Rise and Shine! Ever wake up to a grumbling stomach in need for a delicious and nutritious breakfast (guilty, like everyday!)? You’re in luck because we’ve invited Alicia Slusarek, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to share with us her Sardine Shakshuka recipe to start your morning off on the right foot, trading your hunger for nutritious foods that will fuel your day! (Don’t worry, if you’re not a morning person, this Sardine Shakshuka recipe is also great for an evening meal!)


During these cold winter months, there’s nothing I enjoy more than cozy, classic and easy-to-make, “comfort foods.” As I was looking to “amp up” the nutrition without compromising comfort, I took a unique and extra nourishing twist on an Israeli classic dish called Shakshuka. It’s a popular baked dish that’s traditionally made with tomatoes, eggs, spices and sometimes cheese. I took this idea, exchanged the eggs for an even more substantial source of protein (sardines) and added more veggies (naturally). You can make it for any meal of the day as it’s a healthy and satisfying meal option. You can also re-heat any leftovers, served over rice, quinoa, etc.


Why sardines?
To start, fish and other animal products are complete proteins. This means that it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue, creating antibodies and enzymes, maintaining osmotic pressure… the list goes on!

On the spectrum of fish, picture white fish on one end and fatty fish on the other. Whitefish varieties include cod, haddock, pollock, and others. On the other end, fatty fish include salmon, herring, mackerel and (my favorite) sardines! Although all of these fish contain each of essential amino acids, the fattier varieties are superior regarding their high omega-3 content.

So, why omega-3?
Omega-3 is cardioprotective and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. This plays into their ability to combat many of the chronic diseases we see today – including diabetes, hypertension, and the #1 killer in the US, heart disease. As if that’s not enough, omega-3 fatty acid also supports healthy hair, skin and nails.

Which is better, canned or fresh?
Either! In my opinion, the more fish the better. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings a week. Regarding nutritional value, canned and fresh are about the same.

Living in the Midwest, fresh fish has a way to travel to get here. Once caught, the fish sits on a boat, a plane, and in a cold space at the grocery store before I pick it up and bring it home to prepare it. To get fish at its freshest, ask the manager of your grocer’s seafood department what days they receive shipments of fresh fish.

I often choose canned fish because it’s not as high maintenance! It’s ready to go, convenient, portable, and I don’t have to worry as much about food safety or preparing it correctly. However, not all canned fish varieties are the same! I choose Wild Planet’s Wild Sardines because they’re sustainably sourced, well packed, and come in many varieties including a No Salt Added variety (which rocks because canned products generally have a high salt content).

Sardine Shakshuka Recipe
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 can of Wild Planet Wild Sardines
1 Large zucchini
2T Coconut oil
1/2 Yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2tsp. Cumin
1/2tsp. Cayenne
1/2tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika
1 can Whole plum tomatoes with juices, coined

Directions:
1. Using a spiralizer or julienne peeler, form the zucchini into thin, long strips. Set aside.
2. Heat 1T coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until
translucent (about 7-10 minutes).
3. Add the garlic and zucchini and stir periodically until the zucchini begins to become tender.
4. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the cumin, cayenne, paprika and tomatoes with juices
and continue to stir.
5. Place the sardines on top of the tomato-noodle mixture and continue to heat for about 3-5
more minutes. Serve warm.

What are your favorite fish recipes? Share with us in the comments, below! #Nutritionwithalicia
 

Alicia Slusarek
Written by Alicia Slusarek
Alicia Slusarek, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, brings an evidence-based lifestyle approach to nutrition. As a nutrition counselor, instructor and writer, she empowers others to leverage key nutrition strategies to enhance their quality of life. She believes food should be fun and enjoyable, as well as nutritious. Looking for fun, meaningful ways to improve your health? Visit her website at nutritionwithalicia.com.