Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important goals for many of us, but for people with chronic illnesses, a healthy lifestyle can be critical to their well-being and survival. With kidney disease affecting African Americans at a rate four times higher than the general population, Fresenius Medical Care, the nation’s leading dialysis provider, saw an opportunity to inspire people with chronic kidney disease to eat healthier and stay creative in the kitchen by partnering with Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr., of “Big Daddy’s House” on the Food Network to create new recipes for patients with kidney failure.

For most Americans, summertime means cookouts and celebrations featuring delicious and decadent food. However, for the nearly 400,000 Americans who are on dialysis due to kidney failure, there are unique dietary restrictions that limit their food and fluid options which can make it challenging to enjoy summer barbeques. As part of the partnership, Chef McCargo created new recipes for patients with kidney failure, like the flavorful Jalapeno, Lime and Smoked Mozzarella Turkey Burger, to demonstrate how nutrient-focused cooking can be both easy and satisfying for patients interested in better-tasting meals. His “Flavor of Bold” cuisine for kidney disease patients excludes salt and limits phosphate additives, which dialysis patients and many others need to watch, while featuring flavorful and easily accessible seasonings, like paprika, ginger and cayenne pepper.

For a complete list of Chef McCargo’s dialysis-friendly recipes, visit These delicious recipes may even inspire creative and healthy makeovers to your own cherished family recipes!

Jalapeno, Lime and Smoked Mozzarella Turkey Burger


  • 1½ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 jalapeno pepper or 2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno*
  • Juice of 2 limes and zest** of 1
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns


Preheat outdoor grill (a George Foreman®-style grill may also be used).  In a medium-size bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Make equal-size burger patties and lightly brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes, flipping once, or until an internal temperature of 165° F is reached. Top each with an equal amount of cheese and melt in a toaster oven or in oven on broil. Serve on a toasted bun. (If using George Foreman® grill, once cooked, unplug the grill and add cheese to the burger. Leave the grill open and allow the cheese to slightly melt.)

* When handling or cutting hot peppers, it is best to wear plastic or rubber gloves and to not touch your face. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

** To zest, hold fruit still and move a grating tool (e.g., zester, peeler, box grater) slowly back and forth across the peel. Be careful to remove only the outermost, colorful layer of peel and not any of the bitter, white pith beneath.

Serves 6

Nutrient Analysis:

  • Calories : 421 calories
  • Trans Fat : 0 grams
  • Protein:  28 grams
  • Cholesterol: 97 milligrams
  • Carbohydrate: 25 grams
  • Potassium: 382 milligrams
  • Total Fat: 23 grams
  • Phosphorus:  286 milligrams
  • Saturated Fat: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 344 milligrams