Saint Patrick’s Day is around the corner and reminds me of an article I read years ago. It explained the nutritional value of typical Saint Parick’s foods such as corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

Thinking such information might be of interest to readers, I decided to research more. I put into the search bar “nutritional value of a Saint Patrick’s Day meal.” I was surprised when the first entry was “29 Saint Patrick’s Day desserts.” The next several entries were about desserts as well.

Except for cupcakes with green frosting, I was not aware that Saint Patrick’s desserts were even a thing. The author of one article made it clear that there was more to making Saint Patrick’s Day desserts than adding a dash of green food coloring.

Intrigued, I delved deeper into the topic. Here are some highlights to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day sweetness.

Certainly, desserts that are naturally green are commonly served on Saint Patrick’s Day. Key lime pie is popular. Pistachio desserts are naturally green. Anything with green or mint, often tastily combined with chocolate, might be on the menu.

Except for folks who are Irish, many may not be aware of “stout” desserts. These desserts all have stout beer as an ingredient.

Commonly, stout desserts are an adaptation of a chocolate dessert. Chocolate reduces the powerful taste of beer. Stout beer can be a replacement for milk in a chocolate cake or cupcake recipe.

Many Americans of Italian Irish heritage combine cuisines. Guinness Caramel Tiramisu is a thing. For this dessert regular tiramisu, a popular Italian dessert, is layered with a caramel sauce made with some stout Guinness (Irish) beer beaten into a cream and sugar mixture.

Irish whiskey desserts are another alcohol flavored type of dessert. Keep in mind that alcohol dissipates during heating. It can be used in place of the Guinness as described above, or a whiskey sauce can be made to pour over bread pudding.

For some folks Irish Soda Bread is a must on Saint Patrick’s Day. While studying for my ministry degree, I had one professor who was extremely knowledgeable about ancient Christian history. She was even more proud of her Irish roots. On Saint Patrick’s Day she gave recipes for Irish Soda Bread, something she thought we all should know how to bake.

Many of the foods that are considered Saint Patrick’s Day foods are more American than Irish. Tastes changed for Irish immigrants in the United States who had an immediate jump in their standard of living.

Irish workers in the USA quickly exchanged the bit of pork they added to their cabbage as a Saint Patrick’s Day treat. The robust chunks of corned beef available in Jewish delicatessens became a popular tasty addition to cabbage.

The luscious desserts now enjoyed on Saint Patrick’s Day never would have been affordable for most citizens in Ireland a century ago. Those who lived in the country, though, did have cream and eggs, the basis for many desserts. Salaries in the USA allowed for adapting recipes by adding chocolate and alcohol.

Saint Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday this year. Be happy for teachers on Sunday who get a respite from children pinching for not wearing green.

Anyone who gave up desserts, chocolate or alcohol for lent also get a break. Some may not be aware that Sundays are not fasting days because they are weekly reminders of the Resurrection.

On Sunday, try a Saint Patrick’s dessert. Use this guide to find complete recipes on the internet. As always, shop locally for the ingredients.

Irish or not, enjoy a tasty Saint Patrick’s Day meal with family or friends.

(Janet Miller is a freelance writer specializing in family faith. She offers Family Prayers and Activities: Weekly Guides on compact disc for families to explore the Bible together. Email

Janet Miller

Janet Miller is a freelance writer specializing in family faith. She offers Family Prayers and Activities: Weekly Guides on compact disc for families to explore the Bible together. Email