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Sardine Tomato Pasta

I’m excited about this post because it’s my first time participating in The Recipe Redux Challenge. Every month, there’s a new recipe challenge, and this month, it is:

“Sea What You’ve Been Missing” – Unfortunately, Americans don’t eat enough fish as well as some of the more obscure treasures from the sea that provide great nutrition. This month’s challenge is to create an appealing recipe using “little fishes” (sardines, anchovies, smelts, etc.) or sea vegetables (kelp, seaweed, etc.) Expand your readers (and your!) ocean horizons to these culinary treats.     –  Inspiration for this month’s theme is courtesy of EA Stewart , Alex Caspero and Rebecca S.

What did I choose to work with? Sardines. I’ve posted a fennel and anchovies salad recipe last week. I’ve never cooked  smelt (and I hope another Recipe Reduxer did because I’d love to see a smelt creation). And I’m not a fan of seaweed (did I just say that??), or at least, the only time I had it, it wasn’t prepared right (and maybe I need to listen to my own advice and give it a second chance).

And for the price of $1 a can, sardine’s price is hard to beat.

You can’t really see the sardines in the picture and that’s because the ingredients all became a mush. A delicious one though. Think of this recipe as ground meat spaghetti sauce–except that the ground meat is actually flaked sardines. We would have liked more sauce in our dish, so you can add more crushed tomatoes to your saute pan. Serve it with your pasta of choice, preferably whole wheat.

Why I consider this meal healthy? Sardines are an excellent source of protein (filling) and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re small fish, hence less mercury and PCBs. Lots of veggies; onion, garlic, fennel, tomatoes, and arugula. And, you can satisfy your cheese or cream craving with a little bit of quality cheese instead of a boat-load of heavy cream and butter. Light, yet satisfying, for a beautiful ‘almost’ summer day!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 c crushed tomatoes (from a can)
  • 1.5 c grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 oz bag baby arugula
  • juice of 1 lemon (or more if you like)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 3.75-oz cans sardines in water, drained and gently rinsed
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the onion and fennel and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the grape tomatoes and arugula and saute until they wilt. Add the additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Add the sardines, stir, and cook until they’re hot.

Serve with your preferred pasta (choose whole wheat) and top with some grated Parmesan cheese.



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  • Kristina @ Love and Zest May 21, 2012, 6:53 am

    Welcome to the Redux team! I cooked with sardines too… it was um, interesting. I have leftover sardines that I need to put to good use… I just may need to give your recipe a try!

  • Alysa (InspiredRD) May 21, 2012, 11:12 am

    Welcome to the Recipe ReDux Nour! And thank you for telling me what I should do with that can of sardines in my pantry 🙂 Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Mary Brighton May 22, 2012, 9:32 am

    Looks super yum! I love sardines too and the color of this dish is very appealing. I bet kids would eat it up too! Congrats on your first recipe redux post-great success!

    • Nour Zibdeh May 22, 2012, 3:48 pm

      Thanks Mary. My 3 year-old loved the sardines and especially enjoyed grating the cheese 🙂 Looking forward to next month’s challenge.

  • Janel May 22, 2012, 11:05 am

    Sardines + pasta + tomatoes = love 🙂

  • EA-The Spicy RD May 22, 2012, 2:51 pm

    So glad you joined the Recipe ReDux Nour 🙂 I bet this really is delicious! I made a puttanesca sauce with sardines last summer and it was really yummy too. Happy ReDux!!

    • Nour Zibdeh May 22, 2012, 3:55 pm

      Thanks EA! We ate it over 2 nights and would eat it again if we had enough 🙂

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian May 23, 2012, 2:34 pm

    This recipe looks delicious!
    Definitely a great way to ease you into trying out sardines (which I never have!)

  • Amber @ Chocolate Broccoli May 24, 2012, 1:23 pm

    This looks great! I always reach for the anchovies.. but I think I’ll be reaching for these little fishes on that same shelf for some variety. I’m with Swanky Dietitian- never tried them before!

    Welcome to the Redux! So glad to have you!

    • Nour Zibdeh May 29, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Sardines have less sodium and milder flavor than anchovies. I love both 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Rebecca @ It's a Savoury Life May 24, 2012, 10:59 pm

    Welcome to Recipe ReDux! I must admit, I love fish, but I’ve never had sardines! This recipe has inspired to give it a try! Thank you!

    • Nour Zibdeh May 29, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Thanks Rebecca. Sardines have a strong flavor and smell and I hope you like them! Enjoy 🙂