7 Incredibly Delicious Things to Do with Canned Sardines

Canned sardines

July 14, 2020

By Sheela Prakash

If you instantly turn your nose up when you hear the word “sardines”, listen up: You really oughta give them a chance. Here’s why: They’re ridiculously nutritious — packed with protein, healthy fat, and good things like calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. Perhaps even more importantly — they’re delicious. They have a rich, full flavor that’s somewhere between tuna and anchovies. If you like either, you’ll probably like sardines. They’re just as pantry-friendly as those two fishes, too, which makes them the perfect thing to stock up on if you’re looking to expand your pantry.

The biggest question you probably have, though, is what to do with them. Sardines are incredibly versatile so there are really countless ways to turn them into a fuss-free meal. Here are 7 recipes to inspire you.

Smoked Sardine Toasts with Lemon Mayo and Fennel Salad from Real Simple

Think canned fish for dinner and you probably don’t think of something as fancy-looking as these toasts. They’re an elevated version of tuna salad. The sardines are nestled on top of lemony mayo then covered with a bright and snappy shaved vegetable salad.

Instant Pot Spanish rice sardines
Photo Credit: Killing Thyme

Instant Pot Spanish Rice with Sardines in Tomato Sauce from Killing Thyme

If you’re someone who could easily eat a bowl of rice as a meal, make this simple recipe ASAP. Adding sardines to the spiced rice lends enough protein and healthy fat to it to truly deem it a wholesome dinner.

Cilantro-Lime Sardine Salad in Avocado Halves from Kitchn

This simple salad of sardines, mayo, fresh cilantro, and lime juice is great in a sandwich or scooped on top of greens, but it’s especially nice stuffed into avocado halves. The buttery flavor of the avocado is a perfect match for the citrus-spiked fish.

Sardine fish cakes
Photo Credit: Frugal Feeding

Sardine Fish Cakes from Frugal Feeding

These cakes are the perfect introduction to sardines if you’re on the fence about them. They’re similar in flavor and texture to crab cakes but are a whole lot more budget- and pantry-friendly.

Mediterranean Sardine Pasta with Lemon, Capers and Chili Flakes from Tori Avery

Tossing sardines into pasta adds protein to every twirl and makes for a much more satisfying dinner. This one is full of Mediterranean flair thanks to briney capers and both fresh lemon zest and juice.

Sardine rice bowl
Photo Credit: Kitchen Gidget

Sardine Rice Bowl from Kitchen Gidget

This simple rice bowl can totally be customized based on what you have on hand. Swap the white rice for brown rice, quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice, add leftover roasted vegetables if you have them, and try hot sauce or Sriracha if you don’t have red pepper flakes.

Greek Salad with Sardines from EatingWell

This colorful twist on a classic Greek salad is a light meal thanks to sardines and chickpeas, both of which lend protein to the situation. This is something that will stay good in the fridge for a couple of days so definitely keep it in mind for meal prepping.


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