They might be small, but nutritionally, sardines are giants. They are loaded with omega-3 fats, selenium, bone-building calcium, and vitamin D. A 2012 study by researchers in Denmark involving more than 10,000 subjects found that those with the highest blood levels of vitamin D were up to 64 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.
An environmentalist’s dream, sardines reproduce rapidly and therefore quickly replenish their numbers. Because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they also don’t soak up high amounts of toxins like bigger fish can. Beyond sandwiches, use inexpensive canned sardines to add a shot of healthy protein to pita pizzas that are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to five days.
1/2 cup (125 mL) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh thyme
1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chili flakes
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1/4 cup (60 mL) + 2 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
4 large whole grain pitas
2 tins water-packed sardines, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted, sliced kalamata olives
2 Tbsp (30 mL) capers (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) arugula
Add tomatoes to food processor container along with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, chili flakes, and pepper. Pulse machine a few times until mixture is combined. With the machine running, pour in 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil through feed tube and process until puréed. Add more oil if needed to reach desired consistency.
Preheat oven broiler. Place pitas on 2 baking sheets and brush tops with remaining olive oil. Broil about 6 in (15 cm) from heat source for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Be careful not to burn the pitas. If you have a small oven, broil pitas in two batches.
Spread sun-dried tomato sauce over surface and top each with sardines, roasted red pepper, olives, capers, and shredded mozzarella. Broil for 1 minute, or until cheese is melted. Garnish pita pizzas with arugula.
Each serving contains: 575 calories; 27 g protein; 31 g total fat (6 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 49 g total carbohydrates (4 g sugars, 6 g fibre); 529 mg sodium
source: "Catch of the Day", alive #364, February 2013
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