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Lemon Parm Pasta - Printer

Lemon Parmigiano Pasta

This is one of my favorite spring and summer pasta dishes.  Requested often when I visit my friends or they come over for dinner.  In addition, it is quick and easy.


  • 1/2 lb long pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, etc.)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 lemons (zest of 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup olive o
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
  • salt/pepper
Total Time: 30 minutes

Start by putting a large pot of water on the stove, as this recipe will not take long to make.

Heat a large skillet big enough to hold the pasta, add the olive oil and onions.  After a few minutes, add the zest of the two lemons and juice from 2 and 1/2.  Reserve the other 1/2 for garnish.  Let cook for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat (this is called infusing the oil).  Cook the pasta until almost done (al dente), and then add directly to the oil mixture.  You may want to add a little pasta water to moisten up the dish.

Next, add the parsley and salt/pepper and mix.  Turn off the heat and add the parmesan.  Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, and garnish with lemon slices, more cheese, and parsley.

AmountIngredientsSodium (mg)Phosphorus (mg)Potassium (mg)
1 lb.Pasta - Spaghetti or Fettucini

1/2 cup Chopped Onion

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano


1/4 cup Fresh Parsley


Total for whole recipe

Recommended daily intake (Non CKD)
2 ozPortion size

4 ozPortion size


One of the factors we face when attempting to cook healthier meals is finding the right ingredients. All too often we as patients are given broad generalizations about certain foods. The problem is that not all items in those generalizations are created equal

The example in this recipe is Parmesan Cheese. Many people may use those green cans you buy in the grocery store. This is parmesan cheese as many people know it. The problem arises when you read the ingredient list. Among the small about of cheese - not even Parmesan by the away - are a variety of additives including cellulose. Cellulose is a natural component of many plants. A very common food additive and often wood pulp is the cheapest option. Now this isn't going to harm most people, even though it dilutes the product and you will end up using more to get the flavor you are looking for.

In patients with CKD, the kidneys are not going to easily process the added items in your food, because they are not doing their job in the first place. There are other items in this product that only add to shelf life. None of which is good for any of us.

Even those solid parmesan block pieces that are not made in the specific regions of Italy have additional ingredients that are only necessary to make the product cheaper. A true Parmesan cheese only has three ingredients: Milk, rennet (all cheese needs this), and salt. That's it. And it England and Italy if you want to call your cheese Parmigiana, you can't add anything else. It's the law. No such law in many other countries including the U.S. As a matter of fact, Parmesan really doesn't have any guidelines in those other countries.

So why does this make a difference? For one if you use the real stuff you will use less to get all the flavor you are looking for, and thus lowering your phosphorus intake. Second, by using a Parmigiana-Reggianno, you will add enough flavor that you can use less added salt to your food. Less sodium in your diet will mean you will retain less fluid. This is important because carrying extra fluid stresses the body between dialysis treatments, and also is harder on the body when removing it.

Good luck, and eat well!


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