Sardines – Healthiest Fish, Healthiest Keto Recipe

Sardines will be my first Ketonisation of the seafood! In fact, I’ve been asked for more seafood recipes because as a Greek, I did not cover this extremely important part of Keto Mediterranean food yet.  You might say, what’s there to Ketonise? Fish is already quite Keto-friendly food! Well, we will not roast it in olive oil, we’ll use the oil raw, but in the end. For roasting, I’ll use something that would never cross your mind when it comes to fish preparation. This unexpected fat combination is a result of historical research and personal experimenting. You will be surprised with taste and energy after this healthy meal!

A small bomb of omega-3

Sardines are an extremely good source of easily digestible proteins from which we get amino acids. Our organism then creates new proteins that are the basis of the body’s cells. Proteins make muscle and connective tissues, antibodies important for immunity, and participate in the transfer of oxygen and nutrients.

Sardines are one of the richest foods in omega-3 fatty acids! Now, you already must have heard about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in our nutrition! They have anti-inflammatory properties and they are necessary for the health of the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. The same stands for B vitamins, which are also found in large quantities in sardines, especially vitamin B12.

Vitamins B and D

It is important to know that sardines are an excellent source of vitamin D and calcium, and they also contain phosphorus – all the building blocks for solid bone and teeth. Sardines are rich in iron and contain selenium, magnesium and iodine.

This small fish is fed with sea plankton and is found at the bottom of the marine food chain. Experts point out this as an extra “benefit” of sardines. Apparently, for this particular reason, sardines don’t accumulate heavy metals.

Fresh sardines are the best, but…

Not everywhere in this globe sardines can be purchased fresh. If you are lucky enough to have them, make sure you prepare them the same day. As soon as you bring fresh sardines home, remove the paper in which they are wrapped, wash them and start preparing your healthy treat! On the other side, if you cannot find them fresh, you’ll be more than safe with frozen sardines. There are companies that sell sardines frozen at the fishing boat, which means they could contain even more nutrients than the fresh ones that travelled to the market for several hours.

From roast to paté

Sardines can be prepared in a variety of ways, and one of the simplest and most favourite ways is to roll them into flour or bread crumbs and sprinkle on the oil. Now, this is not Keto way and even if you really want to make them this way, I would recommend coating them with almond or sesame flour! In Greece, you’ll find them grilled in many fish tavernas. In fact, I wanted to share with you my perfect experience with Greek fish taverna.

If you happen to travel to the Attic region (around Athens) in Greece, pay a visit to the historical Marathon! It’s only 40 kilometres away from Athens and the experience is unmatchable. Right in the seafront of main Marathon beach, you’ll find a fish tavern called O Psaras! (The meaning is simple – fisherman) You will eat the best grilled sardines with 100% Keto safety.

In fact, just say to the owner that Greek Goes Keto or Apollonas recommended you this place for Keto safe eating! He’ll be happy to prepare everything without sugar, starch, flour or potatoes for you! At the end of your meal, you’ll be offered some dessert on the house. Well, don’t reject this great Greek hospitality tradition!  Just ask for some goat or sheep yoghurt (don’t worry, net carbs are under 4g) with some cinnamon and lemon! If you happen to carry your own keto-friendly sweetener, your dessert will be outstanding.

Let’s get to the recipe

The slices can be finely marinated, filled with various additives (eg. mushrooms, cheese, olives, herbs) and baked or roasted. Furthermore, you can make a delicacy with sardines wrapped in vine leaves baked in the oven. maybe this will come as a surprise, but, you can prepare an excellent pie with sardines. However, for this specific occasion, I wanted to share with you the results of my experimentation! I roasted the sardines in purified lard! I know, quite unexpected and quite Non-Mediterranean! But, after the roasting, I used a sauce made of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic and gave the final Mediterranean touch! Trust me, they will taste better than ever before and your Keto macros will be perfectly balanced!!!

Keto Mediterranean Roasted Sardines

Apollonas Kapsalis
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Keto Mediterranean, Greek
Servings 6


  • 1 kg (35 oz) sardines fresh or frozen
  • 1 tbsp lard purified
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (chopped or ground)
  • 1 tbsp red paprika flakes
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 pinch sage
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • 1 medium lemon juice and zest
  • 6 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp flower of sea salt or just sea salt


  • Wash the sardines and dry them with a kitchen paper towel. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Heat the lard to melt and add all the spices. Pour this mixture over the sardines and mix well. Place the sardines in a baking pan and roast them in the oven at 200ºC (392ºF) for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a food processor pulse lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic and salt. Keep it in the refrigerator until the fish is baked. 
  • When the fish is baked, serve it on wide plates and pour your cool sauce over the hot fish.
  • You can serve it with a big bowl of boiled or steamed greens, or a green salad with olives or pickled chilly peppers as shown in my photo.