Pantry Staple Meal: One-Pan Sardine Bake

I’ve got another guest post for you today, and this one is perfect for sardine lovers! Writer Arbiet Yun has sent me a wonderful recipe for a pantry staple meal that could not be easier to make. This one-pan sardine bake is packed with omega-3s, protein, phytonutrients… Oh, and did I mention that it is *super* delicious? Take it away, Arbiet!

pantry staple meal sardine bake recipe

There are days when you want to go all-out and prepare yourself a fancy meal. There are also days when you just can’t be bothered and want a quick bite to eat.

This is where the pantry staple meal comes in. The beauty of pantry meals is that they’re extremely forgiving; you can play around with ingredients and quantities depending on what you have lying around. In fact, pantry staple recipes are great even for days when you have a bit more time on your hands and want to creatively explore your culinary prowess!

All in all, it’s safe to say that pantry meals are part and parcel of daily life. As always, here at we believe that a few great recipes in your arsenal can go a long way!

A note on the dish

This sardine bake is proof that pantry meals can be luxurious too. Indeed, this hearty dish doesn’t even take a lot of time to prepare. All you need to do is chop up the ingredients, bake it in the oven, and you’re done!

Sardines and canned fish are far from boring. This well-loved ingredient is found in kitchens all around the world, and works just as well in Italian puttanesca sauce as it does in Japanese miso rice balls. While sardines get a bad rep for being too salty, mixing it with the right ingredients allows these briny flavors to add a lot of depth and bite to other seemingly bland ingredients.

Pantry meals are also a great way to use up all those spices that are hiding in the back of your shelf. Although the recipe calls for optional red pepper flakes, it’s forgiving enough for you to substitute whatever other spices you have lying around. Add cayenne or paprika for a bit of heat, or else some added garlic powder if you think it needs a bit more of a hit.

pantry staple meal sardine bake ingredients

(Note from Summer: I had to make some substitutions as well. I used tiny potato niblets instead of larger potatoes, and Roma tomatoes rather than cherry tomatoes. This pantry staple meal still turned out perfectly!)

You’ll want to add the spices in the beginning to allow them to really seep into the potatoes and vegetables. So remember to go gradually. It’s better to go gradually when it comes to working with spices; if you really want some more, you can always do a quick sprinkle and toss right before serving.

One-pan sardine bake

You probably have a can or two of sardines in the back of your pantry, waiting for the day when it’s time to bust them open. Well, today’s that day!

Epicurious‘ food writers love canned sardines for their surprising versatility, as they’re not just suited to a last-minute pasta addition. This pan bake is inspired by Food and Wine‘s own recipe. It is an extremely easy recipe to make even for the most novice home cooks!

Don’t miss the recipe below!

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!

pantry staple meal sardine bake

Pantry Staple Meal: One-Pan Sardine Bake

Arbiet Yun
You probably have a can or two of sardines in the back of your pantry, waiting for the day when it's time to bust them open. Well, today's that day!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 3
Calories 433 kcal


  • 1 lb. potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 8-10 ounces smoked sardines, drained (approximately two cans)
  • ¼ t crushed red pepper (optional, for a bit of heat)


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Mix potatoes, onion, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, red pepper (if using), lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix in the zest. Season with salt if needed. Place mixture into a round baking dish.
  • Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are tender. (Note from Summer: it took 40-45 minutes for my potatoes to become tender. Just keep baking until you can stick a fork into a potato easily!)
  • Once ready, add the sardines and roast for 3-5 more minutes.


This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). This is a wonderful meal for a light dinner or a lunch prep. I made this sardine bake in the evening and had weekday lunches set for the next few days. All I had to do was reheat and eat! (So delicious and easy!)


Calories: 433kcal
Keywords carrot, diet, gluten-free, low-calorie, meal prep, pantry staple, pantry staple meal, pescatarian, potato, sardines, tomato
Did You Make This Recipe?Tag @SummerYuleRDN and hashtag it #SummerYule
Some side dishes

If you’re cooking for a family, you might want to add one or two side dishes to create a colorful plate and add some variety. Here are two that go great with the dish above!

Vegetable fried brown rice

You can create an easy and versatile side dish with some brown rice and a freezer bag of mixed vegetables. Thankfully, a rice cooker works just as well with whole grain variants! You can spruce up this dish by adding whatever spices you have lying around, as well as a quick hit of lemon juice before serving!

Simple salad

Another way to get your greens in with this dish is to toss together a quick salad with whatever greens you have in your pantry! Chopped lettuce is always a great base, and you can add canned chickpeas or even fresh herbs (if you’re lucky enough to have them lying around). As far as dressing goes, chef Jamie Oliver swears by a simple mix of three parts oil to one part vinegar, to which you can add other things like dijon mustard, chopped shallots, or honey.

(Note from Summer: I highly recommend reducing the added oil in your salad dressing if you have a weight loss goal. Try one part oil to one part vinegar, or even one part oil to two parts vinegar. It’s more flavorful and far fewer calories!)

pantry staple meal one-pan sardine bake

And that’s it! This is just a quick idea of what you can make with what you have in your pantry. The ideas are truly endless.

Thank you so much to Arbiet for sharing this tasty recipe! Please leave a comment and rating below if you give it a go. Five-stars mean it delighted your taste buds! – Summer

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links set by the author through VigLink. By purchasing items through these links, you are making a small donation to support the mission of this website at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Summer Yule

Summer Yule, MS, RDN is the face behind Summer Yule Nutrition, a resource for those looking for recipes with no added sugars and no refined grains. As a registered dietitian as well as a person who sustained a 70-pound weight loss, Summer understands both the science and the struggle involved in healthy weight management after age 30. Let her show you how to create nutritious meals that will keep you feeling satisfied!

4 thoughts on “Pantry Staple Meal: One-Pan Sardine Bake

  • June 22, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    5 stars

    I will try this recipe with salmon as my girls prefer salmon over any other fish.
    Thanks for also giving the veg fried rice and the salad recipe to go with this and anyday chickpeas top the list with me. Thanks

    • June 22, 2020 at 9:00 pm

      That is so terrific that they like salmon! Salmon is a great one to substitute for the sardines since it’s another omega-3 rich fatty fish. I hope your family enjoys this recipe! πŸ™‚

  • June 21, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    To be honest, I never equated canned fish with elevated cuisine. Yes, my thinking went, it offers convenience, but is far too oily and salty to do anything but overwhelm whatever accompanies it.

    Recently, though, opinions began to soften. The first reconsideration came courtesy of Spain, or at least Spanish canned seafood, most of which is sublime. To be fair, though, pricey too.

    The second breech? Why, this entry, Summer! If treated, intelligently, as fish are in this case, they can be a healthy and delicious alternative. Leave it to you to shine the light in a promising and unexpected new direction, Summer1

    • June 22, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Aww, thanks! I have also experienced the high-quality canned offerings in other countries. You can purchase canned duck confit in France for what would be $8-10 here. It’s far more than most U.S. canned goods but what you get for your purchase is beyond divine. Perfectly prepared duck packed in fat that can be used to roast baby potatoes. Amazing!

      In fact, the duck confit was so good that I ordered a large can to enjoy one Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure that there are any canned goods in the U.S. that I would use as the main dish in a holiday meal. The downside was that my duck confit cost far, far more than the $8-10 I would have paid in France.

      There are also some very high-quality canned cod livers available in Scandinavian countries. That’s another item I have ordered online. I definitely agree that there are many excellent canned products available worldwide! I think the tinned fish we have here is a good start. Hopefully, our local selection of canned goods will one day rival what you can get in France. I can dream. Haha


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