Lemon-y Spaghetti and 7 More Incredibly Delicious Ways to Eat Canned Sardines

July 28, 2021
canned sardines
Photo Credit: Killing Thyme

If you instantly turn your nose up at canned sardines, listen up: You really oughta give them a chance. They’re ridiculously nutritious — packed with protein, healthy fats, and good things like calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. 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.

Read next: These Are the Healthiest, Tastiest Brands of Canned Tuna on the Market — and We’ve Tried Them All

The biggest question you probably have, though, is what to do with them. There are really countless ways to turn canned sardines into a fuss-free meal. Here are 8 recipes to get you started.

1. Spicy Sardine Salad Sandwich from Killing Thyme

Take canned sardines, add a touch of mayo, scallions, capers, celery, and herbs, plus a squeeze of lemon and you have a fresh and healthy take on the classic tuna salad. If you like tuna salad, this is a good way to ease into the world of canned sardines.

greek salad

Photo Credit: Champagne Tastes

2. Greek Salad with Sardines from Champagne Tastes

The thing we love most about this “salad” is that it feels more like a snack plate: Toss some blocks of feta, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions, olives, peppers, and sardines on a plate and call it lunch. Or dinner!

sardine rice bowl

Photo Credit: Kitchen Gidget

3. 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.

sardine salad in avocados

Photo Credit: Anjali Prasertong / Kitchn

4. 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

5. 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.

sardine pasta

Photo Credit: Tori Avey

6. 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 toast

Photo Credit: Greg Dupree / Real Simple

7. 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

8. 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 make it a truly wholesome dinner.

Read next: 6 Delicious Ways to Use Inexpensive, Heart-Healthy Canned Fish

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