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  • Karen Haralson

Sardines: The Under-Appreciated Fish (Sardine Salad Recipe)

Updated: May 2, 2021

Sardines are often overlooked as a regular part of our diets. For many people, they have the unfortunate reputation as being less than delicious, whether those folks have ever tried them or not! But sardines are an amazing food and can be yummy!

A nutrient dense food, sardines provide protein and are a concentrated source of Omega-3 fatty acids that are often lacking in our diets. Your body cannot manufacture Omega-3, so it's important to get them through the foods that you eat. Omega 3 fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) support brain, heart, and bone health and are associated with lower levels of inflammation. Sardines contain 1,480 mg Omega-3 per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

These amazing little fish are one of the few foods that are high in Vitamin D, a nutrient vital for immune, bone, and heart health. They are also high in B12 for brain and nerve nourishment as well as a great source of selenium, an important antioxidant and a super anti-cancer mineral.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of drained sardines provide over 200% of the RDI for vitamin B12, 24% for vitamin D, and 96% for selenium. Wow! They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, Iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. High in all of these super nutrients yet low in toxins since they are a small fish that is low on the food chain.

Sardines are also one of the more affordable fish, available most readily and easily prepared canned, packed in water, oil, or tomato sauce. They are available fresh or packed in salt, but those are harder to find and will take more prep time. They are a great pantry item, a super nutritious food to have on hand for a healthy lunch or snack.

Below is a recipe that we share at our Nutrition for Cancer Management class series, It is similar to making tuna salad, but with more nutrition and way less toxins, especially the mercury that is so high in tuna. I especially like it with extra lemon and a bit of spice from my favorite fermented hot sauce served on raw flax crackers. (I'll post that recipe later!)

Awesome Sardine Salad


  • Sardines! 1 can of sardines, in oil, drained, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

  • ¼+ cup mayonnaise, optional

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more)

  • 1 tsp. curry powder

  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

  • Other veggies/herbs as desired, such as parsley, chopped

  • Optional: ½ mashed avocado

  • Optional: other spices as desired, such as turmeric

  • Serving Options: crackers, sliced apples, celery sticks, radicchio, endive, salad greens


1. In a small bowl, mix: sardines, celery, onion, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, other veggies, other spices. Add mayo (if using) or ½ mashed avocado if desired for extra creaminess.

2. Serve the sardine salad on crackers, celery sticks, radicchio or endive or serve on top of a bed of salad greens.

3. Drizzle with lemon juice.

4. Try some sauerkraut on the side or a drop of fermented hot sauce!

5. Enjoy!


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