Here's to omega 3 - the highly beneficial fats found in small, oily fish, flaxseed oil, butter, free range eggs and wild meats. Omega 3 plays many important roles in supporting healthy structures and normal functions in our bodies, including:
Omega 3 fats also show promise for reducing the symptoms of depression, post-natal depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD and schizophrenia. And with mental health problems on the increase, it's interesting to note that many people are deficient in omega 3, largely because of the way our traditional food choices have changed so much in the last several decades.
One of the best ways to get more omega 3 in our meals is to eat more sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring and wild salmon. Of these omega-3-rich fish, sardines are one of the most affordable. Yet recipes using sardines don't seem to be widely known outside of the Mediterranean, so people outside this region may feel unsure about how to prepare these fish, which are so beneficial for heart health and mental health.
Here is a simple and – I promise – delicious pasta sauce featuring sardines and spring greens. The taste of the sardines is subtle so this could be a good recipe to start with if you are new to eating sardines. Quick, colourful and nutritious.
Serves 2, prep time 30 mins
½ a red onion
Sea salt and black pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic
One big jar of organic passata (the Macro brand in Aus and NZ is a good one)
250g gluten-free pasta (can be spirals or spaghetti)
One 120g tin of sardines in olive oil (*not soy oil or canola oil, which are inflammatory fats)
Two handfuls fresh spinach or chard leaves
Handful of pitted green olives
-Prepare a stainless steel pot of water, add a good two pinches of sea salt, and bring to boil.
-Add olive oil to a stainless steel frying pan (use low heat if cooking with gas).
-Finely chop the red onion and add to the pan, with salt and pepper.
-Once the onions are softened, crush the garlic cloves and add to the pan and fry for a minute, then add the passata and tin of sardines, including the olive oil. Break up the sardine fillets with a wooden cooking spoon and leave to simmer.
-When the water is boiling, add the gluten-free pasta and cook for the time stated on the packet.
-Rinse the spinach or chard, chop finely and stir through the sauce until soft.
-Add the green olives to the sauce, then turn off the heat. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
-Cook the pasta until it is thoroughly cooked yet still firm to the bite - keep an eye on it as different pastas cook at different speeds.
-Serve the sauce over the pasta and garnish with green olives and basil leaves.
Some tinned sardines contain small, soft bones. These are safe to eat and a very good source of calcium. However, if little bones aren't your thing, you can pick them out - though do consider that eating soft bones would have been normal for our ancestors.
027 4712379 (calling within NZ)
Appointments in New Plymouth, New Zealand and online.