explore the 3 best recipes for portuguese sardines

Sardines are a staple of Portuguese cuisine and can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you prefer grilled, baked, or spread on bread, sardines are a delicious and nutritious source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D.

Here are three healthy sardine recipes you can try at home.

3 Delicious Recipes for Portuguese Sardines

sardine sandwich

Portuguese Sardine Sandwich

The classic dish that has captured the hearts and palates of many is the Portuguese Sardine Sandwich. Bursting with the bold flavors of the ocean, this sandwich combines fresh sardines, vibrant vegetables, and a medley of seasonings to create a culinary masterpiece that reflects the coastal charm of Portugal. 

Ingredients of Portuguese Sardine Sandwich:

For the Sardines:

  • Fresh portuguese sardines (4-6, cleaned and deboned)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • Garlic cloves (2, minced)
  • Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)

For the Sandwich:

  • Crusty Portuguese bread or baguette (1 loaf, sliced)
  • Tomato (1, thinly sliced)
  • Red onion (1, thinly sliced)
  • Bell peppers (assorted colors, thinly sliced)
  • Fresh parsley (a handful, chopped)
  • Olives (for garnish, optional)

For the Marinade:

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Red wine vinegar (1 tablespoon)
  • Garlic clove (1, minced)
  • Fresh oregano (1 teaspoon, chopped)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)


  1. If using fresh sardines, rinse them well and remove the heads, tails, fins, and innards. You can remove the scales and bones if you prefer, but they are edible and add flavor and texture to the sandwich.
  2. Season the fresh sardines with salt and pepper and grill them over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side or until cooked through and charred. Alternatively, broil them in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  3. If using canned sardines, drain them well and flake them with a fork. You can use any kind of canned sardines, such as oil-packed, water-packed, or flavored ones.
  4. Toast the bread slices lightly on both sides. You can use any bread you like, but using a crusty bread that can hold up well to the moist filling.
  5. Spread butter and mustard evenly over each bread slice. You can adjust the amount of butter and mustard according to your preference. You can also add some chopped parsley, lemon juice, garlic, or onion for extra flavor.
  6. Top two bread slices with lettuce leaves and tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper if needed. You can also add some cheese if you like, such as mozzarella, cheddar, or feta.
  7. Divide the sardine flakes evenly over the cheese layer. Press down lightly to compact the filling. Cover with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve immediately, or wrap them in foil or parchment paper and take them on the go.

Sardine Fish Cakes

Sardine Fish Cakes

Sardine fish cakes are a delicious and nutritious dish that combines sardines' richness with a medley of flavorful ingredients. These fish cakes are a treat for the taste buds and a fantastic way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. 

Ingredients of Sardine Fish Cakes:

For the Fish Cakes:

  • 2 cans of sardines in oil, drained, and bones removed
  • 2 cups of mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Olive oil for frying

For the Lemon-Herb Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by draining the sardines and carefully removing any bones. Flake the sardine meat using a fork, breaking it into small, manageable pieces. Set aside.
  2. Boil the potatoes until they are tender enough to mash. Once cooked, peel the potatoes and use a potato masher to create a smooth and lump-free mash. Allow the mashed potatoes to cool slightly.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flaked sardines, mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Gently fold the mixture until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Shape the mixture into small patties of your preferred size. The mixture should hold its shape without falling apart. Place the formed patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Dip each patty into the beaten eggs, ensuring it's evenly coated. Then, roll the patties in breadcrumbs, covering them completely. This will give the fish cakes a delightful crunch when they're cooked.
  6. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Carefully add the coated fish cakes to the hot oil, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the cakes on each side for 3-4 minutes until they turn golden brown and crispy. Once done, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.

Before serving, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the fish cakes for a burst of color and freshness. Sardine fish cakes can be enjoyed hot and served with a dipping sauce such as tartar sauce, aioli, or a squeeze of lemon juice. They pair wonderfully with a side of super colossal shrimp.

Portuguese Sardine Salad

Sardine Salad

The Portuguese Sardine Salad captivates the flavors of Portugal. This iconic dish captures the essence of coastal living, boasting the rich, salty taste of sardines nestled between slices of crusty bread. 

Ingredients of Portuguese Sardine Salad:

  • 2 cans of sardines in olive oil
  • 150 g of fresh cheese (such as ricotta or cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 slices of sandwich bread
  • 2 handfuls of salad leaves (such as lettuce or arugula)
  • Optional: parsley, capers, olives, or pickles for garnish


  1. Drain the sardines and remove the central bone. Place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork.
  2. Add the fresh cheese, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix well until you have a smooth and creamy paste.
  3. Toast the bread slices lightly in a toaster or oven until golden and crisp.
  4. Spread the sardine mixture evenly over six slices of bread. Top with salad leaves and any other garnishes you like.
  5. Cover with the remaining slices of bread and cut into triangles or rectangles.
  6. Enjoy your Portuguese sardines sandwich with some fresh fruit or vegetable sticks on the side.

In Conclusion

These three mouthwatering and simple sardine recipes showcase this beloved ingredient's versatility and rich flavors. Whether you prefer the simplicity of diver sea scallops, the comforting depths of sardine fish cakes, or even the elegant twist of a sardine pate, these recipes will undoubtedly transport your taste buds to the coastal charm of Portugal. Enjoy these dishes with family and friends, and experience the joy of savoring authentic Portuguese flavors right in your kitchen.

Explore the 3 Best Recipes for Portuguese Sardines
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