Go Green, Eat Clean

By Brenna O’Dea

Our favorite holiday is right around the corner! St. Patrick’s Day does not call for gift giving, costume parties, or excuses to eat ridiculous amounts of baked goods and salted meats, but it does bring something special to the table…the color GREEN! Leprechauns creep me out, and I think Lucky Charms are gross, but who cares? Green food is good food, and we’ve got some tricks and treats to make this St. Patty’s Day your yummiest one yet.

Mint Chip

IT’S ALMOST ICE CREAM SEASON. Okay, honestly, it’s always ice cream season. But it is almost socially acceptable and physically possible to stroll through the streets with the sun shining on your face and some delicious dairy dripping down the side of the cone…without your hands freezing off. We just want to get a head start. A healthy head start. This mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe calls for avocado. Yup. Ya heard it right. And if you opt for the raw cacao nibs, this is just about the healthiest damn ice cream you’ll ever sink your spoon into. This particular recipe does not include green food coloring, and we are just fine with that because, hey, those fresh mint leaves add plenty of color for our hungry eyes. But…if you do want something even brighter and bolder, try this tasty treat on for size. Basically the same safe ingredients, with just a few drops of green for a lil’ extra fun. I’ve always believed that green mint chip ice cream tastes better than white, because, well, IT DOES. Just like blue m&ms taste WAY better than all the rest, right? Anyway, as long as these food-coloring-filled indulgences are kept to special occasions, go for it. Life’s to short to miss out on some sweetness. And perhaps after your little one falls in love with green ice cream, they will go gaga over green veggies next.

Kale Chip

I remember when I first heard of this strange specialty. Kale? In chip form? What the hell…fast forward a few years and about a dozen batches later, I have finally mastered the kale chip and actually fallen in love with it. That might be a bit dramatic…but I have discovered ways to make kale chips not just tolerable, but DELICIOUS. There are two secrets to this green snack from the gods. Both yellow. Both nutrient packed and full of flavor. You probably already guessed the first one…turmeric. Duh. The super spice. Fighting inflammation and adding that extra kick to each crunchy bite. But the second one is a bit more elusive. Don’t let the name freak you out…nutritional yeast. Yep. Yeast. Don’t worry! It’s dead! This yeast is inactive and will not cause your belly to rise like dough. Still not convinced? Well then just taste it. It seriously tastes just like cheese. I promise. This crazy good kale chip recipe uses turmeric, nutritional yeast, along with healthy fats from your oil of choice and some garlic for even more flavor. Even little ones with love their kale when it is this crispy and crunchy. And they can certainly take charge in the kitchen on this one. Simply wash, dry, and rip up those leaves, and then sprinkle on your favorite spices. Snack time will never be the same.

Pasta

Pesto pasta to be more specific. You may remember gushing about pesto pasta wayyy back in summertime when we weren’t worried about Snow Storm Stella derailing our spring break plans. Well today I bring you two new takes on this special sauce, and this time, your pasta will be packed with SUPERFOODS. Kale and walnuts make this green stuff creamy, dreamy, and delicious. With a lil’ salt, pepper, and of course some cheese and oil, the whole family will dig in and never guess that the main ingredient is KALE. For the even more adventurous diners at your dinner table, whip up a batch of this beautiful green goo made with pumpkin seeds and believe it or not…BROCCOLI.

Puree

A baby’s first bite. It can make or break EVERYTHING. Just kidding. Your little one may not be fond of green veggies for the first few weeks, months, or even years…but soon enough, they are bound to find at least one or two green goodies that they can get down with. For me, an early favorite was green peas. This is a pretty common one for tiny tastebuds. Naturally sweet and bite size, and perfect for pureeing. Let’s start with the basics. This super simple recipe calls for only a handful of ingredients: the peas of course, plus some parmesan, garlic, yogurt and mint. Begin with this base and add in any spices your hungry heart desires. Make it smoother with some olive oil, or sneak in some other green veggies for good measure. Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, anything really. It will all blanch and blend beautifully into one simple green dish to delight all your diners (even your teeny tiny toothless babes!)

We hope these recipes make your St. Patty’s Day a bit brighter, healthier, and of course, YUMMIER. And remember, if a kale salad doesn’t do it for ya, some green ice cream might just do the trick.

(Image by flickr member Ileana de la Parte licensed under Creative Commons)

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