Faith and begorrah! Can you believe that another St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner? In my house, that means it’s time to dig out my favorite green dress and pin on a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button. (Okay, I’m actually Italian. But everybody is at least a little bit Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, right?)
And since I’m a foodie, you know I’m going to center my St. Patrick’s Day celebration around green foods. Here’s a countdown of my top ten favorite green goodies to put on the table on March 17:
Who doesn’t love avocados? They’re brimming with fatty acids that erase wrinkles and protect your heart, and they’re creamy and delicious to boot. Turn them into guacamole, and you’ll have the perfect accompaniment for anything from steak to crudités.
It’s super-easy to make a Paleo/Primal guacamole. Just mash up two or three avocados with a good shot of lime juice and add a little salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, stir in some finely minced shallot or onion, some finely chopped tomato and jalapeño, and a little cilantro as well. Speaking of which…
Also known as Chinese parsley, this herb is a favorite of cultures around the world because of its spicy taste and its ability to “detox” the body. I like to chop up an entire bunch and add it to salsa, and it also makes a tasty alternative to basil pesto.
By the way, here’s an interesting thing about cilantro. Did you know that people with certain gene variants linked to the sense of smell absolutely hate cilantro? If some of your family members shun any dish with cilantro, cut them some slack because they might fall into this category.
#8: Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, and I love how it warms me right up on a brisk spring day. Better yet, research shows that green tea protects your skin against sun damage — the primary cause of wrinkles.
These little fruits are packed with cancer-fighting flavonoids and have powerful antibiotic effects as well. And of course, they’re full of vitamin C, too. So celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by tossing lime slices into a good potato vodka and adding soda water and a shot of lime juice. And if you have friends over, here’s a good Irish toast you can share with them: “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”
Whenever I over-indulge in salty foods and wake up all puffy the next day, I reach for the parsley right away. That’s because it’s one of Mother Nature’s most effective diuretics. And here’s another tip: It’ll freshen your breath fast—so if you eat too much garlic during a romantic St. Paddy’s Day dinner, sneak a bite of your parsley garnish while your date isn’t looking.
But parsley isn’t just for garnishes. If you’ve never tried a parsley salad, you’re in for a treat! Check out this Paleo- and Primal-friendly recipe from Alton Brown, over at the Food Network’s site.
Kale is a super-food that’s dense in nutrients including healthy fatty acids, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. And if you’re having a crowd over to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, kale chips are a fun finger food. There are a million different recipes for kale chips on the Internet; here’s one of my own.
This herb, everyone’s favorite pesto ingredient, is rich in vitamin K, manganese, copper, and other nutrients. A dose of basil can protect your cells from damage, help you fight off bacterial infections, and reduce pro-aging inflammation.
I toss basil into everything from frittatas to soups and salads (where it pairs beautifully with tomatoes), and I love to use basil pesto as an accompaniment to beef, chicken, lamb, or fish dishes. It’s so versatile that it nearly always finds its way on to my St. Paddy’s Day table.
Did you know that these cute little fruits contain more vitamin C than the same amount of an orange? They’re also loaded with vitamin K, and they’re an excellent source of copper. I toss them in smoothies or just eat them out of hand. If you’re entertaining company, on St. Patrick’s Day, kiwis are fun to add to a fruit tray—or you can create festive drinks by tossing kiwi slices into glasses of vodka and tonic.
#2: Brussels Sprouts
What’s more Irish than cabbage? And my family loves these little babies, which are members of the cabbage family. They’re packed with vitamin C, folate, and fiber, and there are a million ways to use them. (Here’s a tip: Try slicing them in half, sautéing them with bacon, and serving them with a frittata for your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. Yum.)
#1: And My Favorite—Green Paleo Jello!
C’mon, you know I’m not talking about that stuff out of a box here. Instead, I’m talking about made-from-scratch gelatin that’s totally real and natural. It’s fun to make, it’s delicious, and kids and adults both love it—plus it’s a powerful gut healer masquerading as dessert. And, as they say in those TV infomercials, there’s more: It even fights wrinkles! You’ll find my easy recipe for this yummy, jiggly St. Patrick’s Day treat here.
So there you have it—the top ten green foods on my St. Paddy’s Day menu. Add them to your own holiday meals, and have yourself a happy, healthy St. Patrick’s Day. Oh, and here’s another classic Irish toast you can offer up if you’re serving your guests my lime or kiwi vodka drinks:
Saint Patrick was a gentleman
Who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland
Here’s a drinkee to his health!
But not too many drinkees
Lest we lose ourselves and then…
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see them snakes again!
Keep thinking big and living bold!