"krabby patties?" nope, fish cakes: sardine, tuna, zucchini

A quick ‘pantry lunch’ for summer: Kid-friendly Healthy Fish cakes (“Krabby Patties”)

So why the name?  To forestall any questions about what was in these from the potentially picky, I took the cue from Spongebob Squarepants and called these “Krabby Patties” to the 7 year old.  Although no crab or even ‘krab’ was involved. 

"krabby patties?" nope, fish cakes: sardine, tuna, zucchini

I don’t know about you, but in the summer it is hot and I am lazy. We’ve had record heat here in Atlanta the last few days, and I haven’t wanted to leave the house. So I haven’t been to the grocery store, either, so the fridge is pretty bare. So what fresh food do I have on hand?  Eggs & an avocado that I picked up on a walk to the market this morning (since we were desparately in need of breakfast food too!) Maybe 1/2 head of romaine lettuce and 1 random zucchini.  Oh and the only bread like thing in the house is a pack of flour tortillas.

So what to make that is healthy, quick to cook (so I don’t heat up the kitchen), and will be tasty enough satisfy a 7 yr old and the husband?  How about fish cakes, with the tuna & sardines tinned in the pantry (the sardines particularly are fabulously good for you), with zucchini for a little extra bulk and healthiness? On the surface, this idea seems doomed, because the boy doesn’t like zucchini and the husband doesn’t like sardines.  But I have faith!
Here’s the basic technique.  As it is a pantry meal, you can of course make do and substitute based on what you have on hand!

Tuna, Sardine & Zucchini Cakes with Avocado Salad (optionally: Wraps)


  • 1 can tuna in water, drained (the cheap kind, “chunk light” has less mercury, and better texture for this application)
  • 1 tin sardines (Brisling in olive oil – buy the decent stuff here).
  • 1/2 med-large zucchini, grated (add more if you like, I think a whole zuc would have been good too)
  • 1/2 onion, grated or chopped fine.
  • lemon or lime juice (a few squirts from a bottle, or 1 – 2 wedges, squeezed.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ~1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teas sweet pickle chips (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese (the cheapy jarred stuff is fine)
  • 1 squirt dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Thinly  sliced romaine, or baby spinach
  • Sliced avocado
  • Flour tortillas
  • Greek feta dressing, or other creamy dressing.

Make your Patties:

  • Drain tuna, and remove sardines from tin, leaving oil.  Stir together well, breaking up the sardines.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan (can use some of reserved oil), and saute onions & zucchini for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add veggies and stir together.
  • Add beaten egg, pickles, lemon juice & mustard.
  • Add bread crumbs and stir together, you’ll want to add enough that mixture is dry enough to handle and make patties, but damp enough to still stick together.  For me it was a little over a 1/2 cup, but will depend.

Press the mixture into small patties, about 2 inches across (similar to falafel).  My mixture made approximately 8 patties.

Drizzle your frying pan with oil, heat to medium-high.  Place the patties in the pan, and cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned on the outside and hot in the middle.

Serving suggestion:

Serve over lettuce, with slices of avocado and greek feta dressing, or wrapped everything up in a pita or flour tortilla or two.


So, what was the verdict?

The 7 yr old ate them up and went back for seconds.  And the sardine disliking husband also enjoyed and had seconds as well!

*note: I forgot to take a photo before lunch, so the photo above shows the last 1.5 patties, broken up, which I served as seconds!

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