March 13, 2017

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Menu Alternatives

Vegetarian or vegan alternatives to shepherd's pie are great options.
When you think of enjoying a meal on St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef sandwiches, cabbage and a pint of stout likely spring to mind. However, students in online culinary certificate programs should consider different approaches to preparing dishes for the occasion. You can get creative with dining on March 17 by making items that are both delicious and healthy.

Here a few recipe ideas to try out this year:

“Get the holiday off to a festive start with green muffins.”

1. Start the day with green muffins
Getting the holiday off to a festive start is easy when you bake a batch of muffins with green coloring. Pamela Salzman provided a recipe that skips the artificial dyes in favor of spinach, a vegetable rich in vitamin K and other nutrients. Start by combining whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In a blender, puree an egg with maple syrup, milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and spinach. Stir the spinach mixture into the flour. Fold in two mashed bananas.

Transfer the batter to a muffin tin with liners so each cup is about three-quarters full. Place the muffin tin in an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, using a toothpick to test for doneness.

2. Dig into a mini shepherd’s pie
Shepherd’s pie is an Irish pub classic. EatingWell suggested giving the dish a more wholesome twist by making miniature pies with a topping of pureed squash. First, saute onion in extra-virgin olive oil over a medium heat.

After about 2 minutes, add ground beef, flour and tomato paste. Lower the heat to medium and stir as the beef begins to brown. Then, stir in beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil.

When the broth thickens, throw in spinach with salt and garlic powder, cooking until the spinach wilts. Take the skillet off the burner, and prepare the topping by combining squash with more salt and garlic powder. Divide the meat and topping among several ramekins, and set them on a baking sheet.

Broil for about 10 minutes, watching for the edges to bubble and the pies to heat through. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan on top and cook another three minutes.

3. Enjoy a nutrient-packed shamrock shake
A green milkshake is a delicious treat for St. Patrick’s Day. Chocolate Covered Katie provided a way to enjoy the fun and taste with ingredients that are also good for you. It begins with peeling and freezing an overripe banana that’s begun to turn brown.

Place the banana in a blender with cacao nibs, a quarter teaspoon of peppermint extract, a cup of milk and a quarter cup of spinach. Blend the mixture until it’s smooth and enjoy the minty, chocolaty flavor with minimal guilt.

You can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day while still eating healthy. If you’re a culinary academy student, the occasion is a great chance to explore new recipes and natural methods for coloring your dishes green. Give these recipes a try and you may soon establish a new holiday tradition.