A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!)

by Gretchen · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated March 9, 2023

~ The perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! This fun, delicious, simple, and healthy version of the Shamrock Shake is just bursting with nutrition! With no artificial colors, too! You’ll be shocked at how healthy this copycat Shamrock Shake is … yet it tastes just like its namesake original! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

lá sona ú Pádraig


It means “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

I have to admit … I’m kinda super excited about this particular St. Paddy’s day, since I’ve recently discovered a tiny (teeeeeny) bit of Irish ancestry.

You see, last year my oldest kiddo had to do a family tree project, and even after the project was finished, I was fascinated by the whole process and kept digging to uncover more info. And … I found out that I actually have some Irish ancestors!

(Ummmmmm … confession: I may or may not sometimes talk in an Irish accent and dance little jigs around the house. My husband just shakes his head and asks if I’m trying to reconnect with my people. Yes, yes, in fact I am. I can feel the Irish just pulsing through my veins! I may start to call myself O’Gretchen. No? Too far?)

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

Irish heritage or not, how do you celebrate St. Paddy’s?

Maybe a parade? Does your city put green dye in the rivers? How about green eggs for breakfast? Maybe you live near Savannah, Georgia or Boston, Massachusetts where March 17th is considered a legal holiday. A legal holiday. Like, recognized.

But what if you don’t live near a city that celebrates with a parade or a green river?

Well, you could wear green (yeah, yeah … that’s a given).

Or you could swing by McDonald’s to get the long-anticipated Shamrock Shake. That’s ok … no, wait … well …

I get it. Shelley and I both remember back when we were kids, waiting and waiting for March to come around because it meant that we’d get that creamy mint shake. It.was.awesome.

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

But now we’re moms, and we want to feed our kids the best and most nutritious foods. Those Shamrock Shakes were just begging to be THK-ified!

Still, we knew that we’d have to use our very best thinking caps to figure out this transformation!

It all started way back (ok, a few months ago) when we were planning our editorial calendar for 2014, and we saw that St. Patrick’s Day was fast approaching. I proclaimed, “Ohhhh … a Shamrock Shake!” at the same moment Shelley announced, “Yummm … green smoothies!”

Hmmm … how could those two ideas become one? It’s quite simple, actually!

When we initially started testing for this recipe, we knew that food coloring wasn’t going to be an option. So here’s where that promised superfood comes in …

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

It’s … SPINACH!!! Gorgeous, naturally green-colored and loaded with mega nutrition!

Before you wrinkle up your nose in that “something-smells-bad” face, just hear me out. This is nothing like a spinach salad … or even a spinach-loaded pasta dinner. NOTHING!

You TOTALLY can’t taste the spinach! Promise. Cross my heart. Pinky swear, too.

That’s one of the reasons that spinach works so well in smoothies – raw baby spinach just doesn’t have all that much flavor!

Between our two families, none of our kids (not one of them!) could detect even a hint of spinach in these shakes. And when they found out, they all just kinda shook their heads (they’ve been down this sort of THK road before) … and then continued happily slurping away!

Seriously – not joking! These milkshakes are fully kid-tested and kid-approved!

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}
This is what three cups of spinach and 1/2 cup of milk reduce to! Can’t taste it … but it sure does give a lovely green coloring!

Now you might be thinking, “But why is THK recommending frozen yogurt or even ice cream??”

First, remember, these are for a treat. And also remember, we are real people! We certainly don’t recommend that you eat the entire carton of ice cream at once … but a life lived with moderation is a happy life! And there are lots of pretty terrific light ice creams and frozen yogurts on the market that have decent ingredient lists, taste fabulous, and are relatively low-fat. AND don’t forget there are three cups of spinach in there! THREE CUPS!!!

To tell the truth, though, we really, really wanted this to work with Greek yogurt – even frozen Greek yogurt (because, you know – that would have been nutritious beyond belief).

We tried. We truly did.

But after several batches of Greek yogurt concoctions (that weren’t so delicious), we decided to ditch the Greek yogurt altogether and embrace the milkshake side of this idea.

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

And it was good. It was very, very good.

As in: the kids have been begging for these THK-ified Shamrock Shakes consistently for the last two months since this recipe was born. (Apologies to those in our town who may have noticed our stores coming perilously close to running out of spinach!)

And so there you have it … the nutrition of a spinach-loaded green smoothie, with the creamy goodness of a milkshake (a Shamrock Shake, to be exact)!

These frosty cups are the perfect addition to your festivities, whether you’re dying an entire river green or just donning a shamrock-green sweater!

So put on your dancin’ shoes – we’re doing the jig!

And … lá sona ú Pádraig!

Pinnable photo of the Shamrock Shakes in tall milkshake glasses, with text overlay of the recipe name.

A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!)

Yield: 2 3/4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! This fun, delicious, simple, and healthy version of the Shamrock Shake is just bursting with nutrition!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  


  • 3 cups loosely but firmly packed baby spinach (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 3/16 teaspoon mint extract (not peppermint – see note)
  • 2 cups of your favorite reduced-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (not frozen Greek yogurt)


  1. In a blender, combine spinach, milk, and extract until spinach is completely incorporated, with no tiny green pieces visible, scraping down the sides two or three times as needed. The mixture will be whipped and frothy.
  2. Add ice cream/frozen yogurt and blend just briefly, until smooth and completely mixed, scraping down sides if needed. Do not over-blend or the milkshakes won't be as thick.
  3. Serve immediately.


Mint Extract: Be sure to purchase extract labeled as "mint" and not "peppermint." Mint extract contains oils from both spearmint and peppermint, and pure peppermint extract absolutely won't taste right in this milkshake. Also, we realize that 3/16 teaspoon is an unusual measurement, but through our testing, we consistently found that 1/8 teaspoon wasn't quite enough, but 1/4 teaspoon was too much. Unless you own a 1/16 teaspoon measure, just fill your 1/8 teaspoon once, then estimate as you fill it about half full again. Alternately, you could use a scant 1/4 teaspoon. That should be close enough, and you can adjust the amount of extract to taste.

Separation: Similar to many smoothies, this milkshake will begin to separate upon standing. If that happens, just give it a swirl with a spoon, or briefly reblend.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 1/2 servings Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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69 thoughts on “A Healthier Take on the Shamrock Shake (Surprise Superfood Ingredient!)”

    • These Shamrock Shakes really are amazing – both because they’re healthier, and also because they still taste absolutely marvelous. I actually prefer them to the real thing! I hope you’ll love them just as much as my family does! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ~Shelley

    • Hi Jami! These copycat Shamrock Shakes really are so yummy! They were part of my family’s own St. Patrick’s day celebrations (once again!) this past weekend – we just love them! 🙂

      Anyway, to offer a little explanation of why we have (at least thus far) opted not to include nutrition info with our recipes and how you might more accurately calculate your own …

      We’ve actually debated since the beginning of this blog whether or not we should supply nutrition info (and address it in our FAQ (http://twohealthykitchens.com/about/).

      Especially with Gretchen’s (my original business partner’s) master’s degree in nutrition, she could easily have calculated that manually – plus there are loads of online calculators to use. However, for a variety of reasons, we have decided over and over again not to do that. One big reason is that we generally don’t specify exact brands (although on some occasions we need to), so the final nutritional profile of a recipe can vary widely, depending on the purchasing decisions our readers make. In the end, it could almost be a bit misleading to quote nutritional info, if readers make significantly different purchasing choices than we did in testing. With this specific Shamrock Shake recipe, for example, a huge part of the nutrition info (especially calorie count) will hinge on which reduced-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt each reader purchases when they make the recipe. So, each person’s buying decisions will have an important impact on nutrition info, and for us to offer nutrition info wouldn’t really be all that helpful.

      My best suggestion would be to use your favorite online nutrition calculator, and plug in the exact brands you use to get the most accurate information. Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Several months ago, we sent out a whole list of different recipe calculators in our newsletter. Too long to publish here (this is already such long answer! ? ), but shoot me an email if you’re interested, and I can send that along for you!

      Also … having said all of this … I want you to know that we get questions like this from other readers from time to time, too. As a result, we are always re-evaluating this very good question and exploring how we may be able to offer nutrition information in a way that we can feel good about – a way that’s helpful and not potentially misleading. So stay tuned …

      Thanks so much for reaching out to us! I hope these explanations help you out at least a little!

      Have a wonderful week! ~Shelley


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