Celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year with a healthy, mint chocolate chip smoothie, full of chewy, sweet dates, fresh spinach and creamy avocado!
If you're on the hunt for a green smoothie that tastes like dessert AND doesn't contain bananas, then look no further! This healthy vegan shamrock shake checks all those boxes. You can enjoy it this St. Patrick's Day and all-throughout the year!
What is a Shamrock Shake?
In case you're unfamiliar with the Shamrock Shake, it is a mint-flavored milkshake created by McDonald's to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The Shamrock Shake first originated in 1970 and was a lemon/lime flavored milk shake. A few years later, the lemon/lime flavor was dropped and the dessert simply became a green colored milkshake. Now it is a mint flavored milkshake.
The Shamrock Shake isn't sold year-round, but is only available during the months of February and March in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. This year it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Ingredients in a McDonald's Shamrock Shake
You probably won't be surprised to find that McDonald's Shamrock Shake isn't the healthiest dessert. The main components of the Shamrock Shake are vanilla ice cream, green Shamrock Shake syrup and whipped cream. Below you can see the ingredients list for each of the three components:
Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate.
Shamrock Shake Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1.
Whipped Light Cream: Cream, Nonfat Milk, Liquid Sugar, Contains 2% or Less: Mono and Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide).
Now, I don't know about you, but a yummy dessert becomes a lot less appealing when I see that it contains a long list of weird ingredients including food dyes, corn syrup and carrageenan.
Nutrition facts for a McDonald's Shamrock Shake
Guys, I don't want to demonize certain foods. There is certainly room in a healthy, balanced diet to enjoy a Shamrock Shake once a year. However, I do think it is important to be aware of what we're consuming, especially when eating out at fast food restaurants.
The Shamrock Shake from McDonald's will definitely leave you with a sugar buzz as a medium shake contains a whopping 78 grams of sugar! To put that into perspective, that's 6 tablespoons of sugar or about ⅜ cup.
A medium Shamrock Shake also contains 10 grams of saturated fat and 560 calories.
The healthy, vegan Shamrock Shake I'm showing you how to make today also contains fats and some sugar. BUT, the fat comes from heart-healthy avocado and the sugar comes from naturally sweet Medjool dates!
Ingredients for a vegan Shamrock Shake
Good news is, you can enjoy a minty, sweet, chocolate chip smoothie using minimal, whole food ingredients. You'll feel energized and refreshed after this healthy vegan Shamrock Shake and you'll be making it all year round, not just on St. Patrick's Day!
To make this vegan Shamrock Shake you'll need the following ingredients:
- Medjool dates
- Non-dairy milk
- Spinach (optional, but adds color!)
- Peppermint extract
- Cacao nibs or dairy-free chocolate chips
How to make a healthy vegan Shamrock Shake
This vegan Shamrock Shake couldn't be easier to make, especially if you have a high speed blender. Simply place all of the ingredients--except for the cacao nibs/chocolate chips--into a blender and blend until smooth. Lastly, add in the cacao nibs and blend for a few seconds until they are incorporated.
That's it! You now have a sweet, minty, healthy Shamrock Shake!
How to make a smoothie without bananas
I know quite a few of you are allergic to or don't care for bananas. While frozen bananas add creaminess and sweetness and smoothies, it is possible to make a delicious smoothie without them. In this green smoothie avocado provides the creaminess, dates provide the sweetness and ice provides the chilliness.
Some other great banana alternatives for smoothies are listed below:
- Frozen cauliflower (doesn't add sweetness, but makes smoothies creamy and cold)
- Frozen mango (is cold, sweet and creamy)
- Frozen peaches
- Frozen berries
- Fruit and vegetable purees (such as apple sauce or pumpkin puree)
- Nut butters and hemp seeds (adds creaminess)
- Frozen milk cubes (pour milk into an ice cube tray for a creamy, cold smoothie ingredient!)
Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake
- 4 pitted Medjool dates soaked if necessary
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup ice
- ⅛ teaspoon Peppermint extract or 10-15 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs*
- If your Medjool dates are a little hard, pit them and soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes or until soft. Once soft, remove them from the hot water and continue with the recipe.
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender, except for the cacao nibs, and blend until smooth.
- Add in the cacao nibs and blend for a few seconds to incorporate them into the smoothie.
- Pour into glasses and top with more cacao nibs!
Other healthy smoothie recipes
As we head into spring and summer and the weather starts to warm back up, be sure to work your way through these other refreshing, sweet smoothie recipes!