Quick and Easy Lemon Sardine Pasta Recipe

Quick and Easy Lemon Sardine Pasta Recipe

The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
335 Calories
14g Fat
40g Carbs
13g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 335
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 78mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 33mg 163%
Calcium 118mg 9%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 307mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Want a simple midweek supper dish or just a simple lunch dish in general? Then look no further than this cracking, simple recipe. Once tried, this lemon sardine pasta dish could very quickly become a firm family favorite, as it really is incredibly quick and easy to make, deliciously light to eat, and bursting with nutritional goodness. Served hot or cold, as a pasta salad, makes it versatile too.

How much more can one recipe deliver?


  • 14 ounces dried linguine pasta

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 (4-ounce) cans boneless sardine fillets, drained

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons baby kale

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Quick and Easy Lemon Sardine Pasta Recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  2. Cook the linguine pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, but keep back 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

    drained pasta in a pot and pasta water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  3. Toss the pasta in the pan you cooked it in with the reserved cooking water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Keep warm.

    pasta in a pan with pasta water and oil

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  4. Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan to hot, but not smoking, over medium-high heat.

    pan with oil

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add the minced shallot and cook for 1 minute.

    shallots in a pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  6. Add the chili flakes and stir.

    add chili flakes to the shallots in the pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  7. Lower the heat slightly to medium, and add the garlic. Stir well and cook for one minute. Take great care to not burn the garlic or the dish will taste bitter.

    add garlic to the chili mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  8. Add the drained sardines to the frying pan, stirring very carefully, so as not to break the sardines up too much. Finally, add the lemon zest, and stir again.

    sardines and lemon zest in the pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  9. Tip the cooked linguine into the serving bowl, stir the sardine sauce, parsley, and baby kale (the heat of the pasta and the sauce will be enough to cook the tiny leaves) into the linguine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

    stir the sardine sauce, parsley, and baby kale and past into the sardine mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg

  10. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and serve immediately.

    Quick and Easy Lemon Sardine Pasta in a pan, lemon juice in a bowl

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  • Leftover pasta? Make sure the pasta is completely cold, then cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for no longer than 24 hours. The pasta makes a great lunchbox filling the next day. Just gently warm through before eating.
  • Prepare all your ingredients before starting to cook the pasta, so the sauce is ready while the pasta is still hot.
  • Where possible, use sustainably caught sardines and check carefully that your fillets are boneless, especially if serving this dish to children.
  • Eating sardines, whether canned or fresh, is a great way to increase your Omega-3 fatty acids - essential for brain health and as an anti-inflammatory helping the body to heal.
  • This pasta is delicious hot, but it also makes a lovely summer dish served cold.
  • Heat a serving bowl - this will ultimately ensure that the dish keeps warm while you enjoy it.
  • To ring the changes with the pasta, switch out the linguine for spaghetti or any of your favorite pasta shapes.