Besides hosting March Madness and the start of Daylight Savings (don’t forget to spring forward on Sunday!) the third month of the year is known for two other celebrations—the combination of which inspired this recipe round-up . St. Patrick’s Day is coming up next weekend and National Nutrition Month is going on now!
St. Paddy’s is generally celebrated with green beers and gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins. However, since it’s also National Nutrition Month, why not mark the holiday on the 17th—and all month long—with healthier dishes sporting the festive hue? Rather than searching for a four-leaf clover, I browsed some of my favorite recipe resources to find plenty of tasty options. All of the following sides and mains contain real greens of some kind, and the desserts are lighter takes on seasonal favorites. Bonus: They’re all Friday-friendly for Lent followers, so feel free to try one (or more) today. :)
Green Bean Fries : Sure, potatoes are an Irish staple. But if you follow the lead of Peas and Thank You and swap in snappy, fresh green beans, you’ll end up with an appetizer or side dish with a fraction of the calories. (35 calories, 0 g fat)
Salsa Chickpea Lettuce Wraps : Meatless protein options are available, and this recipe is Exhibit A. These Mexican wraps from Happy Herbivore pack a satisfying 23 grams, plus the same amount of fiber for a meal that will keep you full for hours. (450 calories, 6 g fat)
Polenta with Lemony Asparagus and Chickpeas : Fat Free Vegan’s hearty meal includes spiced up seasonal veggies and creamy polenta. I’ve been meaning to try my hand at making this creamy cornmeal dish at home for eons! (276 calories, 2 g fat)
Homemade Shamrock Shake : A dairy-free (and guilt-free) swap for the McDonald’s seasonal dessert favorite designed by Iowa Girl Eats. (285 calories, 8 g fat)
Simple Green Cupcakes: These baked treats from, appropriately enough, Green Lite Bites, are the ultimate in baking trickery. Want to know what makes them emerald-colored? Shh…don’t tell the kids. It’s spinach! (153 calories, 2 g fat)
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream : I’m this close to caving and buying a blender (yes, I admit, I don’t have a very well-stocked kitchen!) so I can try Chocolate-Covered Katie’s easy, low-calorie ice cream recipes in a variety of flavors, including mint chocolate chip. (120 calories, 7 g fat)
Hungry for more? Serve up these five fun facts about the greens found in these recipes at your next dinner party:
You’ve probably heard that spinach is good for your heart and has properties that can help reduce cancer risk. But did you know that the phytochemicals found in Popeye’s favorite have been found to help prevent macular degeneration ? Hint: Grab the greenest-looking bunch at the supermarket—brighter leaves apparently pack more vitamin C !
Broccoli may be part of a hypoallergenic diet , thanks to a flavaonoid called kaempferol found in the little trees. Good to know as we head into allergy season!