St. Patrick’s Day is on Wednesday, March 17. Which recipes or treats are you looking forward to making this year?
- Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Irish Soda Bread
- Green Shamrock Cupcakes
- Nothing! I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Make your selection(s) and then learn how to make them healthier (but still tasty)!
St. Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day is on Wednesday, March 17. It is definitely an opportunity for good fun, and with this year’s holiday again being amidst a pandemic, food may again be a special highlight. Though traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes can be high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, it is possible to make healthier recipes that still taste great and feel festive. These are a few dishes that you can make healthier.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Cured corned beef can be packed with nitrites, while using brisket for your corned beef can lead to an excessive amount of calories and saturated fat. Instead, you can avoid nitrites by making your own version using turkey leg meat or a lean cut of beef, such as an eye of round roast or steak as suggested by Mayo Clinic. You can brine the meat and use seasoning such as peppercorns, mustard seeds, juniper berries, and cloves, and apples can provide sweetness without added sugars. Roasting your meat with as many vegetables as possible, such as cabbage, carrots, and onions, yields a filling meal with plenty of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and flavor.
Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with seasoned meat mixed with vegetables, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. It can easily be turned into a lean, nutrient-packed dish. These are some considerations for your lean mean shepherd’s pie.
- Swap mashed turnips or pureed cauliflower. Bonus: blend in milk pureed with spinach to give it a green color.
- Use lean ground turkey or lentils instead of full-fat ground beef or lamb.
- Add extra vegetables to the meat or lentils. Diced onions, mushrooms, peas, lima beans, and mixed vegetables are great options.
- Keep the meat or lentils flavorful by adding low-sodium broth.
Irish Soda Bread
Irish soda bread is a great choice for beginning bakers and old hands alike, and it is easy to make it healthier. Substituting whole-wheat flour for half of the flour adds antioxidants and fiber, and you can get more healthy fats by eliminating the butter, and adding half that amount of olive oil. You can turn it into a green delicacy by blending the milk and vinegar (or buttermilk) with fresh spinach before adding it to the recipe.
Yes, sweet treats decorated with green motifs are some of the most fun parts about St. Patrick’s Day. You can still enjoy a sweet green treat or two while eating healthy. For example, why not freeze some very ripe bananas and puree them with spinach leaves, a drop of mint extract, and a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips? Or, bake whole-wheat peanut butter oat muffins with only bananas to sweeten them, and decorate them with a shamrock cut from a green apple.
Green Food – Naturally!
Along with serving naturally green foods, such as asparagus, It is easy to make food green. If you prefer not to use green food coloring, it is possible to boil together water and fresh spinach to get a green pasty fluid that can add green color to almost anything, such as pureed frozen bananas with chopped pistachios for a healthy ice cream substitute. You can even cook whole-grain pasta in water with spinach to give it a green hue!
There are plenty of other recipes to try for more healthy St. Patrick’s Day fun. These are a few ideas.
- Irish Stew with lean beef or chicken, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms, Guinness beer, olive oil, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken broth.
- Green egg cups with egg whites, chopped fresh spinach pureed with a dash of milk, diced onions, and parmesan cheese.
- Spinach pancakes with eggs, spinach, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, and milk.
- Edamame pesto hummus made in a food processor or blender with shelled edamame (frozen and thawed), onion powder, minced garlic, basil leaves, tahini or olive oil, and lemon juice.
With pandemic restrictions taking away many of the daily diversions and routines we used to take for granted, it can be more important than ever to celebrate holidays. Also important is to keep them healthy, and that is entirely possible this St. Patrick’s Day with healthy swaps and plenty of green food!