Healthy Shamrock Shake! (low carb, sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

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I have always been under the impression that there is not a single drop of Irish blood in my entire body.

But living in a country containing such rich and diverse multicultural histories, I needed to know for sure. So I decided to do some research. Where to start? I considered investigating the brittle, dog-eared pages of our aged photo albums; breaking into the library by moonlight and stealing the newspaper microforms of days past-

But that seemed like a lot of work so I just decided to ask my parents. Anyway I was right and I am not even a little bit Irish.

But!! If you thought that was going to stop me from presenting you with a traditionally green-tinted recipe celebrating our dearest Saint Patrick, THINK AGAIN.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday all around the world, and as you might imagine, each country has its own meaningful traditions and customs to celebrate. Religious ceremonies, parades, and music festivals, just to name a few.

In America, we have McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Limited time only!!

Yes, nothing fills me with a second-hand Irish glow of pride like driving past a McDonald’s at the end of February and seeing the familiar letters proclaiming: IT’S BACK. They don’t even need to say it. We know.

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So I took a look at the ingredients in a Shamrock Shake. I regretted it immediately. And then, as my train of thought usually goes: I CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.

To be fair, the bar was set kinda low. There are approximately 700 ingredients in a Shamrock Shake. Cutting down on that isn’t hard when you can’t walk into a grocery store and pick up a fresh tub of Polysorbate 80.

But it wasn’t enough that my version be without all the junk. No, it had to also include HEALTHY STUFF. Oh yes. Time to feel extra self-righteous.

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First things first: it needed to be green. This was the perfect opportunity to include my favorite ~*~SECRET INGREDIENT~*~ which I have openly displayed in my header photo. You got it: avocado!!

shamrock1SO BEAUTIFUL I COULD WEEP.

Naturally green? Check.
Smooth, creamy texture without a dominating flavor? Check.
LOADED with several B vitamins and vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium? Check.
PACKED with fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats? CHECKI could go on. 

The rest was easy. Almond milk (for our vegan friends!), sweetener, and some natural flavor extracts, and it’s like it was meant to be. Six ingredients, guys. That’s including ICE CUBES. And just for kicks, I’ve included McDonald’s nutritional info for a small Shamrock Shake in comparison with a serving of mine below. Check it out, and gasp dramatically for hours!

So get in touch with your (BASICALLY) Irish side and celebrate St. Paddy’s Day all year round with this recipe!

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Healthy Shamrock Shake! (low carb, sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

Recipe adapted from Holistically Engineered

Yields: About 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup powdered sweetener (I used Confectioners Swerve)
1 tsp mint or peppermint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup ice cubes

Optional, for topping:
Homemade whipped cream (heavy whipping cream, awwww yess) or whipped coconut cream for dairy free/vegan

Instructions:

Place all ingredients except toppings into a blender and blend on high power until smooth. Divide between four fancy glasses (or honestly, don’t even share). If using, top with whipped cream or coconut cream.

Nutritional Info:

My version (if you CAN’T TELL) is on the left (calculated without optional toppings). McDonald’s nutritional info (…on the right) for a small, 12 oz. shake found here on their website.

 

 

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Buffalo Salmon and Avocado Salad (Low carb, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free)

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At this point in time we are going to aggressively ignore my shameful update schedule and instead focus our energy on other shameful concerns. For example: how did it take me this long to discover buffalo sauce?

I have no idea where this came from, but it’s like I got hit with a truck. Just outta nowhere. It’s been rough, guys. I can recognize a buffalo recipe on Pinterest from across the room. I’m obsessed with buffalo covered everything and no one even cares since they’ve already been enjoying their chicken dips and wings since the dawn of time.

While feverishly trying to incorporate hot sauce into everything I eat, I came across this Salmon & Avocado Salad recipe at The Healthy Foodie . With a few tweaks (aka ADDING MORE HOT SAUCE), I knew it would be an excellent vehicle to help me shovel more buffalo-type stuff in my face. And finally, a savory recipe to share! I eat that stuff, too! Not just cake! Honest!

Adding celery was key for me – I think celery legally has to be included with all buffalo dishes? Look, I don’t make the rules. But at least this time we can subtly dice it up and use it to add a little texture and crunch. Cilantro provides an excellent zip and balance for all that creamy avocado, too. This has become a staple in my fridge – I always try and have a batch available. It keeps really well!

Avocado: a little TOO photogenic.

Avocado: a little TOO photogenic.

So what makes this recipe in particular so fantastic? It’s cheap, quick, and easy for starters. (Canned or pouched salmon is almost always wild-caught!) Frankly, those three factors pretty much seal the deal for me, but it’s also – surprise!! – really GOOD FOR YOU. It’s low in carbs, high in fiber, and provides enough healthy, anti-inflammatory fats (don’t fear the fats!) to keep you satiated until the next time you’re trying to figure out how to inhale more buffalo sauce.

Buffalo Salmon & Avocado Salad

Recipe adapted from The Healthy Foodie

Yields: four servings (I have been known to eat it in less)

Ingredients: 

2 (5 oz.) pouches wild-caught salmon
1 ripe avocado
1 stalk celery, diced
2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro, or to taste
2 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Only FOUR ingredients, y'all!!!

I forgot the celery PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

Add the salmon into a bowl, and use a fork to separate it a bit. Then, add your avocado and smoosh it all right in there.

Then add all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Feel free to add whatever other mix-ins or spices tickle your fancy! I like letting it sit in the refrigerator for a bit, so all the flavors can ~*~blend~*~, but you could also just go to town on it. Roll it in nori, put it in a lettuce cup, wrap it, press it into a 1950s jello mold (don’t do that) – whatever you like!

Adding the hot sauce does not add to the visual appeal, unfortunately. This would explain the distinct lack of pictures accompanying this recipe. :| My recommendation is to visit the original recipe on The Healthy Foodie and pretend her gorgeous photos are my gorgeous photos.

Nutritional Info:

nutrition label