I’ve always thought canned sardines were kind of neat. A compact tin full of inexpensive fish protein. But what can you really do with it? It’s kind of dry to just put between two slices of bread and have a sandwich. Is there another option?

Yes, there is! Get your hands on…

  • A tin of sardines (packed in water or oil recommended; Trader Joe has some good ones)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard (I favor spicy brown mustard)
  • Chopped onions and/or celery

Put the sardines in a bowl, and squirt a hefty dollop of mayo and mustard onto them. Mash them all up and stir them around until well-mixed, then dump in the chopped onions and/or celery. (I buy a package of pre-chopped from the grocery store; I could probably save more money by buying fresh and doing it myself, but I’m a lazy bachelor.) If you have ideas for other things that might go well in there (chopped pickles, maybe?) throw those in, too.

Then spread between two pieces of bread, or a brioche bun, or some such thing. Yum! I find that 1 tin of sardines makes enough salad for approximately two sandwiches, which make one nice cheap and tasty meal for me.

You can experiment with some of the different variations of sardines that are out there, too. Sardines packed in mustard mean you can probably leave out the mustard from this recipe, for example. Sardines packed in tomato sauce might go well with a hefty dollop of salsa or picante sauce instead of mayo and mustard. The possibilities are probably limitless!

And those sardines can be remarkably cheap. The ones on Amazon tend to average out to about two bucks a tin, but you can find them in grocery and discount stores for about a buck or so each. That’s some nicely inexpensive fish protein, even if the whole “beneficial Omega 3” thing has been debunked lately.