Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

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We’re all about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with some green grub. It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and you’ve got one very vibrant color on your mind. 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 and herbs around are naturally green. Give some of these a try!

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice

Coarse salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, limejuice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork. Serves 4.

Avocado Fries

Canola oil for frying

1/4 cup flour

About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 large eggs, beaten to blend

1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/4 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates. Dip avocado in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.

Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Serves 6, each serving contains: Calories 271, Protein 5.5 g, Fat 21 g, Carbohydrate 16 g,

Fiber 2.1 g, Sodium 119 mg, Cholesterol 71 mg.

St. Patrick’s Day Snack Mix

This is a few ways to mix up a healthier “green” or Irish” snack!

Spicy-Sweet Power Mix


2 parts wasabi peas

1 part cashews

1 part white chocolate chips

Classic “Irish” Snack Mix


1 part green chocolate candies (such as M&M’s)

3 parts pretzels

1 part no-sugar-added banana chips

1 part unsalted almonds

1 part bittersweet chocolate chips

Gold Coin Snack Mix


1 part apple chips

1 part coconut chips

1 part banana chips

1/2 part pretzels

1/2 part unsalted roasted almonds

1/2 part cashews

1/2 part white chocolate chips

Salsa Verde Chicken

1 cup basil leaves, packed

1 cup cilantro, packed

1/2 cup parsley, packed

1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 small shallot, chopped

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 lime

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh is best)

Salt & pepper

1 lb. chicken breasts

Extra virgin olive oil for grilling

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a blender. Blend until pureed

Combine chicken breasts with half the salsa mixture in a large bowl, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.

Heat a stovetop grill pan (or outdoor grill if it’s not 8 degrees where you are) over medium heat and grease with extra virgin olive oil.

Place chicken breasts on grill pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. This will depend on how thick your chicken is. Once cooked through, remove from grill pan and spoon remaining salsa over the top of each chicken breast. Serve with a lime wedge and garnish with cilantro.


Bang Bang Brussels Sprouts

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce

1 tbsp. sriracha

Juice of 1 lime

2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (quartered if large)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425º. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice.

On a large baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts in sauce until fully coated. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until slightly charred and tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve.

2leaveslarge bunches of Kaletorn

1poundfresh mushroomssliced

2tablespoonsolive oil


2clovesgarlicminced or grated

2tablespoonsfresh thymechopped





1cupmilkI used 2%

1cupchicken brothor veggie broth

1/4cupheavy cream or canned coconut milk

4cupscooked wild rice

1 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese shredded (or Swiss)

2tablespoonsolive oil

2large sweet onionssliced into thin rings

Salt and pepper Grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish. Set aside.

Heat a very large skillet (the largest you have!) over medium-high heat. Add all of the torn kale to the skillet and add 1 cup of water. Cover the skillet and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the kale is wilted. Once the kale is wilted and all of the water has been absorbed, remove the kale from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the skillet is hot, sprinkle in the mushrooms in a single layer. Don’t stir them! Let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Now add the butter to the skillet and cook until the butter begins to brown. Once the butter is browned reduce the heat and add the garlic, thyme and nutmeg and cook for about 10 seconds. Now add the kale back to the skillet with the mushrooms, garlic and spices and toss well.

Sprinkle the flour over the kale and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes or until there is a thick sauce. Add the cream and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked wild rice. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Now wipe the skillet and add the olive oil, cook over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle half the cheese over the casserole and then add the onions and the remaining cheese. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the onions are crispy. Serve!

Green Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb. macaroni noodles

2 Tablespoons butter

1 yellow onion, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

6 cups packed fresh spinach

½ cup boiling water

½ cup butter

½ cup flour

2 cups milk

8 ounces white cheddar, grated

8 ounces fontina, grated

Kosher salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until just shy of al dente (about 6 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. **Before draining pasta, remove ½ cup of boling water for the spinach)

In a small pan, melt the butter and add the onions and jalapeno. Let them gently cook over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes. Set aside.

In the jar of a blender, add the 6 cups of spinach and the boiling water. You probably need to use a spoon to push the spinach down. Blend to a fine, bright green puree.

In the pot that you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until smooth and cook over low heat about 1 minute. Add the milk and stir until very smooth. Simmer about 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened. Add the cheese and stir and stir until melted, very smooth and thickened. Add the spinach puree and stir until smooth. Season to taste with Kosher salt. Pour the pasta into the pot of sauce, and add the onions and jalapeno and toss until everything is well combined.

Pour the macaroni into a 9x13x2” baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes until golden around the edges. Serve Hot! Serves 12.

St. Patrick’s Day Muffins

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, or white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt

1 large egg

¾ cup pure maple syrup

¾ cup dairy or non-dairy milk

¼ cup coconut oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 5- or 6-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach leaves

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a blender add egg, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla and spinach. Process until pureed.

Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the mashed banana. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about ¾ full. I like to do this with a large ice cream scooper. Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Store at room temperature up to 3 days. Yields 12.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Mar 3, 2017
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