While I certainly consumed a lot of emerald-colored food and drink in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, most of what I ate and drank wasn't "green" in the sense of healthful. Nothing like, that is to say, the offerings at Green Plate Foods, which reached out to me a few days before St. Paddy's with promising information on their "nutrient-rich snacks with nothing artificial."
"Hmm," I thought. "Why not take a break from Pillsbury brownies and processed icing and eat something 'naturally' sweet'?" Other than a piece of fruit, I mean.
Founder and CEO of Green Plate Foods (and Houston resident) Lisa Pounds started this wholesale and retail catering company because she was frustrated with the unhealthy food options she found in her daughter's day-to-day life. Determined to craft a better solution, Pounds created Green Plate Foods to prove to people that craveable treats can be healthy.
The company sells a full line of salads, snacks, sandwiches, and breakfast items, but I was most interested in their baked goods, many of which are vegan, gluten-free, and/or made with fruit and vegetable purees.
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What I expected to like the least I enjoyed the most. Damn you, vegan nubblers, I wish I knew how to quit you. These chewy triangular wedges, composed of dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, cherries, dates, and shredded coconut, aren't head-turners with regards to presentation, but they boast lovely creamy and botanical notes. I sampled my nubblers late at night, but I think they would also do wonders as a pre- or post-workout snack.
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Green Plate Food's cutesy mini-muffins had a moist, cakey texture, and thus easily disprove any assertion that gluten-free baked goods are inevitably either too dry or gummy. Despite being rich in cocoa flavor, the "super brownie" muffins contains spinach and blueberries. Like the Jessica Seinfeld method of cooking Pounds cleverly hides vegetables and fruit in familiar comfort foods. Very sneaky, those sweets.
As a consummate chocolate chip cookie snob, I certainly had my doubts about Lisa's zucchini version, which uses dark chocolate chips and whole-wheat flour. "Yeah, that'll be delicious," said the mean girl in my head.
Um, it was. Not the same obviously as a chocolate chip cookies made with butter and a whole lotta white sugar and flour. But excellent in a different way. A less oily batter made the bittersweet flavor of the chips stand out better against the lighter vanilla-tinged cookie base. Even more pleasing was the after-effect; whereas post-regular chocolate chip cookie consumption I feel a bit of the food coma coming on, Pounds' cookies left me energized. I had a similar reaction to her equally delicious almond butter cookies, so chewy and legume-forward they could easily challenge the peanut's dominance in this baked-good space.
I'm not gonna eat these treats next St. Patrick's Day because I won't do Green Plate Foods the disservice of adulterating their product with green food coloring (which apply to almost everything edible on the holiday). The 364 days of the year, they are a more than fine alternative to my standard not-so-guilt-free pleasures.