I’m zero percent Irish, but I went to college in Boston (where most of my friends were Irish), and married someone who is half-Irish, so I have a special fondness for St. Patrick’s Day. For many years, March 17 was a day to go straight from class (or the office) to the nearest Irish pub and drink green beer until closing time (and then promptly calling out sick from work the next day – subtle). Of course, having children put an abrupt end to such youthful merriment (sad, but it was time), so for the last 6-7 years, I instead try and cook something Irish-y to “celebrate” the holiday, and take a hard pass at the (unfortunately named) Irish Car Bombs and Guinness.
I love the idea of colcannon because it combines two of my favorite foods – potatoes and cabbage. The traditional recipe contains lots of milk, heavy cream and butter, so I needed to change some things around to fit my diet. However, this isn’t my first time at the vegan Colcannon rodeo – I created a recipe years back for a Collard Greens Colcannon, but it contained a lot of oil, and these days I’m trying to go a healthier route. This recipe still calls for 1/4 cup total of olive oil, but you could easily reduce it in half by sautéing the kale and garlic in water or vegetable broth. And, I swapped cabbage for its darker, trendier cousin, kale. Kale is in the same family as cabbage – the cruciferous vegetables, which are some of the healthiest foods on earth. I love kale in this version because it’s slightly more tender than cabbage, and also contains more antioxidants. It totally scratches my itch for dark-greens-at-every-meal, but also somehow reaches comfort food status once it’s combined with mashed potatoes.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until March to enjoy Colcannon. This is a perfect dish to make all year long, but especially in the colder months, when not much looks good in the produce aisle other than potatoes and dark greens.