A Delightful Alton Brown Recipe: Sardine Avocado Open-face Sandwiches (No, Really)

Today on Serious Eats, it’s Mexican Chocolate Cake. Delicious, dairy-free, vegan, less than $2 to make.


I want y’all to hear me out here.

This is gonna sound weird. And your first instinct might be to throw your computer across the room, narrowly missing your houseplant or receptionist, depending on whether you’re at home or the office. (Or if you have a home receptionist.)

However, this Sardine Avocado Open-faced Sandwich is quite delicious.

You still with me?

Okay, good.

Here’s the story: about a year ago, Good Eats host/food nerd king Alton Brown found himself becoming a little poofy around the edges. So, over the next nine months, he endeavored to drop 50 pounds. During this period, one of his favorite dishes was … you got it: Sardine Avocado sandwiches.

As Alton is my food brother from another mother, and Serious Eats had nothing but good things to say about it, we had to try said sandwich.

And to my surprise, I really liked it. So did Husband-Elect. Whereas mayo-based salads can taste heavy and dull, this dish is kept fresh and lively by the cider vinegar, parsley, and lemon juice. Seasoned correctly, it’s an excellent alternative to tuna fish sandwiches.

Speaking of which, let's compare some numbers:

Alton’s Sardine Avocado Open-faced Sandwich
276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber

Panera Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat Bread
391 calories, 24.5 g fat, 3.1 g fiber

Subway 6-inch Tuna Sandwich on Whole Wheat
530 calories, 30 g fat, 5 g fiber

Right? Not to mention, the nutritive qualities are pretty out of this world. You want heart-healthy fats? This is your sandwich.

In the end, yes, this is an ugly food. And yes, its name sounds like a Dead Milkmen album. And yes, if you have issues with canned fish and/or whole animals than can be mushed with a fork, you may not like this recipe.

But I’m tellin’ ya: give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.


If you like this, you might also like:

Sardine Avocado Open-Face Sandwich
Serves 2.
Adapted from Serious Eats and Good Eats.

1 (3.75-oz) tin sardines in water
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 ripe medium avocado
2 slices whole wheat bread

1) Drain the sardines, reserving 1 tablespoon of sardine water. Zest the lemon, but reserve the fruit itself for later. Toast the bread.

2) In a small bowl combine sardines, reserved sardine water, parsley, vinegar, vegetable oil, lemon zest, a little salt, and a little pepper. Mash the sardines with a fork until you have a fairly chunky spread.

3) In a separate small bowl or on a small plate, mash the avocado with a fork until it becomes a fairly chunky spread.

4) Spread the sardine mixture on the pieces of bread. Spread each with avocado. Top with a little salt, a little pepper, and a good squeeze of the lemon. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber, $1.59

1 (3.75-oz) tin sardines in water: 140 calories, 7 g fat, 0 g fiber, $1.89
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped: 1 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.17
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1 teaspoon vegetable oil: 44 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.03
1/2 lemon: 6 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.30
Kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1/2 ripe medium avocado:161 calories, 14.8 g fat, 6.7 g fiber, $0.45
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted: 200 calories, 3 g fat, 8 g fiber, $0.31
TOTAL: 552 calories, 30 g fat, 14.9 g fiber, $3.18
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 276 calories, 15 g fat, 7.5 g fiber, $1.59