For many, St. Patrick’s Day means wearing green and visiting local Irish pubs. The day can also be a great celebration at home and easily made into a delicious event filled with non-GMO food and drinks.
Here are a few fun, non-GMO versions of some St. Patrick’s Day classics:
Bar Favorites — Avoiding GMOs in beverages can be a difficult task when you consider the frequent use of high-risk ingredients like corn and sugar beets in sweet drinks; but with more and more beverages becoming Non-GMO Project Verified, it’s now a breeze to find Verified versions of your favorite drinks. For a kid-friendly and delicious “mocktail” version of a popular St. Patty’s Day drink (a split-shot of Irish cream and whiskey dropped in an Irish stout), drop a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream into a Non-GMO Project Verified dark soda. For adults who want to avoid GMOs but are still looking for a beverage that packs a bit of punch, try subbing the soda out for a Non-GMO Project Verified beer—these drinks are produced without GMO yeast or corn syrup.
Shamrocks — I was in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day a couple of years ago, and there were shamrocks absolutely everywhere: shamrock necklaces, sequins, buttons, stickers, etc. While this definitely added to the atmosphere, if you attempt shamrock sequin decorations with kids, you probably will discover shamrocks in odd places for the rest of your life. Looking for a fun, tasty, and non-GMO alternative that will produce far less mess? These homemade Shamrock Crackers are the perfect solution! Serve them with Vegan Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip for a deliciously healthy, festive appetizer.
Shepherd’s Pie — While corned beef is now a favorite of mine, I remember disliking the briny flavor when I was little. For all the parents with picky eaters out there, what child doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Shepherd’s Pie is not only tasty, but easy to prepare. As an added bonus, most recipes are already gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian and vegan as well. Keep in mind that potatoes are a monitored crop, and the best way to avoid GMOs is to look for USDA organic when buying fresh potatoes, and Non-GMO Project Verified when shopping for packaged potato products. Here is a great base recipe that you can adapt to suit your dietary needs. If cooking for vegetarians, substitute cooked lentils for the ground beef. For added flavor and a nutrient boost (plus a hint of green), whip up some Spinach-Kale-Mushroom Mashed Potatoes in place of the standard mashed potato topping used in the recipe. When preparing a vegan version, sub all dairy ingredients for Non-GMO Project Verified, non-dairy alternatives. Remember to look for the Butterfly seal when shopping to make sure that everything going into your pie was grown or made using the Non-GMO Project Standard’s rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.
Everything Green — From drinks, to desserts, to decorations, nothing says St. Patrick’s Day like an explosion of green. Want to make the entire day green-themed, but also avoid GMO and synthetic chemical filled food colorings? Start the morning off right with a naturally green Spring Smoothie. Your kids will love the bright color and tropical fruitiness, and you’ll love all the essential nutrients they’re getting without the GMO corn derived chemicals that can be found in many conventional food dyes. The Shamrock Crackers and Vegan Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip we mentioned earlier will make the perfect non-GMO after-school snack. And for a sweet treat at the end of the day, whip up a batch of these delicious Chocolate Peppermint Brownies, which use Non-GMO Project Verified green food coloring. Finish off your St. Patrick’s celebrations with a delicious dinner of homemade Shepherd’s Pie.