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Heavenly Salads for Springtime

Katy G. Wilkens | Jun 1, 2017, 12:38 p.m.

Spring is here and with it comes fresh fruits and vegetables. Now you can make delicious, low-salt fruit or vegetable salads any time. Keeping salt low is a big step toward keeping your blood pressure under control and your kidneys healthy.

A good cook once told me the secret to a heavenly salad is to add fruits, nuts and cheese. After trying the combinations below, I think you’ll agree.

Try this basic recipe and then have fun exchanging different fruits and vegetables for flavor year round!

Heavenly Salad

1 cup fruit (one or two kinds)

1 cup vegetables (one or two kinds)

1-2 cups lettuce, spinach or greens

1/2 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts or pine nuts)

1/2 cup cheese, diced (goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, cheddar, jalapeño or jack)

1/4-1/2 cup fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley or mint)

Try the following combinations for great-tasting salads:

Cantaloupe cucumber salad: cantaloupe, cucumber, lettuce, fresh tarragon, almonds, Manchego or other sharp white cheese.

Veggie fruit slaw: grated carrots, diced apple, chopped cabbage, celery seed and fresh celery leaves. Add sharp cheddar and pecans or walnuts.

Watermelon strawberry salad: watermelon, strawberries, fresh spinach or greens, fresh mint, canned mandarin oranges, goat cheese, sliced almonds.

Blackberry peach salad: blackberries, peaches, fresh spinach, fresh tarragon, Monterey Jack cheese, and walnuts.

Mango jicama salad: mangoes, jicama, red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, cashews and feta cheese.

Beet and bean salad: diced beets, cooked and chilled green beans, blue cheese, walnuts or pecans, fresh tarragon (add cheese last so it doesn’t turn pink, or use golden beets.)

Tomato cucumber salad: tomato, cucumber, fresh mozzarella, lettuce and fresh basil. Omit nuts and add 8 olives, cut in half.

Homemade salad dressings are usually much lower in salt (sodium.) Try the recipes below:

Heavenly Blue Cheese Dressing

1 pint low-fat sour cream

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon liquid hot pepper seasoning

1 clove garlic, minced and sautéed

6 ounces Roquefort or 8 ounces blue-veined cheese, crumbled

Pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot pepper seasoning, and sautéed garlic. Blend well. Stir in blue cheese, mashing any large pieces with a fork, until well-blended. Add pepper to taste. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate. Store for as long as 10 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Lemon-Thyme Dressing

1/2 cup salad oil

1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced and sautéed

1 1/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

Pepper to taste

In a container, combine oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, thyme, and pepper. Stir in parsley just before serving. If made ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. Store for as long as 1 week. Makes 1 cup.

The recipes in this column are meant for people who want to keep their kidney health by following a low sodium diet. These recipes can also be used by people who have stage 1-3 kidney disease, but they may be too high in phosphorus and potassium for some people with stage 4-5. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]

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