Insalata di Mare

Insalata di mare, also known as seafood salad, is a traditional Italian dish that has become popular worldwide due to its unique flavor and health benefits. This delicacy is from a variety of seafood, typically including squid, shrimp, octopus, and mussels. It can be mixed with fresh vegetables and spices to create a refreshing and satisfying meal. In this blog, we will be discussing the history and origin of Insalata di mare, how to prepare it, Insalata di mare Recipe, ingredients and spices, and many more.

Origin and History of Insalata di Mare

Insalata di mare originated in the coastal regions of Italy, where the seafood is abundant and forms a significant part of the local cuisine. It is believed to have been first made by fishermen who would prepare the salad using the catch of the day and a few simple ingredients. Over time, the recipe evolved, and different regions of Italy developed their own versions, each using local seafood and spices.

Everything to know about Insalata di mare

This is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a main course, depending on the serving size. The seafood in the dish is typically boiled or steamed, then marinated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. This dressing infuses the seafood with a tangy, herbal flavor and helps to tenderize the meat.

To create the salad, the marinated seafood is combined with diced vegetables, such as celery, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. The dish is served cold or at room temperature, making it an ideal meal for warm summer days or outdoor gatherings.

How to prepare Insalata di mare

Preparing Insalata di mare is relatively easy, and it can be done in a few simple steps. The first step is to clean and prepare the seafood. Squid and octopus need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove any residual sand or ink, while shrimp and mussels should be deveined and scrubbed to remove any grit.

Next, the seafood is boiled or steamed until it is cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the type and size of the seafood, but as a general rule, it should take no more than 10 minutes.

While the seafood is cooking, the dressing is prepared by mixing together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and salt. Once the seafood is cooked, it is removed from the heat and allowed to cool for a few minutes before being added to the dressing. The seafood is then marinated in the dressing for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop.

Insalata di mare Recipe

This is a refreshing and light dish that highlights the natural flavors of seafood. It’s perfect for summer gatherings, picnics, or any occasion when you want to savor the taste of the sea.


  • Assorted seafood (shrimp, calamari, mussels, octopus, etc.)
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Celery, diced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking and Preparation

  1. Start by cooking the seafood. The cooking methods may vary depending on the type of seafood you are using. Shrimp can be boiled until pink and cooked through, calamari can be simmered until tender, mussels can be steamed until they open, and octopus can be boiled until tender and then sliced.
  2. Once the seafood is cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mixed salad greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and celery.
  4. Add the cooked and cooled seafood to the bowl and gently toss to combine.
  5. Drizzle the salad with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Finally, sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley over the salad for added freshness and flavor.
  7. Allow the flavors to meld together by refrigerating the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.


  • Insalata di mare is often served as an appetizer or a light main course.
  • It can be enjoyed on its own or served alongside toasted bread or crusty Italian bread.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and additional chopped parsley for presentation.

Tips and Variations:

  • You can customize the salad based on your preferences and the availability of seafood. Feel free to add or substitute other seafood options such as scallops, crab meat, or lobster.
  • For added flavor, you can marinate the seafood in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs before cooking.
  • If you prefer a bit of heat, you can add some crushed red pepper flakes or diced chili peppers to give the salad a spicy kick.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to enhance the flavors. Fresh basil, oregano, or a sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning can add depth to the dish.

Health Benefits

It is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients that offer various health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of this seafood salad:

  1. Rich in protein: The seafood in Insalata di mare is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, including muscles.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: The seafood in Insalata di mare is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart health, and brain function, and can help reduce inflammation.
  3. Antioxidants: The vegetables in this dish are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your body against damage caused by free radicals and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  4. Low in calories: It is a low-calorie dish, which makes it a great option for those looking to maintain or lose weight.
Insalata di mare

Nutritional Values

Here is the nutritional value of one serving (150g) of Insalata di mare:

  • Calories: 250
  • Total fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 100mg
  • Sodium: 430mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 9g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Vitamin D: 2% DV
  • Calcium: 4% DV
  • Iron: 15% DV
  • Potassium: 8% DV

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use frozen seafood for Insalata di mare?

Yes, you can use frozen seafood, but fresh seafood is recommended for better taste and texture.

  1. Can I add other vegetables to Insalata di mare?

Yes, you can add other vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or even fruits like oranges or grapefruit.

  1. How long can I keep Insalata di mare in the refrigerator?

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. However, it’s best to consume it within the first 24 hours for optimal taste and texture.

  1. Can I make Insalata di mare ahead of time?

Yes, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to two hours before serving. Just be sure to mix in the dressing right before serving.


This is a delicious and healthy seafood salad that’s easy to make and packed with nutrients. It’s a perfect dish for those looking to incorporate more seafood into their diet and enjoy the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. With this simple recipe, you can enjoy a taste of Italy right in your own home. Try it out today and see how easy it is to make this refreshing seafood salad.

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