By Judy Beto, PhD, RDN

Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden. Even if you are not a gardener, zucchini can be found in abundance in most grocery stores and farmer’s markets throughout the spring and summer. And it is a good change from salad.

Here are two kidney-friendly zucchini recipes that will add some “green” to your diet.

A “Circle” of Zucchini

Try this for an easy way to prepare zucchini. Just slice it thin and arrange it in circles on a pie tin. There’s no need to even peel it!


Serves 4

2 medium zucchini (green) or summer squash (yellow), sliced thin, skins on, ends cut off

1 Tbsp oil of your choice (olive, canola, vegetable)

Dried herbs of your choice (oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wipe a pie tin with oil.
  3. Wash squash. Cut off the ends. Slice thin. Arrange in a circle on a pie tin.
  4. Drizzle with oil.
  5. Sprinkle with dried herbs.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes. Depending on how thinly you slice them (or prefer them), you may reduce or increase the cook time to either get a “crunch” or a “soft as butter” texture.
  7. Serve warm.

Calories 46
Protein 1 gm
Fat 4 g
Carbohydrates 3 g
Fiber 1 g
Sodium 5 mg
Potassium 256 mg
Calcium 15 mg
Phosphorus 37 mg
Cholesterol 0 mg


Meat-a-Tini “Any Meat” Meatballs

Zucchini contains quite a bit of moisture, but that is what makes these meatballs so good! Never dry, they add color and flavor to your meat mixture. Think about using gloves to form these meatballs to make clean-up easy.  Ask your dialysis unit for a pair of disposable gloves to take home!


Makes 12 meatballs

1 medium zucchini (green), chopped or grated, skins on, ends cut off

1 slice of bread, with crust, or ½ cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 clove of fresh garlic, chopped, or ¼ tsp garlic powder

½ cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)

1 lb. ground meat of your choice (beef, turkey, pork, chicken, or combination)

1 Tbsp dried herbs or 2 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choice (oregano, basil)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wipe pie tin with oil.
  3. You can easily grate zucchini with a hand grater. If you want, you can also use a food processor to grate the zucchini first, remove, then chop up the bread slice to make breadcrumbs. Then add everything back into the food processor and give it a whirl until blended OR simply mix everything together in a bowl.
  4. Form into 12 meatballs (Dip gloved hands in water to make rolling the mixture easier).
  5. Arrange on pie tin and bake 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve warm or make ahead and microwave to warm.

NUTRIENT ANALYSIS (per meatball)
Calories 72
Protein 8 gm
Fat 4 g
Carbohydrates 2 g
Fiber 0 g
Sodium 25 mg
Potassium 137 mg
Calcium 18 mg
Phosphorus 90 mg
Cholesterol 43 mg

More kidney diet recipes and articles by Renal Dietitian Judy Beto:

Making Positive Memories to Savor
Rice Pilaf Baked in a Pumpkin
Nutrients to Promote Healthy Skin

Judith (Judy) Beto, PhD, RDN, was the first editor of the Journal of Renal Nutrition. She is a research consultant for the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Loyola University Healthcare System and an Associate Research Editor for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


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