Sardines stuffed with spinach pine nuts and raisins

Judith Wills

The raisins really make this come alive so don’t miss them out, advises Judith Wills

Cooking time

30 minutes




  • 8 fresh sardines, filleted
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 small finely-chopped onion
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 100g fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt, black pepper


  • You should be able to buy ready-filleted sardines, or the fishmonger will do it for you. Make sure they are properly descaled; wipe dry on kitchen paper and lay half of the sardines, skin side down, in a very lightly-oiled shallow, oblong baking dish. 
  • Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water to plump up.
  • Saute the onion in 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium low heat until soft and tinged gold – about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile toast the pine nuts in a dry non-stick pan until golden – remove from pan immediately as once they turn gold they blacken quickly.
  • Add ½ tbs more oil to the onion pan and stir in the spinach leaves until they are wilted. Now add the toasted pine nuts and the drained raisins, the lemon juice and seasoning and stir well to combine.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly over the sardines and then place the remaining sardines on top, skin side up. Toss breadcrumbs in remaining ½ tbs oil and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes or until top is golden and sardines are cooked through. I serve with green beans and a few new potatoes.

The Garden to Kitchen Expert, published by Transworld Publishers

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