Sardine and Bell Pepper Sandwich


My mom and I often play the ‘remember when’ game; fortunately, I seem to have no recollection of my embarrassing childhood moments, and she doesn’t remember those incidents that call her parenting skills into question.

Her infamous sardine sandwiches came up on one of our trips down memory lane…

For as long as I can remember, my mom unfailingly made these sardine sandwiches, none of us particularly cared for them, but she made them every chance she got.
We’d have them for breakfast sometimes, with milky tea – which I always thought was an odd combination.

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The recipe was easy enough; mashed sardines mixed with chopped onions and Heinz Salad Cream, smeared and sandwiched between buttered bread.
It wasn’t a bad sandwich per se; it was my mom’s dedication to the recipe that was mystifying – she never once tried to modify the recipe, add or take out an ingredient or make it differently.

It’s a very old recipe, she tells us… from an old cookbook that was passed on to her when she was a little girl.
A cookbook from a time when Ghana was the Gold Coast and cookbooks were called cookery books, schools had something called Empire Day and the children sang “God Save the King/Queen”.

My mom’s beloved sardine sandwich was the one thing from the cookbook she could easily whip up when she became a young woman.


We set out to recreate the sandwich, she loves her sardines, and they’re good for her – high in omega-3’s and calcium, they also contain B vitamins and iron.

This sardine and bell pepper sandwich is a modernized version of the old one, altered slightly; it’s still good, simple and easy to whip up – updated with some colourful sweet peppers, we used Dijon mustard in place of the heavy salad cream.
The fat from the fish and the acid from the mustard give it a nice creamy balance.
To add another burst of flavour, we sometimes slather pesto on to the bread before piling on the sardines and vegetables.
The trick is to make keep our options open, there’re are a multitude of veggies and spreads to try.

The verdict… mom loves it!!!

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Sardine and Bell Pepper Sandwich


  • 2 tins sardines packed in olive oil (about 4oz each), and drained of oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste (or honey Dijon for a sweet kick)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced green onions
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Sprinkle of tomato powder (optional, I use this)
  • 6 slices thick bread, toasted and buttered
  • Arugula, or your favourite leafy greens, for topping (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, marsh sardines (drained of oil) with a fork
  2. Add mustard, bell peppers, onions and cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of tomato powder (if using), and mix well
  3. Lay out 3 slices of bread and top each with the sardine mixture
  4. Add arugula (if using) and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and cover each with the other slice of bread
  6. Cut in half and Enjoy!


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  • Reply Heather

    I don’t know why, but sardines terrify me. My husband insists they are key in a good puttanesca sauce. I wonder if you could sub in tuna?

    23 January, 2013 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      I know, sardines sound scary, but they’re quite harmless, tuna should be fine 🙂
      Hmmm… I’ll try sardines for my next puttanesca, we’ve always used anchovies

      23 January, 2013 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Elsa

    Those sardine sandwiches must be a West African thing. 🙂 I’m glad you love them now, I can’t wait to see and try your recipe, I’m always looking for new ways to make these sandwiches.
    Thanks for stopping by and nice to ‘meet’ you Bintu. 🙂

    26 January, 2013 at 9:48 am
  • Reply Elsa

    I think kids today have a more sophisticated palette than we did when we were their age.
    Try it with them, I’m sure they’ll love it – or not… and grow up to write a blog post about it (if blogs are still around) 🙂

    26 January, 2013 at 9:49 am
  • Reply Erin

    Thank you for the recipe! I loved it and so did my family! The dijon complements the sardines so well, the bell peppers add a nice fresh taste, and the drizzle of balsamic vinegar is great.

    I’ve never eaten or cooked with sardines before. I’ve been missing out!

    Thank you for the great introduction!

    3 February, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad it turned out well and everyone loved them, Also happy to hear that your introduction to sardines turned out yummy 🙂

      3 February, 2013 at 4:30 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad everyone loved them, I’m happy your introduction to sardines turned out yummy 🙂

      4 February, 2013 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Ca4ole

    Lovely work, Elsa! Would you be happy to link it in to the current
    Food on Friday over at Carole’s Chatter which is creating a collection of recipes
    using anchovies or sardines? This is the

    . I do hope to see you
    there. Cheers

    18 July, 2013 at 3:16 pm
    • Reply Elsa

      Thanks! I’ll be right over 🙂

      18 July, 2013 at 8:10 pm
      • Reply Ca4ole

        Elsa, so glad you stopped by and added to the collection. I am now following you via my new bestie Bloglovin. Hope to see you again soon. Cheers

        19 July, 2013 at 1:15 pm
        • Reply Elsa

          Thank you & thanks for the follow on bloglovin 🙂 So glad I found your blog!

          19 July, 2013 at 6:19 pm

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