20 minute recipe: panzanella salad with sardines

A light salad that packs a punch, fantastic to eat post-workout...

Panzanella salad

Fast, fresh and amazingly light, this salad from Kate Percy is ideal after a long run or ride.


It’s loaded with an array of vitamins and minerals to boost immunity levels and efficiently replaces electrolytes lost through sweat, as well as anti-inflammatories to reduce muscle soreness.

Sardines are not only cheap, they’re also incredibly good for you. Fresh ones are amazing in this dish, but the tinned variety makes a very good second best. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they’re also a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and protein.

To profit from the post workout ‘magic window’, when your muscles are most receptive to nutrients, prepare the salad in advance and chill, then cook the sardines just before eating.

Serves 4

Prep time 15mins

Cooking time 5-10mins

Equipment required bowl, griddle or grill, sieve, chopping board and sharp knife

Nutrition (per serving)

›› Energy 479kcal

›› Protein 35g

›› Carbohydrate 21g

›› Fat 29g

›› Sugars 7g

›› Saturates 4g

›› Salt 2g

›› Fibre 4g


– 2-3 thick slices sourdough bread

– 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered

– 3 peppers – 1 red, 1 yellow 1 orange, deseeded and quartered, lengthways

– 1 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced

– 2tbsps capers

– 4 large or 8 small sardines, scaled, washed and gutted (fine to use tinned sardines in olive oil instead)

– 25g fresh basil, roughly chopped

– Sea salt

– Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

– 1 lemon, sliced, for decoration

For the dressing

– 2tbsps red wine vinegar

– 4tbsps extra virgin olive oil


Step 1

Break up the sourdough bread into bite-size chunks. Place the tomatoes and the peppers in a bowl and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add the peppers, onion and chunks of bread.

Rinse the capers in a colander, shake dry and add to the bowl.

Step 2

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and then stir into the salad, so that all the salad is coated. Taste – you may need to add more seasoning or olive oil.

Stir in the basil leaves, leaving a few to scatter over for decoration later. Leave while you cook the sardines, to let the ingredients soak up the dressing.

Step 3

Now cook the sardines. Pat them dry with kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Step 4

Heat up a griddle pan or grill until it’s nice and hot and cook the sardines. Fresh ones will take about 3-4mins each side, tinned ones will just take about 30secs each side. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 5

Arrange the salad on four plates and lay the sardines over the top. Scatter with some basil leaves and a little freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the lemon slices.

(Images: Ewelina Karbowiak)


For lots more fuelling advice head to our Nutrition section