March 17 is drawing near. What are you going to serve as naturally green foods for St. Patrick’s Day? As our favorite “green” day draws nearer, we’ve been cooking green things all week long.
First up on the list is this Green Cake, made green not by artificial food coloring, but by…rainbow chard. Very appropriate, right? Rainbow chard is perfect for this cake because it’s so mild. Plus, once you cook the greens down and blend them, the colors all combine to make a vibrant green. While the cake is a little heavier than a “regular” cake, you really don’t taste the greens.
The recipe is adapted from a spinach cake made by Mom! What’s for Dinner?, but it uses rainbow chard instead of the spinach, and the greens are cooked first. Also we swapped vegetable oil for the olive oil to give it a more neutral flavor. Then we topped it with cream cheese frosting because, well, who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?
Note: We’re not pretending this dessert is a substitute for salad, and we’re not suggesting it as a way to hide vegetables from your kids. (Our kids knew that the cake had greens in it, but they were perfectly willing to eat it as long as it had frosting on top.) The main thing we’re trying to do is encourage the use of natural foods and food colors instead of food dyes. In this case, the bright green hues of the rainbow chard certainly did the trick.
Next on our list of naturally green foods, we made this pretty Green Colcannon. Colcannon is an Irish dish traditionally made by mashing potatoes with kale or cabbage. For this version we used a mix of Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, and kale. For your kid helpers, the fun really is in mashing it all together. Many people use this as a side dish for corned beef, but it’s pretty hearty on its own, especially if you are eating meat-free.
Last but not least we did our own version of a shamrock shake by making this Shamrock Smoothie. It gets its green from steamed rainbow chard, but its true flavor is sweet, thanks to pineapple, banana, and honey. We love how light and fluffy this one blends up – and for that reason it’s best to serve it right away. Better to drink it up than to have a mischievous leprechaun steal it, right?
Enjoy your naturally green foods for St. Patrick’s Day!