By April Swiger, Contributing Writer
Fresh greens, savory sardines, and artichoke hearts are dressed with a vibrant homemade dressing for a nutritious and delicious meal.
Simple meals packed full of nourishment is the foundation I build my weekly menu on. This includes regularly eating seafood (specifically fish that is high in nutrients, sustainable, and low in toxins), but can be tough to do on a tight budget. It wasn’t until recently (with much fear and trepidation) that I cracked open my very first can of sardines. I was pleasantly surprised at the milder-than-expected scent, and buttery, flaky texture. I knew this frugal fish, packed full of necessary omega 3’s, would begin to make a regular appearance in my kitchen.
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Kimi recently wrote about finding seafood untouched by radiation from Fukushima, and the information she shared about sardines had me sold. It has always been a struggle for me to figure out how to afford quality seafood. Imagine my excitement when I learned that Costco sells a pack of five BPA-free cans of wild-caught sustainably harvested sardines for less than $9! The brand I bought is boneless, skinless, soaked in olive oil, and mild to the taste. Kimi has also outlined a number of additional brands and types of sardines that she enjoys. I’m eager to try the smoked one. sometime soon!
As I began brainstorming how to incorporate sardines into our meals, I considered the beautiful weather we have been experiencing lately. Spring is in full swing here in Connecticut, and hearty soups and stews have finally given way to a variety of seasonal salads. When the days get longer, and we’re busy enjoying the outdoors, a nourishing salad with little to no preparation becomes a staple for us. This frugal sardine salad has only a few ingredients and can be easily adapted with other vegetables you have on hand. I love the addition of artichoke hearts and a handful of local radishes to add crunch and beautiful color.
One of the most frugal (and healthy) practices I’ve adapted over the last few years is making my own salad dressing. It’s so easy to do! With a base of extra virgin olive oil, and some vinegar or lemon juice, you can make a unique dressing to suit any dish. For me, I love sardines mixed with citrus. Whether it’s on pasta, or a bed of greens, lemon juice pairs well with this little fish. The addition of a spicy brown or dijon mustard, and raw honey, allows this dressing to thicken up nicely.
If you’re like me and desire to add more fish into your diet, consider trying sardines. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy them! Kimi has graciously written about eating seafood on a budget and offers six tips for doing so.
Here are some other recipes you may enjoy:
- Sardine Salad with Toast
- Sriracha Lime Salmon One Pot Meal (with seafood FAQs)
- Fresh Herb and Clam Sauce over Pasta
- Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette and 7 Nourishing Salad Dressings
- FOR THE DRESSING (makes 1 cup):
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp - 1 Tbls raw honey
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbls spicy brown, or dijon, mustard
- ½ tsp sea salt
- FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 can of sardines (I used boneless, skinless in olive oil but I imagine that sardines in water or even smoked would be delicious as well!)
- 3 radishes, chopped
- 3-4 whole cooked artichoke hearts, cut into quarters (fresh, frozen or marinated in a jar is ok)
- About 4-6 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
- Put all the salad dressing ingredients into a glass measuring cup or a large mason jar. If you have a hand blender, gently pulse the mixture together until it is a creamy consistency. If you don't have a hand blender, you can use a stand blender just as easily.
- Assemble your salad. On a bed of chopped romaine lettuce sprinkle your radish pieces and artichoke hearts.
- Open your tin of sardines, and use a fork to break apart the fish onto your salad.
- Top with the lemon shallot dressing.