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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Aloha Salad (kidney diet)

I found this recipe in a cookbook for renal patients.  A lot of fruits and veggies are actually off-limits for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) because they're high in potassium (a good thing for the rest of us but with impaired kidney function, potassium will build up to dangerous levels in the body).  So finding CKD-friendly side dishes can be tricky.  Especially since I also have to balance a number of food allergies, sensitivities and preferences within my family.  One serving of this salad (pay attention to serving sizes!) is 112 mg potassium and 26 mg phosphorus.

This "salad" proved to be quite a hit (and about the only way I've found to get my 3 year old to eat carrots without squawking).  I am not a fan of describing anything with Jello as a "salad" but it seems to be a thing here in the Heartland (and also in many 1970's era cookbooks...but I digress).  However, this "salad" was more fruit/veggie and less Jello so I'll let it ride.

Since it's a gelatin "salad", you need to make it in advance so it can set up.  My favorite thing ;)  You can also prep this in stages if you need to, like if your baby is teething and NEEDS you to hold her CONSTANTLY except for when she dozes off for a few minutes at a time.  Just a hypothetical example.  Grate the carrots, measure and mix the dry ingredients, measure the liquid ingredients, and fridge each part until you're ready to put it together.

We are avoiding artificial dyes at my house (in addition to all the aforementioned food restrictions...I told you it gets tricky to plan menus), so I got to experiment with substituting a homemade, dye-free mix for the box o' Yellow 6, er, Lemon Jello.  It turned out very well.

The tricky bit about applying this substitute widely in recipes calling for a box of Jello is figuring out what to use for flavoring that doesn't skew the liquid ratio but still gives a punch of flavor, especially if you try to create flavors other than citrus.  In this recipe, I used a bit of lemon juice in place of some of the water called for in the OR as well as a lot of lemon zest.  To substitute for other flavors, I'd look into dye-free flavoring oils over juices or extracts...you'll get more flavor without adding liquids.  If your recipe calls for water, you can swap some or all for a juice or puree but you might need to pay attention to how the acid from your flavoring liquid impacts leavening reactions.

Aloha Salad
Makes 9 servings

2 packets unflavored gelatin (1/2 oz)
1 cup boiling water
7 tbsp sugar or sugar substitute
8 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon + cold water to make 1/2 cup
3 medium carrots, peeled and grated

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Add sugar, pineapple with juice, zest, and juice/water.  Put in the fridge about 5 minutes.  Fold in carrots.  Pour into 9 individual cups or a 4-cup mold, and chill until firm.

(To use a box of lemon Jello, substitute a small box of Jello for sugar/sugar substitute, unflavored gelatin, lemon zest and lemon juice). Pin It

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