Soupia Toursi / Σουπιά Τουρσί (Greek Pickled Cuttlefish Meze)

In Greece, if you are lucky, you will be served pickled seafood such as marinated anchovies (gavros marinatos/γαυρος μαρινάτος) and slices of pickled octopus as a meze (drink snack) with ouzo, tsipouro, or raki. A bit less common, but just as delicious, is pickled cuttlefish (Soupia toursi/ Σουπιά Τουρσί), which I was lucky enough to have a couple of times at an Ouzeri on Naxos. The pickled cuttlefish is pleasantly chewy and sour, while the pickled sweet red pepper, onions and herbs remain refreshing and crunchy – the perfect snack to accompany a nice, strong drink (or a piece of crusty bread).


It would be a bit much to travel all the way to Naxos just for a meze (but I wouldn’t put it past me to do that either), so I’ve tried to recreate the dish for some home time snacking! Turns out, it’s quite easy to make and it’s a great way to extend the ‘shelf life’ of fresh cuttlefish so that you can enjoy it for several days! 


Apart from extending the shelf life, another common reason for making pickled seafood is that it’s a great way to use up parts that might be left over from making other dishes. In the case of cuttlefish, this could mean you’ve got some little tentacles and heads leftover after making stuffed cuttlefish, while in the case of octopi, it’s common practice to use the little heads and bodies to make pickled seafood, because it’s really only the tentacles that are wanted for grilling.

Advertisement -- Continue Reading Below

Note: this recipe also works for thick pieces of fresh squid and small octopi.


Soupia Toursi / Σουπιά Τουρσί (Greek Pickled Cuttlefish Meze)

0.0 rating
  • GF
  • DF
Greek pickled cuttlefish meze
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:25 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Freezable:No

Nutrition per portion

  • 1kg cuttlefish, whole (about 650 – 700g after gutting and cleaning)
  • 1.5l water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped in half
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ ½ another teaspoon)
  • 1 small sweet pointed red pepper, diced
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 300ml white wine vinegar, or as needed to top up
  • 150ml filtered water
  • 150ml extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • Needed: large enough sterilized glass jar with air-tight lid.
Note: preparation and cooking times listed do not include the 2 - 7 days needed to marinate the cuttlefish in the vinegar before its ready to consume.  
  1. Clean the cuttlefish: remove the intestines, eyes, beak and skin. Try to salvage as much of the actual meat as possible (head and flaps included). Rinse under cold running water.
  2. Make a quick stock: Bring 1.5l water, 2 bay leaves, 2 garlic cloves, 1 chopped rib of celery, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Leave to boil for 10 minutes to let the flavors infuse a little.
  3. Boil cuttlefish: Add the cleaned cuttlefish (body and tentacles separate, but uncut) to the pot with boiling water and cook for 5 – 10 minutes until the meat feels firm. Then remove the cuttlefish from the pot and leave to cool. Discard the cooking liquid and other cooked ingredients.
  4. Cut: When the cuttlefish is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1cm strips, or dice (depending on preference).
  5. To your sterilized glass jar, add the chopped cuttlefish, diced sweet red pepper, thinly sliced yellow onion, chopped fresh dill and parsley, and 1 tablespoon of capers. Shake, or stir to combine ingredients.
  6. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to the jar and pour in the white wine vinegar and filtered water to cover all ingredients. Use more vinegar if needed to make sure the ingredients are all submerged. Top up with olive oil to create a 1cm seal.
  7. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 week, or at least 2 days before consuming
  These ‘pickles’ are not to be kept for too long. Preferably consume within 2 - 3 weeks of making them (they get soft after).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *