Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Sardine balls
( Polpette di sarde )

Our original home cooking

Sardine balls are very tasty. You can make them as you can see in the photo below (flat sardine balls) or smaller as finger foods for your Italian aperitivo. This sardine recipe idea may be a tasty main dish or a starter for a seafood menu according to the Italian taste.

difficulty: easy

time: 40 minutes

calories: 407 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 3

  • 500g (1.1 pounds) fresh sardines
  • 60g (2 1/8 ounces) stale bread
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounces) plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Some sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Some stems fresh chives
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounces) fresh young onion
  • 20g (2/3 ounces) pine nuts
  • Some drops balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Dry white wine
  • Salt
easy recipe
preparation: 20 minutes
cooking: 20 minutes
total time: 40 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 407 (kcal) 21 % - 1701 (kJ)
Protein: 32.6 (g) 66 % GDA
Total fat: 17.7 (g) 26 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 31.3 (g) 12 % GDA
Sugars: 4.6 (g) 6 % GDA

Download free PDF version (198 download).

Sardine ball recipe


  • - Clean sardines: remove their head, viscera, bones, included dorsal and caudal fin.
  • - Clean, wash and cut parsley and chives coarsley.
  • - Peel onion and divide into quarters.
  • - Puree sardines in a blender together with egg, stale bread, aromatic herbs, onion quarters, vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • - Transfer sardine mixture in a bowl.
    Add pine nuts and a couple of tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
  • - Mix with your hands.
    Your mixture should be neither too soft nor hard.
    If necessary, add more breadcrumbs.
  • - Form meatballs, the size you want, and then press them lightly between your hands and coat in the remaining breadcrumbs.


  • - Pour olive oil into a non-stick frying pan.
  • - Transfer sardine balls too.
  • - Let them fry on both sides on very low heat.
  • - Cover them with dry white wine and continue cooking, half-covered.
    Turn over sardine balls from time to time.
  • - Cook until cooking juice is well reduced.

Just before serving

  • - Transfer sardine balls to your serving plate and accompany with the side dish you've chosen.
  • - Nothing more is necessary.
    Your dish is ready!
  • - Serve sardine balls still hot.



  • - You can have 12 to 13 medium-size flat sardine balls with these doses. If you prepare smaller sardine balls as appetizers their number is much higher (even 40) and the doses are enough for more people.
  • - This recipe is not suitable to be heated so calculate well the doses.
  • - You can also fry these sardine balls but it's more difficult to digest them. Besides the recipe will have more calories and fat.
  • - Have you any problem to make your children eat fish? This recipe may be the solution!

Menu planning

  • - If you prepare this sardine recipe as main dish accompany it with a light side dish. Green salads, tomato or green bean salad, or boiled seasonal vegetables.
  • - If you serve them as appetizer for your Italiano aperitivo you can combine them with other typical Italian appetizers such as olive ascolane (stuffed and fried olives, Ascolana style), bruschetta, and skewered fruit & cheese (taste grapes & cheese or cherries & cheese in season). Links to suggested recipes below.

Useful links for this recipe

  • - Here's the recipe for olive ascolane!
  • - Consult our directory about Italian finger food to look for your favorite recipe in addition to my tips.
  • - Interested in Caorle, a nice small town on the Adriatic Sea known as a tourist resort? Read more ...

Healthy eating

  • - Sardine balls is a tasty main dish you can accompany with a variety of light side dishes as I have just suggested. Light side dishes mean above all vegetables to be dressed with little olive oil to be within the recommended calories for dinner. Be careful with vegetables you choose. Sardines are very different from boiled cod, they're less digestible.
    If you want to reduce calories the only variation you can do is to remove pine nuts. In this way calories are 367.
  • - Another tip. It would be better not to eat bread with this main dish. Bread is already an important ingredient of this recipe.
  • - I remember you nutritionists recommend 2 to 3 fish portions a week for a balanced and healthy eating.
  • - Sardines are part of the group of oily fish (blue fish) rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega 3. In fact, omega-3 decreases the risk of thrombosis, protecting the body from cardiovascular disease, especially when there has already been a heart attack.
    In addition, sardine is a food rich in calcium (350mg per 100g of food) and is recommended to combat the processes of bone decalcification.
  • - Fiber per serving: 2.5 grams.
  • - I remember you my original home recipes can be made without salt.


What's the right wine for " Sardine balls "?

My husband and I suggest you Pinot Grigio of Lison Pramaggiore DOC. We like very much the organic Pinot Grigio by Le Carline, an excellent organic company we knew by chance spending our summer holidays in Caorle last year (2010). If you visit the Venetian land (in Italian Veneto) do not miss the opportunity to visit the farm Le Carline. The owners are very friendly and you'll be able to taste the wines they produce. Not to be missed!