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Portuguese Recipe: Salada de Polvo (Octopus Salad)

Cooking 50 minutes Preparation 20 minutes 4 medium
Recipe type: Seafood Cuisine: Portuguese

I adore octopus, but it wasn’t until I sat terrace-side in Porto nibbling on a perfectly tender piece garnished in cilantro that this sexy octopod entered my radar. Today, it’s not uncommon to find a ginormous tentacle boiling away in our kitchen in preparation for octopus rice, salad or simply a perfectly buttery main dish to accompany roasted potatoes and sauteed cabbage. 

This refreshing salad is perfect with a bottle of Portuguese sparkling, but if you’re hoping for a privately guided Petiscos Food Tour in Portugal, let us know! We’d love to show you the hidden tricks to making perfectly soft and flavorful octopus!


  • 1 octopus (frozen or fresh)
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 onion
  • Black pepper
  • Salt 
  • 1/4 of olive oil
  • 1/4 of white vinegar


  1. If using a fresh octopus wash it and throw in a pot. If frozen, thaw it overnight.
  2. In a wide and deep pot, add salt to taste (not too much, because you can always add more) and a table spoon of olive oil (the 1/4 will be added later).
  3. Add enough water to the pot so that it just covers the octopus, but don’t fill to the top.
  4. After the water boils, let the octopus cook for another 40 minutes or until it feels tender, test with a fork. Tip: Since the octopus will be used in a salad, it’s not recommended that it’s too tender, but enough that a fork can go through it easily.
  5. While the octopus is cooking, chop the parsley and onion and add to a bowl with the olive oil and vinegar. Mix.
  6. Once the octopus is cooked, cut it into pieces and place in a deep platter and cover it with the mixture, add black pepper to taste and mix all of it and serve.

Note: Start your dining experience at the Lisbon dining staple, Solar dos Presuntos, with an octopus salad.

Recipe Video

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