March 11, 2024

Leafy Greens for Your St Patrick’s Day 

leafy greens

In the realm of nutrition, there's a superstar category often overlooked but deserving of the spotlight: dark leafy greens. These awesome veggies are nestled in the Vegetable Group of the MyPlate USDA diet, and are loaded with essential nutrients and health benefits that can transform any meal into a nutrient-rich plate.  

Leafy greens are not only great to eat alone, but pair incredibly well with other ingredients. From spinach and kale to Swiss chard and collard greens, incorporating dark leafy greens into your diet is not only a delicious endeavor but also helps maintain optimal health. This year you can make St Patrick’s day a healthy holiday by incorporating leafy greens into your celebration! 

Nutritional Benefits of Dark Leafy Greens 

Dark leafy greens boast an impressive nutritional profile with their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for overall well-being. Here's a glimpse into the nutritional riches they offer: 

  1. Vitamins: Dark leafy greens are abundant in vitamins A, C, and K, crucial for immune function, collagen production, bone health, and other bodily functions. These vitamins also play roles in maintaining healthy vision, skin, and blood clotting. 
  2. Minerals: Calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium are just a few of the minerals found in dark leafy greens. These minerals are essential for bone health, oxygen transport, and muscle function, among other vital bodily processes. 
  3. Antioxidants: Dark greens are rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. Regular consumption of antioxidants may lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers. 
  4. Fiber: With their high fiber content, dark leafy greens promote digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, and contribute to satiety, making them an excellent choice for weight management and overall gut health. 

Learn more about dark leafy greens at the USDA's resources. Or check out more veggie tips at the MyPlate website.  

Incorporating Dark Leafy Greens into Recipes 

While the health benefits of dark leafy greens are undeniable, some may find incorporating them into meals a daunting task, fearing blandness or overpowering flavors. If you worry about adding spinach and kale to your recipes, your not alone! 

With a bit of culinary creativity, you can effortlessly elevate the nutrient profile of your favorite dishes without sacrificing taste. Here are some tips for seamlessly integrating dark greens into your recipes: 

  1. Smoothies: Start your day on a nutritious note by adding a handful of spinach or kale to your morning smoothie. Their mild flavors blend seamlessly with fruits like bananas, berries, and mangoes, providing a refreshing and nutrient-packed beverage. 
  2. Salads: Amp up the nutritional value of your salads by tossing in a mix of dark leafy greens like arugula, Swiss chard, and spinach. Pair them with colorful veggies, nuts, seeds, and a flavorful dressing for a satisfying and wholesome meal. 
  3. Sautéed Greens: Lightly sautéing dark leafy greens with garlic, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper enhances their flavor while preserving their nutritional integrity. Serve them as a side dish or incorporate them into pasta, stir-fries, or grain bowls for added depth and texture. 
  4. Soups and Stews: Incorporating dark leafy greens into soups and stews is a delicious way to boost their nutritional content. Whether you're making a hearty vegetable soup or a comforting lentil stew, adding chopped kale, collard greens, or spinach brings a vibrant burst of color and nutrients to your bowl. 
  5. Stuffed Vegetables: Get creative in the kitchen by stuffing vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchinis with a mixture of quinoa, herbs, and chopped dark leafy greens. Bake until tender for a flavorful and nutrient-dense meal.

St Patrick’s Day Recipes with Dark Leafy Greens 

Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses that deserve a prominent place on your plate. From vitamins and minerals to antioxidants and fiber, these nutrient-rich greens offer a myriad of health benefits that can support your overall well-being. 

By incorporating them into your favorite recipes and holiday celebrations, you can elevate both the flavor and nutrient profile of your meals, making healthy eating a delicious and satisfying endeavor. So, the next time you're planning your meals, remember to reach for those dark leafy greens and savor the nourishment they provide with every bite. Your body will thank you for it! 

-Captain Create 

Avocado and Tomatillo Dip Recipe 

avocado and tomatillo dip

Recipe adapted from Peas and Crayons’ blog 


  • 5-6 tomatillos 
  • 2 ripe avocados 
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro 
  • 1/2 a small yellow onion 
  • 1 pitted jalapeño 
  • 3 tsp lemon juice 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder 
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 


Loosely chop ingredients and blend them together. Serve with chips or pair it with a meal as a dip. 

avocado and tomatillo dip recipe

Mint “Ice Cream” Recipe 

homemade Mint Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from Sweet Roots Infusions of Herbal Life Blog 


  • 2 cups chopped frozen banana 
  • 1 cup packed spinach 
  • 1 T peanut butter 
  • 5-10 mint leaves 


  • Dethaw banana for 5 minutes 
  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend till all ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth. 
homemade mint ice cream recipe

Chimichurri Sauce Recipe 

Recipe adapted from The Adventure Bite’s blog 


  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro 
  • ½ cup fresh parsley 
  • 4 tsp fresh oregano 
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 3 tsp honey 
  • juice of ½ lime or 2 T lime juice 
  • salt pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste 


  1. Combine all ingredients to blender and blend till ingredients are finely chopped. 
chimichurri sauce recipe

Spring Pea and Spinach Soup Recipe 

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Blog 


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 bundles of green onion 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound total) 
  • 1 cup vegetable broth 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 ½ cups shelled fresh or frozen peas 
  • 2 packed cups baby spinach or stemmed spinach leaves 
  • Evaporated unsweetened milk (optional) 


  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add green onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add potatoes, broth, and the 3 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer while covered for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add peas and simmer until tender, which takes about 5 minutes. After peas are tender, stir in spinach and remove from heat. Let the spinach wilt for 5 minutes. 
  4. Transfer soup to a blender and puree the ingredients until the soup becomes smooth, this can take 2-3 minutes. DO NOT blend hot soup fully covered, so remove a center cap from the blender lid or wait till soup has cooled. Season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer for the smoothest texture. Serve soup warm or cold with a drizzle of evaporated milk for garnish. 
Spring pea and spniach soup

Green Smoothie Bowl Recipe 

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Recipes’ blog 


  • 2 medium frozen bananas, chopped 
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks or canned pineapple 
  • 2 heaping cups of kale or spinach 
  • Low fat milk as needed 
  • 1 cup whole grain granola 
  • Assorted fruit for topping 


  • Blend banana, pineapple and kale in a blender. Add a splash of milk as needed, but do your best to keep the smoothie as thick as possible. 
  • When ingredients are fully blended, transfer to a bowl that has 1/2 a cup of granola in the bottom. Add the smoothie on top of the granola, and then assemble your bowl with the rest of the granola and assorted fruit. 

Green smoothie bowl

If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to check out our other posts!