8 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes That Won’t Weigh You Down

8 Healthy St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Saint Patrick’s Day purportedly celebrates the patron saint of Ireland who brought Christianity to the country. You’d never guess that these days, with a holiday that celebrates heavy eating, drinking and debauchery. But since we believe in the health benefits of Guinness, we wanted to save room with lighter versions of the heavy traditional fare. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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Healthy Irish Soda Bread - Fannetast

1. Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Over on the Emerald Isle, traditional Irish soda bread is a simple recipe, made only with flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda. It’s only in the United States that egg and butter are often added, making the bread a heavier dish. This whole-wheat version uses vegan buttermilk and fruit to cut calories but not taste. Photo and Recipe: Anne / Fannetastic Food

Paleo Shepherd's Pie - Healthy Foodie

2. Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
Don’t tell Uncle Patrick, but this Paleo version of Shepherd’s Pie uses cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Our favorite cruciferous vegetable adds more fiber and nutrition than a tater ever could! The recipe also substitutes Brussels sprouts and turnips to make this a dish even a caveman could love. Photo and Recipe: Sonia / The Healthy Foodie

Fuss Free Cooking - Sweet Potato Colcannon

3. Sweet Potato Colcannon
Everyone’s favorite leafy green superfood, kale has been in vogue for the past few years, but the Irish were way ahead of this trend. Legend has it that the dish of kale and mashed potatoes was used to predict marriage; a ring was hidden in the platter, and the one who found it would marry that year. We think this version with sweet potatoes is even more lucky — the orange root vegetable has far more health benefits than those plain old Idahos. Photo and Recipe: Emily / Fuss Free Cooking

Food Fanatic - Irish Beef and Vegetable Pie

4. Irish Beef and Vegetable Pie
Every culture has its version of a doughy delicacy, and the Irish are no different. The traditional meat pie is a carb-heavy puff pastry with beef inside, but this take on the recipe adds parsnips, carrots and cabbage to up the vegetable ante. Photo and Recipe: Emily / Food Fanatic

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Peaceful Plate - Healthy Irish Breakfast Scone

5. Healthy Irish Breakfast Scone
The traditional scone evokes memories of breakfast at a charming B&B in the foggy Irish countryside — and of a pastry that sits in your stomach like a rock and causes a dastardly sugar crash. Slower-burning dried fruit is substituted for sugar so this treat can fuel you, not weigh you down. Photo and Recipe: Noelle / Peaceful Plate

Healthy Irish Brown Bread - The Parsley Thief

6. Healthy Irish Brown Bread
Lacking a stove, many Irish bakers turned to brown bread, which they could make over coals in a cast iron pan. Even with a stove, it’s still a delightful dish. With whole-wheat flour and no added sugar or sweetener, this authentic adaptation leaves plenty of room to pair it with your favorite fruit jam! Photo and Recipe: Katie / The Parsley Thief 

Baked Corned Beef - Barefeet in the Kitchen

7. Baked Corned Beef
While many think of corned beef and cabbage as an Irish tradition, it’s actually an Irish-American tradition, born from the abundance of beef in the United States. The name comes from the brining technique of curing the beef with corns of salt, and can easily up the sodium content to one-third of the recommended daily value. Baking the beef instead gives it a milder flavor, while helping to eliminate bloating. Photo and Recipe: Mary / Barefeet in the Kitchen

Vegan Shepherd's Stew - Produce on Parade

8. Vegan Shepherd’s Stew
We don’t think Irish shepherds were vegan, but if you prefer to keep animal products out of your diet, that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in this meat-heavy holiday. This hearty, comforting shepherd’s stew is packed with vegetables and tofu that will fill you up with the luck of the Irish. Photo and Recipe: Katie / Produce on Parade

Originally posted on March 14, 2014. Updated March 2015.

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