Sardine Soup With Cholesterol Lowering Beans

This easy and quick sardine soup can help you lower your cholesterol with its rich omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber.

This sardine stew is made from pantry staples and can be easily whipped up when you are craving something warm and comforting.

Sardine soup in a white bowl filled with diced tomato, wilted spinach and topped with parsley.

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Why Make Sardine Stew

  • a quick and easy meal that comes together in 20 minutes
  • full of pantry staples
  • rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and low in mercury!)
  • satiating soluble fiber from the cannellini beans
  • can be a stew or soup, depending on how much liquid you add


Sardines are an inexpensive source of protein and healthy fats. They are available fresh, frozen, and canned. 

Unlike other omega-3-rich fish, they are low in mercury and other containments. They are small in size and have a short life span which means they don’t have as long to accumulate mercury as larger fish like tuna. They also eat plankton which is relatively low in mercury.

As for heart health, they are full of inflammation-stopping omega-3 fatty acids. They are a great source of protein and calcium too. 

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week, and eating sardines can help you meet this goal (1).

Other beneficial nutrients found in sardines include magnesium and potassium. Two heart-healthy micronutrients that manage blood pressure according to the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet.  

You can eat them right out of the can even though the skin and bones remain intact.  This is where some nutrition lies, like in the calcium-rich bones.

Sardine Nutrition

 1 can of sardines in oil (2)  Daily Requirements For Adults Depends on age, sex, and activity level (3)
Energy (kcal)1912000
Protein (g)22.6Around 20 grams per meal
Calcium (mg)351 1000-1300
 Potassium (mg)365 mg2600-4700
PUFA 20:5 n-3 (EPA) an omega-3 fatty acid0.44 g  250 mg of combined EPA and DHA
PUFA 22:6 n-3 (DHA) an omega-3 fatty acid0.47 g
Table 1: Key nutritional characteristics of sardines

As you can see in the table above, sardines are high in fiber, protein, and heart-healthy minerals like potassium, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.  In fact, 1 can of sardines has almost:

  • 35% of your calcium needs
  • 14% of your potassium needs
  • over 100% of your omega-3 needs
  • meets your protein needs for the day

That being said, canned sardines are often high in sodium, in fact, one can of sardines provide almost 1/3rd of your recommended intake. Read on to learn how to purchase low-sodium sardines.

Tips To Purchase Canned Sardines

I prefer canned sardines because they are convenient and inexpensive. Two tips to consider when purchasing canned sardines:

1. When purchasing canned sardines choose ones that are packed in olive oil or water.  When possible, you want to avoid the ones packed in omega 6-rich fats like soybean oil, which may promote inflammation.

If you choose the ones packed in water, you can rinse the sardines to get rid of excessive sodium. 

However, if you choose one packed in oil, you will want to use the oil when possible because some omega-3s may have moved from the fish to the oil.

2. Try to find canned sardines with the lowest amount of sodium listed.  If you can’t find any low in sodium, try rinsing the sardines before consuming or be sure to eat them with other low-sodium foods to help manage your blood pressure.

Can You Cook Canned Sardines?

You can absolutely cook canned sardines.  They can be eaten straight from the can, or heated just like this Mediterranean stew recipe.

Sardine Soup Ingredients

This sardine stew recipe is full of foods that will unclog your arteries and lower blood pressure:

  • sardines – can be purchased fresh, canned, or frozen
  • onion, garlic, parsley, paprika  – flavor enhancers and antioxidants
  • spinach – a mild-tasting green leaf with lots of nutrients, switch it up by using kale, chard, or arugula instead
  • tomatoes  – choose fresh or no-salt-added canned tomatoes
  • olive oil olive oil is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat full of polyphenols that can lower blood pressure
  • white cannellini beans – choose dried or no-salt-added canned beans, leftovers can be added to this white bean smoothie

The most important thing to consider here is when purchasing other canned items for the sardine soup, be sure they are labeled as “no salt added” or “low sodium” on the front of the package, to make the final fish a reasonable amount of sodium.

Image of Veronica Rouse with Free 7 day heart healthy meal plan freebie.

How To Make This Mediterranean Stew

  • First, prepare ingredients.  I like having everything pre-chopped and ready to go.
  • Then I heat a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onions, and garlic with the olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, cannellini beans, and then sardines. Note: you can use water here instead of chicken or fish stock to keep the sodium low in the final dish.
  • Mix in the paprika.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer.
  • Right before serving, stir in the spinach and top with parsley.
  • Taste and adjust as possible.
  • Other add-ins: mussels, brown rice, diced potato, red pepper

Video Tutorial

What Can I Do With Tinned Sardines?

Here are some ideas you can do with leftover tinned sardines

  • Toppings for salads and sandwiches
  • Sautee in olive oil
  • Add to pasta
  • Try sardine tacos
  • They are delicious in a sushi roll
  • Or use them as a dip

Other Sardine Recipes

Final Thoughts

Try this chunky sardine soup to get the omega 3s you need for heart health.  Who knew sardines could taste so good?

Check out these articles if you are looking for juices to lower cholesterol, a food list low in cholesterol, how to follow a stent diet, or a 7 day low cholesterol meal plan.

Sardine soup in a white bowl filled with diced tomato, wilted spinach and topped with parsley.

Sardine Soup with Cholesterol Lowering Beans

This easy and quick sardine soup can help lower your cholesterol with its rich omega 3 fatty acids, and soluble fiber. It is made from pantry staples and can be easily whipped up when you are craving something warm and comforting.
4.25 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 272 kcal


  • 1 Saucepan


  • tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • 1 can diced tomato no salt added
  • 1 can cannelli beans no salt added
  • 2 cups chicken stock low sodium
  • 2 cans sardines in water
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup parsley minced


  • Prepare vegetables
  • Sauté onions and garlic in saucepan with extra virgin olive oil over medium heat
  • After 5 minutes, add tomatoes, canned beans, chicken stock and mix together
  • Bring to a boil, and add 2 packs of drained sardines to the saucepan
  • Add paprika to the soup, mix well
  • Simmer for 15 minutes
  • Add spinach leaves and mix
  • Serve, and top with parsley  



Calories: 272kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 252mgPotassium: 681mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1983IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 367mgIron: 6mg
Keyword sardine, sardine soup, soup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Sardine Soup With Cholesterol Lowering Beans”

  1. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! The thing that makes sardines a little hard to eat straight–all that rich flavor–is exactly what makes them a hit in this soup. And it really does come together with pantry staples! I substituted garbanzo for canellini because that’s all I had, but that was the only substitution I had to make, and it was delicious. This felt like something my husband’s Italian great-great-great grandparents would have known and loved, and I can see why!

4.25 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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