Christmas Eve Calamari Marinara Recipe

Christmas Eve Calamari Marinara Recipe

Everyone has their holiday meal traditions. One Italian customary meal that many families still partake in on Christmas Eve is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This dinner celebrates the wait for Jesus’ birth. This commemorative meal became popularized in many Italian American homes and then began to spread. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is not something that my family participates in every year. However; we do have one seafood dish that is always included on Christmas Eve, calamari. My uncle hosts this night’s party and calamari marinara started to show up on the dinner table a few years back. Now I can’t picture Christmas Eve without it. Today’s recipe is my take on this symbolic holiday meal.

I also want to point out how incredibly easy calamari is to prepare and cook with. It’s also fairly cheap! I purchased mine from Whole Foods, which of course is always a bit pricier, for just $8.99 a pound. It was $5 cheaper a pound than the shrimp sitting right next to it (Who knew!). Aside from the calamari this whole dish is composed of pantry staples and will certainly not break the bank. I encourage those of you like me, who thought cooking squid would be a big challenge, to try this recipe. You’ll see just how deliciously easy it is.

Make this calamari as one of your seven fish courses or as an appetizer for whatever your traditional main course may be. It will become a quick holiday favorite.


…all for the love of the dish

Christmas Eve Calamari Marinara Recipe

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 lb of squid
  • 1- 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1- 14 oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup banana peppers (Optional depending on if you want your sauce spicy!)
  • 1 tbsp juice from banana pepper jar ((Optional depending on if you want your sauce spicy!)
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium stock pot. Add the minced garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cans of crushed and diced tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the banana peppers, their juice, olives, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Turn down heat a bit and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, rinse the cavities of each squid and cut into ½ slices. If you got any that are just the tentacles, just rinse those. No need to chop.
  5. Stir in the calamari slices and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve in bowls with lots of crusty bread to soak up all the sauce.
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