I was deciding between Irish stout or Irish soda pretzels for Saint Patrick’s Day this year. I ended up making the latter because my fridge was out of stout beer and I was too lazy to go out and get some (worry not, it’s since been replenished). For St. Paddy’s, my first thought was to greenify the pretzels with frozen spinach. I couldn’t find any green pretzel recipes made using spinach. However, I did find a green pretzel made using green tea (matcha) powder.
I love green tea and usually have some matcha powder lying around to use in smoothies or as a topping, so I figured why not give it a try. I used 1 teaspoon of matcha powder for 3 cups of flour. My pretzels were barely green. There was a hint of green if I convinced my mind into believing it, but nowhere near as green as my pretzels made with frozen spinach. I might try increasing the matcha quantity in the future. For now, I am sticking with the frozen spinach.
With or without the frozen spinach, you can have soft pretzels any time with this simple recipe. The traditional ingredients for Irish soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk (cheater method: milk + vinegar/lemon). That is just 5 ingredients. Ingredients you would typically already have in your pantry. And you don’t need yeast because the acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda, creating bubbles that help leaven the bread. Yay science! So if you’re craving soft pretzels, make these Irish soda pretzels and have them with some yellow mustard. I guarantee you they will hit the spot!
This is an easy recipe for vegan soft pretzels without yeast and without eggs. This no-knead pretzel uses traditional Irish soda bread ingredients. It’s made green using frozen spinach and can be made without the green color. The green pretzels are shaped into a shamrock and are the perfect snack for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
- 1 ½ cups (10 oz or 284 g) frozen spinach – thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
- 1 cup (240 mL) non-dairy milk
- 3 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 4 ¼ cups (550 g) unbleached all purpose/plain flour
3 cups (390 g) flour if not adding green color
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- Stir together the buttermilk ingredients in a bowl. Set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Blend the spinach and buttermilk in a blender until smooth.
- In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Create a well in the center, and pour in the buttermilk mixture.
- Mix all the ingredients until the dough comes together. You should be able to grab the dough, without it sticking to your hands, and form it into a ball.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces for shamrocks or 12 pieces for regular pretzels.
- Work with one piece at a time. Using both hands, squeeze the dough from the center towards the ends, into a long cylinder. Roll the dough until it is about 24 inches (60 cm) long for shamrocks or 12 inches (30 cm) for regular pretzels.
- Shape the pretzel dough. For a shamrock, lay one end onto the work surface and form a straight vertical stem. Then curve the dough clockwise to form a leaf on the right side. Bring the dough over the stem and continue to move clockwise to form the top leaf. Curve the leaf downwards and over the stem again to make the left leaf. Move the end of the dough on top of the vertical stem and tuck underneath. Shape the stem into a rectangle and the leaves into triangles or hearts.
- Repeat with remaining pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Combine water bath ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Place the pretzels one at a time into the hot water and boil for 30 seconds. Scoop out with a metal strainer.
- Lay the pretzels onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt onto the pretzels.
- Bake the pretzels for 10 – 15 minutes until brown on top.
- Enjoy with some mustard (perhaps an Irish stout mustard)!