Sardines: Superfood Of the Sea

Eat these little fish! Sardines.

They’re the superfood of the sea. Here’s why:

Mega high in Omega-3 fats — higher than salmon, tuna, and nearly every other food I can think of

High in calcium and vitamin D — the tiny bones in canned sardines are soft enough to eat, supplying about 25 percent of your daily calcium needs and a hefty dose of vitamin D in just three ounces

Low in mercury — unlike a number of varieties of fish, sardines are low in the environmental pollutant mercury

Sustainable  — when you opt for Pacific sardines, they’re considered a “Best Choice” by the environmental watchdog, Seafood Watch (they put Atlantic sardines in the “Avoid” category)

Affordable— particularly when you consider the price of wild salmon these days

Convenient — available canned all year long

So, what’s not to love?

sardines

Well, for some folks, the flavor. While not as “fishy” as anchovies, sardines aren’t exactly tilapia, either. And the season for fresh Pacific sardines is brief, so relying on canned is the best and easiest way to get them regularly into your diet.

Although sardines may take some getting used to, they may be a food you come to love, particularly if you are already fond of salmon, tuna, and other flavorful fish. Pick up a tin and tinker in the kitchen. Use them how you might other canned fish as a starting point, or consider any of the recipes  below for working them into your diet.  And if you are one of the smart folks already on the sardine bandwagon, I’d love to hear how you enjoy eating them, so feel free to share in the comments section below .

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Nicoise Salad — Substitute sardines for the traditional tuna in this classic French salad

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Fennel Sardine Spaghetti — A flavorful recipe from Cooking Light, which you can find here

Open Faced Sardine Sandwich

Open-Faced Sardinewich — Spread your favorite toast with cream cheese, top with sardines, chopped chives, and a squeeze of lemon


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Toast with Pickled Fennel and Apple —  Adapt Aida Mollenkamp’s savory spread using sardines in place of anchovies

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Grilled Sardines — When you can get them fresh, sardines on the grill are the very best way to eat them. Here’s how.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Comments

12.02.2014 at 4:53 PM #

Natalie

When I was younger my mom would buy sardines packed in tomato sauce. Mixed with chopped green onions and served on toast they were delicious!

12.02.2014 at 4:53 PM #

katiemorford

Such a simple idea for a little meal or snack. Thank you.

12.02.2014 at 5:08 PM #

Renee

I love sardines packed in mustard, on crackers with a squeeze of lemon juice. Fresh marinated sardines are great with some crunchy greens, olive oil, bread and olives. I’ve also tried grilling the bigger sardines, but honestly was not crazy about them. The bones are too hard–not soft like the little ones. Plus, they start to get pretty gamey and if I’m going for that flavor, I’d rather have mackerel. But yes, we eat sardines and I always have some in my pantry cabinet.

12.02.2014 at 5:08 PM #

katiemorford

Thanks for chiming in with ideas and for a strong endorsement of sardines!

12.03.2014 at 6:02 AM #

Annie Cobb

We eat a lot of sardines…should we worry about the BPA issue in the sardine cans? I aways look for the non bpa lining in beans etc but I don’t see that in cans for any seafood.

12.03.2014 at 6:02 AM #

katiemorford

Vital Choice, Crown Prince, and Wild Planet are all canned without BPAs. Look for those.

12.03.2014 at 9:04 AM #

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

Sardines are the best! It makes me sad that so many people don’t like them or refuse to try!

12.03.2014 at 11:49 AM #

Sarah

I don’t think sardines of ever sounded so good.

12.03.2014 at 11:49 AM #

katiemorford

Sally will be thrilled.

12.03.2014 at 12:23 PM #

Vanessa Man

I love sardines, I just eat them out of the can. And I love making rice with sardines and accompany with stew beans(that’s how we eat it the most in my country).

12.03.2014 at 12:23 PM #

katiemorford

Sardines defintely seem like a food familiar to folks from other countries or who have traveled elsewhere. I think here in the US, we are a little behind.

12.03.2014 at 12:41 PM #

Tracy

My kids and I eat canned sardines pretty regularly if we are home for lunch (and if my husband is not around – not a fan!). I mash the sardines well, then put them on top of TJ’s multigrain crackers w/cream cheese I have mixed with dill, finely diced red onions and/or scallions, and lots of lemon juice. I find that they work better with the crunch of crackers than toast.

12.03.2014 at 12:41 PM #

katiemorford

Your “sardine salad” sounds delicious…and I like the idea of having it on crackers. Thank you.

12.11.2014 at 1:45 PM #

Jade

Sardines are really good with smooshed avocado on toast.

07.02.2015 at 5:46 AM #

Simone

I mash up a can of sardines, squeeze half a lemon, half a lime, then grate the lemon and lime zest of the halves, add a tablespoon or two or chili paste (from the Asian section of the grocery store), stir it all together and eat on nachos as mini fish tacos. 🙂 If the chili paste is too spicy for your palate, a mild version of this dish is to omit the chili paste and add some chopped red pepper, red onions and cilantro.It’s delicious, and it’s a recipe I created to acquire a taste for sardines.

07.02.2015 at 5:46 AM #

katiemorford

Thanks for sharing. Love the flavor combo!

03.14.2017 at 8:52 PM #

Stacy

We eat sardines on water crackers or smashed on whole wheat toast – in both instances with nothing else on them.

03.14.2017 at 8:52 PM #

katiemorford

My sister feeds them to her kids like that and they are hooked!

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