| Dialysis | Kidney disease | Transplant

5 Holiday Recipes for a Kidney Disease Diet

December 15, 2022, 10:27am EST

Couple tossing a salad in kitchen and laughing together

Winter holidays are the perfect time to gather with loved ones, enjoy each other’s company, and indulge in a delicious meal–without worrying if it is kidney disease friendly. We are here to help make that possible with five festive recipes that you, your kidneys, and your guests will love.

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  1. Apple cranberry walnut salad
  2. Baked salmon in foil
  3. Cauliflower, no-mash potatoes
  4. Glazed carrots
  5. Apple spice cake

Appetizer: apple cranberry walnut salad

Apple cranberry walnut salad with dressing on the side

Start your meal with this refreshing, wintery salad that puts your holiday nutcracker to good use.


  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, each grape sliced in half
  • 1⅓ cups walnut halves, chopped into small pea-size pieces
  • 1¼ cups Pomegranate Infused Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries, 1- 6-ounce package
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped into quarter-inch pieces
  • 7 medium-sized gala apples with skin on
  • 8 fluid ounce bottle of Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Fat-Free Cranberry Balsamic Dressing


  1. Rinse a cluster of red grapes and separate them from the stem. Use a paring knife and slice each grape in half. Place sliced grapes in the extra-large mixing bowl.
  2. Measure walnut halves into a measuring cup. Use a nut chopper to chop nuts into pea-size pieces or put walnuts in a plastic sandwich baggie, seal and use the bottom of the 1 cup measure to press on the walnuts until they break. Add chopped nuts to the extra-large mixing bowl with the sliced red grapes.
  3. Add one 6-ounce bag of dried pomegranate-infused cranberries to the grape and walnut mixture.
  4. Rinse, clean, and chop the celery into quarter-inch pieces. Add to the grape, walnut, and dried cranberry mixture.
  5. Rinse the seven Gala apples, slice them vertically, and core them. Make five apple wedges and then cut the wedges into bite-size pieces. Add chopped apple pieces to the rest of the mixture.
  6. Pour the 8-fluid-ounce bottle of cranberry dressing over the entire mixture. Stir the ingredients, ensuring that the sauce is incorporated well. Chill and serve.

Get the full recipe and nutritional information.

Main dish: baked salmon in foil

Baked salmon in foil with garlic and lemon on the side

If eating fish around the winter holidays is a tradition in your home, give this bright lemony salmon dish a try. Every bite packs a flavorful punch that won’t leave you feeling stuffed and sleepy. 

Not a fan of fish or don’t follow this tradition? We recommend this upscale cranberry ginger chicken dish.

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste 
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 (2-pound) salmon filet 
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Combine 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar, oregano, thyme, and pepper in a bowl. 
  3. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Place salmon in the middle of the foil, skin-side down. Drizzle with the olive oil mixture. Fold up the edges of the foil over the salmon to create a packet, making sure to seal the edges. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature is 145°F. If your salmon filet is very thick, it can take longer. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.

Get the full recipe and nutritional information.

Side dish: cauliflower, no-mash potatoes

Bowl of mashed cauliflower with whole cauliflower on cutting board next to it.

Even if you aren’t counting carbs, this cauliflower no-mash potato recipe will become a new family favorite. It has a similar creamy texture and tastes just as good as potatoes! 


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 to 2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the top off the garlic head so the insides of the bulb are exposed.
  3. Place both garlic haves in a small piece of foil.
  4. Drizzle the top of the exposed bulb with one tablespoon of olive oil, wrap tightly, place on a sheet pan or in an ovenproof dish, and set the garlic in the oven to roast for 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower florets off the stem (should yield about 4 cups) and set aside.
  6. Place a steamer basket in a medium size pot and fill it with water just below the basket. Then place the florets on top of the steamer basket, bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and lower the heat to medium-low. Steam for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Carefully remove the cauliflower from another bowl and drain the pot.
  7. Using a cloth, dry the inside of the pot and set it aside. We’ll get back to it in a moment.
  8. Use your fingers to remove the roasted bulbs from their husk when the garlic is tender and cool. Or, on a cutting board, place the flat side of a knife over an individual bulb, and push down using the palm of your hand. Set aside.
  9. In your pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add in the garlic and stir. Add the steamed cauliflower and horseradish. Cook for five more minutes, stirring, and then take it off the heat.
  10. Use a potato masher or an immersion blender to transform the cauliflower from chunky to creamy.
  11. Add the yogurt, black pepper, and chives when it looks like mashed potatoes.
  12. Gently stir until combined and serve immediately or cover and keep cool in the refrigerator, reheating quickly before eating.

Get the full recipe and nutritional information.

Side dish: glazed carrots

Glazed carrots in bowl next to cloth napkin

Do you have loved ones who refuse to eat vegetables? These scrumptious brown sugar-glazed carrots should please even the pickiest eaters.


  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper


  1. Wash and peel carrots.
  2. Boil for about 15-20 minutes or until fork-tender.
  3. Drain carrots.
  4. Melt butter and sugar to form a sauce.
  5. Pour sauce and pepper over the carrots.
  6. Toss and serve.

Get the full recipe and nutritional information.

Dessert: apple spice cake

Plate of apple cake with ingredients behind it

Visions of sugar plum fairies will be dancing in your head after a few bites of this heavenly spiced apple cake. 


  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored & sliced
  • 1 yellow sugar-free cake mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons maple sugar


  1. Microwave apple slices for about 5 minutes on high or until tender.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Let the apple cool while you mix the cake batter.
  4. Add the cake mix, spices, egg whites, water, and oil in a mixing bowl or follow the mixing direction on the box.
  5. Mix in the apples.
  6. Pour the batter into a non-stick 9x13 cake pan.
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cake is finished. Remember, this batter has very little sugar, so the cake doesn’t brown.
  8. Let cool to room temperature.
  9. Sprinkle the top of the cake with maple sugar.

Get the full recipe and nutritional information.

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