Ask a Foodie: Are Shamrock Shakes Really Bad for Me? (Hint: Oh Yeah)

Plus, five of the best recipes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with real food.

Let’s talk about St. Patrick’s Day. We love this holiday, especially in Pittsburgh. Why? It’s really the first food-related holiday after the Thanksgiving-Christmas season. You know what I’m talking about. Can you say GREEN FOOD? Of course, being a healthy-eating advocate, I’m extremely stoked. When else can I serve an all-green dinner and have a built-in excuse for the kids?

“It’s a tradition, children! You don’t want to make the leprechauns sad, do you?”

That’s blaspheme. So don’t let this holiday pass without celebrating. There is no other green food holiday.

However … However! Please consider dropping the Shamrock Shake. I know this may be hard. But let’s invoke Lent in this effort, too. Sacrifice this abomination. Forget the Shamrock Shake. Please. A 12-ounce serving contains 530 calories (one-quarter of your average daily requirement), 15 grams of fat — 10 of which is saturated fat (half of your daily requirement) and 73 grams of sugar (more than 18 bloody teaspoons of sugar). I am sure St. Patrick would not be happy about this.

Instead, start the day right and show yourself how much you really love YOU by making the I Love Me Smoothie. It’s chock-full of goodness and much more appropriate for such a divine holiday. Spring is coming, folks. Let’s turn over a new leaf and fill our bodies with food that loves us back.

Check out the recipe below, but first, here are four other BK green recipe ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day table.


Cashew Lime Kale Chips

OK, let’s make a deal. Since I’m asking you to give up the Shamrock Shake, I’ll let you indulge in a little extra green beer. However! Why not skip the other college favorites that go with it (Doritos, Fritos, et al) and instead make some kale chips? Sounds just up your alley, right?! Green beer goes with green chips. And these are the greenest of them all because, well, they’re made of GREENS.


Grand-Slam Guac

Remember the aforementioned fat in a Shamrock Shake? The fat in an avocado is the exact opposite. It’s good fat. Have at it. This cilantro-loaded guac is perfect with any vehicle you choose — tortilla chips or potato chips. It is unbeatable with the kale chips. Another plus? Cilantro is an amazing cleansing herb. So, you know, as you chug the green beer, at least you’re cleansing at the same time.


Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs

Handheld colcannon? Yes, it is! Mix it up for your dinner with this modern take on the classic St. Paddys dish. This recipe is one of the BK’s top hits; it's also a great intro to kale and quinoa. Double trouble. You might just convert that skeptic to your church of healthy food with this fun recipe.


Green Spaghetti

I call this sneaky spaghetti because the pesto is made of broccoli. Just like the mashed potato quinoa puffs, we sneak our greens in a great Trojan horse that everyone loves: spaghetti! Tricks up my sleeve. That’s what I’ve got.


  I LOVE ME Smoothie

Yield: Serves 2
Note: This recipe is gluten-free, vegan and soy-free.


  • 1 ripe banana (frozen is best)
  • 1 ripe pear or 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups So Delicious almond plus or vanilla coconut milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 very large kale leaf or 2 medium kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons chia seeds


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into two tall glasses. If using chia seeds, stir in 1 tablespoon per glass. Enjoy!

Categories: Brazen Kitchen