Vegan Irish Cuisine
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀🇮🇪 Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the rich culinary heritage of Ireland, celebrating the delicious traditional foods that have been passed down for generations and making a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu.
You heard that right.
Traditions are meant to be adapted. Traditions are meant to reflect our values. So, let’s get to it.
Irish cuisine is hearty and comforting — thick soups, chunky stews, creamy sides, and warming drinks. This is the food I grew up on in my Irish-American family. My name IS, after all, Colleen Patrick — Colleen meaning “girl” and Patrick referring to the patron saint of this holiday. (The “Goudreau” part of my last name comes from my husband.)
Officially, I’m 75% Irish and 25% Italian, my ancestors having immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. And I’m 100% vegan. So, that makes a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu right up my alley! 😇
St. Patrick’s Day History
The history of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the 17th century, when it was first observed as a religious feast day by the Catholic Church in Ireland. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was a fifth-century Christian missionary who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
He is also known for using the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.
Over time, St. Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in Ireland, and it was celebrated with religious ceremonies and feasts. It was also a day when people would wear green, which is now a symbol of Ireland and a nod to the country’s lush green landscape.
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day became popular among Irish immigrants in the late 19th century. These immigrants organized parades and other celebrations to celebrate their heritage and culture. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and is celebrated around the world.
Irish Main Dishes and Sides
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE (AMERICAN): One of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day food traditions is corned beef and cabbage, and I have memories of my mother cooking this in the slow cooker every March. However, this dish is not actually a traditional Irish meal. It is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-19th century, when Irish immigrants substituted corned beef for bacon, which was more expensive in America.
HEARTY STEW (IRISH): In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is more commonly celebrated with a traditional Irish meal of a thick, hearty stew with potatoes, carrots, and onions. For my vegan version, I use plant-based meat, though you can just leave that out and just feature root vegetables. You can use store-bought seitan, sausage, or any favorite vegan meat. To avoid extra packaging and cost, I make my own seitan, which is much more economical and ecological. You can find my recipe in the on-demand class library, or just click on the button below:
COLCANNON (IRISH): Another traditional Irish dish is colcannon, a delicious and creamy mixture of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. This simple yet satisfying dish would be served with a dollop of (nondairy) butter, and it’s a great accompaniment to any main dish. It is also a perfect way to get some St. Patrick’s Day GREEN in your menu — using healthy, delicious greens. You can take that further by making a side of
- kale chips
- sauteed collard greens
- pea soup
- spinach or arugula salad
BOXTY (IRISH): An alternative to colcannon is boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake. There are different regional variations of boxty throughout Ireland, with some recipes including other ingredients like onions, garlic, or herbs. Boxty has been a staple of Irish cuisine for centuries and is still popular today, particularly in rural areas of the country.
I demonstrate how to make boxty in my St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu, which provides my video instruction with tons of tips and tricks.
SODA BREAD (IRISH): Another traditional item for this holiday is soda bread, which has been a staple in Irish cuisine for many years, and it’s still enjoyed today for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is that it’s a simple bread to make using basic ingredients that were readily available to the Irish people throughout history, including flour, salt, baking soda, and soured milk (or buttermilk).
Using plant-based milk instead of animal milk is an easy vegan switcheroo for a bread that is otherwise vegan. Enjoy my recipe for Irish Soda Bread here.
Irish Dessert and Drinks
For dessert, Irish people often enjoy traditional dishes like apple cake, bread pudding, or trifle. They may also indulge in Guinness beer (now vegan!), Bailey’s Irish Cream (a vegan version now available!), or Irish whiskey (always been vegan, thank goodness!). 😇 These iconic Irish beverages have been enjoyed for centuries, and their rich flavors are the perfect complement to any traditional Irish meal.
You can enjoy my Whisky Apple Cake recipe as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu. And if you have my book, Color Me Vegan, you will find a beautiful Green Matcha Cupcake, which is a fun way to feature some of the Irish green!
Green Recipe Inspiration!
Here are some more ideas for green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day:
- Green smoothie bowl: Blend spinach, banana, kiwi, and coconut milk to make a creamy and nutritious green smoothie. Top with sliced fruit, granola, and nuts for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
- Irish soda bread with green herbs: Add chopped green herbs like parsley, chives, or basil to your Irish soda bread dough to give it a fresh and savory twist.
- Shamrock avocado toast: Spread mashed avocado onto toasted bread and use a cookie cutter to cut the shape of a shamrock. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, green onions, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Green hummus: Blend chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add a handful of fresh parsley, cilantro, or spinach and blend until the mixture turns bright green. Serve with pita chips or crudites.
- Matcha latte: Whisk together matcha powder, agave, and warm plant-based milk to make a frothy and invigorating green tea latte.
- Pistachio “nice” cream: Make a homemade pistachio nice cream by blending pistachios into your frozen bananas. Blend the mixture in a blender until it’s thick and creamy.
- Shamrock sugar cookies: Make sugar cookie dough and add green food coloring to the mix. Cut out shamrock shapes with cookie cutters, bake, and decorate with green icing and sprinkles.
So let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Irish style with delicious, nutritious, compassionate vegan recipes! You can find my video, recipes, and menu of TRADITIONAL IRISH STEW, POTATO PANCAKES (BOXTY), AND APPLE CRUMBLE by clicking on the button below.
St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu Ideas
- Split Pea Soup (green and hearty!)
- Traditional Irish Stew (with plant-based meat)
- Colcannon (use plant-based milk and butter)
- Irish Soda Bread (traditional and easy to make vegan)
- Boxty (very Irish and very delicious!)
- Leafy Greens (kale, collards, spinach, arugula)
- Whisky Apple Cake (traditional and warming)
- Bread Pudding (vegan versions abound, including in The Joy of Vegan Baking)
What are your favorite vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments below!