Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Recipes For Sardines (Paleo, Gluten Free)

by Kristen Suzanne in gluten free, paleo, recipe, sardines


Sardine Pate Recipe for Beginners

Sardine Pate Recipe for Beginners

Sardines were one of the first animal foods we introduced to our diet when we went from vegan to omnivore late in 2012. At the time we weren’t ready to have other fish because we wanted to research mercury, toxins, etc. But, we wanted some fish, and our best bet: sardines because of their low trophic level and super nutrition. Some in the paleo world call them a superfood.

Did I like them? Well, honestly they skeeved me out a bit. I used to love tuna fish back when I was young, but sardines were a whole new ball of wax, coming with skin, bones and all. Yeah, sardines were the kind of thing my step-dad ate and I used to think, “Ewww, dude, you’re gross.”

But, I’m pretty hard core when it comes to food so I wanted to give it a go. I opened up the can and they didn’t look too bad, so I had Greg try them first (hehe). After I watched him have one, I tried it myself, covered in mustard, lemon juice and kraut. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t in love. The worst parts of it were the texture and look, because I could see the bones (healthy for you though) and feel them.

I needed to make some changes. So, I came up with some recipes that puree the ingredients, and I don’t know the bones are in it. Score.

I won’t say they’re in my top 5 favorite foods, but I look forward to having them at a meal because they’re easy, always on hand, super nutritious, and pretty tasty. They grace our table 1 to 2 times a week.

Update … I’m officially a genuine fan of sardines. I consider myself a pro with them and only require minimal manipulation before eating, including eating them on their own, plain! Since writing this post and now publishing it, I’ve graduated from sardine university with honors and I can honestly say I really really like them, on their own, nothing added. I guess it’s true for both kids and adults… expose yourself enough times and you’ll end up liking it. Now, if I could only do that with liver. Still working on that. 

For people who aren’t familiar with sardines or who might have an aversion to them, sardines are actually fun because you can vary the recipe based on whatever you have on hand (see a few recipes below). When I’m in a creative mood, I add caramelized onions (see my post on how you can make those in a slow cooker). Or, I add fresh raw onion and celery. Other times I puree red bell pepper with it (roasted peppers are nice, too)… fresh herbs are awesome, and so is roasted garlic or even avocado. The sky is the limit so don’t be shy. They’re cheap, easy, and nutritious. And who knows, you might find yourself grabbing one straight from the can, like Kamea, Greg, and I do, and chomp chomp.

I found a reputable company for sardines, Wild Planet, and now we stay stocked with them by buying through amazon.

Beginner Sardine Pate (Paleo)

I call this Beginner Sardine Pate because it was the recipe I went to most often while fostering my appreciation of sardines. The kalamata olives, lemon (I usually opted for extra), and mustard are helpful with masking the flavor.

Yield 2 servings

  • 2 tins of sardines, any variety / flavor
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, to taste
  • zest from 1 lemon or lime
  • 6 to 8 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite mustard
  • 1 tablespoon raw macadamia nut oil or quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or dill, chopped

Using a mini food processor, fitted with the “s” blade, puree everything until it’s a nice smooth texture. Eat by the spoon, on paleo bread, on a salad, with sliced fruit, or with veggies.

Caramelized Onion Sardine Pate (Paleo)

This recipe rocks the sardine house. The caramelized onions add a light sweetness along with the honey mustard. Excellent!

Caramelized Onion Sardine Pate

Caramelized Onion Sardine Pate

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon organic grass fed ghee (or coconut oil for strict paleo)
  • 2 cans sardines
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil (or olive oil)

Sauté the sliced onion in the ghee over low (or low-medium) heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool a few minutes. (Or you can make these in your slow cooker, see my previous post for directions.)

Place the sautéed onion and remaining ingredients in a mini food processor and purée until your desired texture is attained.

Sardines & Salsa (Paleo)

A kind-of-weird combo that works really well is simply combining sardines and salsa.

  • 2 to 3 cans sardines
  • 1/3 to 1/2 jar salsa, to taste

Simply smash the ingredients together in a bowl, and go to town.

Pro Sardine Pate (Paleo)

This is named Pro Sardine Pate because when you become a pro at eating sardines, you don’t need all the fancy fix-in’s – just mash up some sardines, lemon or lime, and mustard. Done.

Yield 2 servings

  • 2 tins of sardines, any variety / flavor
  • fresh lemon or lime juice, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mustard, any variety
  • scoop of sauerkraut, optional

Put the sardines in a medium sized bowl.

Wild Planet Sardines in water, but I also do the ones in oil.

Wild Planet Sardines canned in water, but I also do the ones canned in oil.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a fork and/or spoon.

Smashed up and ready to devour.

Smashed up and ready to devour.

Eat straight from the bowl, pro.

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