Lemon & marjoram sardines with walnut & pepper dressing

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  • Prep:25 mins
    Cook:5 mins
    plus optional overnight soaking
  • Serves 2
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 335
  • fat 17g
  • saturates 3g
  • carbs 14g
  • sugars 10g
  • fibre 6g
  • protein 27g
  • salt 0.7g


  • 6 walnut halves
  • juce and zest 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 butterflied sardines (see step-by-step), thawed if frozen
  • 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
  • baby spinach leaves
  • seeds from ½ pomegranate


  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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