Originally passed down from Italy, pizza has made its way into the homes of many Americans as a classic favorite. This simple meal can take on many forms with numerous possibilities. I don’t know about you, but I have a weak spot for pizza. However, pizza usually gets a bad reputation in the world of a renal diet due to its high potassium, high sodium, and high phosphorus content ( a triple whammy!) . It can be challenging to find pizza options that work with your renal diet but not impossible. We have come up with a few simple tips to help you enjoy a homemade version of this classic dish!
Ditch the tomatoes, which tend to be very high in potassium, and get creative with your bases to make a tasty kidney friendly meal! The pizza we are cooking up today uses Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for the ‘sauce’. Additionally, you could whip up a pizza with about six tablespoons of pesto or barbecue sauce instead of a tomato paste.
Pizza is a great way to enjoy seasonal vegetables! Use this recipe to try different vegetable toppings compatible with a renal diet such as zucchini, asparagus, fresh spinach, or kale. In addition, try tossing in some fresh herbs for an added boost of flavor. I have been ‘attempting’ to garden this spring and have some very happy sweet basil growing outside. I decided to throw a few leaves on top of the pizza after it baked to enhance the flavor profile.
Fresh kidney friendly vegetables
Sodium, Cheeses, and Crusts:
Another important factor to consider when preparing to make pizza is the sodium content. Checking the labels on the crust and the cheese can help identify the lower sodium options. In this recipe, the feta cheese provided a good amount of sodium per serving. However, a lower sodium parmesan or mozzarella, used in moderation, could also be used to help decrease the sodium level. Remember, with the exception of feta and brie, cheese is a higher phosphorus food, so should be used in conservative quantities.
You could also try your hand at making your own crust, which would allow you to control how much salt is added directly. Here is a simple pizza dough recipe to try as an alternative to a pre-made crust: easy renal friendly pizza dough recipe.
When I made the pizza I used a store bought pizza crust. However, I found it challenging to find an accurate phosphorous measurement for this particular crust (or any store bought crust). The homemade pizza dough recipe included above might provide an easier way to manage your phosphorous intake without the additional guessing or researching through the internet. The included dough recipe contains 25mg of phosphorous per 1/8 of a pizza (the recipe makes 2 pizzas compared to the one pizza listed below).
So get creative and enjoy this tasty classic!
- 3 cups, chopped Bell Peppers (red, green, and/or yellow)
- 1 cup, sliced Onion, red or yellow (separate into rings)
- 3, crushed Garlic Clove
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, dry
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup, crumbled Feta Cheese (Can add ½ cup to reduce sodium)
- 1 14 inch pizza crust, homemade or prepared
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place crust on pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients except cheese. Spoon mixture over crust. Top with cheese.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until vegetables are crispy-tender. Remove from oven and serve.
Potassium: 139mg (homemade crust) or 208 mg (1/8 of 14" store bough crust per NCCDB)
Lower sodium further by using homemade crust with no salt. (Garlic powder makes a great substitute).
Kidney Grub Verdict:
Okay, first let me start by talking about the crust. I used a thin crust for my pizza. This was my own personal preference and not required by the recipe. I am a big fan of the New York style pizza crust that is slightly crispy when you take a bite. However, with all the heavy vegetable toppings in this recipe, it made for a quite a mess. I ended up eating the pizza more like a flat bread and scooping the toppings back onto the crust. While it didn’t taste bad, using a thicker crust would probably help avoid getting feta cheese and bell peppers all over your plate. However, if your pizza does fall apart you can just turn it into a pizza salad! Problem solved!
Other than a crust that fell apart, this pizza was delicious! It tasted like one of those gourmet pizza’s you get in a nice restaurant. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this recipe, being that it had so few ‘pizza’ type ingredients. I am adding this one to my personal favorites and will make it again. It was very simple to put together and can provide you with some great leftovers.
Article and Photo Credits: Rebecca Barksdale
Content Editing: Jessianna Saville, MS, RDN, LD, CSR