{Today’s Lunchbox} Sardine Avocado Salad

by Valerie on November 1, 2010 · 3 comments

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Happy Monday! I am so glad you enjoyed the guest blog lunchboxes last week.  Aren’t Iris, Alta and Ellen wonderful?  I encourage you all to check out their blogs, whether you must eat a gluten-free diet or not – their recipes are flavorful and all three write such engaging blog posts.  It was such a thrill that they guest blogged for City | Life | Eats.
Today’s lunchbox is actually one I guest blogged over at Carrie’s blog, Ginger Lemon Girl (another great blog) on September 1, which also happened to be the first day I started the Today’s Lunchbox Series.  Since the lunchbox series has new readers every day, it seems like a fitting way to celebrate two months of lunchboxes.
Canned sardines are a win-win on many levels. They are sustainable, do not require cooking, and are inexpensive. While I enjoy a nice piece of fresh wild-caught salmon, whether grilled or broiled, I do love the convenience and price  of canned sardines. And yes, I agree, sardines can taste fishy.Now, I still love eating them straight from the can, whether drizzled with some hot sauce or plain, but I realize I am in the minority here.  And I also can’t go with the from-the-can-approach at my job because our office suite is small.  

Enter lime juice, the great neutralizer of fishiness.  Today’s lunchbox recipe removes the fishiness (flavor and, to a decent extent, smell) out of the equation and adds lots of terrific fresh flavors and vegetables. If you are trying to upgrade from a basic tuna and mayo sandwich, try this sardine salad. The avocado lends it delicious creaminess, making mayo unnecessary, and the lime juice is a perfect foil to the fishiness of sardines. This sardine salad is delicious on gluten-free bread or crackers (especially Mary’s Gone Crackers in the Caraway flavor) but I also really enjoy it by scooping it with celery or carrot sticks.

Sardine Salad (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free)
Serves 1-2
Sardine Salad

• 1 can boneless, skinless sardines, drained (I like these)
• 1/2 cup diced carrots
• 1/4 cup diced celery
• 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
• 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro or basil (use what you have on hand. I use basil in summer and parsley in colder months)
• Juice of two limes, separated
• 1 jalapeño chili, with stem, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

Place sardines, carrots, celery, scallions, sundried tomatoes, herb of your choosing, jalapeño (if using), juice of one lime and salt in a bowl. Mix bowl, breaking up the sardines into flakes. Add avocado and taste to adjust seasoning. I usually add about half the juice of the second lime, but it is really up to you. If you are not serving immediately, you can make the recipe up to the addition of the avocado and have the salad sit for a couple of hours and even overnight in the refrigerator. Add the avocado immediately before serving.

Note: just as with any tuna fish salad recipe, feel free to swap ingredients or adjust ratios – if you like celery better, add more celery. Swap diced red onion for the scallions. Add hot sauce. Whatever makes you happy.

If you want to bring this salad to work as part of a lunchbox: When I make this salad to bring to work, I add all the ingredients up to the avocado and only use the juice of one lime. Then I bring this little kit you see in the picture at the top of the post, where I pack the sardine salad in one container and my celery and carrots in another, along with an avocado and a lime. When I am ready to eat the salad at work, I cut the avocado and add it to the salad along with some freshly squeezed lime juice. It makes for a delicious fresh-tasting lunch that transports you away from the office.  It tastes indulgent but is packed with good-for-you ingredients.  Therefore I am submitting it to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday for November 2.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Juliette November 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Yum this looks amazing! I love sardines too.

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2 Debi November 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I love sardines and they are high in the nutrients we need for our thyroids to function well. I always forget about them since I don't venture much into the food aisles at the grocery store. This is a great reminder for me, Valerie, and it looks absolutely wonderful!

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3 Tasty Eats At Home November 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

You already know how i feel about this recipe! I'm definitely going to hsve to make sure i make it ahead of time when i go to my new job in 2 weeks. It's a small office and I already eat enough weird food; don't want to scare anyone off with fishy smell!

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