Gillyweed Salad | Harry Potter Inspired Recipes

The Starving Chef is supported by Hungry People like you. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link on my site, I may earn a little bit of cash on the side (at no extra cost to you) to help keep my kitchen running. Read our disclosures here.

gilly weed salad real life recipe from harry potter

What’s Up, Hungry People

It’s officially “Harry Potter Week” here in the Starving Chef’s kitchen. Every year, my kitchen transfigures into Hogwarts and I attempt to recreate and reimagine favorite foods mentioned inspired by the books and movies. Tonight we start at the end of the lake and prepare to submerge into the depths below.

If you haven’t read or watched the Harry Potter series, be warned there may be mild spoilers in this post. It’s been like, twenty years people! You’ve had plenty of time to catch up.

gilly weed in harry potter goblet of fire

In the books, Harry is presented gillyweed by Dobby the house elf just prior to entering the lake challenge in the Triwizard Tournament. In the movies, Neville is the one who gives it to Harry, who then promptly begins to suffocate above water as the gillyweed gives him, well, gills.

However, if you aren’t about to participate in an hour-long challenge to rescue your best friends from drowning at the hands of merpeople and actually are just a Muggle, there are actual ways to enjoy gillyweed without sprouting gills.

Described as a greenish grey knot of slimy rat tails, in the Muggle version, fresh calamari, spiralized cucumbers, and pickled seaweed are used instead – and doesn’t taste half as bad as gillyweed, especially when dressed in a tangy sesame sauce.

In fact, the Muggle in me probably prefers this version over the magical one.

Here’s What You Need:

  • English cucumber: Adds a fresh, crisp texture to the salad.
  • Prepared seaweed salad: Brings a unique, oceanic flavor and chewy texture.
  • Calamari rings & tentacles: Provide a slightly sweet, meaty component, rich in protein.
  • Black sesame seeds: Offer a nutty flavor and a striking visual contrast.
  • Rice vinegar: Gives the dressing a mild acidity, balancing the flavors.
  • Mayonnaise: Creates a creamy base for the dressing, adding richness.
  • Sesame oil: Infuses the dish with a deep, aromatic flavor.
  • Salt & pepper: Season the calamari, enhancing its natural flavors.
gilly weed salad from harry potter

Let’s Cook

Start with heating some sesame oil in your wok over a medium flame. Once it’s shimmering – that means it’s hot enough without being too hot – toss in your calamari rings and tentacles. This is where you season with a bit of salt and pepper. You’re not looking to cook these for long, just about 1-2 minutes. You want them tender, not rubbery. After they’re cooked, take them off the heat and let them cool down.

Dressing Time

While your calamari is cooling off, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together your mayo, rice vinegar, and those black sesame seeds. This mixture is what’s going to tie everything together, so make sure it’s well combined.

Salad Assembly

Now, take a larger bowl and get ready to mix. Add your spiralized cucumber and the prepared seaweed salad. Pour that dressing you just mixed over the top and gently toss everything together. You want every piece lightly coated with the dressing, so everything has a nice flavor to it.

Finishing Touches

By now, your calamari should be cool. Sprinkle it over the top of your cucumber and seaweed mixture. If you’re feeling fancy, throw on some more black sesame seeds for garnish. And there you have it, a salad worthy of any witch, wizard, or, you know, just a regular person looking for a good meal.

calamari cucumber salad

Gillyweed Salad Tips:

  • Choosing the right calamari: Fresh is best, but frozen works in a pinch. Thaw completely and pat dry to avoid excess moisture during cooking.
  • Spiralizing cucumber: For the best texture, use a medium setting on your spiralizer. If you don’t have one, thin slices or half-moons work too.
  • Balancing flavors: Start with the recommended amount of dressing and adjust to taste. The goal is to coat the salad lightly without overpowering the delicate flavors of the cucumber and seaweed.
  • Serving suggestion: This salad is best served chilled. If preparing ahead of time, keep the calamari separate and add just before serving to maintain the best texture.
  • Storing leftovers: If you have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day. Note that the textures will soften over time.
seafood gilly weed salad from harry potter

So, with your kitchen now smelling faintly of Hogwarts’ lake (minus the murky water and merpeople), you’ve just prepared a dish that’s as close to magical as us Muggles can get. Whether you’re serving this to a fellow Harry Potter fan or just looking to enjoy a refreshing salad with a twist, you’ve now got all the steps and tips to make this dish a success. Remember, the key to a good calamari is not overcooking it, and balancing the flavors in your dressing can make or break your salad.

So next time you’re in the mood for something a little different, remember this gillyweed salad. It’s a simple, straightforward way to bring a bit of magic to your table, no wands required.

gilly weed salad

Gillyweed Salad | Harry Potter Inspired Recipes

The Starving Chef
This gillyweed salad combines fresh calamari, cucumber, and seaweed with a tangy sesame dressing for a Harry Potter-inspired appetizer or side dish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Fictional Feasts
Cuisine Harry Potter Inspired
Servings 4


  • 1 English cucumber (seedless cucumber)
  • 1 cup prepared seaweed salad (usually found by the sushi stand in your grocery)
  • 16 oz calamari rings & tentacles
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds + more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the calamari rings and tentacles. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes, until tender and cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of black sesame seeds.
  • In a larger bowl, fold together the seaweed salad and spiralized cucumber. Pour the dressing over the seaweed and cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat the mix evenly.
  • After the calamari has cooled, sprinkle it on top of the cucumber mixture. Garnish with additional black sesame seeds, as desired. Chill for one hour.
  • Serve to a witch or wizard in need of a magical dish to transform them into a human-fish hybrid (or enjoy chilled, as a Muggle).
Keyword Harry Potter, salad, seaweed
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!