There are two confectionary treats that I get excited about this time of year: Cadbury Eggs and Shamrock shakes. Well the Cadbury eggs are not as good as they used to be and the Shamrock Shakes are, well, I think we all know that the golden arches don’t whir up ice cream and milk to make their shakes.
According to Shape.com, “A 16-ounce serving of the Shamrock Shake has 550 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, no fiber, 82 grams of sugar and 13 grams of protein.” It doesn’t quite seem worth it.
I went in search of a copycat recipe I could lighten to find my disappointment in the recipes using peppermint extract. Is there peppermint flavor in these shakes? Yes, but it’s the back note with the dominant flavor being the ever delightful spearmint. Peppermint alone will not mimic the right flavor and will taste a bit too Christmassy.
I came up with my own recipe using lovely Italian gelato which is richer and creamier than ice cream, but lower in calories. I love it when these things happen. It also happens to be the reason I use unsweetened almond milk which is far creamier than skim milk, but only 30 calories a cup. Some spinach added the needed color and great nutrition without changing the flavor. And protein powder seemed a justifiable addition. Using pure mint extract, which is a good blend of spearmint and peppermint, adds the needed flavor. Some fat-free whipped cream and a maraschino cherry finished it off beautifully. All of this for just over 200 calories for a full 16-ounce glass. Now that’s better. No shame here, just the right ingredients to make it right and wow.
No Shame Shamrock Shakes
Makes 4 servings
2 cups vanilla gelato
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
Fat-free Redi Whip
4 maraschino cherries
Place all the ingredients, except for the whipped cream and cherry, in a blender, cover and blend for about 5 minutes. Pour into 4 16-ounce glasses. Garnish each shake with 2 tablespoons whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
If you use regular Redi Whip, the calories will be 219 per shake.
Blot the cherries on a paper towel for a cleaner presentation on the whipped cream.