January 17, 2012

Low-Potassium Potato Skins

When I receive a request, I respond. At some point.

And this week, I received two requests. The first from a very special friend and fellow kidney patient who craves the taste of crispy potato skins. And the second from our very own Low-So January heroine, Chelsea, who is hosting a little get together this weekend and craves some tiny treats to impress her friends.

So in one quick post, I’m going to answer both questions.

Let’s start with the potato skins.

Most of you out there–who are diligently watching your sodium intake–can handle a traditional potato skin recipe as long as there are some adjustments when it comes to the bacon and cheese.

My favorite recipe comes from Simply Recipes, and instead of using cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon, and salt, I suggest swapping in low-sodium Greek yogurt or crème fraîche and some browned and spiced bits of ground pork.

You should also feel free to get creative with herbs (chives would be great) or other fun additions like caramelized onions, roasted garlic, grated carrots or zucchini. And if you really want to switch things up, go for an Indian potato skin and mix in curry powder with some low-sodium coconut yogurt. (Regular spuds just don’t stand a chance against these puppies)

For those of you with “special” kidneys, however, the classic recipe needs a major remix. Because those dear old potatoes have way too much potassium.

So I brainstormed.

I needed a kidney-friendly vegetable that could be hollowed, baked, and filled. And mushrooms, yellow crookneck squash, and a beautiful poblano pepper all fit the bill.

I hollowed them all out, rubbed them with love (and grape seed oil and pepper), nestled them on some parchment paper, and baked them at 450dg F for 10 minutes. Then I flipped them over and baked them for another 10 minutes on the other side. And finally removed them from the oven to stuff, bite, and decide the winner of the potential faux potato-skin challenge.

And here were the results.

The peppers ended up gorgeously roasted. Great for pasta. Not great for finger foods. So they got cut.

The squash softened and juiced, and when put under the broiler for 2 more minutes (no parchment paper), they got a bit crispier too, the skin acting the most like a potato. So they went through with a passing grade.

But the crimini mushrooms? They were, hands-down, the winners.

Sure, they are much softer and juicier than a typical potato skin. But their natural umami adds a lot of flavor to each small bite.

And here’s the real kicker. When you squeeze in the sides, suddenly this little cap transforms. Going from a simple stuffed mushroom to a perfect potato skin look-a-like.

So my two special friends (and all the rest of you reading this), here is a kidney and tray pass friendly treat that will have your guests guessing at your genius creativity. And probably asking for seconds.

Party on.

Low-So, Low-Po Faux Potato Skin (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Serves 4 to 6


  • 12 large crimini mushrooms, hollowed
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 lb ground pork, browned in a skillet
  • 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium FAGE Greek yogurt (or creme fraiche)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the greens of the onions
  • Optional: smoked paprika, red chili pepper flakes, chopped chives


Heat the oven to 450dg F.

Brush or rub grapeseed oil or canola oil (or another high smoke point oil) all over the mushroom skins, inside and out. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Place mushrooms open side up on a parchment-coverd baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Then flip the mushrooms over and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove them from oven and let cool enough to handle.

Arrange the mushrooms skins on a serving plate. Add a little browned, ground pork and a dollop of yogurt to each skin. Sprinkle the tops with green onions and optional spices and herbs. And serve immediately.

Alisa January 19, 2012 at 12:35 am

Umami! I love it, for awhile there, I really thought that was potato skins. Thank you so much for sharing this. The squash was interesting, another excellent recipe that I cant wait to try.

Kristi Rimkus January 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

What a terrific idea to replace the potato with scoopable veggies. I watch my sodium to keep my blood pressure in check. I’m happy to have found your blog!

jessg23 January 26, 2012 at 8:01 am

We’re happy you are here!

Stephanie January 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Hey Jess! Thanks so much for tackling this challenge for me! I am going to try to make it some time soon and will let you know how it turns out!!!

Sarah December 13, 2014 at 1:39 am

This is a really nice idea but mushrooms are high in potassium, some of us with CKD are advised to avoid them completely. I’ve been on a lot potassium diet for 8 years due to end-stage CKD and can get away with eating mushrooms (not too often) by leaching them first, which involves boiling the life out of them or soaking them for hours.

People who have an earlier stage of CKD will be ok to eat unleached mushrooms, but those on a proper low-potassium diet should definitely avoid them. Remember, for us the consequence of too much potassium is a heart attack.

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