Sardines are a convenient and versatile food, but are also quite affordable compared to other seafood! For those reasons, canned sardines are an invaluable addition to any pantry. Yet, they sometimes get treated like the late Rodney Dangerfield: they “can’t get no respect.” Indeed, canned sardines are often overlooked in favour of other options but they are a remarkably healthy alternative to other proteins. So, are those Scandinavians onto something? You betcha! Today, we will discuss why.
Sardines are named after Sardinia, the ancient Italian island where large schools of these fish were once abundantly found. Sardines were at one point one of the easiest fish to obtain. Canned sardines came to popularity thanks to a well-known French emperor. Napoleon Bonaparte utilized canned sardines in order to feed the citizens of the lands over which he ruled. By the late 19th century, canned sardines became very popular in America as canning became recognized as one of the best ways to store food.
When it comes to nutritious seafood, canned sardines might be second to none. Part of this is due to them being at the bottom of the food chain, feeding solely on plankton. This results in them not having lower concentrations of heavy metals and contaminants. Canned sardines are also full of nutrients and vitamins! Consider the following benefits that sardines may offer based on their nutritional content (listed in parentheses): prevention of heart diseases (omega-3), reduction in blood clots (omega-3), anti-cancer properties (calcium and vitamin d), strong bones (calcium), boosted immune system functioning (sardine fish oil), positive skin benefits (fats in sardines), and reduction in insulin resistance (from particular protein found in sardines). That is an amazing array of healthy reasons to enjoy sardines!
How to Eat Sardines?
Canned sardines are very nutritious and no doubt convenient. Yet people still find them challenging to eat regularly. To help with this, we have provided some easy to prepare recipes below to help you up your sardine game!
This Thai Chili Sardine Naan Pizza uses just a handful of ingredients and requires minimal preparation. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare and that includes the cooking time! The recipe itself calls for feta cheese, but you could easily swap that out for a rich gruyere or yummy swiss! Get as creative as you want. Any and all veggies are on the table, er, pizza!
Want to try a true cultural delicacy? Give this Beet and Sardine Salad a whirl! Simple and delicious, it has plenty of bite owing to a healthy helping of horseradish. It looks great on the plate with all the colours. Prefer fresh beets over pickled? No problem! Just use fresh beets and add in some olive oil with balsamic or red wine vinegar. This salad is ready in minutes and is so nutritious! Add some crackers of your choice on the side or croutons to the salad for additional texture!
Dial up the savoury! This super salad brings all the best salty deliciousness: Gold Seal Sardines, feta cheese, and olives! Additional protein is provided by the chickpeas, as well as a bit of yummy nuttiness. Crunch is amply provided by the addition of cucumber. What more could you want? “A carb,” you say? Serve with toasted pita bread or crusty bread. Add olive oil or butter to really bring the flavours together. Delish!
If there is one thing we have learned today, it is that the venerable sardine can be enjoyed so many ways! Fear not this protein-packed mighty mite. It’s diverse, extra healthy, and super versatile. Add in its relative affordability and you have no reason not to incorporate it in your recipes going forward! ‘Till next time!