Lemon-Herb Sardine Salad

Crunchy, savory, and bright lemon-herb sardine salad
Sometimes, a light dinner is in order. You need something crunchy, savory, but bright, that requires as little “cooking” as possible. This recipe for lemon-herb sardine salad fits the bill; an excellent combination of flavors, with capers, lemon zest, and dijon mustard gives this salad a very French flair.

Tuna, chicken, and egg salads usually pack globs of mayo and are a bit too heavy for my liking. Lemon-herb sardine salad is mayo-less and thus significantly lighter. It relies on olive oil to hold the salad together in a scoopable, spreadable consistency.

Now, if you’re one of those who turns their noses up at cooking with sardines, I urge you to reconsider. Canned sardines are dead cheap and pack a ton of protein and nutrients in every bite. Even better, the saltiness matches these ingredients perfectly, while the consistency is no different than canned chicken or tuna. If you just can’t bring yourself to eat sardines, this recipe will taste fine with canned tuna or mackerel, as well.


Serves 2-4, cooking time 5 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Whole lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cans) of sardines packed in oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Romaine, bibb, iceberg, or butter lettuce


  1. Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl, and lightly mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Crunchy, savory, and bright lemon-herb sardine salad

A key ingredient in this recipe is the lemon zest. Lemon zest is the peel of a lemon, not including the white part below the surface (called the pith). You should have a quality microplane, or four-sided grater, to prepare the zest right before assembling this salad; nothing can substitute for a freshly zested lemon!

Just like a classic tuna, egg, or chicken salad, don’t hesitate to serve this as a sandwich on whole grain bread with some fresh lettuce and tomatoes, or even on crackers as a snack. You’ll never look at sardines the same way again!

Leave a Reply