Lemon & marjoram sardines with walnut & pepper dressing

Lemon & marjoram sardines with walnut & pepper dressing

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Prep: 25 mins Cook: 5 mins plus optional overnight soaking


Serves 2
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Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal335
  • fat17g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs14g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre6g
  • protein27g
  • salt0.7g


  • 6 walnut halves
  • juce and zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 butterflied sardines (see step-by-step), thawed if frozen



    Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once found in abundance. Found…

  • 2 tsp marjoram or oregano, plus a few extra leaves for sprinkling
  • 100g roasted red peppers from a jar (not in oil), drained
  • small drizzle of rapeseed oil
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • baby spinach leaves
  • seeds from ½ pomegranate



    Now mainly grown in America, Spain, the Middle East and India, pomegranates originated in the…


  1. You can use the walnuts as they are or activate them – this makes them easier to digest. If you’re activating them, pour cold water over the walnuts, add a squeeze of lemon, then leave to soak overnight at room temperature. Drain and rinse.

  2. Finely grate the garlic and set aside for 10 mins to allow the enzymes to activate. Open up the sardines and smear the flesh with half the garlic. Grate over the lemon zest (reserving a little to serve) and season with black pepper. Scatter over half the marjoram or oregano, then close the sardines again.

  3. Put the walnuts, remaining herbs and the peppers in a bowl. Season, then blitz to a rough purée with a blender. Add the remaining garlic and a generous squeeze of lemon from one half, and blitz again.

  4. Heat a drop of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and quickly wilt the spinach, then set aside. Wipe out the pan, then heat a little more oil and cook the sardines for 2 mins each side. Arrange the spinach on two plates and top with the sardines, scatter over the pomegranate seeds, then top with the dressing. Sprinkle over the reserved lemon zest and a few herb leaves, then serve with the remaining half of the lemon, cut into wedges.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Minoo's picture
5th Jul, 2016
This was really lovely! I was sceptical as to whether you would taste the walnuts given all the garlic and lemon, but it really did come through. I didn't bother activating the walnuts. I wasn't sure how to butterfly sardines and in fact also had to take the heads off and gut them too, but I found a YouTube video that was a good guide and it wasn't too complicated. Recommend this for a feel good dinner!
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