There are plenty of good reasons for eating sardines. They are one of the best sources of omega 3’s, which are so important for brain and heart health. Sardines also supply calcium and are one of the few foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D. They are considered one of the most sustainable seafood choices, and of course, you can’t beat inexpensive canned sardines for convenience. So, stock up and enjoy sardines often. Here are some appealing ways to embellish a humble can of sardines:
Scandinavian Sardine Crispbreads: Soak 1 thin slice of red onion in ice water for a few minutes. Mix 2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise with 1 tsp chopped fresh dill (or ¼ tsp dried dill weed) in small bowl. Drain 1 (3.75-oz) can sardines. Drain onion slice and separate into rings; pat dry. Spread mayonnaise over 2 whole-grain crispbread crackers, such as Ry Crisp, Ryvita, Wasa, or Kavli. Arrange onion slices over crispbreads. Top with sardines. Scatter 1 tsp rinsed, drained capers over top. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a grinding of pepper. Garnish with a fresh dill sprig, if desired. Yield: 1 serving—the perfect lunch for one! Per serving: 280 calories, 23 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 13 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 2 grams omega 3 fatty acids, 124 milligrams cholesterol, 356 milligrams calcium, 634 milligrams sodium.
Crispy Broiled Sardines: Preheat broiler. Line a small baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Mix 3 Tbsp panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs), 1 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of cayenne pepper in small bowl. Drain 2 (3.75-oz) cans sardines. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Using basting brush, brush 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard over top of sardines. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over sardines; press crumbs into sardines. Broil sardines, about 4 inches from heat source, until topping is golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges. Yield: 2 servings. Per serving: 226 calories, 22 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 12 grams total fat, 2 gram saturated fat, 2 grams omega 3 fatty acids, 121 milligram cholesterol, 325 milligrams calcium, 636 milligrams sodium.
Greens & Sardines: Soak 1/3 cup thinly sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia, in ice water for a few minutes. In jar with tight-fighting lid or small bowl, shake or whisk together 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or white-wine vinegar or lemon juice), ¼ tsp salt and pepper to taste until blended. Place 3 cups washed, dried salad greens (torn, if large), 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, and ½ cup torn fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves in large bowl. Drain onions, pat dry and add to salad. Add 2 Tbsp dressing to salad and toss to coat. Divide salad among 2 plates. Drain 2 (3.75-oz) cans sardines; arrange over salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over sardines. Yield: 2 (2-cup) servings. Per serving: 403 calories, 24 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 31 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 2 grams omega 3 fatty acids, 121 milligram cholesterol, 405 milligrams calcium, 754 milligrams sodium.
Orange & Fennel Salad with Sardines: Peel 1 medium orange with sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut orange into quarters lengthwise. Cut quarters crosswise to make pinwheel slices. In jar with tight-fitting lid or in small bowl, shake or whisk together 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ¼ tspDijonmustard, 1 minced small garlic clove, ¼ tsp salt and pepper to taste until blended. Place 3 cups washed, dried salad greens (torn, if large), 1 cup thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb (1/2 medium), 2 Tbsp chopped fresh fennel fronds, and the orange sections in large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 2 plates. Drain 2 (3.75-oz) cans sardines; arrange over salads. Drizzle remaining dressing over sardines. Yield: 2 (2-cup) servings. Per serving: 380 calories, 24 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 24 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 121 milligrams cholesterol, 433 milligrams calcium, 780 milligrams sodium.