What better way to usher out the waning winter than with a fresh, green, kidney friendly salad recipe. That is why we are kicking off March with two of KidneyRD’s favorite salads. Summer might not be here yet, but don’t tell our palates!
Studies show that plant-based diets support kidney health. Quinoa, walnuts, and olive oil provide healthy fats and plant-based protein. Perfect for a satisfying and delicious meal anytime of year!
Quinoa: A kidney friendly plant-based protein
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), is a gluten-free grain that has become increasingly popular over the past decade. It’s native to the Andes region of South America but is now grown all over the world. It’s a grain that is easy to love because it cooks quickly and is incredibly versatile.
Quinoa is considered a plant-based superfood because it is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a great source of fiber and plant-based protein. Even though it’s protein rich, don’t be fooled! This grain works well on a low protein or very low protein diet to help preserve kidney function.
Worried about the phosphorus or potassium content of quinoa? Don’t be! A half cup serving of cooked quinoa contains about 150 milligrams of potassium and 150 mg of phosphorus. Fortunately, the phosphorus found in plants is bound to fiber and won’t be fully absorbed.
A perfect recipe for a kidney friendly salad
We love nutritious and satisfying salads because they’re an easy way to fill your vegetable quota for the day. While vegetables can be filling thanks to their fiber and fluid content, they are very low in calories and won’t keep you satisfied for long.
The trick to a satisfying salad is all in what you add! We love including healthy sources of fat and plant-based protein to turn a salad into a flavorful and well balanced meal that will keep you energized and content for hours. Below are some of our favorite add in’s that create the perfect recipe for a kidney friendly salad.
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This delightful salad is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Perfect for a satisfying and delicious summer meal!
Recipe developed by Clarissa Paimanta, RD and tested by Jennifer Krasilovsky, 2021 KidneyRD Intern.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped or sliced into rounds
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 mint leaves, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Make dressing: In a jar, add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Close the lid and shake vigorously to mix. Add some maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter dressing.
2. In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa, spinach, cucumber, apple, blueberries and optional mint.
3. Pour dressing and toss to combine right before serving. Top each serving of salad with 2 Tbsp. of chopped walnuts.
You may have heard that nuts, beans, and whole grains are not a great choice for a kidney-friendly diet because they are high in phosphorus. Wondering why we include them in many of our recipes? We include beans, nuts, and whole grains because only about 40% of phosphorus found in these plant foods are absorbed by humans. This makes them a good fit for most people’s diets! If you have questions about adding these foods to your diet, please reach out to your dietitian.
KidneyRD Verdict on this kidney friendly summer salad
There is something about the combination of apples and blueberries in a salad that gets me every time. If you have it on hand, we definitely recommend adding mint to this recipe. It is subtle, but really adds that “je ne sais quoi”, making it feel bright and fresh!
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