Avocado Sardine Dip
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
So...sardines. I know. Sardines. Just hang in there with me for a bit, won’t you, and this will all make sense? I never ate sardines growing up; in fact if confronted with them I’d have complained loudly and used one of the many colorful expressions we had back then to say “Yuck.” (Eighties kids will be familiar with some of them. “Gag me” and “gross out” come to mind.) I only saw sardines in cartoons when a character would open the can by rolling up the lid with a little key to reveal small dead fishes with x’s for eyes. WHY would you eat that if you were not, say, a cat?
Lots of reasons, it turns out. When I started learning about nutrition and switched to a mostly Paleo diet due to health reasons, I kept seeing sardines pop up as one of those supremely nutritious foods we should be eating. Then I heard Dr. Terry Wahls speak of the importance of omega 3’s for brain health at CoMo Wellness Conference; I read this convincing post about sardines from Wellness Mama; and somewhere I read a quote from Diane Sanfillipo that said we all need to “put on our big girl panties“ and eat some sardines.
So I did. I ate them. My nine-year-old self would never have believed it.
Sardines are not a food I get super-excited about eating (such as, for example, Erin’s breakfast potatoes or Tracey’s chocolate chip cookies) but I’ve learned to enjoy them as a snack. Some people, I’ve heard, open up a can of sardines and just eat them with a fork. Those people are not me. The taste is just too strong for me plain, so here’s what I do:
--add them to tuna salad
--add them to salmon patties
--mix them with clean mayonnaise and lemon juice and eat on lettuce leaves
--make avocado dip with them!
Now, this is NOT a dip I’d make a big bowl of and take to a party. Sardines are an acquired taste. It probably would not have occurred to me to share this with you except that Erin’s two-year-old was sitting at the counter with me while I made a batch one day and he ate about half of it, so I decided if he liked it, you might too!
If you’ve never eaten sardines before, please note that the whole fish minus the head is in there. That I means you’ll see skin and bones of the fish along with the meat. Eat it all. It’s very good for you! Now, if I can only convince myself to eat some liver...
Avocado Sardine Dip
Serves 1 to 2 people as a snack. Makes about 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups, depending on the size of the avocado.
1 large ripe avocado (or two small ones)
1 can of sardines
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice, or more to taste
optional ingredients: chopped fresh herbs, chopped olives, red pepper flakes, dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce
Halve and take the pit out of the avocado. Remove the flesh of the avocado into a small bowl.
Add the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper as well as any optional ingredients you choose.
Mash the avocado and spices with a fork.
Open the sardines and drain the oil or water. Add to the bowl* and mix until combined with the avocado.
Serve with plantain chips, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, celery sticks, pepper spears, or any other healthy dip-carrying vehicle you like; alternatively, spread on lettuce leaves.
* If you’re new to sardines, you can add 1/4 or 1/2 of the can to start and work your way up to a full can the next few times you make this snack.
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