It’s okay. I know what you’re thinking. Sardines???? Who eats sardines???? Well, my darlings … I do now.
Right before my surgery in February, I had a great lunch with the folks from King Oscar – I am sure you know them because their distinctive label and products are in our grocery stores: sardines, anchovies, kippers, cod, mackerel, tuna, herring – all of those teeny fish that come in cans. What you may not know is that sardines taste GOOD. And the health benefits are gobsmacking in a good way. As a bonus, King Oscar is a company that practices eco-friendly fishing and sustainability. Checks all the boxes for me!
Let’s talk about how they taste – these little babies do have a strong fish flavor so obviously, you have to like fish (and I do!). For all of the anchovy lovers out there, get ready for sardines as a delightfully tasty option! King Oscar sardines are wild-caught from Norway’s pristine fjords and icy coastal waters. The fish are lightly smoked in real oak-wood ovens and packed by hand into recyclable aluminum cans. Strong and smoky, I ate my first tin the good old-fashioned way – with a saltine cracker. The jalapeno flavor was my favorite and the Hungry Goddess brain immediately began processing recipe ideas! The sweet potato and black bean hash was a perfect complement to the strong flavor of the sardines!
Sardines are healthy. You don’t hear too many women talking about sardines as a healthy choice for snacks, but that may change when you hear the health benefits (these numbers are for the jalapeno sardines – 1 tin is 1 serving): low calorie, zero carbohydrates (ZERO!), very rich in omega-3 fatty acids (1.9 grams omega-3 fatty acid per serving), and 13 grams of protein per serving. Omega 3’s are so good for your body (and especially women’s bodies) – they are anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, brain boosting and cholesterol-lowering. As I approach (ahem45ahem), I need that. All of that. And that is just the tip of the iceberg in benefits.
Sustainability – I am becoming more and more conscious on my food journey and food shopping practices of what companies that I want to support. The companies that are non-GMO, sustainable, eco-friendly and have good practices are the ones that are getting my hard-earned dollars. King Oscar impressed me, just that simple.
Now, let’s eat! King Oscar gave me a bunch of tins of the jalapeno sardines and cracked pepper sardines to try. I shared with friends and family and carefully watched reactions. Everyone was pleasantly surprised! I like the sardines and the heat of the jalapenos, and I immediately started thinking about black beans and queso fresco. If you cannot find queso fresco in your market, you can use feta cheese or goat cheese or you can skip the cheese entirely! Creamy sweet potatoes were a perfect complement to this high protein dish. I did not have to add too much extra salt because the sardines brought their own salt and smoke to the party. The cilantro and sweet peppers brightened the whole dish. This recipe is great for your next brunch or dinner, and another option is to do a poached egg on top.
ENJOY! And let me know what you think about sardines!
- 3 sweet potatoes – peeled and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
- 1 can black beans – rinsed
- 1 can King Oscar Jalapeno Sardines
- 1/2 medium white onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 red and 1 yellow sweet pepper roughly chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO or butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup rough chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup queso fresco cheese
Preheat oven to 380F. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into approximately 1 inch cubes. Lightly toss in EVOO and spread on a baking pan. Roast sweet potatoes until just turning brown – approximately 30 minutes. Once potatoes are roasted, add 1 tablespoon of EVOO to pan with onions and garlic and peppers. Cook on medium to high heat for approximately 5 minutes until they are borderline soft/crunchy. (I like them to still have some crunch). Add black beans, rough chopped sardines from the tin, and sweet potatoes to the skillet and toss until combined and hot. I did NOT dump the oil from the tin into the dish. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with cilantro, queso fresco sprinkled on top or a poached egg.
***Note – King Oscar treated me to lunch, tins of sardines and a nifty picnic bag which in no way influenced my review or post. This is 100% Hungry Goddess approved!