Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and kale (sometimes cabbage). Mashed potatoes and kale? What’s not to like? Unfortunately, in many “traditional” versions, often some kind of animal meat, either ham or bacon, is added to it. An old Irish Halloween tradition is to serve colcannon with a ring and a thimble hidden in the fluffy green-flecked dish. Prizes of small coins such as threepenny or sixpenny bits were also concealed in it.

The first time I heard of Colcannon was on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, when I was at a vegan brunch. Rather than serving breakfast potatoes, they were serving Colcannon. It was good, but I knew I could make a better version. To make a quick version, just add kale to hot mashed potatoes and let it wilt down. But for a real treat, just a little more work yields a great deal of flavor. For our take on Colcannon, we use kale along with shallots and leeks for extra flavor. To add some extra savoriness, we also add in some liquid smoke. Make this once and you will wonder how you have never had it before. This is a great side for any meal, Irish or otherwise.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


5-6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 TBL olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 leek, thoroughly washed and sliced ¼ inch thick, white and light green parts
1 bunch kale, stems removed, washed and finely chopped
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 TBL vegan butter
1/3 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk, warmed
1 TBL nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with one inch of cold water.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low, and boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander.

2. Return potatoes to pot and put back on stove at medium heat for a minute or two to dry them out. Reduce heat to low to keep them warm until you need them.

3. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil in a large skillet or shallow pot. Add shallot and sauté for 2 minutes to soften. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds or until just golden. Add the leek and sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Add the kale and soy sauce. Cook the kale until it is soft and reduced, about one minute. Add the liquid smoke. Stir well.

4. Add potatoes to the kale mixture, and mash roughly with a hand held potato masher. Add vegan butter, almond milk, nutritional yeast. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to season well.