Sardines are one of those love-it-or-hate-it foods.
People who love them swear by their intense flavor and nutritional value, while those who hate them find them too fishy and strong-tasting.
But there’s no denying that sardines are a powerhouse of nutrients, and they’re especially loved for their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Besides, if you cook them the right way and serve it with the right side dishes, even the staunchest hater of sardines might be won over.
So, what to serve with sardines? Check below; we have curated a list of the 7 best side dishes.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Sardines?
Sardines are small, delicate fish that are usually eaten whole.
This means that they can be easily overwhelmed by strong-tasting or strongly-flavored dishes.
Side dishes provide a perfect way to balance out the flavors so that the sardines can shine without being overpowering.
Besides, the right side dish can also help tone down sardines’ fishiness, making them more palatable for those not used to eating fish.
Not forgetting, serving side dishes with sardines is a great idea on days when you’re extra hungry.
You can serve something as filling as rice pilaf on the side and make a full meal out of it.
What To Serve with Sardines? 7 BEST Side Dishes
1 – Fresh Green Salad with Feta Cheese
Whatever your main dish is, a fresh green salad is always a good idea.
It helps balance out the flavors of your main dish and adds more texture to your meal.
The best part about a salad is that you can make it your own.
You can easily customize it to fit your preferences.
Some people like fruits in their salad, while others don’t.
It’s entirely up to you whatever you want to add.
Going with a classic, like a Greek salad, would be ideal for the main dish, like sardines.
Add cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced red onions, and olives for the crunch and plenty of greens of your choice.
Plop some feta cheese and give it a good mix.
For that extra kick, add a vinaigrette dressing and some salt and pepper for taste.
The freshness of this green salad with the savory taste of the sardines is sure to keep you digging in for your next bite.
2 – Buttery Rice Pilaf
Seafood and rice are a match that no one can deny.
A small bowl of rice pilaf to go with your sardines is a mouth-watering affair because of the beautiful blend of flavors with this pairing.
Rice pilaf has a slightly nutty taste with spices, making the dish stand out.
When paired with the sardines, these spices mix wonderfully, leaving you with an explosion of ultimate goodness in your mouth.
This side dish works best when you are hosting a dinner on a chilly night.
The warm rice and the sardines will keep you filled and full through the night.
3 – Roasted Baby Potatoes
Potatoes are indeed the king of all side dishes.
They go well with every kind of dish you can think of.
So for the main sardine dish, we think that a side of well-roasted baby potatoes will be perfect.
They’re pretty easy to make as well.
All you need to do is:
- Clean the potatoes well since you will be cooking the skin as well.
- Cut them right in the middle.
- Coat them with the oil and spices of your choice and toss them in the oven. If you want, pan-fry them on low heat for a few minutes and add the spices as the potato skin wrinkles.
- Add chopped garlic for the best flavor and aroma.
It’s a super quick and easy side dish to make, and it’s almost always foolproof.
4 – Toasted Multigrain Baguette Slices
If you have sardines as a snack, pair it with a slice of freshly baked and toasted baguette for the ultimate bruschetta.
It’s even better to get your hands on a multigrain baguette.
Here’s one way you can enjoy this snack:
- Slice the baguette into bit size pieces and toast them on a pan.
- Mash the sardine and add some vegetables like cherry tomatoes and olives.
- Top it with cheese and add seasonings of your choice.
- Scoop it onto your baguette toast and enjoy.
The beauty of this dish is that you can alternate the multigrain baguette with any bread of your choice.
However, we find that the crunch from the seeds on the multigrain bread is an excellent addition to the dish.
5 – Grilled Vegetables on a Skewer
If you have fish as a main dish, one of your best choices for a side dish will be vegetables.
But plain old vegetables sound boring, so why not kick it up a notch by putting them through a skewer and making a vegetable kebab?
It’s simple to make, looks fancier, and gives you an elevated flavor.
You can play around with what kind of vegetables you want to add to the mix.
We recommend you use vegetables like onions, carrots, and capsicum for that added crunch even after you grill it.
It will come with a nice and subtle smoky flavor, a great combination of fresh sardines.
6 – Steamed Broccoli Tossed in Butter
Sure everyone is aware of the famous steamed broccoli as a side dish, but this concoction will give it a new flair that your guests will surely enjoy.
Take a simple dish like steamed broccoli and drizzle some melted butter on top before serving.
The steaming hot broccoli will keep the butter melted and your dish juicy.
This is the ultimate flavor to go with a bite of sardine.
The slight crunch of the broccoli and the butter’s richness calm down the sardine’s sharp taste so you can savor each bite.
If you want your broccoli to have even more character, you can toss some chopped garlic into your melted butter and let it cook for a few seconds.
The aroma of the garlic will surely make your dish up a notch.
7 – Al Dente Creamy Pasta
Pasta is a dish that can pair well with any side dish.
If you’ve tried seafood with pasta, you know it’s a great pair.
So get your favorite al dente pasta, like spaghetti, and mix your favorite sauce over it.
We think carbonara or any cheese-based sauce goes really well with spicy and savory sardines.
You can even go for something with a bit of zing, like a lemony sauce, giving you the kick you need in your meal.
Finish off with some parsley or coriander, and you can enjoy a simple yet elegant meal at home.
When it comes to sardines, you don’t have to worry about your sides because you can go in many different directions.
It might seem like a complicated dish to pair with other sides, but as you can see from our list, it’s not that difficult to pair it with conventional food options.
You can give your imagination and creativity a chance and try out all these different dishes and see which ones you like the most.