing like it. So, name a better duo than this Air Fryer Calamari and Chunky Marinara Sauce, I’ll wait.
You can easily achieve healthier, but just as crispy calamari at home with a few simple ingredients and an air fryer. Using an air fryer will lighten up the dish and eliminate the oil, plus deep frying in which fried calamari is typically made. This recipe is perfect for sharing, great as a snack or starting dish for when you host or it’s even perfect on game day.
Once you air fry these, you will realize how you can easily enjoy this guilt free. I don’t know about you, but when I dine out with friends or family our automatic go to starter besides a soup or salad is calamari. It is a great source of protein, extremely satisfying and mess free. It light and small enough to have a few bites to where you don’t get too full before you main meal. So, since we eat it often, I wanted to recreate this for friends and family to enjoy at home.
When served with fresh lemon juice on top and this savory chunky marinara sauce, there is nothing like it. Fried calamari and marinara sauce go together like PB and J. It is just too good! Now, don‘t be intimidated about purchasing this item, because squid/calamari is easier to source than one might think.
Purchasing and sourcing the calamari: I went to my local Whole Foods and they usually have them readily available and fresh over the counter, both the squid tubes and the tentacles. You have the choice of eliminating the tentacles if you please and just purchasing the squid alone. They also have them available at our local Mariano’s. Last, you have the option to purchase them frozen and then thawing.
Big Calamari fan? Make this and tag @prettyplatebymichelle or #prettyplatebymichelle on instagram. I would love to see your Pretty Plate!
Serves 4+, INGREDIENTS: For the Calamari
1 Lb. calamari
4 Eggs, whisked
1 Cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 Cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 Cup all purpose flour
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder (as much or as little as you would like)
Lemon wedges to serve with
Parsley flakes, dried or fresh for garnish (optional)
INGREDIENTS: For the Chunky Marinara Dipping Sauce can be found HERE
NOTE: For this sauce you can omit the Roma tomatoes, I like to omit them sometimes as it is easier to do so.
Whisk your eggs in a bowl and set aside.
Combine your Italian seasoned bread crumbs and your gluten free bread crumbs in another bowl and set aside.
Measure out your flour and pour into another bowl and set aside.
Slice some lemon wedges and set aside.
Slice your calamari into tubes and place in a bowl with the calamari tentacle. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to your liking or use your favorite seafood seasoning. Squeeze some lemon juice over and mix well.
To coat your calamari, begin by dipping each piece in the flour, then drenching it in the whisked egg and then coating it in the bread crumb mixture. NOTE: important to make sure that you BOTH inside and outside are coated well and all places are covered with all three items (flour, egg and bread crumbs). It is a very exact process, but I will admit that this is time consuming since you have to coat every little piece and make sure both inside and outside gets coated. Don’t worry, this is extremely rewarding though!
When all pieces are coated, preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees. When done preheating, spray the bottom with a generous amount non stick spray and add your prepared calamari. Spray the tops of your calamari you another generous layer of olive oil non-stick spray. NOTE: spraying them helps get them nice and golden and crispier.
Air fry at 400 for 6 minutes and flip them over at the halfway point. Repeat this process until all are cooked and air fried.
When done, garnish with parsley flakes, serve with lemon wedges and marinara sauce on the side.
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: