Tricks, Tips and a Recipe
Little fish, big health: Sardines
By: Leanne Ely
A teeny little fish that may never have been on your radar before is popping up on the shopping lists of health nuts across North America.
Pacific sardines are a tremendous fish to add to your diet. These little guys are chock full of minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids (they contain ten times more Omega-3s than mackerel) and protein.
Sardines contain calcium, potassium, selenium, Vitamin D, iron and phosphorous. And because they are way low on the food chain, eating only plants and not other fish, these guys don’t contain toxins found in other types of seafood.
Pacific sardines, fished from the US and Canada, are on the Monteray Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list as a “Best Choice.” These little fishes are actually considered an underused resource of the sea! The same cannot be said about Atlantic sardines, which have been overfished in the Mediterranean, leading to depleting populations of this species of sardine.
Pacific sardines are a sustainable, inexpensive, high quality source of protein, and because you can buy them canned, they make a great pantry item for those evenings where you forgot to thaw something for dinner! Oh, did I mention that despite the common belief that they don’t taste good (I don’t know where that came from) they happen to be delicious, to boot? You can find sardines packed in all sorts of things from tomato sauce, mustard or olive oil. I only eat sardines packed in virgin olive oil because they are yummiest.
Now, it’s time for your Trick:
Canned sardines make a delicious snack when spread on toast or crackers with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
When shopping for fresh sardines, look for whole fishes with shiny skin, bright eyes, smooth bellies with no bloating and a mildly fishy scent.
And your Recipe:
Sardine Greek Salad
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 medium roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 large cucumber, cut into large chunks
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
1 head romaine lettuce (about 1 pound), trimmed of tough stems and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 4-ounce cans sardines with bones, packed in olive oil, drained
Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Add tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, feta, onion and olives; gently toss to combine. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with sardines.
NUTRITION Per Serving: 321 Calories; 21g Fat; 21g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 92mg Cholesterol; 688mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 1/2 Fat. Points: 9
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