Bursting with flavor, this Sardine Pie features a savory parmesan dough crust filled with a rich tomato-based sauce loaded with sardines, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and olives for a harmonious blend of tastes and textures.
This easy Sardine Pie can be eaten alone, as a snack or appetizer, or alongside this Brazilian Cheese Bread, or Pinto Beans. You can also serve the pie with a salads for a light lunch or dinner; Quinoa Beet and Arugula Salad, Roasted Vegetable Salad With Ginger Rosemary Dressing, or this Autumn Kale Sweet Potato and Bean Salad.
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Sardine Pie or in Portuguese “Empanada de Sardinha” is as a snack or a popular dish that can be served as a side dish, snack or appetizer, and it can be eaten hot or cold. Heated in the microwave it’s a tasty option for a quick meal or snack.
Brazilian sardine pie typically includes a sauce with sardines, tomatoes, onions, and other seasonings or vegetables in a pastry crust. The pie reflects the influence of Portuguese cuisine, due to historical ties between the two countries.
Sardine pie is enjoyed in various forms throughout Brazil, and it has become a part of the country’s diverse culinary landscape. Each region of the country has its own way of preparing this delicious recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Dish With Sardines
Hearty: Filled with nutritious sardines, this pie is satisfying and nourishing. You can use 1 to 2 cans of sardine for a milder or stronger flavor.
Versatile: Change up the vegetables, use a different cheese, try different herbs, make it your own. Some parts of Brazil use canned corn and peas in the sauce.
Nostalgic: If you’re Brazilian, this sardine pie will bring back memories.
Healthy: Sardines are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which we need to eat to stay healthy, since our bodies cannot make them. This recipe using sardines allows you to easily incorporate this healthy fish into your diets.
Health Benefits of Sardines
Dishes with sardines can be reap with health benefits. Loaded with protein, Vitamin D, and calcium, sardines make a great addition to any diet. Sardines are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12. For more information about how nutritious sardines are, see this article.
Thanks to their many important nutrients, including beneficial omega-3 fats, sardines are a nutritious type of fish and that’s also shelf stable and budget friendly.
SARDINE PIE DOUGH
- Flour – All purpose flour is used to make the dough.
- Milk – Any type of milk can be used in this dough recipe.
- Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil, vegetable or canola oil will work.
- Eggs – eggs will help bind the dough for this sardine pie.
- Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese adds some saltiness and flavor to the crust.
- Baking powder – A touch of baking powder helps the dough rise.
- Salt – A pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
SARDINE PIE SAUCE
- Tomato sauce – Tomato sauce is used as the base for the sauce.
- Sun dried tomato – Sundried tomatoes add depth of flavor and texture to the sauce.
- Sardines – Sardines are the hero of this pie. Use canned sardines, drained.
- Onion – Any type of onion, diced, is good.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic is best but jarred will also work.
- Tomato – Any kind of fresh tomato, diced, adds texture to the sauce.
- Green pepper – Chopped green pepper adds more flavor and texture.
- Salt and pepper – Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fresh cilantro -Fresh cilantro complements the flavors of the pie. If you don’t like cilantro you can use parsley.
- Olives – Use a combination of black and green olives to top the pie.
How To Make the Sauce For The Sardine Pie
Step 1: Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil until fragrant and then add the diced tomato and green pepper. Cook until all the vegetables have softened.
Step 2: Stir in sun-dried tomato and tomato sauce and let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Add drained sardines and mash with a fork or spoon to break them down.
Step 4: Season with salt and pepper, add a handful of cilantro and lower the heat. Let the sauce simmer while you work on the dough.
How To Make The Dough
Step 1: Add the wet ingredients; milk, eggs, and oil to a blender, and then add the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, parmesan cheese, and salt.
Step 2: Blend until the dough is smooth, being mindful not to overwork the dough.
Step 3: Coat a pie plate with oil or butter and then sprinkle with a touch of flour so the crust doesn’t stick. Pour the dough into the pie dish.
Step 4: Top the pie with the sardine sauce and then add the olives and a pinch of parmesan cheese.
Step 5: Bake the pie at 350F degrees for 35 minutes. The crust will start to detach from the pie dish, you can also insert a fork to make sure the dough is cooked through.
Step 6: Serve warm or cold. Keep leftover pie refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Tips and Variations
- Change up the veggies. Use corn or peas, frozen or canned, are popular add-ins.
- Use tomato paste. If you don’t have sundried tomatoes on hand, you can use tomato paste.
- Try crushed tomatoes. If you don’t have tomato sauce in the pantry you can use crushed tomatoes or process a can of diced tomatoes until you get a smooth sauce.
- Grease and flour the pie plate. Oil and flour the pie plate well so the dough doesn’t stick. Brazilians prefer to use butter but oil or oil spray will also work.
You don’t need to cook canned sardines as they are good to eat from the can. You can simply add them to the sauce from the can.
You don’t need to rinse canned sardines. If you want to remove the oil you can rinse them otherwise they are good to eat.
Yes, you can eat sardines straight from the can. Be mindful of any bones when eating directly from the can.
Where to bake the sardine pie?
For this recipe I used a ceramic pie dish from Jefferson Street Ceramics his American handmade ceramics are so beautiful and useful in many recipes. Use coupon code “gardeninthekitchen10” to get 10% off your purchase.
Make Ahead and Storage
Make ahead: If you are looking to get a head start on your meal prep, this sardine pie is a good option.
Storage: Store leftover pie in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
Thaw: Dishes with sardines can be thawed overnight in the fridge. Eat straight from the fridge or heat in the oven.
Looking for more Brazilian recipes?
- Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Brazilian Black Bean Soup
- Braised Chicken and Potatoes
- Creamy Brazilian Hot Cocoa
- Brazilian Lemonade
Make sure your sardines do not have any bones in them before adding them to the sauce. Open up the sardine and if there any bones, remove them before adding to the sauce.
Best Sardine Pie
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
Sardine Pie Sauce
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomato
- 1-2 cans sardine*
- 1/2 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tomato diced
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup olives
- Heat oil in skillet. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add in diced tomatoes and green pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened (2-3 minutes)
- Stir in sun dried tomato and tomato sauce. Allow sauce to simmer for a couple minutes.
- Toss in drained sardines then using a spatula break the sardine down.
- Season with salt and pepper and add a handful of cilantro. Turn heat down to low and let it simmer while you work on the dough.
- Add the dough ingredients to a blender cup starting with wet ingredients first. That's the milk, eggs and oil followed by flour, baking powder, parmesan cheese and pinch of salt.
- Work the blender for 1-2 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Don't overwork the dough.
- Spray a pie dish or brush butter or oil, followed by a little bit of flour so it doesn't stick, then pour dough into the pie dish.
- Top pie with sardine sauce, then add olives and a pinch of parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 35 minutes. The crust will start to detach from the pie dish, you can also insert a fork to make sure the dough is cooked through.
- Serve warm or cold. Keep leftover pie refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- use 1 can of sardine or 2 for a stronger fish tasting pie
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.