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How to Cook with Dandelion Greens: A “Weed” Superfood!

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Dandelions aren’t a pest – they’re a superfood! Whether you’re foraging or growing your veggies, these are true gifts of nature… Don’t know where to start? Here’s how to with cook dandelion greens.


Yes, dandelions are those “weeds” you keep picking out of your flower bed!

But that doesn’t make them useless or even pesky. Used for thousands of years in cuisine and medicine, the humble dandelion is a superb addition to your diet, offering flavour, nutrition, and many health benefits.

Today we’ll look just at the leaves – the dandelion greens.

Fun fact: This is where they get the name “dandelion”, coming from the French for “Lion’s tooth” due to the leaves’ spiky (- I guess) appearance.

In this post:

  • Why to cook eat dandelion at all (the health benefits)
  • Five awesome cooking methods
  • Tips / instructions for each method
  • Useful facts and info
  • FAQ
Dandelion - The Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens a Traditional Diuretic Herb
Dent-de-lion “Lion’s Tooth” – The Old French name which entered Middle English (from Latin Dens leonis)

Why Eat Dandelion Greens at All? Benefits of Dandelion Greens

Okay, I hear you. Spinach and kale are great, don’t need picking, and are often cheap anyway.

And besides, what can dandelion greens possibly offer that they don’t? Right?

Well, you’d be surprised! For those of us (like me) who love foraging and getting your hands dirty (although you don’t have to), dandelion greens are a no-brainer.

But for anyone else, picking them to eat may seem unnecessary. Here are just some benefits of dandelion greens that’ll convince you otherwise – they’re not identical to spinach or kale, after all!

Here’s a Simple List:

  • May fight cancer;
  • Aids blood clotting due to the amazing Vitamin K content;
  • Cleanses the liver;
  • Detoxes the body further through diuretic and bile-cleansing properties;
  • Supports weight loss as a diuretic and a source of fibre and nutrients;
  • Reduces inflammation;
  • Protects heart health and improves blood lipid levels;
  • Has anti-ageing powers by increasing glutathione production, fighting free radicals, protecting cells from UV damage, and providing essential vitamins and minerals.

Plus, as author Jo Robinson points out in her successful book ‘Eating on The Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health’ (Buy Here), dandelion contains a wealth more of antioxidants, vitamins A, E, and K, and calcium than spinach does.

If you’re really excited about nature’s superfoods, get stuck into our science-backed article on 8 brilliant benefits of dandelion greens!

Method 1. Brew a Herbal Tea

This is the first thing most will think of when it comes to using dandelion.

Often, foragers like to use the flower heads and sit back with a relaxing “good-for-you” golden tea. But the leaves are just are not to be overlooked here!

The upside is that the flavour is fairly neutral, and you can always combine it with dandelion flowers (which are slightly sweet), or even other foraged herbs like nettle, plantain, herb robert, or cleavers, for example.

I’ll let you in on one of my favourite ways to enjoy dandelion greens… Ice tea! It’s a merciful elixir that’s sun’s just that bit too much in Summer – and it’s in season.

How to Make Dandelion Leaf Tea (in 5 Minutes):

  1. Wash the leaves
    • Thoroughly rinse your fresh dandelion leaves (unless dried).
  2. Chop ’em up (or tear them)
    • If you’re not using a strainer, cut the leaves using a sharp knife or tear them into small pieces, but avoid mincing them if you don’t want floating leaves in your tea. Otherwise, chop them as best you can to release all the juices!
    • P.S. You can pick up a handy tea strainer pot for just $15.99, or alternatively a simple set of tea strainer balls for $4.90 on Amazon! I use both kinds.
  3. Boil some water
    • It doesn’t matter how, just as long as you get it to ‘hot drink temperature’.
  4. Pour the water over your dandelion leaves
    • For teapots, just fill them up.
    • For strainers, add them to your drinking cup / mug and then fill the cup.
    • For loose leaves, simply add them into the cup and pour in the water.
  5. Let it brew
    • After brewing for 3-5 minutes, your delicious dandelion leaf tea will be ready to enjoy!
    • The longer the brew, the stronger the brew.

Method 2. Steam

My favourite way to cook almost all greens: steaming!

Honestly, knowing how to cook dandelion greens is fairly simple.

BUT, there are different ways, and understanding them can have all the difference on taste and nutrition.

You may know that steaming is often a gentle cooking method, and the benefits of this aren’t few!

  • It’s quick and easy;
  • It reduces less nutrients than other methods (vitamin C and polyphenols) (^)(^);
  • It increases nutrient absorption (vitamins A, E, and K) (^);
  • It’s versatile in cooking;
  • It makes dandelion greens more palatable (less bitter).

P.S. For the veggie lovers like me (I know you’re there), you might be interested to know that we also concluded gentle steaming to be the #1 healthiest way to eat broccoli (view the post)!

How to Cook with Dandelion Greens – Steaming:

Believe it or not, studies tend to show that the most nutritious way to steam is… In the microwave!

Most importantly, the key is to use little water, and the least cooking time:

  1. Wash the leaves;
  2. Add your greens to a microwave-safe bowl;
  3. Add 1-2 tbsp water;
  4. Season if necessary;
  5. Place a small dish on top to cover;
  6. Cook in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.

Alternatively, you can steam using a steamer basket and saucepan or a bamboo steamer, or in an electric steamer (Amazon’s Choice).

Additionally, a ‘DIY’ method is to use a strainer placed over boiling water (with the lid on the saucepan).

Serving:

You can serve your steamed dandelion greens alongside a nice main ingredient (fish works well), sprinkled with salt and pepper, topped with grass-fed butter, and practically any way you would use spinach.

However, the flavour is more bitter than spinach. If you’re new to dandelion, combining it with other flavours makes getting used to the taste easier.

Method 3. Saute

Our next method for how to cook dandelion greens is sauteing.

Why? Well, It’s nice and simple – ideal for the morning rush, but just as good for an elegant Sunday night dinner!

Secondly, sauteing adds flavour directly from the cooking oil or fat, and is a brilliant way to up vitamin A, E, and K absorption (which are “fat-soluble” vitamins).

How to Cook with Dandelion Greens – Sauteing:

The best flavours with bitter greens are aromatics. That means plenty of garlic and refreshing herbs, even some zingy lemon zest!

How to Cook Dandelion Greens - Saute

Personally, I’m a salt and pepper guy… It just works! Plus, it tastes great with extra-virgin olive oil and even a dash of malt or apple cider vinegar.

My top tip is to only gently saute – don’t crank up the stove and cook your greens to mush! You wouldn’t, would you? *Raises monocle in speculation*

Remember you’ll keep more flavour and nutrition this way.

  1. Wash the leaves;
  2. Add 1 tbsp healthy oil or fat to a frying pan over medium heat;
  3. Next, add in chopped garlic (if using);
  4. Add the dandelion greens;
  5. After 1 minute, stir gently and reduce the heat;
  6. Season as desired (with any chosen herbs, zest, salt, or pepper);
  7. Saute for a further few minutes (until soft (but not mushy)!

Note: Make sure you use a healthy cooking oil or fat! Click here for Dr. Cate’s easy-to-follow table of healthy and unhealthy oils and fats for cooking. Not even dandelion’s health benefits will offset using harmful vegetable oils, margarine, or other low quality oils and fats.

Serving:

Now, how do we best enjoy sauteed dandelion greens? Firstly, sauteed greens of any kind are a versatile wonder of cuisine.

Really! Think of the countless possibilities where you could have sauteed vegetables, and dandelion is a great option:

  • Full-English Breakfast (which, yes, can be healthy);
  • Stir-fry
  • Paired with rice or potatoes
  • Accompanying your favourite meat or fish
  • So on and so on…

The point is, be creative! It’s just like any other green, with unique benefits and its own flavour.

By sauteing dandelion greens, you’ll emphasise the other flavours used, which is perfect if you’re not yet used to bitter greens. (Which is definitely worth working on – they’re nutritional powerhouses).

Method 4. Make soup

Ever heard of Ikaria?

I’m going to assume you’d say no (or that you’re a geography geek – which is awesome). Anyway, it’s this tiny Greek island near Turkey.

And the people there are famed for their longevity – making the island a ‘Blue Zone’ where centenarians aren’t uncommon!

One of the key factors in their diet is wild, bitter greens, including dandelion. And what do they do with it? Yep – everything.

Aha! I bet you thought I’d say “make soup”, right?

Well, they do that with all sorts of foraged greens and pulses! And that’s what inspired me to write about this method.

IKARIA the health benefits of dandelion greens anti-ageing wild bitter greens antioxidants

How to Cook with Dandelion Greens – Soup:

When it comes to making soup, there are several common ways.

Depending on your ingredients and desired consistency, you can use a blender, hand blender, or just cook your soup in a single pan!

However, for dandelion greens, I recommend blending. You don’t have to, but otherwise it’s at least worth finely chopping the leaves first for a more consistent texture.

Food blogger and holistic nutrition coach Ingred DeHart provides a fantastic recipe here on her Eat Well Enjoy Life website.

It’s works with a cashew base, balanced flavours, and is Paleo- and Vegan-friendly!

Furthermore, only whole ingredients are used, which is why I love it!

Method 5. Throw into a salad

Next, we’re doing the most obvious… Going raw! As simple as nature intended.

Technically, we’re not “cooking” dandelion greens in a salad (unless you’re a monster), but salad is an unrivaled staple of world cuisine.

From the middle Eastern tabbouleh to the Italian caesar, and then to Thailand’s famously varied salads, there’s unbound potential in this simple form of preparing food!

Mind you, I’d go as far to say that cuisine would be nothing like it is without such a foundation of fresh, raw ingredients – and neither would we!

How to Cook with Dandelion Greens – Salad:

As you know by now, dandelion greens are an acquired taste.

And yes, you can learn to love them even if you don’t right now!

The raw greens have the most bitterness (meaning the most antioxidants), so here are a few quick tips to make perfection:

  • Choose your favourite vegetables and herbs – go for whatever you enjoy with other leafy greens;
  • Feel free to include proteins – boiled pastured / free-range eggs, lentils or beans, nuts and seeds, etc.
  • Find that balancebe bold. Why not add sliced apple or fresh red onion for sweetness, celery and garlic for aroma, juicy plum tomatoes for a pleasant acidity, beetroot for the crunch, and so on;
  • Make a vinaigrette or sprinkle with olive oil, even squeeze over some fresh lemon juice;
  • Don’t skip out on your salt or pepper (if desired);
  • Serve as a side or a main.

Conclusion on How to Cook with Dandelion Greens

If there’s one thing you take away with you today, what would it be?

I hope you’re thinking: “Dandelion greens are awesome and I’ll never look at them the same!”. But you may also be thinking: “Why is this person still going on?”.

So I’ll make this quick. 🙂

Dandelions are extremely beneficial for our health and largely overlooked.

Read: ‘8 REAL Benefits of Dandelion Greens – A Science-Backed Look at This Traditional Green!’ (Bonus foraging tips*)

They’re more than a common weed, and practically a free and abundant leafy green you can probably get with ease*! Otherwise, you can buy them in some stores.

Dandelion greens make a relaxing herbal tea (especially iced), but can also be enjoyed almost identically to spinach, just as they traditionally have been and still are today.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and learned something new! Thanks for reading, and as always…

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

What Can I Do with Fresh Dandelion Greens?

What can’t you do with fresh dandelion greens? For example, eating them raw as a snack, in salads, or with a nice dip or marinade, to juicing, to sauteeing like spinach, or even steaming as a nutritious side for dinners. Other great options to try include in omelettes, curries, breakfast hashes, and baked dishes.

How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Dandelion Greens?

Great question! To get the bitterness out of dandelion greens, there are a few options, depending on how you want to enjoy them. The easiest way is to soak them for at least 1-2 hours or overnight to reduce the oxalates, and cook with some nice aromatics or spices. In addition, you can marinade them for salads or juice them (which will “dilute” the flavour).

Can I Eat the Dandelion Greens in My Yard?

You can indeed eat those dandelion greens in your yard. In fact, I often do the same! As long as you haven’t sprayed them with fertiliser, weed killer, or other chemicals, they should be safe. Above all, make sure the soil and plants are healthy and chemical-free.

Do You Eat the Stems of Dandelion Greens?

Absolutely! Every part of the dandelion is edible and highly nutritious. In fact, the stems are good to use alongside the greens, and when fresh can add a slight crunch to salads.

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Breakfast Dinner Lunch Recipes

Turkey Black Bean Chili Recipe – Smoky, Spicy, and Seriously Healthy!

turkey black bean chili recipe serve with potatoes - healthy ronin
Served with extra microwave jacket potatoes (I love them!) and sliced round courgette.

“Turkey Black Bean Chili” – Doesn’t it just sound exciting? Well, it is – and it’s easy! Here’s a recipe for anyone who enjoys international, Creole, or even Mexican cuisine!

It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Chicken and beef steal all the fame from turkey!

This delicious meat comes at a fair price, offers plenty of protein, minerals, and flavour, but it’s often the smallest part of the meat section in supermarkets.

There are many reasons to eat more of this pleasant poultry, and here’s my top recipe for turkey mince: Turkey Black Bean Chili! Take a classic meat, add a Latin / Creole staple bean, a few of the right spices and herbs, and it’ll be gone before you know it.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The benefits of turkey mince (or “ground turkey”)
  • A creole-inspired recipe for any meal of the day
  • Serving suggestions
  • FAQ

I started to enjoy turkey mince when I was looking for nutritious lean meats that were easy-to-cook, affordable, and – of course – delicious.

Already having a lot of fish, chicken seemed like the obvious option for something different. But that’s also a staple for curries in my house, so I took to turkey!

Ground Turkey Nutrition Info – Chicken’s Rival Lean Machine

Whilst we look to chicken for high-protein, low-fat meat, the truth is, turkey (and even pork) can be just as lean.

At the same time, all of these meats have fatty cuts! This goes to show that there is always plenty of variety available, no matter your health goals.

Is Lean Meat Always Healthier?

It’s not that low-fat is good! In fact, dietary fat is essential, including healthy saturated fats which actually protect our brain, heart, cells, bones, skin, “lipid cycles”, and pretty much any other organ.

A famous diet for many health benefits – including weight loss – is the ketogenic diet, which is very high in fat.

It all comes down to your personal genetics, health, goals, and lifestyle, but almost any balanced macronutrient split (providing adequate fat, protein, and carbohydrates) can work wonders for your health if you choose varied, whole foods!

But, a balanced diet, with lean and fatty foods is important. Lean meats are often preferred by certain athletes or those training to build muscle.

I’ve also covered the myths of saturated fatin previous posts, such as this one: Traditional Foods from England – 6 Healthiest Dishes!

So basically, if your health goals allow it, feel free to use any kind of ground turkey or turkey mince for this recipe. 🙂

The Nutrients and What They Mean – Ground Turkey Nutrition Info:

According to USDA data, 100g 7% fat turkey mince (which we use in this recipe) typically provides the following nutrition, raw:

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 18.7g
  • Fat: 8.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g

You may be thinking: “Hey, that’s over 7%”! And yes, it is.

On the other hand, look at most 7% fat ground turkey nutrition info when you’re at the supermarket, and you’ll see that it’s often lower than 7%, and protein may be even higher than the USDA’s figures!

Along with this, just 100g turkey is a considerable source of beneficial vitamins and minerals (^), including:

  • Vitamin B2: 0.2mg (11%)
  • Vitamin B3: 5.4mg (28%)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.4mg (27%)
  • Vitamin B12: 1.2mcg (50%)
  • Iron: 1.2mg (15%)
  • Zinc: 2.5mg (17%)
  • Selenium: 18.9mcg (27%) (^)

Note: (RDI% based off of USDA figures, for reference only)

Overall, these vitamins and minerals support health in many ways. B-vitamins are vital for nerve health, metabolism, iron for hemoglobin production (and oxygen use), muscle function, anaemia prevention, zinc for tissue generation, cognitive function, skin health, and selenium for a potent immune-system boost.

Those are just a few examples. All of these nutrients are highly important and also play major roles in hormone production, aging prevention, and brain health.

Unfortunately, B12 and Iron are two of the most common deficiencies (and even Selenium in some countries).

Fortunately, eating some turkey now and again is a great way to get these 3 essential nutrients in!

Our 500g recipe provides 3 recommended servings, meaning roughly 167g turkey for each.

The Bonus Benefits of Black Beans!

First and foremost, legumes are amazingly nutritious.

Almost any bean you find will provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and plant-based protein.

Note: Properly prepared (soaked / fermented / sprouted) beans are tolerated well by most healthy people, though some may have intolerances. It’s just as with other food groups.

Onto black beans, and we have a legume known to:

  • Boost heart health
    • One 28-day study on hypercholesterolemic Wistar rats demonstrated a 30% diet of whole black beans to reduce blood cholesterol by 14%, and even up to 35% for dehulled beans (^)(^).
  • Support a healthy metabolism
    • 12 adults with Metabolic Syndrome following a typical Western diet were studied (^). Inclusion of black beans (as a soup) effectively reduced insulin levels after meals, even more than after meals with the same fiber or antioxdiant levels. This shows that black beans exert multiple benefits on metabolism.
    • Those with diabetes benefit from low-glycemic legumes like black beans. In fact, studies show that black beans – and other legumes – reduce the insulin-raising effects of high-carbohydrate meals such as rice (^)(^).
  • Improve digestion
    • One cup of cooked black beans (172g) provides 15g of fibre! That’s 60% of the USDA RDI, for reference. The fibre in black beans includes “insoluble” fibre to slow digestion and add bulk to stools, and resistant starch – which feeds friendly gut bacteria!

Being abundant in vitamin B9 also means they support the nervous system and its development, which is important at all ages.

Impressively, they’re low on the glycemic index (they don’t spike blood sugar levels much), are an excellent source of energy-boosting carbohydrates and some protein, and provide a high amount of fibre.

So, the other superstar of our turkey black bean chili recipe – black beans – truly make quite a spectacular addition!

Turkey Black Bean Chili Recipe – Let’s Get Cooking!

Serving Suggestions – Healthy Ways to Enjoy!

There are countless possibilities when it comes to food pairings – and ones that work.

The following ideas complement the flavours of this turkey black bean chili, and are quick and easy to prepare.

  • Smoky
  • Spicy
  • Umami-rich
  • Herby

That’s what we’ve got to work with so far! But we’re not stopping there…

Personally, I’m a massive fan of potatoes. Give me any kind and I’ll make it work – they’re almost like an alternative bread for me!

Think of shepherd’s pie, or a nice chili-loaded jacket potato, and it’s clear how these classic dishes make use of this humble root veg to make outstanding combinations.

Impressively, they’re also proven to be naturally filling.

That’s why I think the best way to have this meal is alongside baked (or microwaved) potatoes.

Don’t forget you can also go for sweet potatoes! (The added sweetness will also mitigate the spice).

This way, it’s a well-rounded meal, high in protein and carbohydrates, and still providing beneficial fats.

Plus, it’s perfect for the athletic or active type. I actually tailored this recipe to suit an active lifestyle – especially weightlifting, which is my main focus at the moment.

For a nice and refreshing bite, freshly sliced courgette or even cucumber is almost unbeatable!

Finally, I recommend sprinkling on a small pinch of your favourite natural cheese (preferably pasture-raised, grass-fed, and organic). Cheese works excellently with all sorts of herbs, and as a dairy product, creates a flavourful harmony for a spicy recipe like this one.

Sticking to the Creole theme of the recipe, goat’s cheese is an amazing umami-boost high in protein and fat.

What My Recommendation Comes down to:

  • Turkey Black Bean Chili (1/3 recipe).
  • 2 Medium or 1 Large Baked / Microwaved Potatoes.
  • A Couple of Refreshing, Fresh Courgette (or Cucumber Slices).
  • A Sprinkle of Natural Cheese.

Best Sides for Chili

Apart from potatoes, there are other classic side dishes which work well with any sort of chili.

Another traditional pairing is rice. Chili con carne, for example, is typically served over cooked (basmati) rice in most places. Furthermore, as a Mexican dish by origin, it’s also known to work well with chips, tortillas, or bread made from corn.

Since this recipe uses spices and herbs typical of Mexican cuisine, and even common ingredients, it’s almost a no-brainer that it will work with these as well!

However, for most people, it’s best to limit white rice consumption. As it is technically a refined grain, it could cause rapid blood sugar spikes – which over time are harmful.

That’s why I tend to recommend any sort of whole grain variety (brown, red, black, for example), which you can easily soak, sprout, or preferably ferment before cooking.

Read: Let’s Ferment Brown Rice! A Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Antinutrients

This removes “antinutrients”, which lets us enjoy this more nutrient-dense starchy grain with improved digestion, and less of a spike in blood sugar (and therefore insulin).

Since you’re still here, you’re probably a health nut like me… That’s why I know you’ll love this Turmeric Brown Rice recipe! You can see I served the chili with this rice in the recipe image above!

This is my favourite way to cook brown rice, and it always goes down well with the family. Although Indian-inspired, it pairs well with many types of meals.

Turmeric is an amazing spice we should all include in our diets. We’ve spoken about its power before, including how it’s anti-inflammatory, brain-boosting, and longevity-promoting – what’s not to love?

When It Comes Down to It…

You have to eat what you enjoy!

The best sides for chili definitely include the classics above, but nothing beats trying something new – so experiment!

Nonetheless, I hope these serving suggestions give you some inspiration with some delicious, fail-safe side dishes. 🙂

Thank you all for being such awesome readers! Remember to share this post and comment below: Let me know if you learned anything new, tried the recipe, or have any recipe suggestions! Your support truly makes all the difference.

Oh, and always have fun with your cooking! Enjoy.

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Make Dry Black Beans for Chili?

The benefit of dry black beans is that we can ferment them or sprout them, though as a minimum they should be soaked for at least 12 hours and boiled for 1-2 hours. Only used cooked beans when making chili – they should be the texture you want before adding them in, as the acidic tomatoes will prevent them from softening much further.

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Breakfast Cuisine Dinner Food Lists Lunch Recipes Snacks and sides

Keto Korean Food – Top 10 Low Carb Dishes to Try!

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Keto Korean food? You mean it’s not all rice and noodles? Far from it! Here are the best low carb dishes to enjoy at Korean restaurants (or make yourself).


“Annyeonghaseyo 안녕하세요” everyone! Today we’re back in the oriental land of Asia.

I got thinking the other day… I love to explore different cuisines, and my post on keto Japanese food got a great response (thank you all).

It didn’t take long for my imagination to lead me to Japan’s close cousin – South Korea! With many cultural parallels, and yet unique food and traditions, there had to be something fun to learn about Korea’s cuisine…

Without further adieu, here are the top 10 low carb Korean foods for everyone to enjoy. Make the most of your culture trip, restaurant, or home cooking!

1. Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup)

keto korean food milky ox bone seolleongtang soup

Seolleongtang 선릉 탕 is the ultimate keto Korean food, much like any other bone broth.

It is thought that ancient sacrifices may have been the origin of this soup (made to feed many people with few ingredients)! However, we may also have to thank the earlier Mongols for its invention – no one’s quite sure.

Anyway, broth made from bones or other connective tissue is easily one of the best ways to boost your your connective tissue and joint health, bursting with beneficial collagen-building glucosaminoglycans and other proteins.

What really sets this Korean masterpiece apart is the method!

Real seolleongtang is a milky broth, made by slowly simmering ox bones in cycles. This concentrates the nutrients and deep flavour into one single batch!

To complete the soup, beef is often soaked and then cooked in the broth alongside herbs and vegetables.

Maangchi’s easy traditional recipe uses just a few simple ingredients so you can make your very own. Some recipes add starch noodles, not this one. If you like noodles anyway, try some keto-friendly options:

  • Courgette / zucchini noodles (best option: light flavour and delicate texture) (recipe)
  • Butternut squash noodles (recipe)
  • Enoki mushrooms

If eating out, definitely look for this dish, but opt for no starch noodles!

2. Galbitang (Beef Short Rib Soup)

Similar to seolleongtang, galbitang 갈비탕 is a warming, hearty soup made by simmering bones, meat, and vegetables.

However, instead of simmering bones to make a broth and then adding meat to create a soup, galbitang cooks the meat on the bone.

You’ll find this satisfying short rib soup made with Korean radishes as the main vegetable. In addition, a sharp infusion of refreshing vegetables like leeks, onions, and garlic create the base, but these get discarded before serving.

Make it yourself with Kimchimari’s Beef Short Rib Soup Recipe. Thanks JimJoo!

Keto Korean Food - Galbitang and Rice Korean Side Dishes

Traditionally, this may be served as a standalone dish with various sides, but may also be made with starch noodles in the soup.

If you’re ordering this at a restaurant, make sure you ask for it without the starch noodles (if they add them).

On the other hand, feel free to use keto-friendly noodles (like courgette / zucchini noodles).

3. Gui (Korean Grilled Food)

You sit around the table, everyone excited with chopsticks in hand. Out come the dishes.

One by one, delicious meats and veggies are laid on a central grill, searing as they release mouthwatering scents into the air.

If you want to enjoy low-carb Korean food with friends and family – especially those who are not on the same diet – look no further.

‘Gui 구이’ simply means grill in Korean. However, this isn’t just any grill. This is often a traditional table grill, where the food is cooked right in front of you.

In fact, you’ve probably heard of it. The world-famous ‘Korean BBQ’ (as described above) is often called ‘gogi-gui 고기구이’ (meat grill)!

This is some of the finest keto Korean food. With a wide variety of meat and vegetable options, it’s perfect to keep you satisfied and within your carbohydrate limits!

Best Keto-friendly Options

The beauty of gui is the freedom to make your own choices! From fatty cuts of tender beef, to a range of nutrient-dense offal, seafood, and vegetables.

Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly) 삼겹살 is probably your best bet on keto! High-fat, low-carb, and absolutely mouthwatering. Be prepared to race for it.

The best part is it’s traditionally unmarinated, meaning you can avoid added sugars.

A few more great choices (low-carb and/or high-fat) include:

Meat / Offal ‘Gogi / Naejang’

  • Gopchang gui* (small beef intestines)
  • Galbi gui (pork or beef short ribs)
  • Jumulleok (pork or beef short steak, marinated in sesame oil)

Seafood ‘Saengseon / Seokhwa’

  • Godeungeo gui (mackerel)
  • Jangeo gui* (sliced eel)
  • Garibi gui (scallops)
  • Jeongbok gui (abalone sea snails)

Vegetables

  • Beoseot gui (mushrooms)
  • Gim gui (gim seaweed / nori)

*Some gui are marinated before cooking, and could contain sugar. See below for more information.

korean bbq gui gogi gui keto korean food samgyeopsal

Watch Out for Marinades

Some popular grilled meat dishes at a Korean BBQ are marinated before cooking. The marinades used may contain sugar, however.

If you’re ordering your gui, watch out for these options in particular:

  • Bulgogi: Thin pieces of marinated beef (so bulgogi 소불고기), pork (dweji bulgogi), chicken (dak bulgogi), or other meat or seafood. The marinade is soy sauce-based but is sweetened with sugar.
  • Galbi: This is similar to bulgogi, but thicker and most often made with pork rather than beef. Some varieties may be unseasoned, so it’s best to ask first.
  • Jangeo gui: As we saw above, this means grilled, sliced eel. To add flavour, it is typically marinated in one of two options: gochujang or ganjang (soy sauce). Gochujang is a Korean fermented spice paste made from rice flour, and sometimes contains extra sugar or syrup. If you’re strict on keto, stay away from gochujang. Ganjang is otherwise a great option!

4. Kimchi (Fermented Cabbage)

Everyone’s heard of this one. Kimchi 김치 is no doubt Korean cuisine’s biggest claim to fame, becoming a popular food across the globe.

In simple terms, it’s a pickled (fermented) spiced cabbage dish.

As an excellent source of gut-boosting probiotics and antioxidants, health enthusiasts (like me, I admit) boast about its benefits:

  • Improved digestion (^)(^)*
  • Immune system support (^)(^)(^)(^)*
  • Boosted mood and mental health (^)(^)*
  • Supported heart health (^)*
  • More (^)(^*)

The studies linked above include those about kimchi directly, and also dietary probiotics in general.

You can easily make kimchi at home, or find it online, in restaurants, and at some supermarkets! Make sure you get a fermented type if you purchase it.

On a ketogenic diet, kimchi is one of the best vegetable sources you can have. It uses low carb vegetables, ferments them (reducing carbs further), and packs in nutrients, including the following (^):

  • Vitamins (especially A, B vitamins, C and K)
  • Minerals (especially manganese, iron, and magnesium)
  • Other Antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • Fibre

I recommend Mama Kim’s Kimchi (buy here), being traditional, cheaper than others, and Amazon’s best seller!

P.S. Try out my easy homemade pickles if you’re new to fermenting! The same principles will apply to making kimchi (and sauerkraut).

What Is the Difference between Kimchi and Sauerkraut?

Most of you probably think sauerkraut when you hear “fermented cabbage”. But, there are some interesting differences between sauerkraut and kimchi.

The obvious difference is that Kimchi comes from Korea, and Sauerkraut most likely from the Mongols or Chinese (believe it or not). Sauerkraut came to quickly thrive across Europe and the Germanic peoples, hence the German name ‘sour cabbage’.

Most of the time, sauerkraut is purely shredded white or red cabbage and salt. On the other hand, kimchi almost always uses Napa cabbage and incorporates more ingredients.

These include a wide variety of spices and even other vegetables such as radish.

This provides two rather different taste experiences: Traditional sauerkraut has a powerful (and addictive) tangy flavour, but kimchi is often also aromatic and spicy.

5. Gyeran-jjim (Steamed Egg)

Yep, steamed egg! It sounds weird, but gyeran-jjim 계란 찜 certainly looks delicious.

If you enjoy a good omellete, imagine that, but more “cake-like” and fluffy! You can essentially dig into steamed eggs like an umami-rich souffle.

This can be a main dish or a side dish (called ‘banchan’ 반찬 in Korean). As you can imagine, when it comes to keto Korean food, eggs being a staple of the diet makes the dish a perfect way to enjoy this exotic cuisine.

Finally, to serve, the Koreans finish their soft and silky gyeran-jjim with sliced scallions. It’s one of the easiest Korean recipes to make, definitely try your hand at it!

I think this dish has to be one of my favourite keto Korean food ideas: simple, unique, and it has eggs!

Recipe by Maangchi: View the web version here.

6. Cauliflower /Miracle Rice Bibimbap (Rice Bowl)

You know what I like about bibimbap? You can never get bored of it.

Bibimbap 비빔밥 is Korea’s famous traditional mixed rice bowl.

It’s fun to say, fun to make, and endlessly customisable! (A bit like Japanese “shabu-shabu”, one of the best keto Japanese foods).

Bibimbap essentially means mixed rice, and can include cooked vegetables, kimchi, meat, and eggs. Since white rice will quickly send you out of ketosis, you can simply substitute it with cauliflower rice.

Another popular rice substitute for weight loss and keto especially is Miracle Noodle’s “miracle rice”. Also known as “shirataki rice”, this is made from konjac root, and comes in at just 10 calories and 1g net carbs per 3oz serving!

As it’s unlikely you will find such preparations in restaurants, you’ll probably have to make this one yourself.

That’s the good thing, though: You get to choose the meats, veggies, eggs, and whatever else to suit your needs and taste!

I put together some ideas to inspire you (combine, mix, or substitute as you like):

  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sauteed leafy vegetables
  • Bean sprouts
  • Yukhoe (see below)
  • Raw egg yolk
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chili peppers
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce ($2.99)
  • Sesame oil ($13.00)
  • Kimchi (bulk $23.99)

7. Yukhoe (Raw Beef)

If you’ve ever seen or tried steak tartare, yukhoe 육회 is basically Korea’s way! Served as raw beef mince and topped with an egg yolk, the dishes are almost identical.

What better way to enjoy beef on keto? This simple combo comes packed with healthy fats and protein, along with essential minerals and vitamins!

In Korea, they enjoy yukhoe topped with sesame seeds. The marinade is usually based on soy sauce and sesame oil, mixed with garlic, spring onions, and a little honey.

Tips for the Marinade

On the other hand, some recipes unfortunately will include sugar. Restaurants will likely let you know if you ask them.

Here are a few ways to work around a sugared marinade:

  • Go marinade-free
  • Use just soy sauce or sesame oil
  • Make your own, omitting the honey!

Enjoying this on keto as a low carb Korean food is easy either way, with only a small carbohydrate content from the marinade.

Also, traditional soy sauce is much healthier. This is brewed using natural fermentation. Kikkoman’s ($2.99) is a popular choice you can find online or in most supermarkets.

Is Yukhoe Safe?

Because yukhoe is raw beef, some people have concerns about trying it.

We know supermarket meat raw, especially if it’s already been minced, as this could contain harmful bacteria and lead to food poisoning.

In particular, the largest risk is salmonella. However, it’s also quite well-known beef and lamb can often be – and are – eaten raw.

The main factors which affect the safety of raw beef are the following:

  • Freshness
  • Processing (minced, sliced, whole, etc.)
  • Preparation and hygiene
  • Beef quality (farming standards and feed)

If you order yukhoe at a trustworthy restaurant, you can guarantee that the beef will be as fresh as possible and carefully sourced and handled.

If You’re Thinking about Making this Yourself, Here’s What to Know

First of all, you’ll want to find a good source.

Speak to your butchers, not the supermarket, and tell them your plans. They should then be able to advise and give you the freshest meat available.

If you can, go for local meat, and preferably grass-fed.

Secondly, you’ll want to use a whole piece of meat – not premade mince (which uses multiple cows and encounters more bacteria from tools, machinery, handling, and packaging).

For yukhoe, lean cuts work best, such as eye of rounds or top rounds, but you can use fattier cuts, too.

It’s important you get that meat on the same day you intend to use it. This limits storage time and prevent bacterial growth. Keep it refrigerated and well-covered until you use it.

Before preparing, salt the outside of the meat well, wash your hands, and clean any tools. Now you’re all set (and it will be worth it)!

Click here for Food Republic’s recipe. This is the best one I’ve found.

P.S. For the egg yolk, use an egg which has been vaccinated against salmonella. In the UK, the lion mark is what to look out for. As always, free-range or pastured and organic is best.

8. Maeuntang (Spicy Fish Stew)

This one works up an appetite! I loooove fish, but add spice and there’s something spectacular!

The Korean word ‘maeun’ 마은 means spicy, and you’ve probably noticed that ‘tang’ 탕 means soup / stew by now. This Korean main dish is always made with fish.

At a restaurant or in South Korea, you could be lucky enough to find it made with traditional fish like Domi (red snapper) or Nongeo (black sea bass).

Maangchi’s recipe uses nongeo, but lean fish like pollock can substitute well.

Making this yourself let’s you limit the amount of carbohydrates from soju, bean paste, or vegetables (but you may not need to).

On keto, you’ll want higher fats, too. The best way to get more fats with maeuntang is to enjoy it alongside keto Korean food like gyeran-jjim.

You can also directly add in extra healthy fats or oils, (or stir them into the gyeran-jjim egg mixture)!

9. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Octopus)

Getting a little more exotic, here we have octopus! Going for another great spicy seafood dish, Nakji Bokkeum 낙지볶음 is well worth the try.

This is another lean source of protein, the dish itself doesn’t have to be – it’s a stir-fry, after all!

In addition, octopus is extremely nutritious. According to nutritiondata.com and other sources, here are just some of the beneficial nutrients that are abundant in octopus meat (85g cooked):

  • Protein 51%
  • Selenium 109%
  • Zinc 19%
  • Copper 31%
  • Iron 45%
  • Vitamin B12 510%
  • Vitamin B6 28%
  • Vitamin B3 16%

(Percentages listed as per standard USDA daily values)

I want to mention here that the red spicy sauce tends to contain a small amount of added sugar. This is around 2 tbsp (or 25g) per 4 servings, on average.

On top of that, the dish traditionally contains vegetables like carrots.

Here are some ideas for getting around this:

Firstly, if eating out, ask waiters or the chef about the ingredients. If you’re ordering this somewhere where it’s freshly made, perhaps you could ask for no added sugar.

However, you can always use an online recipe and alter it to your needs.

I still decided to add this as one of the best keto Korean foods because of the nutrient density, availability for high fat and protein, and relatively low carbohydrate content compared to a lot of alternative dishes.

By taking the time to make small changes, you can still experience authentic Korean cuisine to its very fullest!

10. Tempeh

No, I’m not crazy! Tempeh is fermented soy beans, but it’s surprisingly low in carbs.

In a 100g (3.5-ounce) serving of tempeh, there is typically 9.4g of carbs, according to nutritiondata.self.com.

Along with this, there’s plenty of healthy fat (10.8g) and protein (18.5g). Don’t forget that 100g of tempeh could also contain a few grams of fibre.

Because ketosis is different for everyone, some people will be able to consume more than others and maintain their metabolic state. The limit is typically from below 50g per day, but can be as low as 20g per day for some.

Tempeh can still fit into these allowances as a keto Korean food. My recommendation is enjoying it as a delicious banchan (side dish) with a high-fat dish like galbitang! Marinade it in cold-pressed sesame oil for an extra boost of fat.

Can You Make Your Own Tempeh?

Yes, you can absolutely make your own tempeh. It’s an excellent way to learn about fermenting, and is no doubt the freshest you’ll get!

If you’re thinking about making your own (which you definitely should!), Cultures for Health has a great guide you can view here.

By the way, you have more than soybeans at your disposal…

To avoid soy, be it due to the carbs or an allergy, you can simply make tempeh without them. How?

Well, we’ve all heard how great seeds are for keto! They’re similar nutritionally to nuts, and are excellent sources of healthy fats. What you might not have known is how versatile they really are.

Recipes like this creative one by Emillie at fermentingforfoodies.com use seeds just like their legume cousins to create wonderful tempeh!

The recipe above is for sunflower seeds, but you can use almost any kind.

Within just 1-2 days, you can enjoy the complex, nutty flavour and soft texture of your very own homemade tempeh.

Like what you’re learning? Subscribe for more like this!

Keto Korean Food is Easy!

As we’ve seen in this post, enjoying low carb Korean food, that’s authentic, delicious, and varied isn’t as hard as it seems.

Sure, they have noodle and rice dishes, and even high carb sauces. But that doesn’t stop anyone on a ketogenic diet from making the most of this fascinating and unique cuisine.

Rice and noodle alternatives are even an option, such as cauliflower rice and courgette / zucchini noodles!

When it comes down to it, South Korea has a fascinating culture and cuisine. They really know how to make the most of every ingredient (just look at seolleongtang), and that’s something we can all learn to do more!

To enjoy your trip to the country, feel confident at a restaurant, or up your cooking game with new skills, and still stick to a keto diet, these 10 dishes are the best way to start.

That’s all for this post, share your favourite Korean foods below, check out our other articles, and “najung-e boja 나중에 보자” (see you later)!

Until next time, stay healthy

James


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Korean food Keto friendly?

Enjoying low carb Korean food that’s authentic, delicious, and varied isn’t as hard as it seems. On a keto diet, there are many options available to enjoy this traditional Asian cuisine. These top 10 foods are the perfect place to start.

Is Korean food good for weight loss?

Korean food is typically very high in filling foods like vegetables and soup. Along with high protein dishes (such as the Korean BBQ), this is great for reducing appetite. So yes, sticking to whole foods and low carb Korean dishes can help to your weight loss goals on a keto diet.

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Breakfast Dinner Fermenting & Preserving Food Lists Food Profiles Lunch Recipes Slow Cooker Recipes Snacks and sides

21 Ways to Eat Sardines (Quick, Fun, and Easy Ideas)

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Got sardines and don’t know what to do? There’s more to these fish than “sardines on toast”, whether you use canned or fresh. Here are 21 awesome ways to eat sardines!


Oh dear, you didn’t think sardines were boring, did you? With a little touch of creativity, they’re honestly as versatile as tuna!

Why am I telling you this? Sardines are one of my favourite foods – and they’re overlooked. Maybe not number one, but I can’t say that for any food!

Today, we’ll cover:

  • Why to Eat Sardines (Protecting the Planet, Health Benefits)
  • How to Select the Best Sardines (Checklists for Canned or Fresh)
  • How to Eat Sardines (21 Awesome Ways)
  • Delicious and Easy Recipes (To Get You Started)

Also known as pilchards or herrings (when large), sardines deserve more attention!

In a typical week, I’ll proudly admit to eating at least a few tins of the stuff! Before you question my sanity, hear me out…

sardine fish sardines comic funny - healthy ways to eat sardines

I want to convince you to eat more sardines. The biggest problem people have with these little guys is that they see them as a bit… gross?

Maybe that’s not the right word, but some are put off by either the look, the smell, or the taste (which I’m going to change)!

I mean just look at the cute little guys… You can’t say anything against that!

Why Should You Eat More Sardines?

There are many reasons you can benefit from eating more sardines. For anyone looking to eat healthier, cheaper, or more sustainably, these fatty fish are a no-brainer.

Sardines Are Sustainable

First of all, they’re sustainable.

With the oceans becoming increasingly depleted of natural species due to fishing, it’s important to make responsible seafood choices. In fact, I’d say it’s all part of a natural diet!

Because taking responsibility is important, it should always be done with pride. Therefore, don’t shy away!

Sardines are brave little saviors of the ocean. So, let’s opt to protect the precious atlantic salmon and bluefin tuna and allow their species to recover.

Additionally, sardines are low in the food chain, so contain low mercury levels. Some seafoods (especially predator fish) accumulate toxic mercury, which may pose health risks in large amounts.

What Are the Health Benefits of Sardines?

When it comes to eating a balanced diet, these fish are true nutrient treasures.

They’re an excellent source of dietary protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, B-Vitamins, and other minerals. They’re also a source of vitamin E, which many Americans don’t get enough of.

A one-tin serving of sardines in spring water or brine (typically around 90g) will typically provide about 180-190 calories, 20g protein, and 10g fat.

What does this mean? Well, here are a few benefits that sardines can provide:

  • Reduced inflammation – As an animal source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and antioxidants, sardines are a potent anti-inflammatory (^). This has been shown to benefit Arthritis and IBS (^)(^).
  • Nervous system and brain health – Omega-3 has been shown in many studies to reduce the risk of neurodegenerate diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (^)(^). Additionally, it is well-known to benefit developing brains (^)! Not to mention, selenium is another often-overlooked mineral which is very important for brain function (^)(^). Sardines containing offal (organ meats) – especially with the head – will provide a hefty dose of brain-building nutrients.
  • Improved Metabolism – Sardines are abundant in B12 especially. This is important for overall cell metabolism. Healthy fats and protein will also help to maintain balance.
  • Boosted immune-system – Antioxidants in sardines, especially selenium, play essential roles in immune function. Once again, omega-3 is beneficial here, and may help to prevent autoimmunity according to a meta-analysis of the Israel Medical Association Journal (^)(^).
  • Heart health – Both omega-3 and the abundance of minerals in sardines may benefit heart health. Increased omega-3 intake (especially EPA and DHA) can help prevent heart disease, as can selenium (^)(^).
  • Bone health – Sardines are an excellent way to get more calcium, vitamin D, protein, and B-vitamins. These are all required for healthy and strong bone development, and may help to prevent osteoporosis, particularly in deficient populations.
  • Protein – Adequate protein intake is vital! We often hear about this nowadays, from clinicians, nutritionists, and in the weight-loss and fitness niche. As the building block of our very DNA, and with many biological roles, protein is important for just about every system in the body.
  • Vitamin D – Yep, the very same vitamin we get from the sun! (Well, sort of)… Particularly in the winter, up to 50% of the world’s population does not get enough. Because of this, supplements are popular, but we can also get vitamin D from food. Sardines are one of the richest sources available and are especially affordable. There are too many benefits and biological roles of the vitamin to cover here, but it’s very important to try and get enough (^).

It’s important to note that these awesome fish deliver many more beneficial nutrients than those mentioned specifically.

Another reason to eat sardines it’s because of how versatile they really are. As this list will reveal, there are many creative and tasty ways to use sardines – there’s sure to be something you’ll like!

Unless you suffer from gout or are susceptible to kidney problems that require you to consume less uric acid, sardines are an excellent food to get eating!

How to Choose Healthy Sardines (Canned or Fresh)

By now I reckon you’ll be more determined. But before you go buying any old sardines, make sure you choose the right ones. Believe it or not, some canned sardines are unhealthy, and there’s a proper way to choose a fresh fish.

I always recommend opting for fresh fish when you can. Fresh sardines are more nutritious and you can consume the whole fish easier and cook them in a healthier way.

Unfortunately, canned sardines may sometimes be cooked at high temperatures before canning. This can create harmful compounds as they are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Because of this, do try to use fresh fish if you are cooking it.

Canned Sardine Checklist

  • Avoid sunflower, soy, canola, and other refined (vegetable) oils*.
  • Opt for cans in water, brine, or olive oil. Water and brine are better, as draining will reduce omega-3 less.
  • Check if sardines in sauce contain any harmful oils* or added sugar.
  • Don’t get deep-fried sardines. Try to read and see how they were cooked (preferably lightly steamed).

*Here’s a list of healthy vs unhealthy fats and oils (especially for cooking).

Fresh Sardine Checklist

  • Bright, clear eyes.
  • Shiny skin (definitely not dull).
  • Red gills as opposed to brown or dull.
  • Fresh smell, perhaps salty. Fresh fish shouldn’t smell overly pungent or “fishy”.
  • Firm and moist skin (it should spring back and not be sticky)
  • For fillets, follow the same general rules, and inspect for damaged flesh or

1. Straight out of the Can!

Jumping straight into the list, if you have some cans laying around, they make an excellent snack. Especially for those who are active or trying to gain muscle, this high protein and fairly calorie-dense fish is a great go-to.

Don’t think you have you have to eat them plain! Some simple lemon juice, herbs, and garlic, with an optional dash of olive oil and pepper is a classic.

This is the most simple of ways to eat sardines, but makes for an interesting side dish to salads or pick n’ mix style meals.

2. In a Salad

Yes, they’re an excellent side dish to vibrant salads – especially those of Mediterranean influence. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not great mixed in as well.

There are hundreds of sardine salad recipes online. This one is one of my favorites, using simple ingredients and new potatoes (there’s nothing quite like potatoes with fish).

As a side note: chickpeas are wonderful for sardine salads, especially to make a meal.

The beautiful thing about salads is you always have room to experiment, too.

3. Serve with Fried Eggs

Gently frying a couple of eggs to go alongside your sardines creates a simple breakfast that’s second-to-none.

However you have it, sardines with eggs guarantee’s a meal that’s:

  • Hearty
  • Wholesome
  • Satisfying
  • High-protein
  • Scrumptious

The best way to enjoy this is with some wholegrain rice, boiled potatoes, or sprouted or sourdough bread. Oh, and some fresh diced vegetables!

I also like to have these two in a nice, baked (or microwaved) sweet potato sometimes!

Remember to choose quality eggs like pastured and organic. These provide more nutrients, especially vitamin D, anti-inflammatory omega-3, and less omega-6.

4. Grill them Whole

Traditional, easy, nutritious.

Grilling whole sardines is one of the most popular ways to enjoy them, and is a well-known portuguese dish.

To preserve the beneficial fats and delicate flavour, brush with olive oil first, and grill them for no longer than 2 – 3 minutes on each side. This way they’ll still come out with a nice grilled texture, just be careful not to burn them!

(Portuguese) grilled sardines with lemon - 21 ways to eat sardines healthy

The typical way to serve this is alongside roasted potatoes, on top of a light salad, or once again as a side for people to enjoy. (Or you can do them all)!

In Portugal you’ll find them just like this, perhaps with some extra grilled veggies.

And eat the whole thing – that’s how it has always been done. The bones are pleasantly soft, and all the organs are extremely nutritious.

Here’s a basic recipe from NY Times to get you started!

P.S. You can also broil the sardines. In the summer, a barbeque works well, but please be careful (sardines are high in delicate PUFA’s, remember)!

5. Wrap ’em up!

This is perfect for the Summer, too! When we all like to sit round the table or have a picnic, wraps are an easy way to enjoy a meal.

For some fun ways to eat sardines, wrapping them up with diced tomato, olives, or sliced boiled eggs creates a snack even kids will tuck into! For condiments, I recommend a mild dijon or wholegrain mustard.

Of course, you’ll want to choose healthy wraps (no refined carbs here)! Great choices to make (or buy) include:

You’ll likely find an array of good options at whole food or health food stores and some supermarkets.

6. Pan-fry

As always, be careful with this, as high heat rapidly turns PUFA’s into harmful compounds (including TRANS fats).

Just like grilling, 2-3 minutes on each side should be plenty enough cooking time.

To maximise the benefits, choose a stable cooking oil (low in polyunsaturated fats) high in antioxidants or saturated fats. This make good old olive oil or grass-fed butter perfect. Both pair well with sardines.

Now onto the delicious part – serving! If you go for butter or olive oil, pan-fried sardines are easy to enjoy as part of a whole fry-up.

I highly recommend topping large white or portobello mushrooms with your sardines and finishing it off with some homemade tomato sauce and steamed vegetables.

7. Make a Fish Sauce

There are two ways you can go about this. If you’re only making a small amount and want to use it immediately, the first method is a quick way to do so.

Method 1: Quick Fish Sauce

Quite simply, you’ll blend or mash cooked or canned sardines into tomato sauce (homemade) and some vinegar and use in cooking or as a condiment! This won’t store for long, so use it as soon as possible. This also won’t have that classic flavour you’ll know of fish sauce.

Method 2: Traditional Fish Sauce

You can expect a much richer flavour from the traditional method, like a fish sauce you would typically find an Asian cuisine. If you like to make Chinese or Thai dishes, for example, then this is a perfect way to use some sardines!

You’ll definitely want fresh (or frozen fresh) fish for this.

The fermentation method naturally preserves the sauce (and therefore your fish). You’ll be able to store it for many months at a time, so go ahead and make large batches!

Here’s are Two Ways:

P.S. If you’ve never fermented before, definitely start with some vegetables like my probiotic pickles. This will get you used to the safety process (don’t worry, it’s easy but 100% necessary – especially for fish or meat).

I’ll try to write a recipe just for this sauce in the future, so look out for that!

For now, I can recommend either:

  1. The Ancient Roman-inspired “Garum” Sauce (which sounds amazing – note that you can use another suitable fermentation container)! OR:
  2. Nourish Joy’s Vietnam-inspired Fish Sauce recipe.

Whichever method you try, making a sauce is one of the most interesting ways to eat sardines.

8. Fisherman’s Eggs

Yes, sardines are cheap, healthy, convenient, and delicious. And you know what else are? Eggs!

Not only that, but they’re both full of quality proteins and fats!

Fisherman’s Eggs is a simple dish of oven-baked sardines, seasoned with onions, garlic, herbs, and topped with eggs.

The best way to make it is to use fresh sardines, filleted or whole. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for making your own:

  1. Season: Chop your seasonings and coat the sardines with them, using a little olive oil.
  2. Bake the sardines: Next, bake sardines in an oven-safe dish until almost cooked. At this point, you can mash them up with a fork if you like.
  3. Add the eggs: Then crack 2-3 eggs per person over the sardines and return to the oven.
  4. Enjoy: Another 3-5 minutes and you can remove the dish, let sit for about 3 minutes to finish cooking, and serve!

Alternatively, you can lightly bake the fish and top with fried eggs – whichever way you like.

This is as easy as it gets for a baked breakfast, and will only take you 15-20 minutes.

9. Indian Sardine Curry

If you’re like me, you’ll stop at nothing for good Indian food! I mean real, authentic food, bursting with colour and flavour and lively aromas.

Making curries at home is always fun and there’s always something new to try. If you haven’t tried sardine curry yet, but enjoy other seafood and fish curries, then what are you waiting for?

The quickest way is to use canned sardines, especially those in a tomato sauce (without added sugar or unhealthy oil):

Lightly sautee your favourite indian spices, garlic, onion and some diced tomatoes. When they’re nice and fragrant, turn down the heat to low, add in your sardines, and optionally add in extra chopped tomatoes or water. Let this get warm and infuse, and enjoy!

But we all know fresh is best!

I happened to come across this video if you’re interested in making something authentic. It starts off with an easy instruction on how to make a Mangalore-style curry paste, but doesn’t show the whole process.

Still it will help if you want to use your own curry sauce!

Remember to use a healthy oil! (Or even ghee)…

10. Jacket Potato (Baked Potato)

Once again, there’s nothing quite like potatoes with fish. Ever wondered why fish and chips became so popular (and I mean the dish, not the fast food)?

The age-old pairing of fish and potato is always a fail-safe option. Lean fish like cod and haddock are best with roast potatoes or oven-baked chips.

Fatty fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel are even better with a potato that is fluffy when served. This lets the healthy fats soak in just like butter, and works excellently with the texture.

Next time you want a filling, hearty, and simple dinner, bake up a potato and load with your favourite healthy ingredients. Top with grilled or canned sardines, and you’re good to go.

Plus, you can do this in less than 10 minutes if you decide to microwave the potato!

Which Potatoes Should I Use?

Any potato variety will create a good jacket potato.

If you want something truly special, go for starchy types. These are softer inside so can be fluffed up nicely, and include:

  • Russet
  • King Edward
  • Maris Piper
  • Fingerlings
  • Bonus: Sweet potatoes (actually unrelated to potatoes) are just as good.

11. In Savoury Oatmeal!

Yes, really! I know you think I’m crazy, but trust me here… I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to oats (I experiment a lot)!

Just having fun, but for real, oats are the perfect nutritious way to replace many refined carbs. In savoury dishes, they’re honestly just as versatile as pasta can be.

I’ll be sharing some favourite recipes soon, but for a basic way to make your own savoury oats, follow these steps:

  1. Sautee some of your favourite vegetables, finely diced. Add herbs and spices as you like. Go for any theme or cuisine (sardines work well with Indian masala- or even Italian-style oats).
  2. Crack in a couple of eggs. Stir frequently to mix in and create a creamy mix.
  3. Add in your oats and water in an equal ratio. I do this by keeping the oats in some of their soaking water (from fermenting or soaking – the traditional way we should all be eating oats).
  4. Stir well to incorporate into a creamy porridge. Add more water as you like.
  5. Take off of the heat and let sit for 1 minute. This lets the ingredients bind better and creates a thicker, creamy texture.
  6. Add in your cooked fresh or canned sardines.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.

Please give it a try – oats are an amazing substitute for savoury pasta and bread (and other refined carbs), and sardines are wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

You could even cook oats with chopped or tinned tomatoes, and the sardines will work well with most classic (especially Mediterranean) flavours.

So, of all the ways to eat sardines, this creative method is well worth a try!

12. Pair with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese

There are many ways to eat sardines that make them perfect for quick meals for any time of day. This is one example and will be gone just as soon as it’s made (trust me)!

And it’s not just a personal recommendation; we’re using a time-tested flavours here. With the savoury spinach, tangy goat’s cheese, and umami-rich fish, you can’t really go wrong.

Try these ingredients alongside quinoa for a Mediterranean-inspired snack (or meal)! Crumble cheese on top of steamed or sauteed spinach, cooked sardines, and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

… I think I’m starting to build an appetite!

13. Make a Soup

Sardine soup!? Believe it or not, South East Asian countries like Thailand and The Philippines love the stuff!

This typically includes canned or small, whole sardines lightly cooked in a tomato base, seasoned with vibrant, aromatic herbs and spices – especially chilies!

It’s an interesting and satiating way to use up sardines, for sure. And there are many varieties such as these:

  • Filipino ‘Ginisang Sardinas’ (Recipe by Panlasang Pinoy – remember to choose a healthy cooking oil, and opt for pure tomato sauce tins (or simply substitute with sardines and chopped tomatoes))
  • Galician ‘Xoubas Guisadas’ (Recipe by Silvia Fooding)
  • Japanese ‘Iwashi no Tsumire-Jiru’ (Recipe by Makiko Ito at Just Hungry – for the sardine balls, try to substitute the starch for a non-refined option such as coconut flour or oats)

14. Rollmops

A dish as famous as it is debated like marmite – rollmops!

rollmops pickled herring - healthy ways to eat sardines

These are made by pickling herrings (or large sardines), and are a traditional delicacy you’ll find here in the UK, across Europe, and in the US and Canada.

Fun fact: rollmops originated in Medieval Northern Europe, and the name meaning “rolled pugs” (maybe because of the curled shape? Or they’re just cute!) comes from German. Thanks Wikipedia!

This is easily the best recipe I’ve found for making your own: Traditional German Recipe ‘Rollmopse’ (sugar-free). If you go for other recipes, just omit the sugar you’ll likely find (it’s really not necessary or authentic).

Similarly, look for sugar-free rollmops in the supermarket.

15. Serve on Top of Sauerkraut or Pickles

There are many reasons I love this way to eat sardines:

  • Organ Meats – A masterpiece of nutrient-density, organ meats and offal benefit health in many ways.
  • Probiotics – Real pickles and sauerkraut are fermented. The gut-boosting enzymes and friendly bacteria not only aid digestion, but also support the immune system, brain and mental health, and help to regulate important bodily functions.
  • Delicious savoury flavour – Sardines + fermented foods = umami! Whether it’s acquired taste at first or not, real food like this has a tendency to excite the taste buds – (it’s how we detect good nutrition)!

I must be honest though. The only downside is that – depending on the pickle – the smell might carry a small “kick”! The solution: Use spiced pickles and season. Also don’t eat this before a date!

As recommended by one of my all-time favourite books: Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan, they’re actually alright on top of sauerkraut as well!

P.S. Check out my recipe for your own Homemade Probiotic Pickles. All you need is a few simple ingredients and any vegetable(s) you like.

16. Dipped in Vinegar (Just Like Mussels)

It’s seafood, after all! Many people treat sardines just like any other small seafood, including shellfish.

A traditional British way to serve mussels, squid, or prawns, for example, is in a small pool of balsamic vinegar with a touch of salt.

It tastes great and takes little time or money, and you can do the exact same thing with sardines! In fact, I recommend this if you like shellfish, but are still easing into savouring sardines.

Any other vinegar can be used, too.

How to Prepare Sardines in Vinegar:

Depending on the type of sardines you have, you can enjoy multiple ways to make this dish (or snack):

  1. For cans, it’s easy to drain (maybe rinse), place in a shallow bowl or dish, pour over your vinegar, and serve.
  2. For fresh fish, simply cook to your liking beforehand. You can use fillets or whole fish (best if small).

17. Dipped in Hummus (or Houmous)

Now I’m really getting hungry! Chickpeas, tahini, garlic, spices, herbs, and olive oil, all combined into a Middle-Eastern masterpiece.

Believe it or not, these delectable little fish make for a perfect pairing with houmous. It’s one of those surprising ways to eat sardines: You have to try it to believe it, but trust me it’s good.

If you love houmous and aren’t keen on sardines when they’re plain, what better way?

Choose a Healthy Houmous

Rapeseed oil or sunflower oil is commonly used in store-bought houmous instead of olive oil. This takes from the flavour and nutrition, and ruins perfectly healthy whole foods like chickpeas.

The best options for houmous are:

  1. Those in olive oil
  2. Homemade

Homemade houmous simply requires a blender* (I use my NutriBullet) and the basic ingredients, along with your own additions. You can skip the tahini for something more budget-friendly.

*Also, you can substitute a pestle and mortar. Chickpeas are soft and easy to mash up into a paste.

18. Dipped in Homemade Mayo

Much like houmous, mayo is a classic dip / condiment of endless possibilites. Considering the amount of ways to eat sardines where eggs can be used, it only makes sense that mayonnaise can, too!

The reason I emphasise homemade mayo is because the store-bought stuff is one of the worst things you can buy! Loaded with toxic oils (most often rapeseed or soybean), most mayonnaise you’ll find is shockingly bad for your health.

The good news is that it’s easy to make mayonnaise. Real ingredients are all you need, and you have the freedom to choose higher quality eggs (preferably pastured / organic).

(Wellness Mama has a rich, flavourful 5-minute recipe).

For something more familiar, stick to lighter tasting natural oils such as avocado oil or light olive oil. You can also use more eggs.

19. Sardine Sandwich

The only reason this item wasn’t higher on the list is because of the tendency to use refined bread.

However, as I have said before, almost anything can be made in a healthy way. Enter real bread: Sprouted, sourdough, or ezekiel! These are made as bread was traditionally, by preparing the grain and the dough using traditional methods.

There are also many creative and low-carb options. Cloud bread would go well with fish, being made with eggs and cheese, but you can find hundreds of recipes online for coconut flour breads, cauliflower breads, and more.

That means you can still enjoy a sardine sandwich that’s keto, paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

The important thing is to avoid refined flours, added sugar, and vegetable oils.

Try this with sliced boiled eggs, lettuce leaves, onion, and tomato!

20. “Fill Up” on Stuffed Sardines

The awesome thing about these tiny fish is that you can serve them as snacks or as a meal.

Number 20 on our list of ways to use ideas is the simply to stuff sardines and tuck in!

You could try organic cottage cheese with diced chives and dill, or experiment with adding crushed almonds or walnuts (preferably at least soaked) and serve alongside brussels sprouts, broccoli, or spinach.

As always, experiment and have fun. Find what works for you, but definitely give this a go!

21. Bonus Idea: Fermented!

Ah, Sweden! A Nordic nation of suprise. Surströmming is a traditional recipe from the 16th century at least, and has gained wordwide fame.

There are countless videos of people opening up tins and gasping for air, trying to save their noses!

The truth is, these fermented sardines smell… And I’ve heard it’s potent. BUT, many people are surprised to find that behind this scary mask is a genuinely enjoyable and nutritious dish!

This is more of a bucket-list item when it comes to ways to eat sardines, but who knows? You may love it like the Swedish! (I believe it’s kind of like marmite there: hate or love).

I encourage you to make your own, but start with easy ferments! Check out my Lacto-fermented Pickles if you’ve never fermented before. 🙂

If you’ve ever had Surströmming, please share your whacky or wonderful experience in the comments below!

Conclusion

All in all, most people could benefit greatly from including sardines more in their diet. Not only are they a source of nutrients many are deficient in, like vitamin D and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, but they’re are cheap and sustainable way to boost your health in the long run.

Despite this, many people overlook sardines… Sometimes it’s the taste or the look, but we tend to opt for fish like tuna more often.

Whilst other fish are healthy, sardines are unique in their nutrition, alongside being an excellent way to get in more nutrient-dense offal and bones.

This list is my way to convince you that sardines are not just versatile; there are many delicious and creative ways to eat sardines on any occasion.

P.S. I definitely intend to start adding some of my top recipes with sardines. After a long time eating them and a lot of fun in the kitchen, I’ve found some great ways to make the above meals (and more)!

Let me know in the comments below how you like to have sardines. Classic on toast? Curried? Share your thoughts!

Also, which idea do you like best on this list? For me it’s number 10 or 11.

Should I Gut Sardines before Cooking?

Gutting sardines is not necessary! If you enjoy it, I’d always recommend eating the whole thing from “nose to tail”. However, most people do gut the fish for their recipes.

Why Are Sardines Good for You?

These nutrient-dense fatty fish provide high amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, B-Vitamins, and other minerals. They’re also a source of vitamin E. To recap, they’re basically one of the world’s healthiest foods!

Categories
Breakfast Cuisine Dinner Lunch Recipes Snacks and sides

Delightfully Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

Who doesn’t enjoy quick, healthy side dish recipes? Treat yourself to some Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms. This is a personal favourite worth remembering – read on!


A versatile side dish or main ingredient, this healthy sauteed mushroom recipe is a perfect addition to fish, eggs, salad vegetables, and especially a full breakfast!

Mushrooms can make a meal heartier and are a low calorie, Highly Beneficial substitute for main meals. Let’s get into it!

This is how to saute mushrooms, healthy…

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe – Anytime, Anywhere!

There are all sorts of healthy sauteed mushroom recipes, and you can feel free to modify this one to your liking! You could make a spicy sauteed mushrooms recipe, and enjoy your variations in many ways.

This recipe works almost all the time – breakfast mushrooms, delicious lunches, or well-rounded dinners!

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe - healthy recipe served with sweet potato, herbs, and spices

I’ve enjoyed this for breakfast alongside sardines with a mix of vegetables. For a lighter dish, opt for vegetables like salad greens, cucumber, courgette, and bell pepper. A fun idea is to grate courgette or carrot, creating a veggie spaghetti (vegetable noodles)!

These are excellent party food, too, no doubt. Guests over? Throw them on 10 minutes before, mix up a salad and serve alongside some Homemade Tomato Sauce.

GET CREATIVE - versatile quick healthy side dish recipe, keto, paleo, low calorie, vegetarian - Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

Quality Food Comes from Quality Ingredients

This is a simple recipe, but if you really want to impress and get the most out of your nutrition, here’s the best information for how to cook mushrooms the healthy way (when sauteed).

Mushrooms

When selecting the mushrooms, there’s no need to go crazy. Organic is preferable, both for health purposes and for the planet. UV grown mushrooms are great choices because of the vitamin D content, but aren’t necessary. Any simple button mushrooms will be brilliant, provided they are fresh.

If you’ve ever bought mushrooms and kept them, you may have asked “are my mushrooms bad?”. The key to telling is most often whether they are slimy or not. Ideally they won’t be. If they have only a little bit of slime and are ever so slightly dark, they’re possibly okay to cook. This won’t produce the best results but it won’t be major.

If they have significantly darkened or developed slime, throw them. These signs means that the nutritional content that have deplenished, and it’s likely that is mould (especially if you can see any)!

Keep your mushrooms fresh by storing them in the fridge, and try to use within 5 to 7 days.

Olive Oil

When choosing olive oil for sauteing, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is your best buddy. In this healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe, we want to truly maximise flavour – and when it comes to whole food, that means maximising nutrition.

Extra-virgin olive oil is loaded with beneficial antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

Always try to get some in a dark container, optimally glass or metal (although plastic is fine), and that hasn’t been kept right in the light.

You’ll want to store it in a cupboard, away from direct heat and light. This prevents any oxidisation and preserves its quality.

I’ve personally only used organic olive oil once or twice, however. If you can get your hands on it, you’ll be in for a treat. And of course, it’s better for the planet. 🙂

Really, are Sauteed Mushrooms Healthy?

The Many Health Benefits of Mushrooms!

Mushrooms are a diverse group of fungi, with many varieties and even more health benefits! Whilst not all mushrooms are edible, the kinds that you find in supermarkets are perfectly safe. This recipe works best with white button mushrooms, but feel free to mix things up.

As covered in our article all about mushrooms (see below), they are low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients. Typical macronutrients per 100g of white mushrooms are 22 calories, 3-4g protein, 2-3g carbohydrates, and 0.3g fat.

Did you know that they will also provide B-vitamins? B1, B2, B3, and B9, all found in mushrooms (especially vitamin B2 and B3), play important roles in efficient metabolism, supporting the heart, boosting the nervous system, and helping with proper development and growth.

Another fun fact is that mushrooms are one of the few dietary vegetarian sources of vitamin D. They certainly shouldn’t be relied on to reach the daily values, providing about 3% per 100g (and D2 as opposed to the easily-absorbed D3 found in animal products), but are still contributory. You can get mushrooms grown under UV lighting in most supermarkets which provide even more vitamin D!

Mushrooms also contain considerable amounts of selenium, potassium, copper, and pantothenic acid. These essential minerals contribute to many impressive health benefits of mushrooms, such as:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Fighting free radicals
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Aiding hormone regulation
  • Supporting bone health
  • Fighting cancer
  • And more…

Read > Why Are Mushrooms Good For You? Are they MAGIC (wait…)?

Why are mushrooms good for you? Health benefits of mushrooms reduce inflammation, boost immunity with minerals and vitamins

What About Fats? Aren’t They Bad?

This recipe uses Olive Oil which is rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, another good option. Click Here to Discover Olive Oil’s Health Benefits. Don’t be afraid to use other healthy fats, though.

Maybe you’ve heard that sauteing is unhealthy. Or that frying is. Or even that using fats like saturated fats is! Untrue. All of it. If you’ve been led to believe this, there are a couple of likely reasons.

The first one, especially if you’ve been told that saturated fats are bad for you, is outdated misinformation. Research overwhelmingly now shows saturated fats are important for overall health and may actually protect our hearts (^)(^)(^)(^).

For cooking, saturated fats are the most stable.

Secondly, you’re worried about calories. If you are trying to maintain a calorie deficit, for example, it may be tempting to avoid fats. I understand – it provides 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for carbs or protein.

However, this is not the way to go and may cause adverse health effects (^). Fat is important for all healthy diets, aiding in metabolism, nervous system health, heart health, and much more. Besides, mushrooms are low in calories!

So sit back, relax! Enjoy your sauteed mushrooms as part of a balanced diet.

Healthy Sauteed Mushroom Recipe

This is a perfect mushroom recipe for weight loss, especially if you want to add some quality protein alongside it.

That’s it! A 15 minute, easy healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe. That’s not all I’m going to give you though. You know me better than that!

Here are some creative ideas – maybe you’ll fancy something different! Sure, a sauteed mushroom side dish as above is great, but it’s not limited. Why not try one of these (out more) out!

Healthy Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe - healthy recipe served with sweet potato, herbs, and spices

What Goes Well with Mushrooms? Some Food for Thought

Sweet Potato and Mushrooms

Sweet Potato pairs amazingly with umami-rich ingredients, which is why it’s so great for chilis, soups, and roasts!

Mushrooms, naturally an excellent plant source of this flavour therefore go hand-in-hand. When I had this recently, I served it on microwave-baked sweet potato (cooled and reheated), and enjoyed with sardines and goat’s yoghurt!

The photo above shows this pairing for you all.

Cheesy Mushroom Omelette

Naturally, this makes an excellent keto mushroom omelette, providing healthy fats and protein. Eggs are a superfood beyond doubt – particularly when pastured (US) and organic (EU), and cheese makes any breakfast better!

This way of cooking them is higher in calories, but mushrooms are naturally very low in calories.

Try sauteing mushrooms and cracking a few whisked eggs in for the last couple of minutes. Maybe throw in some diced tomato and herbs. Finally, sprinkle with cheese and let it melt – goat’s cheese and mushrooms are blissful – and season with black pepper.

Healthy Mushroom Sauce for Steak

A mushroom sauce isn’t as difficult as it seems! Especially if you’ve got some broth around. I use my slow cooker to make Bone Broth very often – it’s great for cooking, sipping, and your health.

To make this simple mushroom sauce, use a saucepan or wok and start with the above – sauteing. Slice the mushrooms thinly for best results, and use fresh garlic (crushed or diced). Also, omit the chili flakes for a traditional flavour.

You’ll want to add a little more cooking fat – butter is most suitable, olive oil’s still good. Reduce the mushrooms until golden.

Add a cup of broth, and stir in about a tablespoon of coconut flour to thicken. Bring to a boil, and simmer over low heat until desired texture. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot over some juicy steak!

That’s All!

To conclude, mushrooms are extremely healthy, versatile, and easy to cook with. This delightfully healthy sauteed mushrooms recipe is sure to open up a whole new door to opportunities.

Savoury party food? How about a low calorie breakfast? You can even vary the ingredients and make it your own, or stick to the trusty guideline straight from us! I hope the last couple of ideas with inspire some creativity and get you creating new dishes to enjoy.

Comment below to share your recipe ideas, questions, or thoughts.

Until next time, stay healthy
James