Lamb Kidney: Nutrition, Benefits, and Low-Carb Recipes

By Thomas Wrona Updated on

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If you love lamb, chances are you’ll also enjoy lamb kidneys. Lamb kidney has a richer flavor and a more pungent aroma than your average lamb muscle meat. But the effort it takes you to get used to lamb kidney is more than repaid in its rich nutritional benefits. 

In this article, we’ll explore the nutrition provided by this succulent organ meat, along with its associated health benefits. We’ll also share 3 delicious low-carb lamb kidney recipes for making this superfood part of your culinary repertoire. 

What is Lamb Kidney?

Lamb kidney is simply the kidney of a young sheep. Kidney has been enjoyed by cultures around the globe for centuries. Most preparations are similar: they feature grilled kidneys in a sweet or spicy sauce. 

For something with such a strong taste and smell, the popularity of lamb kidneys may seem surprising at first. This popularity is a direct result of their impressive nutritional profile. 

Lamb Kidney Nutrition

Lamb kidney is an excellent source of protein, iron, and vitamin B12 among other vital nutrients. Here’s a closer look at its macronutrient and micronutrient profiles. 

Lamb Kidney Macronutrients

3 OUNCES LAMB KIDNEY(85G)
TOTAL CALORIES 95
TOTAL FAT2.9 grams
SATURATED FAT1 gram
TRANS FAT0.0 grams
CHOLESTEROL337 milligrams
SODIUM156 milligrams
POTASSIUM277 milligrams
CARBOHYDRATES0.8 grams
NET CARBS0.8 grams
SUGAR0 grams
PROTEIN15.7 grams

Fat

Lamb kidney is fairly low in fat, especially when compared to popular cuts of muscle meat like lamb chops. 

The fat in lamb kidney is a nice blend of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. 

All of these fats play an important role in basic metabolic processes and can optimize the fatty acid composition of your cells. [1

Kidney fat is  high in both omega 3’s, and the beneficial saturated fat called stearic acid. 

Protein

Kidney is a great source of complete protein. Just 3 ounces contains 15.7 grams of protein — almost enough to maximize protein synthesis. [2] The protein in kidney contains all 9 essential amino acids. This means it’s more effective gram-for-gram than plant proteins. [3]

Carbohydrates

Lamb kidney contains a very small amount of carbohydrates. Fresh kidney may contain slightly more than the .8 grams per 100 grams listed. Even then, kidney is low enough in carbs to perfectly complement a keto/carnivore diet.

Lamb Kidney Micronutrients

NUTRIENT3 OUNCES LAMB KIDNEY (85G)%RDV
IRON2.7 milligrams35%
MAGNESIUM16 milligrams4% 
PHOSPHORUS190 milligrams25%
ZINC1.5 milligrams15%
COPPER198 micrograms22%
THIAMIN4.1 milligrams41%
RIBOFLAVIN (B2)8.3 milligram132%
NIACIN4.6 milligrams38%
VITAMIN B60.1 milligrams11%
VITAMIN B1215.5 micrograms873%
SELENIUM141 micrograms202%

B12

3 ounces of lamb kidney contains over 8 times your RDV for vitamin B12. Just as with liver, many people find kidney to be highly energizing. B12’s ability to improve cellular energy production is at the root of its power-boosting properties. [4]

Iron

Lamb kidney is a good source of iron, clocking in at 35% per small serving. This iron comes in the form of easily absorbed heme iron that mirrors the iron found in our own bloodstreams. [5]

Selenium

Lamb kidney is also a great source of selenium — selenium that’s more bioavailable than that of other common food sources. Just three ounces contains twice your RDV. Selenium plays a vital role in thyroid health and metabolism. [6

Lamb Kidney Health Benefits 

Lamb kidney’s top health benefits are most apparent in the ways it: 

  • promotes growth and development
  • boosts metabolism
  • benefits your own kidney function

Promotes Growth and Development 

In traditional societies that thrived on nose-to-tail eating, kidney meats were known to be important foods for the growing body. “The kidneys are usually given to children,” pioneering Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson described in his book The Fat of the Land, “somewhat as if they were candy.” [7]

Boosts metabolism

Kidney fat is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to promote metabolic health. [8

The fat surrounding the kidneys is special, too — it’s 70% saturated and unusually high in stearic acid, a fatty acid that’s been correlated with lower body fat levels, thanks in large part to the way it “switches on” the mitochondria (energy factories) in your cells. [9][10]

Benefits Kidney Function 

Kidney contains several hard-to-find amino acids, like l-ergothioneine, that promote the kidney health of those who consume them. Ergothionine’s downstream benefits also include promoting fertility. [11

Sourcing Quality Lamb Kidney

Quality counts when it comes to organ meats, and lamb kidney is no exception. And happy lambs make healthy organs.

Considering that research in other species has found that memory-containing proteins transfer from one creature to the next, eating low-quality organ meats isn’t ideal. [12]

Sourcing kidney from grass-fed lambs is important, too. Grass-fed meat is likely lower in inflammatory fats than other types of meat. [13

If you’re interested in kidney specifically for the nutrition benefits, but can’t source a quality product, or you’re just looking for convenience, you may want to consider organ meat supplementation. 

You can check out Dr. Kiltz’s grass-fed organ meat supplement here, or explore and compare organ meat supplements here. 

How to Cook Lamb Kidney: 3 Delicious Low-Carb Recipes

This way of cooking lamb kidney is equal parts yummy and easy. 

Pan-fried “huo bao” kidney

  • 2-3 lamb kidneys 
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon tapioca/coconut flour
  • 1/2 curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  1. Slice off thin, ¼ inch by ¾ inch pieces of kidney. 
  2. Score the kidneys in one direction, then in the opposite direction (you should have a cross-hatch pattern when done). 
  3. Mix the kidney slices with the other ingredients to make a marinade.
  4. Heat your coconut oil in a large pan until it’s just beginning to crackle. Fry a few slices of kidney at a time, being careful not to cool the oil. 
  5. Deep fry for about one minute on each side. 
  6. Serve when the slices are crispy and still warm. 

Scoring and frying your lamb kidneys in this manner allows the outsides to become crispy while keeping the insides soft and tender.  This fried kidney recipe might be tasty enough to transform even the most offal-shy eater into a believer.

Simple Kidneys and Sage

This lamb kidney recipe makes fits in perfectly with a Mediterranean keto diet.

  • 2 lamb kidneys
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced sage
  • 3 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice each kidney in half. 
  2. Mix olive oil, minced sage, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Place the kidney halves in the marinade for about two hours.
  3. Heat your ghee in a small pan and fry some extra sage leaves in it. After 5-10 seconds, remove the sage from heat and transfer to a plate. frying oil until very hot but not smoking. Fry a couple of sage leaves at a time until crisp, for about 5-10 seconds. Using a fork, transfer the leaves to paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt.
  4. Remove the kidneys from the marinade and place them on the pan. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side. The final product should be nicely charred on the outside — but still somewhat rare on the inside.
  5. Place kidney halves on a plate and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sage leaves and enjoy. 

Traditional Deviled Kidneys

This lamb kidney recipe transforms an intimidating organ meat into a bonified comfort food. And it provides a fantastic fat to protein ratio that makes it a great fit for most ketogenic dieters.

  • 2 to 4 lamb kidneys
  • 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp beef stock (or Keto Bone Broth!)
  1. Slice each kidney into 5-10 pieces.
  2. Sear mushrooms in a hot pan with lots of butter until they’re golden brown. Remove them from heat and set them aside. 
  3. Mix your coconut flour, cayenne, mustard, salt, and pepper, and dust the kidney pieces with this mixture.
  4. Get your pan very hot and add another few tablespoons of butter. Brown the kidneys in this butter. Turn kidneys over every few minutes. 
  5. Return the mushrooms to the pan, add honey and beef stock, and shake. Let cook for another minute or two.
  6. Serve warm

Lamb Kidney: The Takeaway

Lamb kidney is nutrient-dense, delicious, and seriously underrated. And It fits perfectly into the modern revival of the ancient nose-to-tail eating paradigm!

Lamb kidney’s health benefits explain why: It can boost the health of your own kidneys and set the stage for your children’s future growth and development — but only if you actually eat it ;)

 

©2020 Doctor ROBERT KILTZ. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED