I am not a big follower of recipes, but online recipes can give me ideas. Now that I don’t eat pasta, my favorite low-carb, vegetable casserole recipes are Keto and (mostly) kidney friendly.
Before I continue, I am not a medical professional nor am I a dietician. Do not consider this post as a recommendation for any type of diet. Do your own research or ask a medical professional if you have PKD or CKD. I’m still learning how to eat.
Pinterest and Keto diet sites are loaded with food ideas, but many include tons of cheese and too much salt. My advice is to cut down on the cheese and salt that seems to be the basics of many Keto foods, and concentrate on eating more vegetables.
Most Diets Have Nothing Against Vegetables, But…
Usually you are perfectly safe when eating organic, fresh or frozen vegetables. However, some vegetables can be high in carbohydrates (anti-Keto) and high in potassium and phosphorus (anti-kidney).
Balancing a low-carb diet with safe foods for those of us with kidney disease can be tricky, but not impossible. We have to be careful of dairy also, so a little cheese on top of the casserole is better than layering it throughout.
Tomatoes are not kidney friendly due to their high potassium levels, but adding small amounts of sauce with the vegetables, or a few slices of tomato within the layering will add great flavor. Remember, this is a dish that should feed 4-6 people. So, how much tomato (or cheese) would you be eating per serving?
The basics to creating a simple vegetable casserole is to slice, layer and bake. That’s it, and you can choose what vegetables to use.
I enjoy making my own tomato sauce using herbs from my garden, but organic, store bought (low sodium) is fine too. Just don’t go overboard if you have kidney problems.
Favorite Vegetables to Use in One Dish Meals
My favorite casserole uses eggplant, but I can’t always find decent eggplant at the store. My second favorite vegetables are zucchini and summer squash. It’s always best to buy what is in season because it will be the freshest. Spicy and yummy peppers can add great flavor.
I‘ve included some potassium info for those who need to watch it.
- Eggplant, peeled or not *I slice it and sprinkle with salt, which is suppose to help with bitterness. The salt is rinsed away! Read here on How to Salt Eggplant.
- Summer squash: Zucchini and /or yellow
- Peppers add great flavor. Red bell pepper (251 mg.potassium) / Poblano pepper (410 mg. potassium)
- Broccoli (288 mg. potassium, 1 cup chopped)
- Cauliflower – I prefer a white sauce with this.
- Sliced tomatoes (go easy if you have CKD / PKD) *High in Potassium
- Sliced onion
- Mushrooms (cook first)
- Spinach *High in Potassium
- Herbs, either dried or freshly chopped, add flavor and nutrients
Usually I choose whatever vegetable I have, or use a combination of two. I’m cooking for myself only, so my casseroles need to be smallish. One eggplant will usually fill my baking dish!
Make some tomato sauce or use from a jar.
Shred some of your favorite cheese.
Once the vegetables are sliced (which I do by hand) I begin to layer.
Make the Casserole
Think as if you were making lasagna.
- Grease a baking dish – I use Ghee (Ghee is just clarified butter.)
- Begin layering with one layer of veggies, a little tomato sauce, meat (if you are using it) and some cheese – or cut down and sprinkle cheese on top only.
- Keep going until the dish is nearly full – it will bubble over if too full!
- Pour the rest of tomato sauce over, if any is left, and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350 until the vegetables are soft – around 30-40 minutes.
This type of casserole can contain pre-cooked meat if you want. I’ve made meatballs and sliced them up for one of the layers. Usually I avoid adding meat because too much red meat / protein is not good for kidneys. I prefer an all-vegetable casserole.
Simple and Healthy Eating
My goal was to help my readers see that recipes are not needed when it comes to baking healthy casseroles loaded with vegetables. And who needs pasta?
Honestly…. I have to eat! It does feel overwhelming while I try to do Keto and keep my kidneys going. I cannot cut every food out of my diet…!
Variety is best, and being aware of personal body needs and limitations should be the guide to creating awesome, guilt-free, vegetable casseroles.
For more Kidney health information read: Top 15 Healthy Foods For People With Kidney Disease. And this page is a good one: 17 Foods to Avoid if You Have Bad Kidneys.