Patties and Cakes, Patties and Cakes

Two delicious looking fish cakes on a plate with a fork in the foreground and salad in the background of the plate.

Meat patties, such as burgers and fish cakes, can be an inexpensive way to add protein to your diet. They are usually made from ground meat or fish, with egg and added starch like bread crumbs, oatmeal or potatoes to stretch the protein.

The added starch helps hold the patties together, so they cook easily, and they can also be frozen for a quick meal when you are in a hurry.

Meat patties and fish cakes also are great if you have problems with your teeth, because they are easy to chew and swallow. If you have canned tuna or salmon, making fish cakes can liven up your meals. Always rinse any canned meat or fish before using to remove extra salt, which can raise your blood pressure.

Panko is a type of flaky, Japanese breadcrumb that is low in sodium. You can find it at most grocery stores in the Asian food section.

Basic Meat Patties

1 pound ground beef, turkey, pork or lamb or 16 ounces drained/rinsed canned fish (about 2 cans)
¼ cup onion, grated or finely chopped
1 whole egg, beaten
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning, like Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Form equal-sized patties, about a half-inch thick. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on medium-high in a large, nonstick skillet. Add patties and reduce heat to low until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Cook thoroughly, until there is no pink in the middle. Freeze extra patties for a quick meal to heat up later.

Turkey Burgers

1 cup grated zucchini (about 3 small squash)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 whole egg, beaten
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup red onion, grated
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning
½ teaspoon ground pepper

Squeeze as much moisture as you can from the grated zucchini with paper towels, and then follow directions for Basic Meat Patties recipe above.

Tuna or Salmon Fish Cakes

1 medium-sized baker potato (1 cup cooked)
3 6-ounce cans tuna, drained and rinsed
1 whole egg
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning
½ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
Lemon wedges for garnish

Poke the potato with a fork and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until soft. When cooled, scoop out insides and mash with a fork. Recycle potato skin. Follow directions for basic meat patties recipe.

Nutrition Information (per patty, about ½ cup)
Nutritional values vary depending on protein and vegetables used.
Calories 170-300, Protein 14-22 grams, Carbohydrates: 15-20 grams, Sodium: 55-100 milligrams

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.

Contributor 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

This article originally appeared on AgeWise King County (December 2017)