The standard health message these days is to eat lots of veggies and try to get oily seafood into your diet a couple times a week. I don’t know if that’s really a healthy diet, but it sounds reasonable, though I’m not sure referring to fish as oily is all that palatable. Oily seafood includes tuna, salmon, and sardines. It seems like every diet or healthy eating book I pick up recommends eating sardines. I usually try to add protein to my salads so making a sardine salad seemed like a good idea.
Sardines are not my favorite food. They remind me of eating them on a Saltine cracker, and it’s not my best childhood memory. Maybe I’d like sardines on a cracker now, but I still haven’t tried them.
In a burst of sardine enthusiasm, I bought a stack of sardine cans at Costco. Then I had to figure out how to eat them. I tried adding sardines straight onto a salad and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I decided there had to be a way to improve the flavor of sardines and have a healthy meal.
This recipe is what I came up with. As seems to be the case with most of my recipes, you can adjust the ingredients to fit what you have on hand. If you don’t have lemon juice, just use all vinegar and if you don’t have vinegar, use all lemon juice.
Ingredients for Sardine Salad
1 4.34 ounce can of sardines packed in water or oil
¼ cup finely diced onion
1 celery stalk, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced finely
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Directions for Sardine Salad
Drain the sardines. Put into a small mixing bowl and break up into small pieces.
Add the onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper. Mix well.
Add the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Put salad greens on a plate and top with a generous scoop of the sardine mixture.
This makes two to three servings.
If you don’t drain the sardines and use that liquid, reduce the olive oil by half.
The vinegar and lemon juice do not have to be in equal proportions. If you don’t have one, use all of the other.
If you want a creamier version, replace with olive oil with the mayonnaise of your choice.