Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Drop the food dye—these tasty sips, soups, salads, snacks, and sweets all get their green color the natural way. 

Cooking Light
February 14, 2018

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day—and from green-dyed beer to emerald green-frosted cupcakes, you’ll likely find a plethora of green foods and drinks to celebrate the Emerald Isle. While we’re all for going green on St. Patrick’s Day, we’re not so big on the artificial dyes that you often find in these festive foods.

RELATED: 10 Unexpected Places You Might Find Food Dye

But who needs green food dye when you can get the same effect from nature? From avocados to cucumbers to peas to kale, there are loads of delicious, healthy, and chlorophyll-packed ingredients right in front of you. And while we encourage packing as much green onto your plate as possible everyday, there’s no better time to do it than on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve pulled together our best healthy green recipes to help you eat nutritiously all day long.

Sip on green smoothies made with kale, and cocktails flavored with cucumber and mint. Snack on guacamole, hummus, and avocado toast, and chill out with a light lunch of cucumber gazpacho or ultra-nutritious salad packed with, quite literally, all the green things. You’ll also find ice pops, doughnuts, and chocolate bark made with matcha, an earthy-flavored and antioxidant-packed ingredient.

Matcha-Tahini Latte

Photo: Jamie Vespa

Before the revelry starts, boost your energy with this delicious, matcha-inspired take on a classic latte. Matcha, which is essentially green tea in powder form, is praised for its energizing effects, wealth of antioxidants, and “calm-alertness” qualities thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine. 

Get the Recipe: Matcha-Tahini Latte

Kale-Ginger Smoothie

Greg DuPree

This green-tinted smoothie stars everyone' s favorite OG superfood—kale. The natural sweetness of the banana downplays the earthy notes of the kale, while ginger adds a delightful morning zing. Chia seeds amp up fiber and protein, plus they’re one of the richest plant sources of heart-healthy alpha-linoleic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). 

Get the Recipe: Kale-Ginger Smoothie

Cucumber-Mint Tequila Tonic

Photo: Randy Mayor

This refreshing cocktail boasts a spectacular green tint, and it's made with plenty of tasty green ingredients—fresh mint, cilantro leaves, lime, and cucumber. A small amount of agave nectar mellows the boozy punch of blanco tequila, but you can substitute vodka or gin if you prefer.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber-Mint Tequila Tonic

Matcha Green Beer

Photo: Ivan Yeh

Yes, there's a healthier way to drink green beer on St. Patrick's Day! We combine matcha powder with lemon juice and light beer for an ultra-refreshing libation that's fit for daytime imbibing. 

Get the Recipe: Matcha Green Beer

Thai Sesame Edamame

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Salty and satisfying, edamame is a nutrient-dense, between-meals bite you can feel good about. Thanks to this easy recipe, a favorite bar snack becomes a healthy, at-home treat in a matter of minutes. Look for whole edamame pods in the freezer section of your grocery store.

Get the Recipe: Thai Sesame Edamame

Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Frozen green peas and parsley combine for a super simple and speedy dip that's perfect for St. Patrick's Day snacking. To make this recipe even more festive, pair with a selection of green crudites such as celery, cucumber, and haricots verts. 

Get the Recipe: Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Brussels Sprouts Chips

If you love kale chips, then you'll want to try Brussels sprouts chips. These delicate, bite-sized snacks elevate our favorite cruciferous veggie to a new level of delicious. Roasting the individual leaves in a hot oven renders them crispy and irresistible. Dip them in a simple Sriracha mayo sauce, use them as a garnish for pan-seared fish, or sprinkle them over a whole grain salad. 

Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Chips

Simple Guacamole

Guacamole may be high in fat, but luckily it's the good stuff—heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Our simple recipe needs just five ingredients and takes less than five minutes to make. We throw in chopped cilantro for flavor, but it's totally optional. Enjoy with a side of your favorite tortilla chips or crunchy carrot sticks.

Get the Recipe: Simple Guacamole

Avocado Sprout Toast

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Your coworkers will be green with envy when they see you snacking on this appropriately-hued toast. Here, smashed avocado gets a boost from fresh lemon juice, sea salt, and mildly-sweet alfalfa sprouts.

Get the Recipe: Avocado-Sprout Toast

Green Gazpacho with Shrimp

Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Traditionally, gazpacho is a cooling summertime soup, but this festive version is fit for any St. Patrick's Day celebration. Its vibrant tint comes from tomatillos, cucumbers, poblano chiles, and green onions, and the flavors mesh beautifully after a quick blitz in the blender. A simple topper of sauteed shrimp makes it a meal, but you can also substitute fresh lump crab meat.

Get the Recipe: Green Gazpacho with Shrimp

All The Green Things Salad

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

A feast for the eyes and the taste buds, this nutritious salad sings of spring. Green peas, asparagus, sugar snap peas, fresh mint, and avocado make for a symphony of green on your plate. Crisp, creamy, and citrusy, it's sure to wow dinner guests.

Get the Recipe: All The Green Things Salad

Green Goddess Avocado Sauce

Classic Greek Goddess sauce relies on mayo for creaminess, but it also piles on fat and calories. Our lighter version swaps the mayo for avocado—which still feels indulgent and comforting thanks to healthier unsaturated fats. Whether you treat it as a salad dressing, sauce, or dip, this versatile recipe is one you'll want to make long after St. Patrick's Day.

Get the Recipe: Green Goddess Avocado Sauce

Avocado Ice Pops

Photo: Randy Mayor

There's avocado toast, avocado sauce, avocado soup—and now, the avocado ice pop. When frozen on a stick, avocados prove their versatility once again. The result is surprisingly creamy and rich, despite being dairy-free.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Ice Pops

Matcha-Glazed  Doughnuts

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

There's something so special about homemade doughnuts—add matcha into the batter, and they're perfectly themed for St. Patrick's Day. We love the color and flavor of the coconut and goji berry garnishes, but you could also use chopped toasted pistachios for an extra splash of green. Bake up a batch for a party—and don't forget to save a few for yourself. 

Get the Recipe: Matcha-Glazed Doughnuts

Matcha White Chocolate Bark

Photo: Teresa Sabga

This dazzling treat looks impressive—but this tasty chocolate bark is actually quite simple to make. Simply melt your chocolate, add the matcha, and spread the mixture onto a sheet pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate until hardened. Matcha's earthy flavor is a perfect match for creamy white chocolate, tart cranberries, and nutty almonds. 

Get the Recipe: Matcha White Chocolate Bark

If you're looking for more St. Patrick's Day food ideas, these Healthy Irish Recipes are sure to tempt your tastebuds—and bring your plenty of luck.