No Food Coloring Shamrock Tarts
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Looking for a green dessert for St. Patrick’s Day without the food coloring? This is it! Avocado-lime pudding with date crust is a delicious combination of textures and flavors. The chewy date and oat pieces combine with the silky smooth avocado-lime pudding beautifully. And the flavors! Zesty lime packs a punch and the dates balance it with their natural sweetness.

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A bowl of rolled oats, maple syrup, an avocado cut in half, a lime cut in half, and 5 dates on a chopping board

Notes on ingredients


Avocados are incredibly nutritious. They contain more potassium than bananas, and they’re loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids. It’s these healthy fats that help regulate hormone balance, which is extremely important for women with PCOS. The fat also helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. So, the carbohydrates in this recipe won’t raise your blood sugar as fast thanks to the avocado.

Avocados are also high in fiber which aids digestion and they have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.


Limes are rich in vitamin C which can help boost your immune system and has even been shown to help improve your memory. In this recipe, the lime juice helps prevent the avocado from turning brown and keeps it that beautiful green.

Maple Syrup

Although maple syrup is high in sugar, it has a relatively low score on the glycemic index. Maple syrup is around 54 compared to table sugar which is 65. The glycemic index measures the relative rise of blood glucose level. A score of 100 represents how much blood glucose levels rise after consuming pure glucose. So, a score of 54 means that maple syrup raises blood sugar levels slower than sugar. Maple syrup also contains small amounts of minerals such as manganese which regular sugar does not.

Shamrock shapes stamped out of green avocado lime pudding and date crust

Coconut Oil

I like using unrefined coconut oil in these tarts because the flavors of coconut and lime pair so well together. If you would rather not have the coconut flavor or, if you already have refined coconut oil and don’t want to buy more, that will work perfectly well.


There are many types of dates but the most common in supermarkets are Deglet Noor and Medjool dates. Medjool dates are larger and sweeter. One cup of chopped dates is about five Medjool dates or 15 Deglet Noor Dates. Studies have shown that dates are low on the glycemic index. So, even though they are high in natural sugars (just two Medjool dates (48g) contain 32 grams of sugars) when consumed in moderation they do not have a significant effect on your blood sugar.

The good news is that when you eat carbohydrates with healthy fats (such as those found in avocados and coconut oil), the fat slows down digestion and your blood sugar won’t spike as quickly. This is very important as many women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance.

Old-fashioned oats

On the subject of insulin resistance, it’s important to use old-fashioned (also known as rolled oats) and not quick oats. This is because quick oats have already been processed. They cook quicker but they’re also digested quicker, spiking blood sugar and triggering an insulin release.

Date crust pressed into a round cake pan

Tips for making Shamrock Tarts

  • Buy soft or firm avocados depending on when you plan to make shamrock tarts. If they are firm, they’re not ripe yet. If they have a gentle give, they’re ready to eat that day. Choose your avocados depending on when you plan to make these tarts. The tarts are stored in the freezer so you can make them quite far in advance.
  • Chop the dates before you put them in the food processor. This will save time and prevent your motor from overheating. The dates are really sticky and are difficult to process.
  • Line the pan with greaseproof paper. As per the previous tip, dates are sticky and it’s very difficult to remove the sheet from the pan without greaseproof paper. Greasing it with coconut oil won’t work either because the oil solidifies when cold.
  • Dip your fingers in water when pressing the date crust into the pan. The mixture does not stick as easily to wet fingers.
  • Include the coconut oil in the avocado-lime pudding. The oil helps prevent the avocado pudding from turning brown and helps the pudding set.
  • Keep the lime at room temperature. This helps to get more juice out of the lime. Rolling it on the counter helps get more juice from it too.
Shamrock cookie cutter stamped out a shamrock from the sheet of avocado lime pudding and date crust

Cookie cutters

The shamrock cookie cutter I used is approximately 2″x2″. If you get this set, it’s the smallest shamrock of three included. There are a few other fun shapes in there too if you decide to make something other than shamrocks! Another option is to make your own cookie cutter. There are some great tutorials on YouTube which use tin strips.

What to do with offcuts

You COULD scrape the pudding off, reform the date crust, spread the pudding on again, then freeze the reformed sheet and stamp more shamrocks. However, my preferred option is to just press all the scraps into a muffin pan and freeze it. To release the tarts simply run the pan under warm water. They won’t look as pretty but they sure taste good!

Fun Fact!

The shamrock is associated with St. Patrick because he used it to explain Christianity to the pagans in Ireland. They didn’t understand how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were one. So, St. Patrick picked up a shamrock and showed them that even though it had three leaves, it had one stalk. I’m Irish and worked as a tour guide in Dublin for three years, and used to love telling people this legend.


Shamrock tarts need to be kept in the freezer. Freeze them on a cookie sheet first, then transfer them to a container. If they are soft before you put them in the container, they will stick together. The tarts will keep for a month in the freezer.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Or “Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!” as we say in Ireland.

Green shamrock tarts on a white plate. Half a lime in the background and a blue linen

No Food Coloring Shamrock Tarts

Looking for a green dessert for St. Patrick's Day without the food coloring? This is it! Avocado-lime pudding with date crust is a delicious combination of flavors and textures and no food coloring required!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Freeze Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 11 2″x2″ shamrocks
Calories 118 kcal


  • Shamrock cookie cutter
  • 8 inch round cake pan
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Blender


Date Crust

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup chopped dates (about 5 Medjool dates)

Avocado-Lime Pudding

  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • ¼ cup lime juice (1 large lime)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (melted)


  • Line the cake pan with greaseproof paper.
  • Remove the pit and chop the dates. Add to the blender with the rolled oats. Process until it reaches a crumbly texture.
  • Press the crust into the cake pan. Dip your fingers or a spoon in water to prevent the mixture from sticking.
  • Clean the blender then add the avocado, lime juice, maple syrup, salt, and coconut oil. Process until smooth then pour over the date crust and smooth.
  • Place the cake pan in the freezer for one hour or until the tart has set.
  • When the tart has set, remove it from the cake pan by running a knife around the edge and then lifting out the greaseproof paper. Stamp out your shamrock tarts using a shamrocj cookie cutter.
  • Serve immediately or return to the freezer until you are ready to serve.


Adapted from “Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes: A Cookbook” by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky.
Get the shamrock cookie cutter used in this recipe here.
Keyword green, no food coloring, st patricks day

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