If grilled octopus tastes like vacation to you, get ready to bring your favorite holiday memories right into your home kitchen. This easy Greek style octopus recipe is fast and simple and brings all the flavors of the Mediterranean to your doorstep, no passport required.
Octopus is big business in Portugal, Spain and across the Mediterranean. Nearly every restaurant in my seaside village serves a version of grilled octopus, as well as a house specialty octopus salad, and maybe even an octopus carpaccio, if they’re feeling fancy.
Portuguese-style octopus is grilled and dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, then served with boiled potatoes and a salad.
For this Greek version, I’ve created an herb vinaigrette sauce with all those lemony, fresh herb and red wine vinegar notes we love. Since you’re already firing up the grill (or grill pan), throw some parboiled potatoes on there to serve alongside the main dish. Potatoes love the herbaceous sauce, too!
I can buy octopus in every form in my local grocery store. From whole, raw and fresh at the fish counter, to cooked and cut into perfect thin slices for carpaccio.
For this recipe, I’m using two packages of cooked octopus that equal 8 tentacles. The meat has already been poached, so it is ready to season and grill. If you’re starting with raw octopus, I have included cooking instructions in the notes section of the printable recipe card, below.
What you’ll need to make this delicious Greek octopus recipe:
- octopus tentacles, cooked
- Salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- garlic cloves
- lemon juice
- fresh parsley
- dried oregano
- red chili flakes
Step by step instructions this octopus recipe – Greek style:
First, make the Greek vinaigrette to season the grilled octopus.
Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, dried oregano (Greek oregano, if you can find it!) and red chili flakes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over tentacles, then sprinkle cooked octopus tentacles with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high. If grilling potatoes or other vegetables to serve with the octopus, add them to the grill, as well. I like to grill a halved lemon to squeeze over the entire dish when serving.
Grill tentacles for 3-5 minutes – just long enough to char the edges of the tentacles and heat them through. (I made this recipe on a recent trip to Madeira and it was so much fun cooking with live fire again! But this recipe also works on a grill pan on your stovetop.)
Once tentacles are charred, transfer them to your serving dish and drizzle vinaigrette over the entire plate.
Serve with grilled potatoes and grilled lemon wedges.
Note: if starting with a raw octopus, see notes on recipe card below for cooking the octopus before grilling instructions above.
Looking for more seafood inspiration? Check out these recipes:
FAQ’s and Serving Suggestions:
Most local cooks who have worked with octopus all their life recommend freezing a fresh octopus before cooking to ensure you have a really tender octopus for your final dish. The freezing process breaks down the tough fibers in the octopus, which results in a tender, flavorful grilled tentacle. For this reason, I like to buy either frozen whole octopus, or the poached octopus tentacles I used in this recipe. I’ve included instructions for both in the recipe card, so you’ll be set either way!
I love it with grilled potatoes and a big Mediterranean tossed salad. Throw some feta cheese and kalamata olives on the greens and you’ll have yourself a proper Greek salad! If you prefer rice, this Lemon Dill Basmati would be delicious with the grilled main dish. And you really need to serve it with some delicious Garlic Bread or grilled pitas for soaking up all the sauce.
Yes! This is a delicious dish either as a main course, or a starter. If serving as a starter, I recommend cutting the tentacles into bite-sized smaller pieces and serving them in a dish of the delicious sauce. If you’re presenting them as part of a buffet, include toothpicks so your guests can easily dish out a few pieces. Check out my Mediterranean Charcuterie Board recipe for more ways to serve grilled octopus!
To store, wrap grilled octopus tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours. If you leave it soaking in the vinaigrette, it will be even more delicious on the second day.