Some of us enjoy snacking on canned fish straight from the tin. For those that don’t find that idea particularly appealing, keep reading for a recipe covering how to eat canned sardines. If you have family members that won’t eat fish canned with the bones, try these pan-fried sardine cakes. Everyone in my family liked these. You can’t tell the calcium-rich bones have been mashed up in there!
I had a moment of dread the first time I finished preparing these sardine cakes for dinner. There they were, beautifully browned fish cakes, drizzled with a little tartar sauce, and garnished with scallions. They looked delicious on the plate, so why was I feeling apprehensive?
I eat sardines tinned with the bones often, typically for a snack or as part of my lunch. However, I usually avoid incorporating them into family dinners, as my son dislikes fish with edible bones.
(And yes, it’s perfectly OK not to like every single health-promoting food that is out there. If there are a few foods an individual has a strong aversion to, I see no need to torment them with it.)
Since I’ve been trying to use pantry items and make fewer trips to the store, I used my bone-in sardines without thinking about it. Whoops.
I decided to serve the sardine cakes without announcing that I used fish canned with the bones.
And you know what?
The whole family enjoyed the meal. The bones have been mashed so finely and mixed with so many other ingredients that you can’t tell they’re in there.
If you’ve been wondering how to eat canned sardines with the bones when you dislike the bones, try this recipe! I think you’ll be glad you did.
What side dishes should go with these sardine cakes?
It is spring right now in my neck of the woods. As such, just about everything seems better at the moment with some thin and tender stalks of fresh spring asparagus. April is the perfect time to add some asparagus to your meals; it’s so good!
I often add both non-starchy veggies plus a starch (either a grain or starchy veg) to my evening meals. These sardine cakes would be fantastic with a side of brown rice, quinoa, or mashed potatoes. I decided to take a slightly more unusual path and serve them with mashed name root.
Name is a starchy vegetable that is often peeled, cooked and mashed, shaped into a patty, and then fried. I chose to skip the frying to keep things a little lighter and left the veggie as a mash instead.
Name root makes a far thicker mash than mashed potatoes. We found it similar in consistency to polenta or an African fufu. It was tasty and a nice change from our usual starchy sides.
If you live in the United States, you probably cannot find name root easily. I understand, as this was the first time I’ve seen the veggie in a local store.
You can easily substitute Yukon gold potatoes for the name. The calories are similar for these two starchy veggies. Therefore, the substitution won’t have a significant impact on the calories per serving information below.
If you do use the potatoes, you will likely want to use a little less milk than you would with the name. Then again, if you prefer a thinner mash, add more milk! Feel free to customize the recipe to fit your tastes.
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
How to Eat Canned Sardines (Sardine Cakes Recipe!)
For the mashed name or potatoes:
- 22 ounces name root or Yukon gold potatoes (624 grams)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2-4 tablespoons milk, 2%
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the asparagus:
- 12 ounces asparagus (340 grams; try to find very thin stalks!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil spray of choice
For the sardine cakes:
- 1 lb. sardines with bones, packed in olive oil, drained 454 grams (I used four 4-ounce/113 g containers. Save the drained oil!)
- 1 slice stale whole-grain bread, ground into crumbs (I used Ezekiel brand bread)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dill weed
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 scallion, sliced
- ½ medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon capers
Optional garnishes (distribute between all plates):
- 1½-3 tablespoons tartar sauce or hollandaise sauce
- 1 scallion, sliced
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
To make the mashed name root or potatoes:
- Peel the name or potatoes and cut into 1-inch (2.54 cm) chunks. Put the veggies into a pot and cover with 1-inch (2.54 cm) of water.
- Bring the pot to a simmer on the stovetop and simmer for 20 minutes. (While it simmers, work on the other parts of the meal.)
- Drain thoroughly after cooking. Add the butter, milk, salt, and pepper. You will likely use a little less milk with the potatoes and a little more with the name.
- Mash the veggie mixture thoroughly with a potato masher until smooth. Divide the mash between three plates.
To make the asparagus:
- Break the tough ends off of the asparagus stalks.
- Mist a rimmed metal baking pan with cooking spray.
- Spread the asparagus out in the pan in a single, touching layer. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Your asparagus may need more time if the stalks are thick. Divide the asparagus between three plates.
To make the sardine cakes:
- Mash the sardines very well with the back of a fork. Mix in the bread crumbs, garlic powder, black pepper, dill weed, lemon zest, scallion, red pepper, egg, and capers.
- Shape the sardine mixture into 10 patties. Do not try to make larger sardine cakes- they will crumble!
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil (reserved from the sardine tins) in a cast iron pan. Cook five patties in the pan over medium heat. They will take 3-5 minutes per side. Take care in flipping them; they are a bit fragile.
- When you are ready to cook the final five patties, add an additional 2 tablespoons of reserved oil to the pan. Again you want to cook the patties for 3-5 minutes per side.
- Put three cooked sardine patties on each plate. Add the optional garnishes as desired.
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Calorie information per serving does not include any optional garnishes, such as tartar sauce, scallions or sesame seeds. One serving includes the following:
- Three sardine cakes
- ⅓ of the asparagus
- ⅓ of the mashed potatoes or name root
What are some of your favorite tips or recipes on how to eat canned sardines? If you need some more ideas for the tinned fish in your cupboard, don’t miss these previous posts:
- Sardine salad with collard green wraps
- Sweet pepper poppers stuffed with sardine salad
- Salmon salad with sesame-orange dressing
If you try any of my recipes, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on social media @SummerYuleRDN. You could also drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!