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Sardine Fritters


Sardine Fritters

Yes! Sardine Fritters. Now, if you go the way of strict vegan, I am sure there is nothing more repulsive to you than the thought of wee little fish all lined up in a row, squeezed into that little tin. I might even concur if I didn’t know how amazingly healthful these little guys are. I am not a massive fish fan. I started eating it again after the voice inside my head (that sounds an awful lot like Josh) thought I might do well with some lean protein. Hello sardines! The reason I don’t eat fish so much is mainly because eating fish is a complicated matter. Do we eat fish that are low risk to our health, but potentially over fished or worse, farmed? Or do we eat fish that are low risk to the environment but carry a high toxic load that will be high risk to our health? See… isn’t a pot of lentils just simpler?

I digress. Sardines are a super-powered food.

Just like sardines get jam-packed into their tins, they are also jam packed with nutrients, the whole lot of ’em including oodles of vitamins and minerals, which after all is why our body makes us hungry. It wants the goods. Sardines are an awesomely lean protein source with ten times their weight in nutritional value:

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids: protect the heart from various disease, increase good cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, prevent formation of blood clots,  improve skin texture, prevent wrinkles and nourish the nervous system, to name a few.

Vitamin D: Food is always better than a pill and sardines are rich in vitamin D, essential to keep us smiling through the winter and keep our bones strong.

Vitamin B12: This can be a tricky one to get but is vital for a healthy nervous system, boosts energy levels and necessary for healthy blood cells.

Phosphorus: Forget calcium, phosphorus is essential for bone health and sardines are one of the few foods rich in phosphorus. Phosphorus maximizes the kidney’s ability to excrete waste properly, important for normal teeth and bone formation.

So what do all these nutrients mean to us. Well, this kind of nutrition helps with weight management, heart health, bone health, and nervous system health. Now, forget about all that and just enjoy them because really they are delicious.

This recipe was a total and complete experiment. I thought this might go the way of the zucchini cake- the only cooking experiment I have ever thrown out but let me tell you- these fritters were perfecto mundo. Trust me! But if you want your kids to eat them, just call them fritters. No one needs to know about the ‘dines.

Sardine Fritters

by Meghan Telpner

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


Ingredients (Serves 4-6, depending on size)

  • 1 can organic sardines in water
  • 1 sweet potato, steamed and mashed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp fenugreek, ground
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/ 2 cup water


Steam sweet potato slightly and then whir through the food processor with the water until forms a smooth paste.

While sweet potato is steaming, crack open that can of sardines, drain them and transfer to large mixing bowl with lemon juice.

Mash sardines and lemon juice together with a fork and then mix in sweet potato/water mix, onion, olive oil and egg.

In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients- chickpea flour, baking powder, spices and salt.

Combine wet ingredients and dry and mix thoroughly.

Heat up a skillet, add oil as needed. If you have a good titanium type skillet, you may be able to skip the oil for cooking.

Spoon the batter into the pan and cook, flip once until lightly golden on each side.

Alternately, you can bake these in your oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes flipping once and baking another 5 minutes or so until dry on both sides and firm in the middle.

23 responses to “Sardine Fritters”

  1. Mary says:

    That sounds surprisingly delicious. I hope the voice inside my head can convince me to eat fish purely for the sake of this recipe.

  2. City Girl says:

    These look tasty – sadly I cannot eat eggs. I am going to try them minus the egg and bake them – hopefully they won’t fall apart.

  3. emily- mpls real food lover says:

    brilliant idea as usual. all your recipes soundandlookso yummy!
    sardines are an amazingly healthfull food. i have a link on my most recent blog post to a study from Harvard that finds the benefits to eating seafood far outweigh the risks.
    also, on a more personal note, my dad is a former professional chef turned fish-monger and always has told me that eating fish is STILL good for us, even taking into consideration all the environmental and health concerns. if you have any questions regarding fisheating,sustainability of certain fish, health concerns, mercury ect, please feel free to contact Tim at Coastal Seafoods. he may be my dad, so of course i think hes great, but he is seriously an expert in this arena.

  4. Amandamoo says:

    I actually tried sardines for the first time last week and was no impressed… the can had 3 big hunks of fish in it and it was very “fishy”, if you know what I mean. Is there a brand I should look for? I want to enjoy them, I just don’t want a repeat of this experience!

  5. Janna (Just Flourishing) says:

    I have never had sardines!

    I hardly ever eat fish because my boyfriend is allergic.
    He would most likely not be impressed if I brought a can o fish home.

    Maybe, I’ll just have to sneak them home! Haha. Or maybe I’ll make them when I go home to visit my family, they’re big fish fans :)

  6. Samantha Angela says:

    sounds good! can’t wait to try it.

  7. Cindy says:

    oh boy, after all that health info I wish I could stomach sardines. I tried once in a preggo crave binge to eat some but I gagged and I suspect the only reason I wanted them was bc I was pregnant.

    boo. I actually never doubt a recipe of yours but sardines scare me!


    (they look good though)

    HEY I am on day 2 of your vegan challenge! still going!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I used to get the sardines packed in mustard and put them on crackers or toast. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how I liked it. I was never brave enough to try the ones packed in water though. I’m sure in your recipe, they are no fishy-er than any other good fish recipe. I am really excited about this recipe, I think my kids are going to love it! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Brittany says:

    I am an educated and concious omnivore that and I was SO excited to see a sardine recipe. I am always trying to think of yummy ways to eat sardines and am going to try this recipe ASAP! Thanks Meghan!

  10. renee says:

    Sardines mashed up with (gasp) cream cheese on toast is awesome. A little omega-3 rich irish butter from grass fed cows is wonderful too. Yum!

  11. Alex says:

    Honestly, woman!

    I was just having this exact debate with myself!

    Nuts are not the easiest to digest for me, beans can be a bit starchy for my gut, and I also have concerns about the safety of fish…And have you ever seen the cost of organic/wild salmon?? I’m not a billionnaire, yo. It’s hard for a mostly-vegetarian gal who doesn’t do soy to find some good quality protein!

    To top off this mind-share, guess what I had for lunch today? (before reading this blog) SARDINES! Except I had them plain in a salad, which was….something I don’t want to do again for awhile.

    This looks like a lovely recipe…I am so excited to try it, for obvious reasons :)


  12. Catherine says:

    I need to tell you that yesterday, when my throat began to get a little sore, I chopped a clove of garlic, put it on a spoon, and downed it hoping your suggestion (from quite a few posts ago) would help my immune system fight off a bug.

    Well, I woke up this morning feeling like myself again! Thank you for the suggestion!! I also had the garlic with a spinach smoothie for lunch yesterday, so between all of these super foods and your encouragement, I was able to avoid getting sick. Thank you again!!

    Hmm, maybe sardines are in my future… :)

  13. Kristin says:

    Just wanted to say I love your posts. You give a lot of information and it always seems to be on issues I have on a my mind. I eat mostly vegan food but have started to feel the need for more protein and have begun to reintroduce eggs and seafood. Today I was standing in the seafood aisle forever trying to figure out a safe, healthy, environmentally concious, not going to break my bank fish. I couldn’t believe it when I saw your post. That being said…I’m still scared of sardines but I’m thinking about them as an option now. Thank you!

  14. Andrea says:

    I was a little afraid to try sardines, but a couple of years ago some girlfriends and I resolved to eat some and made a party of it. Now I actually get sardine cravings! I love some sardines smashed up with a slice of fresh tomato, a bit of freshly ground pepper and some salty black olives. Put that on toast or some crackers, and you’ve got a delicious meal.

    My partner still won’t touch them though – can’t win ’em all!

  15. Melinda says:

    Megan! Thank you for this. I love it when the Universe conspires to make me eat yummy things! I was thinking about making spiced veggie fritters last night for dinner (from a cookbook self-published in part by the amazing Lucy at in Australia) and then came your post! I combined the two recipes (added broccoli & cauliflower & onion & some extra spices of course SARDINES) and baked them instead of frying them.


  16. Melinda says:

    Oops! Apologies for misspelling your name!! Too many Megans and Meghans in my life! Please call me Melanie.

  17. Meghan Telpner says:

    Wow! Look how positive you all are about these guys. Wasn’t sure how these would go over. After meeting a bunch of my readers here on this St. Lucia retreat- I am pretty sure you are the most open-minded peeps around!

  18. Canadianfoodiegirl says:

    First Alton Brown is talking sardines, now you. Does this a food trend make? I will try these. I’m into fish but don’t like sardines.

    [An aside: No more WordPress log in for blog commenting with the new site? This makes having two Andreas comment here more confusing. Guess I have to keep using my blog name and also monitor for new comments.]

  19. Alex says:

    Meghan, I just made these last night with my boyfriend and we both LOVED them! It tasted like a cross between a potato latke and a fish cake…yummy! I made some “tartar sauce” to go along with it made of macadamia nut butter, lemon juice, garlic, fresh herbs, and some salt.

    Bless you, little fish!

  20. sarah says:

    I made these last night and they were great! I knew sardines were good for me and had bought a couple of cans but after the first can, I couldn’t bring myself to open the 2nd can. Luckily that can (packed in oil) was still in the cupboard when I finally worked up the nerve to try this recipe. I have to be honest, it smelled gross while it cooked and I grew more and more pessimistic, but, wow, they actually taste good! Thanks for the recipe!!

  21. Carolina says:

    I have made these twice already and just love them. The first time, when I told my hubby what we were trying for dinner, he got a scared/confused look on his face, but after trying them, he looks forward to them. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Nicole says:

    This sounds delicious! I’m definitely going to try it, probably fried in golden butter to ramp up the yum factor and the fat soluble vitamins from the sweet potato! I have never tried chickpea flour, I might just do half mashed chickpeas and half coconut flour. Thanks for posting this creative recipe!

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