Kidney-Friendly Garlic Potato Pancakes

"This is a recipe for potato pancakes, made specifically from Idado Spuds instant mashed potatoes, which are low in "big four" numbers (protein, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus) I was able to form 4 good-sized pancakes from two servings of instant mashed potatoes, and they actually taste good! When fried, the cheese creates a golden, crispy crust on the outside. Cooking time will vary according to person preference of crispness desired. While this recipe does contain cheese, it does not contain milk, flour, or eggs, (and are also gluten-free!) which is the reason why this recipe is low in the "big four." Idaho Spuds contain 4% potassium per 1/3 C serving. Sargento Ulra-Thin Swiss cheese contains 3G of protein per slice, 2g in the potatoes, in 1.5g in the Parmesan cheese (about 4g per serving) The 1/4 cup of onion and garlic contain 129 mg of potassium (about 65 mg per serving) and 28 mg of phosphorus (about 14 mg per serving). estimates about 4% sodium per serving."
photo by Mustafas Cook photo by Mustafas Cook
photo by Mustafas Cook
Ready In:
4 Pancakes




  • In a non-stick saucepan, melt the unsalted butter on medium-low heat. Once completely melted, add the salt, garlic, and onion and sauté them until the onions start to turn clear, or about 5 minutes.
  • Add the water and pepper and increase the heat a little so that it boils. Once boiling, turn off the heat. Add the mashed potatos and stir well. They should have a creamy consistency and no visible "lumps", except for the onions. Extra water may be added, in small amounts (think tbsp) at a time if needed.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and stir well, followed by the Swiss cheese. It helps to tear the Swiss cheese into smaller pieces, first. Stir until the Swiss cheese is completely melted into the potatoes.
  • Now we're ready to fry! Drop the potatoes into 4 pancakes in a non-stick frying pan. Add the oil and fry them until they become crispy, flipping them occasionally. Because they do not contain flour or eggs, they will still be very soft.

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I love food, however, I was recently diagnosed with a catastrophic autoimmune-induced attack, which caused kidney disease at 33 years old. I spent 5 weeks in the hospital. At their lowest, my kidneys were 80% full of blood clots and down to 20% functioning capacity, but have improved to about 40%...a major victory! After eating whatever I wanted for 33 years, I've suddenly found myself limited to 50g of protein a day, on top of restrictions of 2,000 mg daily of sodium and potassium and under 1,000 mg of phosphorus (AKA "the big four") on top of maintaining a Coumadin diet (little to no vitamin K). Because I'm not diabetic, I don't have as many restrictions on the foods I can eat, like a diabetic would. There is no "golden diet" that one can simply jump on, straight out of the hospital, and it caused a lot of frustration. My first trip to the grocery store actually made me cry. So, I have learned to compare brands of items and read every label. Yes, shopping has become a two-plus hour process while I'm learning, and it's only temporary but necessary. It's taken a few weeks, but my taste for salt is diminishing. The trick is to use other seasonings to trick the brain into forgetting about the salt. As I come up with recipes suitable for a kidney diet, I will share them here. Hopefully, they can be of use to fellow kidney patients. I will always try to mention the brand names of the items I use, as they most likely have low "big four" numbers. My advice for newly diagnosed kidney patients is to invest in a good set of measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a scale. Personally, I use an Escali Mercado stainless steel scale I purchased on Amazon. I use it for every meal and remember: always weigh your meats BEFORE cooking them!
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