I love sardines. Grilled, marinated or roasted these are great little fish. Plus, they put me in touch with my heritage. Sardines were one of most common fish eaten in the traditional Greek-Mediterranean diet. Contrary to what some believe, the Mediterraneans did not eat salmon—although it, too, is healthy, salmon was not a fish that you could find in the Mediterranean region. Instead small, cheap fish such sardines and anchovies were commonly consumed, and still are today.
While they are super-healthy and tasty, what can you do if fresh sardines are not available or you just don’t really cook fish? Well, canned sardines are just fine! They have similar nutrition benefits: good source of protein and the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Try this simple make-at-home spread that is an alternative to the traditional tuna salad. You can spread on bread for a sandwich, or as I did here, on little pieces of whole wheat bread topped with a slice of cherry tomato for a tasty and healthy appetizer.
Some versions of the recipe use cream cheese or mayonnaise, but I use Greek-style strained yogurt instead, to get a creamy texture but without all the fat.
And be sure to choose sardines canned in olive oil rather than some generic vegetable oil.
Mediterranean Sardine Spread
Recipe by Elena Paravantes, RD
3 ounces canned sardines (100 grams)
2 to 3 tsp. capers
2 tsp. diced tomato
2 Tbsp. Greek-style yogurt (strained yogurt)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
- Empty the sardines in a bowl and smash with a fork. Add chopped tomato and caper and mix well.
- Add yogurt with lemon juice and mix until you have creamy consistency but still slightly chunky.
- Add pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and mix.
- Serve on bread or with crackers.