Here's to omega 3 - the highly beneficial fat found in small, oily fish like sardines. Omega 3 plays so many important roles in supporting your health, 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 notable that many of us are deficient in omega 3, largely because of the way our food choices have changed so much in the last several decades.
One of the best ways to get more omega 3 in your 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 the Mediterranean.
So, here is a simple 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, bring to the boil, and add three pinches of salt.
-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, add to the pan and fry for a minute, then add the passata.
-When the water boils, 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 tin of sardines, including the olive oil. You can keep the fillets whole or break them up using a wooden spoon.
-Add the green olives to the sauce, then turn off the heat. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
-Cook the pasta until 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.