Italian sardine pasta salad with caper and lemon dressing

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Tuesday, 11 August 2009.

  • Ready In: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  • Serves: 4
Italian sardine pasta salad with caper and lemon dressing

Sardines are an oily fish which is high in omega-3s. Easy and convenient in cans, most people just put them on toast. This is a tangy recipe that uses them in a different way. It's a great way to dress up leftover pasta.


  • 250g fusilli or elbow pasta
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths
  • 1 bunch rocket (aragula), stalks trimmed
  • 2 x 125g can sardines in water, drained and broken into large chunks
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 black olives
  • Caper and lemon dressing:
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup baby capers, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Nutrition per serve

2415 Kilojoules (577 Calories), 22g fat (including 4g saturated fat), 69g carbohydrate (including 3g sugars), 7g fibre and 273mg sodium. Read our nutrition rating system.


1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. When boiling, add the fusilli and stir well to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain pasta then place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over pasta, tossing to combine.

3. Cook asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes or until asparagus has turned bright green (do not overcook - should be still crispy). Drain and refresh under cold water.

4. Add asparagus to pasta in bowl, together with rocket, sardines, tomatoes and olives. Toss well to combine.

5. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.



This dish is a little higher in salt than the others but there are ways to minimise the salt if you need to. Use only half the olives (and slice them rather than serving whole) and rinse the capers under cold water to remove their saltiness and omit the Parmesan.