Sardines (ew!) pasta recipe

The best way to get someone to eat something they don’t like is to get them to cook it.

Wise words from a grandma who got her grandkids to cook so they would want to eat certain foods.

I’ve never and still don’t like to eat sardines but on a whim, bought this fancy can of sardines from Woolsworth while on holiday in Melbourne because I was feeling adventurous. More so because it was on sale at AUD 1.75. 😆

Holiday feels
Here’s said can of fancy sardines – Brunswick Brisling Sardines

My main gripe with sardines is that it tastes too fishy and overpowering. This recipe was okay as the sardines were spread across quite a bit of pasta. And the onions helped to sweeten it some.

Instead of watching a sad movie, chopping onions is a great way to release negative emotions through crying. Jk.

This is where onion goggles come in. I didn’t buy a pair (in Melbourne) but was pretty amused by them. For all the onion lovers out there.

Boil your pasta. I think spaghetti works better but penne is just easier to shovel into your mouth. Or also for sharing, when ordering pastas to share in a restaurant.

diced onion
That’s an entire onion right there.

I usually don’t like eating fried onions – my family can attest to that. But here, we cook them till they’re sweet and carmelized – like the type of onions you’d find in your Yoshinoya beef bowl.

Mixing it altogether! Dried parsley, while not as great as fresh parsley, is the answer for those who don’t cook often. Instead of not wasting the packet of parsley, you simply pour out how much you need – for colour and I guess some taste. Plus, dried parsley lasts a lot longer.

This recipe is for 2 portions 🙂


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 250g pasta (Spaghetti is good, penne is easier to nom)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 can sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil (about ¼ pound)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish or 1 tsp dried chopped parsley

Just do it:

  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Reserve some of the pasta water.
  2. Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, less than 5 minutes, and then remove.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the onion to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat under the onions to medium-high and add the lemon zest and sardines; cook, stirring occasionally, until just heated through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta to the sardine mixture and toss well to combine.
  6. Add the parsley, most of the bread crumbs and some reserved water, if necessary, to moisten.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnishing with more parsley and bread crumbs.
  8. Serve!

Thank you NYTimes for the recipe! Also, I  love De Cocco pasta for the great bite that is more important than ever when your pasta dish does not have much toppings, like say a carbonara or bolognese would.

Sardines Pasta – straight into the container to take to work for lunch!

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