Quick and Easy Lemon Sardine Pasta Recipe

Sardine and Lemon Pasta
Elaine Lemm
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

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
  • 2 tablespoons shallot (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans boneless sardine fillets (drained)
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons baby kale

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cook the linguine pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, but keep back 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Toss the pasta in the pan you cooked it in with the reserved cooking water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Keep warm.

  3. 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.

  4. Add the minced shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili flakes and stir. Lower the heat slightly and add the garlic. Stir well and cook for one minute. Take great care to not burn the garlic or the the dish will taste bitter.

  5. Heat a serving bowl - this will ultimately ensure that the dish keeps warm while you enjoy it.

  6. Add the drained sardines to the frying pan and stir very carefully taking care not to break the sardines up too much. Finally, add the lemon zest and stir again.

  7. Tip the cooked linguine into the warmed 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. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and serve immediately.


  • 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 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.
  • To ring the changes with the pasta, switch out the linguine for spaghetti or any of your favorite pasta shapes.