10 Minute Lunch: Sardine, Avacado & Tomato Salad

I sometimes struggle with getting fish into my diet. I like the health benefits, but I dislike how difficult it is to get decent, fresh fish around here. Heavens forbid you want anything environmentally friendly, as well, because that’s just asking too much. So, I have been playing around with a lot of Pacific sardines lately. Generally, I am doing the packed-in-water ones, but sometimes I’ll get the hot sauce or mustard packed for variety. They’re incredibly good for you,  pretty easy to get, and have the decided advantage of being fairly frugal. And, just to top off their list of great qualities, they’re far more environmentally friendly than most canned tuna.

I’m not going to lie, they’re not appealing to look at in many cases. But, at least for me, they’re not only healthy, but bring back a lot of memories. When I was little, Gramps would pull out a can of sardines (he liked his in mustard) and saltines, and we’d have a snack together. I liked it even more because the rest of my family thought it was “gross,” so I got time with Gramps all to myself. That said, they can be a bit…fishy. So, while I’ll still do the mustard ones on crackers sometimes, I’ve begun experimenting with other options:

Olives, avacado, fresh tomatoes, and smoked sardines are combined with fresh basil, lemon, and a hint of olive oil in this salad.  It works well on crackers or bread, but would work really well on a bed of fresh lettuce (we were out).  I sided it with some pre-chopped veggies I’d prepped earlier in the week, and some hummus I did at the same time.

Hummus making tip: cook your chickpeas a long time, and add your tahini (it’s essentially sesame butter) and garlic while they’re still very hot. The rest of the ingredients can be added as you mix and it cools, but adding the tahini and garlic while the beans are hot makes a huge textural difference.



6 responses to “10 Minute Lunch: Sardine, Avacado & Tomato Salad

  • Tina

    I learned the “cook the chickpeas a long time” thing the hard way, but adding the tahini & garlic while hot is a fantastic tip, thanks!:)

    • shwankie

      I got the tip to add the tahini and garlic while everything was still hot from a fabulous Indian woman who was just a spectacular cook. I couldn’t believe the difference it made in my hummus!

  • BargainBinge

    Shawn, I LOVE all the new posts, pictures and menu planning! I have not tried sardines but am wondering if a caprese style might go nice with them? like tomato towers with thick sliced heirloom tomato on the bottom, basil, thin slices circle of motzerella and topped with sardines and fresh ground pepper + sea salt!

    I like your idea for tomatoes and avocado – what doesn’t that go well with, right? So yum. People stuff avocados with tuns salad, how about a sardine salad stuffed in avocado halves? Your family memories are sweet, very warming. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve had canned herring and was NOT fond of it, way too fishy. Are sardines like that? What are your thoughts on canned salmon? I haved used it and enjoyed it. I can work well with salmon also. I hear smoked trout in the can is also tasty. They sell it at Trader Joes, I want to try it. I loved your Rainbow Trout post. I was so waiting for pictures. Nutty fish over fishy fish taste sounds so good. I love nutty flavors. I have been craving trout ever since your post about it and been looking for it local. I have found a few speciality places that sell or prepare it. I have yet to try, must budget for it though.

    Great fitness picture, love your haircut!!!
    I love all the new garden good pictures too, so made my day.

    • shwankie

      Thanks, BB!! I am so glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      I think your caprese salad with sardines sounds amazing! I love sardines with tomatoes, and really, things only get better with mozzarella cheese, right? You can definitely use sarines to stuff avocados, tomatoes, or even eggplant (I am adoring the sardine-stuffed eggplant right now!).

      I cannot stand canned herring. Thadd loves it, but unless I were starving to death, I wouldn’t eat it. I don’t think sardines are nearly so fishy, but just to be safe start with the smoked ones packed in water. They’re the best, in my opinion!

      We use canned tuna quite a bit. You’ll actually see a little post about my thoughts on canned tuna next week in my “on the menu” on Tuesday, so check back! I haven’t tried canned trout, but I bet it’s yummy. I’ll have to look for it next time I’m in Whole Foods! If you try it first, let me know how it is, okay?

  • BargainBinge


    So I sat here thinking what might go good for sardines with mustard and I thought of rye bread and sandwiches. I googled “sardines, rye bread, mustard” to make sure I wasn’t out of my mind and someone had done it before and found this link above. I thought you might enjoy it!

  • BargainBinge

    Sounds like a plan – if you try it first be sure to post about it!

    I will look for your tuna post, thanks for the thumbs up. Also, I got your goat cheese comment and will have to try this local one with less tang. Goat’s milk is highly nutritious and beautifying. These cheese has been too tangy so I’m excited to try something new.

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