Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, or any day, with the ultimate green food – mint chocolate chip ice cream! This healthier homemade version is packed with 10 grams of high-quality protein per serving!

My favorite holiday is right around the corner. Ever since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve loved St. Patrick’s Day. My kids are always prepared for the house to be decorated green when they get home from school. And, of course, green foods are served all day long.

The holiday inspired this post, but let’s face it – any day is a good day for ice cream! I also wanted to whip out the ice cream maker I bought my daughter for Christmas. She loves ice cream, but I’ve had just as much fun creating new recipes with it as she has. Especially, protein-packed ice cream varieties! What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s day than with green, mint chocolate chip ice cream?  The best part –  you can eat more of this version because it’s lower in fat, and  packed with 10 grams of high-quality protein per serving.

I love sweets, but I’m not a baker. I even attempt to make ice cream a but healthier than traditional recipes. I wanted an ice cream that packed high-quality protein into every bite. And, I was determined to create the perfect shade of green without adding artificial coloring. I’m scared to tell you what I used to turn this ice cream green. I’m afraid you won’t even attempt it. It wasn’t food coloring.  Any guesses?

You’ll have to read on to find out

I admit this creation didn’t come easy. I saw other recipes that used avocado to create the green color. Sorry folks, I tried it. I thought that was horrible! I tried different amounts of my secret green ingredient and finally nailed it – with the help of some erythritol. Though I try to avoid using large amounts of sugar alcohols in my recipes, I needed something to mask the bland flavor. I only added 1 tsp for the entire recipe, and that is totally enough. 

I also used fat free half and half to keep the calories down. And of course, I had to include protein so that you are getting something beneficial, even if it is a treat.

Are you ready to learn the secret green ingredient?

I added cooked spinach! Don’t you dare stop reading.  I used less than ¼ cup of cooked spinach, combined it with erythritol and processed it into a liquid in my food processor. I added the green liquid to the rest of the ingredients to create the perfect shade of green for mint chocolate. I guarantee you won’t taste it. In fact, this ice cream tastes exactly like the mint chocolate chip ice cream you buy in the store. Kid tested and 100% approved.

It’s lower in fat, higher in protein and has more nutrients than store-bought, but it’s still ice cream, so it’s not a meal. But, it is a great treat to celebrate the holiday, or any day for that matter. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Ice Cream

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, or any day, with the ultimate green food – mint chocolate chip ice cream, with 10 grams of high-quality protein per serving!
Author: Heather Mangieri, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fat- free half and half
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp. erythritol
  • 1/2 cup mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Combine the raw spinach with a few tbsp. of water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover, then steam for ~5 minutes or until wilted and soft.
    Once spinach is cooked, transfer to a small glass bowl. The cooked spinach will yield only be ~1/4 cup or less of cooked spinach. Add 1 tsp. erythritol, and then stir well. Put the spinach in a small food processor and pulse until a green liquid is formed.
    Combine all ingredients, including the liquid spinach, but excluding the chocolate chips, in a bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for ~2 hours.
    Once chilled, use an ice cream maker to prepare the ice cream. Allow to churn for ~15 minutes, then slowly add the mini chocolate chips. Continue churning until the ice cream is complete.
    Ice cream will be super soft. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover tightly and put in the freezer. Allow ice cream to set in the freezer for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.

Notes

  • Makes 5 cups of mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Nutrition Facts: (per serving): 170 calories, 23 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 10 g protein, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 8% daily calcium, 4% daily potassium
 
 
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