Easy Sardine Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Parsley

I like to stock up on certain go-to ingredients like canned beans for soups and canned sardines for simple pasta recipes. With only a handful of additional ingredients I can then make a quick and delicious meal.

For this recipe I’m using canned sardines. They are great to use in pasta dishes, rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, inexpensive and already cooked. So if you’ve never worked with sardines before, I recommend giving it a shot!

Make sure you buy high-quality canned sardines packed in olive oil and spend a little extra. Trust me, it’s worth it. And there may be a number of steps in this recipe, but once you try it out it’ll be a breeze the next time.

Once the garlic sizzles, add the sardines and break into pieces.

Raise heat, then add tomatoes and cook down for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in chopped parsley, then add pasta and mix well to combine.

Sardine Pasta Recipe

  • 8 ounces small whole wheat pasta (chiocciole, penne or rigatoni)
  • 1 can of good sardines, packed in olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

    Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente.

    In a pan on low heat, warm the olive oil. Add sliced garlic and cook until a light sizzle to soften for about 3-5 minutes, make sure not to burn. Add entire can of sardines with olive oil and break up sardines into nice pieces. Raise heat to medium, until the sardines sizzle, then add chopped tomatoes and saute until cooked down, about 10 minutes.

    Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley and stir for about a minute. Add pasta in the pan with the sardine sauce and toss well to combine. If it seems dry, just add a little olive oil. Garnish with more parsley.

    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Yield: 2-4 servings
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    22 Responses to “Easy Sardine Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Parsley”

    1. Ali October 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      Its always nice having canned food around they help a lot on those lazy or busy days. The sardine pasta looks so delicious, great to know one can easily make such a delectable dish 🙂

      • Barb October 16, 2011 at 10:44 am #

        Totally agree, we always have a few cans of sardines and mackerels at home for that reason.

    2. Susan October 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

      I want this right now.

      • Barb October 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

        You can Susan! It only takes 30 minutes… 😉

    3. Winnie May 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Made this for dinner tonight and there was nothing left. I have tried using canned tomatoes and results weren’t as good. Love this dish! =)

      • Barb June 1, 2012 at 8:42 am #

        That’s great, Winnie! I really love this dish too, it’s one of my go-to pastas. I never made it with canned tomatoes before but would assume the taste would be quite acidic?

    4. Bhiel Pakingan August 20, 2012 at 1:49 am #

      can u tell how i can remove the “fisshy’ flavor of the sardines?

      • Barb August 20, 2012 at 8:44 am #

        Well that’s a tall order, Bhiel 😉 I think this sardine recipe isn’t as fishy, but it also depends on what kind of canned sardines you have. I pay a little more for mine which I believe is less fishy tasting than others.

    5. Lucie September 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      I used cherry tomatoes and instead of parsley, I added baby spinach to the pasta about 30 seconds before it finished cooking. It was good!

      • Barb September 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

        Ooh, I’ve never added baby spinach before, I’ll have to try that! Thanks for the comment, Lucie. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    6. Punished Pauper October 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      If you have nothing else, just the sardines fried in olive oil with black pepper are good to add to pasta.

      • Barb October 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

        I’ve had sardines this way before but never with pasta. I’ll have to try that soon, sounds delicious. Thanks for the tip!

        • david August 24, 2013 at 5:23 am #

          slightly more complicated recipe I’ve done for a while, pretty tasty: olive oil, fry garlic, add onions + green peppers + herbs (oregano/thyme works), cook till onion softening, add sardines + lemon juice/zest, fry a bit, add tomatoes (canned is OK) + worcester sauce + seasoning, simmer till reduced. what we used to call gourmet dog food but don’t let that put you off. I haven’t put amounts but I think you could play around with those.

      • No tomatoes September 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

        Sautee diced onions, add sardines, break them up with a spoon, add cooked pasta, add capers, toss with parsley.

    7. tina May 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      I have always loved sardines and wanted to take them to a different level This recipe O made last night and found myself licking the bowl !! A keeper can’t wait to share with people who unaware of that tasty little fish potential

      • Barb May 27, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

        I’m so happy you found this recipe, Tina! I make it about once a week and we pretty much lick our bowls too, we LOVE this dish 😉 Thanks for your comment!

    8. david August 24, 2013 at 5:10 am #

      for any UK readers who are ambivalent about sardines, tried this with basic John West, and flavour was well blended in with the other ingredients. and if you aren’t ambivalent (or in UK) it’s good too. really nice simple recipe, best I’ve found so far like it on the internet.

      • Barb August 26, 2013 at 9:13 am #

        Thanks for your comments, David! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my recipe.

    9. Zmama November 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      I made this for my 16-month old daughter (without the red pepper flakes) and she loved it! Hearing she says “more…more!” was so satisfying. Thank you for this wonderful post!

      • Barb November 20, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        Wow, that’s great Zmama! I’m so happy you found this recipe for your daughter and even better that she loved it 🙂

    10. Veonica Williams March 11, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

      I made this dish last week after I searche’d for new warm sardine dishes. Was I pleased…ABSOLUTELY!…I am about to make sime more, I added green/red bell peppers, awesome!!!!

      • Barb March 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        Hi Veonica – I’m so happy you loved this recipe!! I make this dish a lot and I still crave it 🙂

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