Alton Brown’s Sardine-Avocado Sandwiches Recipe

recipe image

It’s a satisfying balance of salty, oily, and creamy avocado that tastes nothing like diet food.

Updated September 13, 2023

Serious Eats / Erin Zimmer

Why It Works

  • Avocado provides a nice creamy, fatty buffer to offset the intense flavor of sardines.

If you’ve seen Alton Brown on television (his Iron Chef White House appearance, the Welch’s Grape Juice commercials, or of course, Good Eats) you’ve probably noticed that a big chunk of him is missing. Where did you go, Alton?

Serious Eats / Erin Zimmer

Apparently to the land of sardine-avocado (sardicado?) sandwiches, where he’s lost 50-pounds-plus. On a Good Eats episode called “Live and Let Diet,” Brown revealed his little skinny-making secret.

He’s a sardine fanatic. In fact, when he travels, he takes a can of it with him on the road. (Though he encourages sardinephobes not quite at this stage to call them “brislings,” their other less-scary-sounding name.) Unlike detox teas and grapefruit diets, this sandwich actually doesn’t sound like skinny-person food. In fact, it sounds pretty satisfying and, um, delicious?

Inspiration to investigate came from this Talk thread:

Funny how the 28 comments here and NO ONE actually tried the sandwich (ok, not all the comments were on the sandwich). Well I made one this weekend and i thought it was great! —haggisman

Great, indeed.

It’s basically a more intense tuna sandwich but the avocado smoosh provides a nice creamy, fatty (but good-for-you fatty) buffer to calm the under-the-sea taste. If sardines aren’t your thing, this probably won’t be the magical gateway food that changes your mind—it still tastes like sardines.

“it’s a satisfying balance of salty, oily, and avocadoey.”

But if you’re not afraid of the little fishies—or better yet, a member of the Sardine Society—it’s a satisfying balance of salty, oily, and avocadoey, and you won’t get the hunger jitters for a while.

Sure, eating sardicado sandwiches on a regular basis a la Alton (in the Live and Let Die episode he points out they can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner) may turn them nasty really fast, but as an occasional snack or light meal, it’s pretty damn tasty.

January 2010

Alton Brown’s Sardine-Avocado Sandwiches Recipe

It’s a satisfying balance of salty, oily, and creamy avocado that tastes nothing like diet food.

  • 2 (3.75-ounce) tins sardines in olive oil (mine were in tomato sauce; that works too)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (he suggests sherry vinegar; I used apple cider vinegar)

  • Zest from one lemon, and the leftover (naked) lemon cut into 4 wedges

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 slices good bread (I used wheat, he did sourdough)

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • Sea salt

  1. Drain the oil from 1 tin of sardines into a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Drain the oil from the second tin into another small bowl and mix it with 1 tablespoon of parsley, vinegar, lemon zest, and black pepper. Add the sardines and stir. Let sit for a bit so the flavors marry.

  3. Toast your bread in a normal toaster or, if you want to be all Alton-style fancy, heat the oven to the broiler setting on high and place oiled-swiped bread (using the remaining sardine oil) on the rack. Only keep them in there for 2 to 3 minutes, otherwise they will go from golden brown and crisp to charred and sad.

  4. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Smoosh the flesh in each half with a fork. Spread this green goodness evenly onto the toasted bread, then top with a nice scoop of the sardine mixture.

  5. Pour any remaining sardine oil dressing on top and garnish with the remaining parsley. Season with sea salt and a nice big squeeze from the lemon wedges.

Read More

  • Canned Sardine Banh Mi
  • A Guide to Canned Fish and Seafood from Spain and Portugal
  • Treat Your Shelf: Pricey Pantry Ingredients We Think Are Worth It
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
392 Calories
16g Fat
46g Carbs
20g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
16g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
65mg 22%
602mg 26%
46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 8g
Vitamin C 39mg 197%
Calcium 232mg 18%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 583mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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