A sweet and sour meatball dinner with juicy pineapple!
Texas is beef country. That being said, in Texas it is uncommon for me to find very many patients who are very motivated to follow a full-on plant-based diet approach for their CKD. But I have plenty who are willing to make some small adjustments to cut-back on the protein. Meatballs and meatloaf are easy meal items that just a few adjustments can help cut back on the protein without sacrificing a whole lot of flavor. We call items like this a “less meat meal.” I have been working on this recipe for a couple weeks now (which is why there has been a lag in posting weekly recipes. The original recipe we pulled from Davita.com, but despite rave reviews, I really didn’t find the meatballs all that great. So, I played with the recipe several more times, googled meatballs like crazy and looked at what we could do to make this something I wouldn’t mind eating on a more regular basis. I am proud of the final product. It has a little bit more sodium then the original recipe, but it was good.
Before I reveal this beautiful recipe, let me make a quick KidneyGrub side note on ground meat and phosphate additives: Whatever stage of kidney disease you may be dealing with, starting to recognize phosphate additives in your food is helpful. Through several complex mechanisms the kidneys help keep your bones strong, and this means keeps normal phosphorus levels. A lot of recent research shows that when you have kidney disease, even if your blood work shows normal phosphorus levels, phosphates in your diet can already be causing problems for your bones and cardiovascular system. Phosphate additives are an inorganic compound that are body absorbs almost 100%. Manufacturers use phosphate additives for everything from a preservative to flavor enhancer (cola drinks) to anti-clumping agent (some powdered drinks). The good news is that usually there is an alternative product in all types of phosphorus-laced foods (for example instead of using brand-name Kool-Aid you can switch to a store-brand and avoid some phosphate additives). Meats are no exception when it comes to additives. I have a lot of patients that switch from red meat to white meat because of their chronic kidney disease and thus start using a lot of ground turkey (which often has additives). If you choose to use ground turkey or ground chicken or ground pork for this recipe that is great. Just be sure to use a variety that doesn’t have a lot of additives. Often, those 1-lb ground turkey tubes you get in the store can be loaded with phosphate additives. In the case of ground meat, look for something labeled as “natural” or “no preservatives” to avoid the phosphate additives. Below are a few pictures of some products we used and found at our local Walmart.
Sweet N Sour Meatballs Recipe! Print here!
Sweet N’ Sour Meatballs for CKD and ESRD
- 2 lb ground meat (pork (beef or turkey))
- 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp low sodium Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 c . cooked rice
- 1.5 c finely diced vegetables (zucchini (carrot, or green pepper) – we used some carrot and zucchini)
- 1/2 c finely diced onion
- 2 in eggs – if you are on dialysis then you can add them for extra protein (but if you have CKD then I'd leave them out. The meatballs were just fine without them., optional)
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 6 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp Sesame seed oil (optional (but fantastic for flavor!))
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 40 ounces canned pineapple chunks
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Finely chop or grate whatever vegetables you plan to use. (I used my mini food processor so this was super fast!)
- Combine ground meat, eggs (if using), chopped vegetables, rice, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder. Mix well.
- Form into 1” balls and place on a baking sheet. (Baking note, one of the keys to juicy meatballs is handling them as little as possible.)
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.
- Drain juice from pineapple cans into a measuring cup. Add water to make 2 cups. Reserve pineapple chunks.
- Combine 6 tablespoons cornstarch, reduced sodium soy sauce, sesame seed oil, vinegar, water, unpacked brown sugar, white sugar and pineapple juice. Heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Place meatballs, sauce, pineapple chunks, green and red peppers in a covered warming dish or crock pot set on low setting until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information :
With all the modifications, we like this recipe. You can just make the meatballs and then add your own sauce or use this sweet and sour sauce and serve over a bed of rice with some vegetables on the side. To make it extra fancy, sprinkling a few toasted sesame seeds over the top would look great. This also would make a great meatloaf recipe.