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Spaghetti with Sardines, Cauliflower, and Kale

Sneak in more veggies by tossing in cauliflower and kale with your pasta.

  • Servings: 4
Spaghetti with Sardines, Cauliflower, and Kale

Source: Whole Living, November 2010


  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 halved and thinly sliced onions
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 tin sardines, broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until golden, about 18 minutes. (Reduce heat if onions become too dark.)

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and red pepper flakes, and cook for 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to pan with onions. Cook, stirring, until cauliflower is tender, about 4 minutes. Add kale to cauliflower. Cook, stirring, until kale is tender, about 4 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water; cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup water; add to pan with cauliflower. Add just enough pasta water to create a sauce that coats the pasta. Remove from heat; stir in sardines, lemon juice, and 2 more tbsp. oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


Reviews (4)

  • LittleRedFrog 10 Feb, 2014

    I loved this. It just lacked a little something-something but when on the second day (and last day of my cleanse), I added a tiny little bit of old Dutch cheese and... OMG! YUM! Maybe it's because I'm a cheese addict and haven't had a single piece of it during the 4 weeks program but it made it taste even more delicious.
    I didn't find the sardines overpowering at all, in fact, I had a half a tin in one helping. DELISH!

  • skspillman 3 Feb, 2012

    I really enjoyed this recipe and didn't find the sardines overpowered the dish (I used a whole can of sardines and split the dish into five servings I could take in my lunch to work). I did add some garlic, and I sprinkled more crushed red pepper on top of each serving, along with the tiniest bit of parmesan cheese. Delicious!

  • MsProserpine 28 Jan, 2012

    I was a little anxious making this recipe given Bing28's review, but both my husband and I found it really delicious. In fact, I paused a couple of times while eating it to extol the flavour. If you are not adverse to fish in general, I think you will find this very satisfying.

    I should mention that we found the fish taste very mild overall; it just added a new dimension to the meal. And I increased the recipe to 6 servings, throwing in the entire can of sardines so that it wouldn't go to waste

  • Bing28 27 Jan, 2012

    I love sardines but they totally overpowered this dish. (Also, it got even worse/stronger with the leftovers as they sat in the fridge overnight.) I appreciate the creativity of this dish, the presence of all the good veggies and the inclusion of a fatty fish for the protein and good fats, but I'd definitely sub in a less obtrusive protein source next time. (Or, go entirely veg with no meat/fish at all. The pasta/veggies certainly stood on their own before adding the sardines.)

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