Easy Tips and Fun Menu Ideas for a Healthier St. Patrick’s Day
March 2021 Issue
By Chef Lynn Michelle—The East Coast Chef
Photography by TR Love, TR Media World
St. Patrick’s Day has long been one of the most fun and festive food holidays. Although the type of “green” foods traditionally associated with St. Patrick’s Day aren’t known for being particularly healthy, (who hasn’t enjoyed a pint, or three, of green beer, or a McDonald’s signature Shamrock Shake?) you don’t have to pass on enjoying delicious foods and beverages in order to stick to a healthy lifestyle diet. Thanks to the fact that many favorite vegetables are naturally green, and by making a few simple substitutions in some traditional food and beverage favorites, it can be easy to “go green” and eat healthy this St. Patrick’s Day without sacrificing any of the festivity.
From the proven health benefits of superfoods, like using green, leafy spinach as the base for a delicious spinach salad, to a delectable, light-and-airy, green mint, dream dessert that is a quick, and healthy St. Patrick’s Day treat with just a few healthy substitutions. It tastes like a dream! And that Green Beer? For those who want to forego traditional green food dye used to obtain that beloved St. Patty’s Day green, there are options to go with products that are more natural. Health enthusiasts point to a number of options for what is often the green drink of the day: wheatgrass; spinach; spirulina and matcha, although they may not produce as vibrant a green as traditional food dye, and will slightly alter the taste of your drink.
While legend has it that “following the rainbow” may lead you to a pot of gold, I guarantee following these simple, healthy recipes can lead you to good health one delicious, simmering pot at a time. Let’s Eat!
Spinach & Strawberry Salad
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto
1 (8 oz) package fresh Spinach, stems removed
¼ cup Red onion, finely sliced
6 slices Bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (optional)
8 Strawberries, washed and sliced
3 Eggs, boiled and chopped (optional)
1 cup Olive oil
¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
½ cup Ketchup, (no sugar added optional)
1/3 medium Onion
¾ cup Sugar (¼ cup Splenda for sugar-free option)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsps Pepper
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. This will make extra dressing, use about ¾ cup on the salad. Pour a little at a time, and add more if desired.
Sautéed Herbed Scallops
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Pescatarian | Keto
¼ cup Butter
1 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 lb Scallops, extremely dry (dry out on paper towels)
Blend together garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and Old Bay and Set aside. Wash and clean the scallops, removing the small side muscle off the edge of scallop. (Every scallop may not have this small tough muscle still attached.) Place washed scallops on a stack of paper towels, with paper towels on top, too, to dry them off extremely well. Secret: The drier the scallop, the nicer your sauté crust will be. When the scallops are dry, season well with the spice mixture. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add scallops, cook for 2 minutes on each side (depending on size of scallop or until desired consistency).
White Truffle Grits
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
2 ½ cups Water
1 cup Stone ground grits
1 tsp Sea salt
1-2 tsps White truffle oil
1 tsp Pepper
1 stick Butter (use vegan butter for vegan option)
2 cups of heavy cream (use oatmilk for vegan option)
3 tsps Fig balsamic vinegar (optional for added flavor)
Bring 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 ½ cups of water and butter to a medium simmer. Add grits and stir until mixture simmers again. Add salt and pepper, cover and continue to stir and simmer on low for 20 minutes. (Add more water or grits, if needed) Add white truffle oil a little at a time and fig balsamic to the grits. Leave on low and continue to stir. Remove pot from burner, turn off the stove and let sit for about 10 minutes. Season to taste, if needed.
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Pescatarian | Keto
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsps Pernod, French liquor (optional)
1/8 tsp Pepper
1 small clove Garlic, finely minced
2 lbs Kosher rock salt
1/2 cup Butter, cubed (vegan butter)
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
1 pkg Fresh spinach, stems removed, chopped
1 cup Romano cheese, grated (vegan parmesan cheese)
3 dozen Fresh oysters in the shell, washed and shucked
Hollandaise Sauce from a Knorr packet, follow directions, and (optional) add tarragon and more Pernod for extra flavor.
In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender, then add minced garlic, spinach and Pernod; cook and stir until wilted. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, lemon juice and pepper. Spread kosher rock salt onto 2 ungreased 15x10x1 in” baking pans. Shuck oysters, reserving oyster and its liquid in bottom shell. Lightly press oyster shells down into the salt, using salt to keep oysters level. Top each oyster with 21/2 tsps spinach mixture. Bake uncovered at 450° until oysters are plump, approximately 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately. Top with Hollandaise Sauce (optional).
Gluten-free | Vegetarian
1 Pint Heavy cream or Non-dairy Cool Whip
2 tsps Peppermint extract, or ¼ cup Crème De Menthe
2 drops green Food coloring or 2 Tbsps cooked Spinach juice (optional to make green)
3 Tbsps Sugar (or 2 Tbsps Splenda)
In a large mixing bowl, mix heavy cream and sugar or Splenda on high until soft peaks are formed. Add peppermint extract (or green Crème De Menthe) and continue to mix on high until stiff peaks are formed. (If using Cool Whip, mix with peppermint extract and desired food coloring.) Serve over gluten-free cake, gluten-free fudgy brownies (recipe below), or fresh mixed berries.
Gluten-free Fudgy Brownies
Gluten-free | Vegetarian
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ tsp Baking soda
2/3 cup gluten-free Flour
1 tsp Vanilla
½ cup Nuts, chopped (walnuts and pecans are great options)
In a medium saucepan heat and stir butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat until smooth; set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 F°. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch of the paper extending over the ends of pan. Grease paper and set pan aside. Stir the sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in vanilla. In a small bowl stir together the flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. If desired, stir in nuts. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using the overlapping paper to lift brownies. Place on cutting board and cut into squares.
Chef Lynn Michelle is a personal chef located on Hilton Head Island serving the entire Lowcountry. Whether it’s preparing healthy, gourmet, family-style meals, or expertly creating elaborate dinner parties, Chef Lynn and her team do it all—planning, shopping, cooking and clean up. www.cheflynnmichelle.com (843) 422-5280