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Two Nutritious Green Foods For St Patrick’s Day Lunch - Box Appetit

| by Angelica Mastronardo

It’s time to weigh up your options of green foods for St Patrick’s Day. Green veg - namely kale and cabbage - have an abundance of health benefits. Slip these two into your traditional Irish recipes for a seriously tasty and nutritious boost.

St. Paddy’s Day - falling on March 17th every year - is an international day of celebration for Ireland, Irish culture and Celtic food since Saint Patrick’s death in AD 461.

Since the early 17th century, the event has obtained popular associations with the colour green, heavy (alcoholic) drinking, fancy dress brimming with shamrocks and leprechaun suits, street parades, and lavish parties accompanied by very merry dancing.


However, like many religious feast days, food and drink integrate wonderfully. Iconic dishes range from corned beef and cabbage to Irish soda bread, Shepherd’s pie, and lamb and potato stews in a Guinness-based broth. Hearty, homely grub.

Sticking with the traditional theme of GREEN, we’ll help bring you up to scratch with nourishing natural veg you can add to your Irish-themed lunches and enjoy daily.

Health Benefits of Eating Green Foods

healthy green foods, ireland, spinach, st patrick

Our mothers and fathers always told us: “Eat Your Greens”. And we all know our parents’ advice is the wisest of all, right? Green fruit and vegetables are an essential staple in any healthy diet. Fact.

That’s not to exclude the bulk of fresh produce available in a host of rainbow spectrum colours. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended ‘5 a day’ as a guideline in countries including the UK, USA, and Germany.

health benefits of green foods

Fp Julia @ The Free People blog delicately lists six attractive benefits of adding green-coloured foods to your diet.

  1. Antioxidants: offer protection from harmful toxins e.g. spinach and broccoli
  2. Detox: contain chlorophyll, which acts as natural detox agent and deodorizer for breath e.g. raw veg with dark leaves
  3. Minerals: from calcium and potassium to Vitamins C/E/K
  4. Nutrients: immune system protection against viruses and bacteria
  5. Dark & Leafy: high in Omega-3 and lower blood cholesterol e.g. kale and spinach
  6. Alkalisation: keep pH levels healthy and balanced

So let us see which two green vegetables are delicious complements to traditional Irish recipes…

Green Foods For St Patrick’s Day: Your Essential 101

1. Kale | Use in 'Colcannon'

kale, green foods, st patrick's day, vegetables

Time sought the knowledge of five experts back in early 2015 to give their verdict on ‘Why Kale Is Good For You’. The overwhelmingly positive backing are music to the ears of superfood lovers, so here are the key quotes we’d like to share with you:

Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D. - Assistant Clinical Professor at Columbia University
  1. “Kale’s packs in more nutrition than many other whole foods”
  2. “A cup of Kale has essential daily nutrients… 14% of your calcium, 659% of your vitamin A and more than 900% of your vitamin K”

Drew is also co-founder of National Kale Day and co-author of 50 Shades of Kale recipe book, which alongside healthy recipes goes on to explain the Kale can battle cancer, inflammation, boost sex drive and more.

Wahida Karmally MS, RD, CDE - Director of Nutrition at Columbia University
  1. “It's vibrant green [colour] should clue you about just how nutrient-dense it is”
  2. “Dark green vegetables are powerhouses of nutrients”

green foods for st patrick's day, kale, lunch

Julie Morris - Author of Superfood Smoothies

“It’s called a superfood for a reason. Cooked kale offers more iron per ounce than beef”

Julia Mueller - Recipe developer and author of Let Them Eat Kale!

“Some of its nutrients are difficult for the body to absorb… make sure to pair it with a fat to get the most out of it”

Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN - Registered dietitian at Frances Stern Nutrition Center
  1. “Don’t confine your kale lexicon to the limp leaves you see lining salad bars. Curly kale, flat Tuscan kale, blue kale, baby kale - the list of varietals grow throughout the year”
  2. “Blend it, bake it, sauté it or eat it raw in a salad”

#Colcannon is a tasty Irish dish made with potatoes (here subbed with cauliflower) and cabbage. Although it's traditionally served on St. Patrick's Day, it's not limited to special occasions and makes a great side to any roasts and slow cooked meat. It's easy to prepare, budget-friendly and you'll need just a few common ingredients. Click the link in bio to get my #keto friendly recipe > https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/post/2017/03/13/low-carb-colcannon #ketodietapp #lchf #primal #lowcarb #ketodiet #ketofam #realfood #foodporn #grainfree #jerf #ketoadapted #cleaneating #KetoDietChallenge #sugarfree #fatadapted #foodstagram #instafood #foodheaven #foodphotography #foodstyling #feedfeed @thefeedfeed #stpatricksday #irishfood

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The ideal Irish lunch to utilise kale in would be Colcannon: a mixture of mashed potatoes, kale (or cabbage), milk or cream, butter, salt, and pepper.

The Irish tend to eat this dish in autumn or winter seasons when kale is fresh and ripe. It’s a super alternative to the more stereotypically used staple of cabbage and is usually eaten with spring onions, leeks, chives and meat such as boiled ham of bacon. Yum!

2. Cabbage | Use in 'Corned Beef and Cabbage'

St. Patrick's Day came early at my house. ☘️#cornedbeefandcabbage #comfortfood #brownfoodisbeautiful

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Often deemed a successful food for weight loss - used in soups and stews - cabbage surprisingly provides the body with nutrients galore, especially when raw or ‘tender-crisp’.

It’s by far the most widely harvested, readily available and cheapest green vegetable on the Emerald Isle. During the Great Potato Famine in the late 19th Century, many turned to cabbage for sustenance as potato crops were pillaged by blight.

In summary, it’s considered a godsend to many.

With over 100 varieties to choose from, it's nutrient-dense in Vitamin K/C, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds known as glucosinolates. All these are present in fresh cabbage produce - and can reduce the susceptibility of developing chronic diseases.

Cabbage works well in any lunchtime treat, from salads to sandwiches, however, when you complement it with slow-cooked corned beef, carrots and potatoes it works a miracle.

corned beef and cabbage, new york, usa

This is especially traditional with the first-generation Irish-American communities who immigrated to the USA across the 19th and 20th centuries and still cook the dish to this day.  

Yet corned beef was used as a substitute for the more popular choice: boiled bacon.

But what exactly is corned beef? Surprisingly, it has no associations with ‘corn’ whatsoever. ‘Corned’ refers to the corn-sized salt crystals which form during the brining process.

Times have changed, though, and now cuts of pork and beef are at an affordable price. All cabbage really needs is a meaty counterpart for essential fats and protein. So give it a try.

Taste Ireland With Laoise Casey

laoise casey, irish home cooking, cabbage, st patrick's day, green food

Laoise Casey, our wonderful guest food writer @ Box Appetit and professional chef, has a true passion for Irish home cooking. Hailing from Dublin, her childhood was filled with beautiful fresh green foods partnered with roast chicken, potatoes, and other exquisite flavours.  

She created an exclusive version of the ultimate Irish staple – bacon and cabbage - for us back in October 2016. It uses one of our highly recommended green foods for St Patrick’s Day.

“When we would visit my granny during summer she would cook us buttery cabbage with a side of bacon. I’ve created an updated lighter version of this dish which uses sweetheart cabbage, cooked with a miso glaze and topped with crispy Parma ham.”

Laoise’s Miso Cabbage and Parma Ham Ingredients

3 slices Parma ham

1 small sweetheart or spring cabbage

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. miso paste

Cube of butter

Sea salt, cracked black pepper to season

For the full recipe, see here: Laoise Casey’s Guide To Irish Home Cooking

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