These St. Patrick’s Day Treats Are All Kinds of Green

Dyeing your food green for St. Patrick’s Day may have felt like a good idea when you were younger. Now, however, the idea of having green food coloring added to your scrambled eggs, cookies, and beer seems less and less appealing with each passing year. This St. Patrick’s Day, Plated is here to help you create a festive menu that uses naturally green foods that you will actually want to eat. So swap that green beer for a green smoothie, and start your celebrations off the right way!

Kale + ginger smoothie

This green smoothie will help you start the day off on the right foot, especially if you have an evening of boozy festivities ahead (it is St. Patrick’s Day, after all!). If you’re not one to usually go for green smoothies—trust us, this one is different. With a touch of sweetness from the peaches and mango, and a little zing from the ginger and lemon, this smoothie will wake you up and fill you up as an easy, on-the-go breakfast or tasty midday snack.

(adapted from Minimalist Baker, serves 2)

1 cup ice
2 cups kale, packed, fresh or frozen
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1 cup frozen peaches
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from approximately 2 lemons)
1 1/2–2 cups filtered water
Honey, to taste (optional)


Add ice to the blender first and crush. Then add kale, mango, peaches, ginger, lemon juice (starting with two tablespoons and working your way up) and 1 cup water to start.  Blend until smooth, only adding water a little at a time as needed, and scraping down the sides/mixing as needed.

Once well blended, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If too tart, add more fruit or a little honey. For more zing, add more ginger. For more acidity, add more lemon juice. To make it thicker/colder, add more ice. Blend as needed. Serve immediately. Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Matcha pancakes

With a little help from these pancakes, you can start your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations bright and early! These vibrant green pancakes get their hue from the addition of matcha powder (a finely milled Japanese green tea), rather than food coloring. On top of adding a pop of color, the matcha gives these pancakes a subtle earthy, nutty flavor that balances well with maple syrup.

(adapted from Diane Abroad to serve 4)

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter (plus more for greasing skillet)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons matcha powder
3  teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coconut oil or melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt, and whisk just until the batter comes together. The batter may and should be lumpy.

Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Brush with coconut oil or butter. Using a 1/4 cup measure, dollop circles of pancake batter onto skillet. Wait until bubbles appear and pop on the surface, then flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so.

Stack pancakes on a plate and serve hot with butter, maple syrup, and berries.

Kale chips

Kale is everywhere these days, from our salads to our smoothies, but have you ever tried eating kale…like a chip? Kale turns into a crispy, golden, crunchy snack when baked in the oven with a little salt. Plus, once they’re baked, they hold up well to nearly any flavor. Feeling cheesy? Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on those kale chips. Feeling spicy? Kale chips hold up well to red pepper flakes and Sriracha. The possibilities are endless.

Avocado mac + cheese

Avocado may be the most beloved green food out there (hello, avo toast). And, while there are tons of ways you can use this tasty green ingredient on St. Patrick’s Day, we particularly love it as a way to add some color, flavor, and heartiness to your favorite mac + cheese. For an extra green boost and flavor kick, this recipe also adds in fresh cilantro and lime juice. Now that’s what we call a powerhouse green meal, no food coloring needed.

(Adapted from Two Peas and their Pod)

10 ounces dry elbow macaroni
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh avocado chunks, for garnish


Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add in macaroni. Stir and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, place the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve warm, garnished with fresh avocado chunks.

Basil hummus

There’s no reason your snacks can’t be green, too! Mixing fresh basil and toasted pine nuts into your favorite hummus recipe will give you all the best flavors of pesto in a dippable, snackable form. What could be better? To give this extra St. Patty’s Day vibes, serve with green vegetables like celery, zucchini, and broccoli.

(Adapted from Simply Recipes)

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3 cloves garlic, smashed then minced
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
Up to 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Hot sauce, to taste


Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet on medium high heat, stirring them as they start to brown. When most of them have lightly browned, remove them from the pan into a bowl to cool. Reserve a few pine nuts for garnish.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the basil leaves and the garlic until finely chopped. Add the rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, tomato paste, and a few dashes of hot sauce.

Pulse several times, for several seconds each time, until the hummus is smooth. Add more hot sauce, salt, and lemon juice to taste. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

To serve, scoop into a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Sprinkle with reserved toasted pine nuts. Serve with pita wedges, crackers, bread, or sliced vegetables.

Zucchini noodles with pesto

Zucchini noodles—or “zoodles,” to those in the know— are the perfect solution for when you’re craving a big bowl of noodles, but also trying to add some greens to your meal. If you’ve never made zucchini noodles before, fear not—we have a whole guide for that. They’re super easy to make, and serving them with dollops of homemade walnut pesto on top makes this an ultra green, St. Patrick’s Day approved recipe.

2 cups zucchini noodles, from approximately 2 long zucchini
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons walnuts, plus extra for garnish
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Combine basil leaves, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced. With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine.

In a bowl, mix pesto with zucchini noodles until well coated.  Finely chop reserved walnuts and sprinkle on top of the dressed noodles. Serve immediately.

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