Pan fried calamari are a fantastic low carb alternative to battered or breaded squid. These are cooked with garlic and lemon for a delicious flavor!
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For many people, this dish may be a non-starter. The idea of those tentacles and the texture of the squid (particularly if they've previously experienced rubbery, overcooked calamari) isn't for everyone.
As for those of you who DO love squid, you may have only enjoyed it with a high carb breading or batter, and consider it to be off the low carb menu. For example, one appetizer portion of spicy calamari at a restaurant like Olive Garden contains 56g net carbs!
So let's look at the squid itself. Squid come in many sizes but the best ones for calamari have a smaller body length, 12″ or less. If you buy them prepared (and I suggest that you do), they will come with the hollow tubular bodies and tentacles. A 3 oz serving of squid contains approximately 2.6g net carbs. It's worth bearing in mind that it's not zero like most other seafood or fish, but it certainly works out better to pan fry them compared to a restaurant version!
It's not to say that I won't work on a recipe for low carb calamari with breading, but this method tastes fantastic and is definitely quicker! I buy my squid in frozen packs and once I've defrosted them this dish comes together super quickly.
How to Make Pan Fried Calamari with Garlic and Lemon
Heat some butter and oil together in a large skillet. Cut the calamari tubes into rings and add them to the skillet, together with the tentacles and some minced garlic. If you've bought frozen calamari ensure that they are thoroughly defrosted before cooking.
Continue to cook until the calamari has firmed up, about five minutes.
Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the calamari to a serving dish.
Garnish with chopped parsley, more black pepper and another quick squeeze of lemon.
As I mentioned before, this pan fried calamari recipe works well as a family style appetizer or tapas meal. If you're serving them on their own, then some low carb buttery breadsticks might be a nice addition!
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb calamari (squid) tubes and tentacles, fully defrosted if previously frozen
- 1 tsp garlic paste or minced garlic
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbs chopped parsley
- Heat the butter and oil together in a large skillet.
- Cut the squid tubes into rings and add them to the skillet, together with the tentacles and the garlic.
- Continue to cook until the calamari has firmed up, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the calamari to a serving dish.
- Garnish with the parsley, more black pepper, and an extra squeeze of lemon.
4g net carbs per serving (quarter of the recipe)
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size Quarter of the recipe
Amount Per ServingCalories 147Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 272mgSodium 190mgCarbohydrates 4gNet Carbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 18g
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is my best approximation. I cannot guarantee completely accurate data due to variations in ingredients and cooking methods. Carbohydrates from sugar alcohols are not included in net carb counts as it has been shown that they do not impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.