The infamous McDonald’s Shamrock Shake makes its rounds once a year at the Golden Arches. Over 60 million of them have been sold since they were first introduced. With 54 ingredients in each shake, though, they’re pretty much the opposite of real food! This St. Patrick’s day, you can try a healthy copycat Shamrock Shake recipe instead.
Homemade Shamrock Shake
It might come as a surprise that I’ve never actually tried this seasonally popular drink. But when some friends who normally eat super healthy were raving about how much they love this green concoction, I decided to attempt to create a healthy, real food version!
Besides, I’m a big fan of getting nutrition through smoothies and shakes! This version includes nutritious avocado, so it’s a tasty (and much healthier!) way to get your Shamrock Shake fix.
A Little Shamrock Shake History
Shamrock Shakes were first introduced in the 1970s but they didn’t gain much popularity and were discontinued. Over the years this shake has morphed from a lemon and lime sherbet concoction to a vanilla sundae with disturbingly neon-green shamrock sauce. It then reappeared as a milkshake, and eventually evolved into the mint and vanilla-flavored drink that’s so popular. More recent versions include an oreo Shamrock McFlurry with oreo cookies and mint chocolate flavor.
The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake recipe relies on artificial green coloring, artificial flavor, and loads of high fructose corn syrup. A lot of the copycat recipes aren’t much healthier. They call for vanilla ice cream and green food coloring and garnish it off with green sprinkles, and a sugary red dye-filled maraschino cherry.
This real food milkshake recipe uses pure peppermint extract and naturally green foods like spinach and avocado. Even though there are veggies hiding in this dessert, all you’ll taste is creamy, minty goodness.
A Healthy Dessert? Perfection!
Some people may find it strange to add avocado to a dessert, but this fruit adds a creamy texture and healthy fats. One avocado has the full daily value of vitamin K and folate. Plus it has about 70% of the daily required vitamins B5, B6, C, and E.
Spinach is a familiar green in salads and breakfast quiches, but it’s just as at home in this real food Shamrock Shake recipe. This green leaf has loads of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and some B vitamins. Spinach is a good source of certain minerals too, like iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Even better, avocado increases the bioavailability of the anti-inflammatory nutrients in the spinach. Spinach contains a poorly absorbed source of plant iron called non-heme iron. However, when vitamin C-rich foods are paired with plant based iron sources, it boosts their bioavailability. The high amount of vitamin C in the avocado works perfectly!
A note for anyone who has a thyroid issue, or is otherwise trying to avoid oxalic acid: use cooked spinach instead of raw.
Real Food Shamrock Shake Recipe
Although the fast food version is only available for a limited time, this sweet treat is worth having all year round. It’s creamy and sweet, with enough nutrition to make it a smart choice any time. It’s not as sweet as the original version, (which has 13 teaspoons of sugar for a medium size!). But feel free to add some more maple syrup or honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.
Some people don’t like as strong of a mint flavor. In that case, use 1/2 teaspoon mint extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla instead of the full amount. You can use raw whole milk if desired or opt for your favorite plant-based milk. If you want a boozy version for grownups, then add a little homemade coconut milk Irish Cream. It tastes like Bailey’s, but with healthier ingredients.
This recipe makes enough for two real food Shamrock Shakes so you can share with a friend!
What’s a St. Patrick’s day treat without yummy toppings? You can add some coconut whipped cream to the top to make it even creamier. It’s made with just a few simple ingredients plus its dairy free. You could also add some chocolate chips or shavings to the top, or a drizzle of healthier chocolate syrup. For an extra fancy touch, try some whipped cream with scraped vanilla bean on top.
Healthy Shamrock Shake Recipe
- In a blender combine the milk, mint extract, vanilla, avocado, maple syrup or honey, and spinach.
- Blend until very smooth.
- Add the ice cubes and blend just until it forms a shake consistency. Add more milk if it’s too thick for your blender.
- Pour the milkshake into cups and enjoy!
Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!
Do you or did you used to enjoy Shamrock Shakes? Leave a comment and let us know how you enjoyed this real food version!