What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than by eating green? 

Vegetables that are bright, vibrant green are rich in many vitamins (Vitamins K, A and C), minerals (iron, manganese, and calcium) and antioxidants (sulforaphane and carotenoids) than can aid in preventing countless chronic diseases.  Recent research suggests that leafy greens, which are packed full of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, can even ward off Age-Related Macular Degeneration – the leading cause of adult blindness.   
 
So if eating green is like pulling teeth at your dinner table, maybe serving these green recipes for “good luck” can entice picky eaters to at least try them.  Below are two delicious side dishes featuring lucky green vegetables.
 
 
Sweet Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 5

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt and black pepper, each

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.  When hot, add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper.  Without stirring too much, cook sprouts until they are browned, about 2-4 minutes.

Add butter and brown sugar and stir just enough to dissolve.  Add syrup to skillet and cook sprouts until they become crisp and roasted on the outside, but tender enough to poke with a fork (about 7-10 minutes).

Stir in vinegar, walnuts and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and cook until hot.  Transfer sprouts to a serving dish, but leave remaining liquid in skillet.  Bring to a soft boil for just long enough to allow syrup to thicken.  Pour over sprouts and serve hot.

Nutrition facts per serving: 370 calories; 34 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 141 mg sodium; 409 mg potassium; 17 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 4 g protein
 
Spinach with Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar
serves 4

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
10 oz. baby spinach
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & black pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until pale gold and fragrant, about  2 minutes.  Begin adding spinach to the pan, stirring continuously and adding more spinach as it cooks down.
2. When all the spinach is "just wilted," add the vinegar and cook, stirring, another minute. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 49 calories; 3.7 g fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 202 mg sodium; 406 mg potassium; 3 g carbohydrates; 1.6 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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