Moroccan stuffed squid with quinoa & shrimp in tomato sauce


Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves: Serves 4

Moroccan cuisine is rich of seafood dishes given its long sea coasts along the Mediterranean and Atlantic. These dishes can be prepared in a variety of ways depending on the region.

So today I share with you a dish not as well known as tagine, couscous or the famous pastilla, but which is still a very popular dish in Morocco: «  Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce ».

When I was living with my parents, we usually enjoyed this dish during the weekend. Sometimes we made paella, or seafood tagine like : « Moroccan sardines & burnt aubergine balls tagine » or «  oven baked fish with Moroccan Chermoula ».

We usually use the calamari but it’s hard to find it, so we used squid. The basic recipe goes for rice and calamari tentacles finely chopped.
I introduced some changes to my family recipe. The squids are stuffed with quinoa (you can use rice instead if you’d like), shrimps, bell peppers, olives and Chermoula. Then cooked in a delicious tomato sauce, with grilled bell peppers and kalamata olives.

This recipe is nutritious, hearty, and combines a variety of ingredients that you will absolutely enjoy.

It seems like a complicated dish but in reality it’s incredibly easy to make. This is a recipe that can easily be prepared in 45 minutes, depending on whether you have to clean the calamari / squid or not. Then, about 45 minutes to cook. During this time you can make a nice salad to go along with it.

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Moroccan stuffed squid with quinoa & shrimp in tomato sauce

  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients :

Tomato sauce :

  • 700 g tomatoes peeled and chopped , (if it’s not the season you can use 2 tins chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper,, (optional)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper,, (optional)
  • Some kalamata olives, (optional)
  • salt and black pepper

Filling :

  • 12 squid, medium size cleaned
  • 75 g quinoa
  • 110 g vegetable stock , or water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300 g shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1cm (uncooked)
  • 2 Tbsp green olives , pitted and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp yellow bell pepper , finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove , finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp parsley , finely chopped plus extra to serve
  • 2 Tbsp coriander , finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 12 toothpick
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Method :

  • 1)

    First cook the quinoa :

    Wash the quinoa until the water is clear then drain. In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and the vegetable stock or water add the salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat (very low) simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff with a fork and let it cool little bit.

  • 2)

    Meanwhile preheat the oven 180C Fan. Wash the bell peppers and remove the stems, cut them into quarters and remove all the seeds and membranes. Then rub the bell peppers with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, place them on baking sheet lined with a baking paper, cut  side down. Bake for 15 minutes, until the skin is dark and collapsed, remove them from the oven. Let’s the bell peppers cool for few minutes just enough to handle then so you can peel the skin and slice them. Set aside.

  • 3)

    Make the tomato sauce : heat the olive oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid, add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste and spices , add salt and black pepper.

    You can add some cayenne powder harissa if you want the sauce to be little bit spicy. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the sauce is thick.


  • 4)

    The filling : in a large bowl combine all the ingredients together : cooked quinoa, shrimps, spices, herbs , olive oil, salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

    Use your fingers to stuff the calamari / squid with the filling.  Be sure to press down to fill the bottom end of the calamari / squid.  Leave about a 1,5 cm of space at the top since the squid will shrink while cooking. Secure the open end with a toothpick.

  • 5)

    Add 150 ml of hot water to the tomato sauce, bring to a boil.

    Reduce the heat to very low and place the stuffed squids side by side, in the tomato sauce. Cover the pan and cook for 45 minutes, turn the squid halfway.

    Remove the squids from the pan, add the olives and cook for 5 minutes uncovered on high heat until the sauce is thick, stirring constantly so the sauce will not catch and bruns. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, remove it from the heat.

  • 6)

    Return the squid to the pan and add the bell peppers. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving warm or at room temperature with some lemon wedges. I couldn’t make it spicy because of the kids, so I served it with some “shatta”.

Tricks & Tips :

If you don’t want to roast the bell peppers you can remove the stems, the seeds and membranes, slice them and add them to the tomatoes (from the beginning).

Instead of the quinoa you can use rice. You can replace the shrimp by the calamari tentacles finely chopped. As you can use just the rice or quinoa, spices and herbs without any seafood.  Can also add some vegetables like frozen green peas, sun dried tomatoes…

To have a very tender squid it’s  important to cook them for 45 minutes, and choose a medium size (about 15 cm ).


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