We’re all about the green this week. (No, we’re not talking about money!) It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ve got one very vibrant color on our minds. Channel the luck of the Irish by whipping up some emerald-hued dishes to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.
But before you go mixing up Blue No. 2 and Yellow No. 6 food dyes, you’re in luck: Some of the healthiest veggies around are naturally green. From spinach-packed pancakes and smoothies to inventive eggs, celebrate the day with these lighter St. Patrick’s Day recipes. And by skipping the heavy meat and potato dishes, you’ll have plenty of room for a pint (or two!) of Guinness later.
13 Lean, Green (and Healthy!) St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
Start the day off right! You’ll get a pretty emerald hue, a hit of caffeine and the soothing flavor of green tea in this latte, all thanks to matcha. The recipe also includes coconut milk for a hint of sweetness. Use a traditional bamboo whisk (or your standard kitchen whisk) to mix it into a frothy texture. Photo and recipe: Jeanine / Love and Lemons
Put a festive spin on your morning routine by using green peppers to mimic four-leaf clovers. Be sure to select peppers that have four “humps,” or distinct sections, so they’ll resemble shamrocks when you slice them. Photo and recipe: Christine / Zestuous
Light and fluffy, these festive flapjacks have no added sugar or oil. Spinach gives your stack a boost of folate and B vitamins, plus Greek yogurt increases the protein so you’ll feel full ‘til lunchtime. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup for a hit of sugar! Photo and recipe: Caroline / Chocolate and Carrots
Skip the green beer and sip on this lovely soup instead. Customize it based on what combinations of lettuce you’ve got in your crisper. (Iceberg, watercress, rocket and spinach all work.) At just 50 calories a serving, it’s a delicious and light starter for lunch or dinner. Photo and recipe: Karen / Lavender and Lovage
Did you know that a 16-ounce serving of McDonald’s Shamrock has 660 calories and the same amount of sugar as four cupcakes? Ditch the artificial flavors and make this better-for-you version. A whopping 21 grams of protein will give you enough energy to fete all day long. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn
Save yourself some carbs by opting for zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta. Use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to cut the green summer squash into thin strips, then toss with your favorite basil-based pesto and some cherry tomatoes. Photo and recipe: Maria / Two Peas and Their Pod
If you’re entertaining, fuel a crowd by whipping up this healthy appetizer. By using Greek yogurt and avocados instead of sour cream and mayo, you’ll still get that creamy texture without all the unhealthy fat. Serve your dip with a big plate of raw vegetables and invite guests to dig in! Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn
With 32 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein, this delicious breakfast, snack or dessert bowl will leave you full and happy. The chia seeds and matcha (where the green color comes from) also provide a dash of antioxidants. Just let it sit in your fridge to get that thick pudding consistency. Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by Daily Burn
RELATED: 14 Creative Chia Seed Recipes
Your friends will never guess that there’s spinach hiding in this icy treat. Though it has zero dairy, this recipe still has a creamy texture thanks to two frozen bananas. (Be sure to freeze them when they’re as ripe as possible, since the ripening will increase the natural sweetness.) Photo and recipe: Katie / Chocolate-Covered Katie
Kick off your day with an egg muffin that’s basically a nutritional pot of gold! Ham, spinach and eggs pack a triple protein whammy — you’ll get a whole 38 grams. Store leftovers in the freezer and reheat them all week long for easy, on-the-go breakfast. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn
An entire six-ounce bag of spinach gives these muffins their vibrant hue. (Plus, it means they’re totally Popeye-approved!) They’ll have a hint of sweetness thanks to maple syrup and two bananas, which will cut the bitter taste of the greens. Photo and recipe: Pamela / Pamela Salzman
This protein shake has nothing but the good stuff: all-natural protein powder, apple, kale, almond milk, cucumber and lemon. At 290 calories and 28 grams of protein, it’s substantial enough to replace breakfast or lunch if you’re on-the-go. Raise a glass and say “sláinte!” Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn
A sweet, good-for-you treat! This healthy, antioxidant-rich take on peanut butter cups don’t just look pretty, they taste yummy too. The coconut butter turns the powered green tea into a candy-like filling, while almond flour adds a nutty flavoring. Dark chocolate just rounds out the deliciousness. Photo and recipe: Kristy / Keepin’ It Kind
Originally posted March 2015. Updated March 2017.