What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with some green cuisine. This St. Patrick’s Day, we have several delicious and easy recipes that are healthy and green.
Fun Fact # 1: St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, and he was British—not Irish. He changed his name to Patricius (meaning “Father of the Citizens”), which later evolved into Patrick, when he became a bishop in Ireland. Despite being taken captive by pirates at a young age and spending 6 years as their servant, St. Patrick spent most of his life establishing schools, churches, and monasteries across Ireland.
- 3 avocados, pitted and peeled
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a medium bowl, mix together the avocados, lime juice, and salt.
- Stir in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic.
- Stir in cayenne pepper.
- Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor or serve immediately.
Fun Fact #2: Also known as the “Alligator Pear,” the avocado is a nutrient-dense fruit, containing upwards of 20 essential nutrients including fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, and niacin. Avocados are rife in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), including oleic acid, which seems to have a potent impact on appetite regulation. According to research published in the Nutrition Journal, eating avocado with a meal can significantly improve satisfaction and reduce the desire to snack in the hours after eating. Observational studies suggest that regular avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, a lower body weight, and better overall metabolic health. What’s more, research shows that consuming avocados alongside certain vegetables (like tomatoes) can dramatically improve the absorption of their fat-soluble phytonutrients and vitamins.
Fun Fact #3: Affectionately referred to as the “stinking rose,” garlic is rich in antioxidant polyphenols including flavonols and sulfides, of which the best known is allicin. Crushing or chopping garlic results in the release of an enzyme called allinase that catalyzes the formation of allicin, which has been touted by some researchers as the world’s most potent antioxidant. Because heat inactivates the allinase enzyme, it’s recommended to let garlic sit for 10 minutes after chopping or crushing before cooking. In addition to its potential heart health benefits (e.g., improved cholesterol and blood pressure), garlic also contains the prebiotic fiber inulin, which stimulates the growth of healthy gut bacteria (e.g., Bifidobacteria). Bacterial fermentation of prebiotic fibers leads to the production of short chain fatty acids (SFCA), which can stimulate the secretion of key appetite-regulating hormones like GLP-1 and Peptide YY.
This low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, and antioxidant rich snack is super simple to make and has a crunch factor that is off the charts. I am willing to bet that even if you have a love/hate relationship with this leafy green vegetable, you will fall in love with these healthy chips.
- 1 bunch kale
- Extra-virgin olive oil spray
- Sea salt, to taste
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly spray two large baking sheets with olive oil.
- Wash and thoroughly dry kale.
- Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite sized pieces.
- Place kale pieces on baking sheets; spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake about 10 minutes, until crispy.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (if using) and bake for another 5 minutes.
- 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 – 3 slices of organic bacon, cut into small pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Clean and trim Brussels sprouts; cut in half.
- Place Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing evenly to coat.
- Add Brussels sprouts to baking sheet (lined with foil or parchment paper) in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle bacon pieces over Brussels sprouts.
- Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Fun Fact #4: Over the past several decades, a Mediterranean Diet has been promoted as effective tool to support heart health, as this type of diet has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and many of its risk factors, including carbohydrate management, blood pressure, and lipid levels (e.g., cholesterol, triglycerides). Even more, the Mediterranean Diet has also been reported to be protective against obesity, and sure enough, numerous studies have shown that it is an effective tool for weight management. Of course, extra-virgin olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean Diet, which includes as many as eight servings of olive oil daily.
Fun Fact #5: Research has shown that olive oil may improve glycemic control and appetite management. For instance, a recent study that appeared in the journal Clinical Nutrition concluded that a higher intake of olive oil led to improved insulin sensitivity. Like avocados, olive oil is rich in oleic acid, which may help suppress hunger. In a study published in the journal Food & Function, Italian researchers found that when participants consumed two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (75% oleic acid) with lunch, they experienced significant reductions in hunger and greater satiety. What’s more, when the participants consumed the extra-virgin olive oil, they ate over 250 fewer calories (compared to when they consumed the same lunch with sunflower oil) in a subsequent meal.
Grilled Green Tomatoes
This is a twist on the Southern favorite fried green tomatoes. Since green tomatoes are more firm than red, this makes them an ideal vegetable to throw on the grill. If you have never had a green tomato, you are in for a real treat!
- 2 large green tomatoes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat your grill.
- Cut tomatoes into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Mix together olive oil, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Coat tomato slices with marinade and season with salt and pepper.
- Put the tomato slices on the preheated grill. Grill each side approximately 2 – 4 minutes, depending on thickness.
Cilantro Lime Hummus
Cilantro and lime go together like a bat and a ball, and when you add jalapeños and garlic, you have a flavor explosion. Even better, put it all together in the form of a delicious dip, and you’ve got cilantro-lime hummus.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 – 2 jalapeños, seeds removed, minced
- ¾ cup cilantro, chopped
- Purée garlic, garbanzo beans, salt, lime juice, and olive oil in a food processor or blender.
- Stir in jalapeños and cilantro.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Hulk Smash Lime Protein Shake
- 2 scoops of BioTrust Low Carb Vanilla Cream
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tbsp lime juice (more to taste)
- ½ avocado
- ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of spinach
- Put all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!
Fun Fact #6: Spinach is arguably one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find, as it is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as copious phytochemicals. As a matter of fact, spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and choline. In addition to these micronutrients, spinach is also a rich source of phytonutrients and antioxidants, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which play a crucial role in eye health, visual function and performance, cognitive function, and memory retention. Researchers have also found that consumption of a spinach extract beverage significantly reduces hunger, cravings, and body weight. Specifically, after study participants consumed a spinach extract drink, they demonstrated a 2.6-fold greater increase (compared to the placebo group) in the hormone GLP-1, which promotes satiety, regulates reward-induced food consumption, and plays an important role in the urge to eat sweet, salt, and fat (i.e., junk food).
Do you have any favorite St. Patty’s Day recipes? Maybe you have some favorite “green” recipes that you enjoy and would like to share. Either way, we’d love to hear from you!