Fresh Greens and Grains Bowl with Sardines


Did you know sardines are rich in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins? They’re also a great source of both calcium and vitamin D, a winning combination for healthy bones. In fact, this greens and grains bowl is packed with nutrients!

Fresh Greens and Grains Bowl Recipe with Sardines, Microgreens and Quinoa (dairy-free, gluten-free)

I sampled BELA Portuguese Sardines at an expo last year, and quickly knew that I’d found a new favorite protein for salads. But, I got lazy. I kept meaning to create a recipe that was naturally dairy-free and calcium-rich to share with all of you. Instead, I would buy sardines and just hastily throw them into a salad when lunchtime hunger struck.

Fortunately, a quick request to BELA Sardines for recipe ideas yielded a delicious salad option using quinoa (another nutrient-dense source of calcium). I morphed their springtime creation into this year-round greens and grains bowl.

Perfect for detoxifying during the holiday months, this greens and grains bowl recipe is also quite versatile. The original recipe used mixed salad greens, but I like micro greens or baby spinach in this blend. I also layer the greens with the quinoa – it looks prettier, don’t you think? – before stirring it all together to enjoy. Note that the seasoning is pleasant and tangy, but very light. Feel free to increase the oil or spike it up with more vinegar, lemon, or salt, if desired.

Fresh Greens and Grains Bowl Recipe with Sardines, Microgreens and Quinoa (dairy-free, gluten-free)

BELA Sardines are sourced from traditional local fisheries along the non-industrial Portuguese coastline which have existed for centuries. They are a great low-mercury fish option, packed in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned only with sea salt and natural flavors. For those seeking a lower fat option, BELA also has a new variety of sardines packed in spring water.

Special Diet Notes &Options: Greens and Grains Bowl

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.

For a vegan and vegetarian greens and grains bowl with a similar flavor vibe, Sophie’s Kitchen makes two types of VegToona (one soy-based and one soy-free). You can substitute it for the sardines and use 1 tablespoon good extra-virgin olive oil for the oil in the dressing.

Fresh Greens and Grains Bowl with Sardines
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is adapted from a dish that BELA Portuguese Sardines shared with us. Their Lightly Smoked and Lemon Flavored sardines are delicious in this preparation.
Serves: 2 meal-size servings
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil from the sardines
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 4.25-ounce tin wild-caught sardines in olive oil, drained (oil reserved) and chopped
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced*
  • 2 to 4 cups baby spinach or micro greens
  1. Place the water and quinoa in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, but leave covered (don't peak!) for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and place it in a medium bowl. Add the sardines, peas, bell pepper, and prepared dressing, and toss to combine. Gently stir in the greens. Taste test, and season to taste with additional salt, if desired.
*When bell peppers are out of season, you can substitute diced roasted red or yellow bell peppers

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Love sardines, and had been having them on crackers with mustard, or in a salad wih big lettuce, but the mircogreens will be a nicer way to enjoy them, and using the olive oil too.

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