For much of my adult life, I have lived in Chicago, where St. Patrick’s Day lasts basically all March long and we’re so excited about the holiday that we dye the Chicago River green. There’s plenty to get excited about with this holiday, and Americans have celebrated it heartily since Colonial Days: since 1737 to be exact.
Among the abundance of St. Patrick’s Day traditions that has taken hold in the U.S. since that date, the mint milkshake has hit closest to home for me. Perhaps that’s because I used to live down the block from a certain iconic American fast food joint that advertised them for the month of March. I confess, the fast food joint tempted me with its minty green milkshakes. After all, there was only a limited time when I could try one and mint ice cream is my favorite of all the flavors.
- 1 cup freshly brewed green tea, preferably mint green tea
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 cup ice
- ½ cup plain low fat yogurt
- 1 cup sliced pineapple
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- 1 green Bartlett or D'anjou pear, cored and sliced
- 1 sprig mint
- Brew tea, add in honey and cool.
- Mix all ingredients together in blender and blend until smooth.
- Garnish with additional mint or lime if desired.
The real mint adds a delicious kick to this smoothie, and sometimes I forget that mint isn’t a “flavor”; it’s an herb, and one that is packed with nutritional benefits. Mint can lift your spirits, soothe an upset stomach, clear congestion and ease a headache. Also, if you’re planning your garden right now, mint is easy to grow, so you can enjoy it in recipes like this one quite easily. When I was growing up, there was an uncultivated stretch of our yard where mint would spring up every year without any bother.
Mint is the most important ingredient in this recipe, and you can play around with the others. If you want to make the recipe sweeter, add more pineapple. You can also experiment with adding other green and healthy ingredients. People who make juice frequently recommend thinking in “color groups,” so you could try a little bit of kale instead of spinach, for instance.
This smoothie could be the start of many healthy St. Patrick’s Day traditions!
When I think of healthy St. Patrick’s Day traditions, I think of what I recently learned about how people celebrate the holiday in Ireland. They wear little bunches of real shamrock. Real shamrocks don’t glitter or light up or play music like some of the decorations you can buy in the store this time of year. There is beauty in the simplicity, and both real shamrocks and real food have an abundance of natural goodness to offer.