Sardine Salad with Toast

“And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then sugar-topped cake. And when Lucy was tired of eating, the Faun began to talk. He had wonderful tales to tell of life in the forest.”

After sharing a favorite quote from The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, I thought that sharing a recipe inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia series would be appropriate as part of the For the Love of Food and Books series. For my “sardines on toast”, I developed a hot weather appropriate recipe (and frugal to be part of Pennywise Platter, which is up now), using fresh in season tomatoes and cucumbers, flavored with parsley, and lightened with lemon juice, and served with buttered toast and a big salad. The sardine salad was almost reminiscent of tabbouleh!  It was perfect during a hot afternoon.

I served it all on a large platter for everyone to eat as they wished. You can eat the sardine salad with the green salad, or on the buttered toast. I did both. It was great! Sardines have just a slightly more fishy taste than tuna, so if you enjoy tuna you may enjoy sardines too. Plus, sardines are generally recognized as sustainable, as well as being low in mercury and high in Omega 3’s. I bought the Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the brand Wild Planet this time.

They were delightfully smoked. They also mentioned on the back of the package that sardines are a good source of not only Omega 3’s, but also vitamin B 12, selenium and vitamin D! And that they also contained the hard to find coenzyme, Q10. Sardines are a great, healthy choice and they are also a frugal choice too!

The quote comes from Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first in the series. The faun (Tumnus)) has just found Lucy wandering in Narnia and is planning on turning her over to the White Witch after lulling her to sleep with a full stomach of yummy food. If you’ve read the book, you know that he repents and lets her go free at the risk of his own life. But his wonderful tea was a special memory for Lucy who helps rescue him in the end. This was a favorite book series of mine when growing up and I truthfully can’t wait to read them aloud to Elena. They are written in a style that even young children can understand but with concepts and analogies that speak volumes to adults as well. Definitely a book series that the whole family can enjoy.   This series deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf and would make great summer read for children or adults.Meanwhile, enjoy your sardines and toast!

Sardine Salad with Toast
The secret to this salad is to have the sardines and vegetables cut into small cubes. My tin of sardines said that it gave 2 1/2 servings and we did stretch it out to feed all three of us for a light lunch (we had a snack before we had lunch), but I think a hearty appetite could easily eat the whole salad! I would say to plan on it serving two. To be grain free or gluten free, simply serve with grain free or gluten free bread or eat without the toast.

1 tin of smoked sardines (4-5 ounces), cut into small cubes
half of a tomato, cut into small cubes
half of a small cucumber, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
half of a lemon

Gently mix all of the sardines, tomatoes, and cucumbers, red onion and parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle the juice of the lemon over the whole salad, give a quick toss and serve with buttered toast and a big green salad.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Katie says

    This looks yummy! What’s used to smoke the sardines? Do they have any other flavoring (from the can) like soy sauce or sweetener?
    The faun– was it Thomas or Tumnus? I can’t remember!

    • KimiHarris says

      Tumnus! I always called him Thomas when I was younger though, the habit has stuck, oops! Here are the ingredients from the sardine box, Sardines, extra virgin olive oil, water, sea salt, aqueous natural smoke. Pretty pure!

  2. Julie says

    That looks interesting! I am going to give this one a try. I have been looking for a sardine recipe since reading about the health and frugalness of sardines. Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    My whole life, I thought I hated sardines, but I don’t think I ever had one. It is time to get over it and you just may have inspired me to try this recipe and see if I really don’t like sardines.

  4. Melanie Christner says

    This is not a question about your above recipe, which looks great by the way:) I am considering a blog vs. website vs. blog hosted by a website, etc. to chronicle a year of traveling with my family and eating nourishing foods on the way, and I am asking my favorite bloggers what platform they use. Could you tell me your host and why you chose them? Thank you, Kimi.


  5. Brittany says

    We love the Narnia books! Right now I’m reading “The Horse and His Boy” to my almost 3 & 4 year old sons at lunch time. It’s amazing how much they understand and enjoy it.

    You’ve inspired me to try something with sardines too. I’ve never actually had them. 🙂

  6. Sarah W says

    I just had my first sardines last week! I was surprised that I actually thought they were pretty good. I thought they were maybe even milder than tuna in terms of fishiness. I gave up tuna a while ago, so I’m glad for an alternative.

    A few questions, do you have a preference/reccomendation for oil packed vs water packed? salt/no salt? and do you do anything about the bones? i know they are edible, but i took out the spines b/c i thought they might not be too nice to crunch on.

    I love the literary tie ins!

    • KimiHarris says

      I like to use olive oil packed as they seem to be more flavorful. As far as the salt goes, I don’t really have an opinion one way or another. I would prefer to add my own high quality salt, but it has more flavor if packed with salt. As far as the bones, we just eat them. 🙂 Sometimes it helps to mash everything all up (the bones mash up too) and make it more like a spread if that grosses you out. You can also buy boneless, skinless sardines. 🙂

  7. Sara Howland says

    I ate my first sardine when I was pregnant with my youngest child, a generation or so ago. I couldn’t figure out HOW I could crave something I’d never eaten, but crave them I did. And ate them. And I still do. It’s my favorite salad protein, but I generally make a raw vegetable salad (with a fair amount of fermented veggies) on spinach, sprouts, salad greens, or a combination thereof with some kind of homemade vinaigrette (I use raw vinegars like ACV or wine), and I top it it with a can of whole sardines in extra virgin olive oil. Really delicious!

  8. says

    Sardines are faves of my dad and my son, but I still have not tried them, even though my doctor recommended them. Their favorite kind is those packed in hot mustard sauce. I’m not sure about that (I think I’d go for the ones packed in EVOO), but need to try them, especially based on Sarah’s comment that they are less fishy than tuna.

    Thanks, Kimi!


  9. Kari says

    Does anyone know if kipper snacks are healthy? The ingredients are smoked fillets of kippered herring and salt. They are very similar to sardines in taste and also a frugal choice.

  10. Jamina says

    totally of topic… you have any alternative for Jello?
    btw…the sardines look to die for 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      I do! Check out the ” Fruit Juice Gelatin” in the recipe index. It’s a delicious and simple alternative.

  11. Amber says

    I’ve never had sardines before, and your picture looks amazing (plus, I’m a HUGE fan of CS Lewis, so if he thought it up, it must taste good too!), so I might actually try it. A random question though: How do the sardines come? Is it chunked a bit already like tuna, or with bones like some canned salmon, or whole like anchovies? I guess I want to prepare myself mentally for what I will find when I open the can… 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      It depends on what kind you buy. Most do have the skin and the bones in it and they aren’t flaked or chunked or anything like that, but whole (or partly whole with the head off). You can get skinless and boneless too, though the bones are a great source of calcium. 🙂

  12. Kelli says

    We named our dog Tumnus!!! It is funny to hear different people’s pronunciation of his name.
    Focus on the Family Radio Theater did a great job of The Chronicles of Narnia. It is fun to listen to in the car on long (or not so long) drives.

  13. TrailGrrl says

    This looks appetizing, and I’ve never even tried sardines. I’ve had anchovies in oil and loved them.

    I might have to look for a can. I always like to find things that keep well and I can eat in the field, since I don’t take PB sandwiches anymore.


    • KimiHarris says

      I think so, though the red onion is nice too. I think that you can make many variations on this simple recipe with good results. 🙂

  14. says

    I’m serving this tonight for dinner. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about how it will be received since one in my family has ever tried sardines (and we call ourselves real foodies!), but I’m letting my 2.5 year old snack while I finish up in the kitchen. Judging my her response I have nothing to worry about!

    My second child is due in a couple of months and I’m writing a series on fuss-free recipes for busy moms. If all goes well at the dinner table I think I’ll have to add this to my list of recommendations!

  15. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it for tonight and my super picky husband actually liked it and almost went for seconds (he was going to but I cleared his plate away too quickly – my apologies dear hubby!). It was super easy and inexpensive as most of the veggie stuff is in season right now.

  16. Angela says

    I tried this recipe for dinner tonight and my husband and I loved it!!! We added a touch of salt and pepper though. Thank you so much for your recipes and informative posts. I enjoy exploring your site. My husband and I are just starting to eat nourishing foods prepared the traditional way. There is so much information and research to do…it can often be quite overwhelming!!! But great blogs like yours help a lot. Thanks!!!

  17. says

    My dad’s been trying to talk me into eating sardines. I have a can in the pantry– I’m a bit afraid I have to admit. This recipe makes it seem easier to screw up my courage. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Kate says

    This looked so good I got up and made it! I’m eating it right now. I had a beautiful tomato, a red onion and parsley from the garden. And I’ve had a can of wild planet sardines in the cupboard that I didn’t know what to do with. Now I can’t wait to get some more. I’m having this for dinner all by itself. Just delicious.

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