Vegan Colcannon — Plant-Based, Nutrient-Dense, and Delicious!
Colcannon is a wonderful example of traditional Irish cuisine, resonating with the principles of “cucina povera” or “poor cuisine” reminiscent of Italian cooking, as I’ve previously explored elsewhere, especially in my podcast.
Both culinary traditions share a common thread of resourcefulness and thriftiness, elevating humble ingredients into wholesome, comforting dishes. Just as “cucina povera” in Italian culture transforms simple ingredients like bread, olive oil, and tomatoes into exquisite creations such as Panzanella, colcannon epitomizes the Irish approach to turning basic staples, such as potatoes and greens, into a heartwarming, belly-filling, and flavorful masterpiece.
These culinary legacies, rooted in simplicity and tradition, remind us of the enduring connections between food, culture, and our own ancestral stories — especially for those of us with Irish roots.
4 large russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chopped kale (curly kale works well)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred plant-based milk)
4 tablespoons vegan butter
4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the Potatoes:
Place the diced potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
Prepare the Kale:
While the potatoes are cooking, blanch the chopped kale in a separate pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until it’s bright green and tender.
Drain the kale and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Mash the Potatoes:
Use a potato masher to mash the cooked potatoes until they are smooth and free of lumps.
Add Plant-Based Milk and Vegan Butter:
To the mashed potatoes, add the unsweetened almond milk and vegan butter. Mix well until the butter has melted, and the mixture is creamy. Adjust the milk and butter to achieve your desired consistency.
Fold in Kale and Green Onions:
Gently fold the blanched kale and sliced green onions into the mashed potatoes. Ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Season and Serve:
Season the colcannon with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve your vegan colcannon hot, and enjoy this comforting and flavorful dish!
This vegan colcannon is a delicious, plant-based twist on the traditional Irish dish, perfect for a hearty meal any time of the year, especially around St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween.
Did You Know?
Traditionally, colcannon was a cherished dish served during Allhallowtide, a period encompassing All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween / October 31st), All Saints’ Day (November 1st), and All Soul’s Day (November 2nd). This hearty Irish fare, consisting of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, and often accompanied by hidden treasures like rings and coins, was not only a delicious treat but also a part of festive fortune-telling rituals.
As an Irish person, I agree. Colcannon is a delicious food. It is easy to make, easy to eat and tastes wonderful. It is best when it is hot but not scalding. Another Irish tradition is to wrap small coins in aluminium foil and bury them in the mash. Children love finding little treasures buried in colcannon and opening the foil to see what coin they got. We do something similar with the báirín breac (barmbrack). Rings are mixed into a báirín breac (which means a speckled loaf in Irish).
The name of this food comes from the Irish language. Cál means kale in Irish. Ceannann means white-headed, so it means something like kale and white-headed potatoes. Ceaile https://www.teanglann.ie/ga/fgb/ceaile means mashed new potatoes.
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