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Colcannon For St. Paddy’s Day

Colcannon, a classic Irish dish of creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed cabbage, gets a vegan makeover for St. Paddy’s Day.

On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish! Even bagels get a green tint makeover for the celebration. So, I decided to do a bit of research to find a traditional Irish dish to evoke a bit of Blarney for all of you… that wasn’t corned beef and cabbage. Colcannon, creamy mashed potatoes and sautéed cabbage cooked in butter or bacon seemed the perfect fit for a vegan makeover with a bit of my personal flair.

Here’s what I did. In place of peeled russets I used Baby Dutch potatoes as I like the skin on my mash for taste, texture and nutrition. I used leeks instead of onion and a combination of green cabbage and dinosaur kale to enhance the green color of the dish. Irish butter was replaced with vegan butter as was the dairy cream replaced with a combination of oat milk and vegan cream cheese. The chive onion cream cheese added extra flavor to the dish. I highly recommend opting for that. I then added fresh herbs to top it all off to add brightness to this unctuous pile of buttery starchy goodness.

Wow! I may never go back to traditional mashed potatoes again. You definitely want to try Colcannon for St. Paddy’s Day or any day of the week. Warning, they are dangerously addictive!

Chef’s Tips:

  • You can interchange the Baby Dutch potatoes with Yukon Gold. You can also choose russet potatoes if you prefer that for your mash. You will need to peel the russets. I save some of the potato cooking liquid so that I can add that for extra moisture instead of more milk or cream The starchy water is a good thickener and it saves a few fat calories.
  • You can adjust the potato-to-veggie ratio to your liking. I like lots of greens.
  • Dinosaur kale is my favorite of the kale family, though you can choose any variety. You can replace the kale with spinach.
  • Leeks are very dirty between the layers. Make sure to separate and wash thoroughly.
  • To make this dish a bit faster to prepare on the day you cook it, dry and chop the leeks and greens ahead and store in the fridge. Be sure not to prepare the potatoes until ready to use as they will oxidize and turn brown.
  • I cooked the veggies until they took on just a bit of color and deepened in flavor. You can cook until translucent and just softened or lightly brown them a bit. Personal taste preference.
  • This dish does take a bit of timing finesse. Be patient with yourself the first time around.
Colcannon vegetables

Colcannon For St. Paddy’s Day
Serves 8

2 lbs. Baby Dutch potatoes, washed and cut into chunks with skin on
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, carefully washed, dried, and sliced thin
3-4 cups chopped green cabbage
1 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed, chopped leaves only
6 T salted vegan butter, divided
3/4 cup extra creamy oat milk
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, plain or onion and chive
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh snipped chives
Fresh chopped dill

Cover the potatoes in lightly salted water in a large pot. I used a 6-quart stainless steel stock pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat slightly, and cook until fork tender.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the leeks and cook until softened about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and kale and cook until softened about 7-8 minutes. Brown the veggies lightly if you want that flavor for the dish. If the potatoes aren’t ready yet, cover the veggies and keep warm.

Warm the milk and cream cheese in the microwave together, in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk up to combine. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove a half cup of the cooking water and then drain them.

Return the cooked potatoes to the stock pot and mash up with a few spoons of the cooking liquid to get them started. Add the warmed milk/cream cheese combo and salt and pepper to taste. Mash up to desired consistency. You can add a bit more cooking liquid If desired.

Add the veggies and stir up to incorporate. I like to give a light mash to the whole pot full to incorporate the veggies with the potatoes a bit. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Transfer the Colcannon to a large serving bowl, make a well in the center of the mash and top with the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter. Strew as much fresh snipped chives and chopped dill over the top as desired. Serve immediately. Stir up the butter and herbs before doling out to guests. Serve with extra chives and dill on the side.

You can also stir in the extra butter and fresh herbs to the Colcannon in the pot and serve that way. Chef’s choice.


Colcannon plant-based dairy replacements.
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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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  1. Love colcannon and my kids always did, too. We didn’t do vegan–we used butter and whole milk or half and half and the end. Never sautéed the cabbage–Can quickly steam after removing potatoes from the hot water. Yummy, easy and cheap. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks for featuring this classic.


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