Kale and Cabbage Colcannon

vegamcolcannon recipe

In colcannon, an Irish classic, potatoes, cabbage and/or kale plus leeks or scallions come together for a tasty dish. Here I’ve used both types of greens, which makes it tastier than ever. Traditional recipes for colcannon call for milk and butter, but it’s easy to make vegan (aka dairy-free) with non-dairy milk and olive oil. Serve it on St. Patrick’s Day, or any day of the year! Adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas.

Kale and Cabbage Colcannon
Recipe type: Potato main dish
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
In colcannon, an Irish classic, potatoes, cabbage and/or kale plus leeks or scallions come together for a tasty dish.
  • 6 medium red-skinned or golden potatoes
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk or other nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only, chopped and well rinsed (or use 5 to 6 chopped scallions, both white and green parts)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (regular or savoy)
  • 6 to 8 kale leaves (regular or lacinato), stems removed and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Cook, bake, or microwave the potatoes in their skins until easily pierced.
  1. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks, and place in a bowl. Mash coarsely and stir in the rice milk.
  2. Heat half of the oil in a large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. If using leeks, add them first and sauté over medium heat, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted.
  3. Otherwise, add the scallions to the skillet followed by the cabbage and kale. Add just a smidgen of water, cover, and cook until the cabbage and kale wilt down a bit, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes to the skillet, stir them in with the veggies, and turn the heat up to medium-high.
  5. Cook without stirring until the bottom of the mixture gets nicely browned. Stir and allow more of the mixture to brown. If need be, give it another stir and let more of the veggies brown, until they are to your liking. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.


Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 161;  Total fat: 2g;  Protein: 3g: Carbs: 31g; Sodium: 32 mg

vegan colcannon

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  • Reply
    March 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I’ve been trying for several months now to find healthy, dairy-free meals that my two young daughters can eat. I made this tonight for St. Patrick’s Day and my six year said it was “delicious”. I cannot, I repeat, cannot believe they ate cabbage and kale. Thank you so much for maintaining such a wonderful site. We’ve tried several other dishes, and they’ve all been great. I will recommend your site and books to all my friends.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Ivy! I’m so glad this met with the young lady’s approval…

  • Reply
    Cap'n Dave
    March 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Traditionally, colcannon is served as a Hallowe’en treat (though I love it year-round!). There is also a tradition where a ring is wrapped in parchment paper and buried in the colcannon (or barm brack), and that it predicted a marriage for whomever found it.

    Even the traditional rhyme nearly gives the recipe itself:

    Did you ever eat colcannon
    When ’twas made of thickened cream
    And the greens and scallions blended
    Like pictures in a dream?

    Did you ever scoop a hole on top
    To hold the melting cake
    Of clover-flavored butter
    Which your mother used to make?

    Did you ever eat and eat, afraid
    You’d let the ring go past,
    And like some old married “‘sprissman”
    Would get it at the last?

    While the old recipe that I have calls for fat drippings (2 tablespoons per pound of vegetables), I’ve had wonderful results with a good olive oil like you use but here’s my trick: since I don’t use non-stick cookware, I add a little vegan margarine. It adds a nice touch of flavor and helps to keep it from sticking on the bottom.

    As for the ring? None here as it’s just me and my wife, and since we’re already married…well, there you go. But in the book I have, it says that the trick is, as you can see from the rhyme, to bury it deep so that the children will eat it all willingly! 🙂

    I, personally, don’t mix cabbage and kale into the dish – I use one or the other, but don’t find the combination of textures pleasing to my palate. One thing you may want to do if you use leeks instead of scallions – parboil the leeks. This makes them nice and tender, as leeks can (and do) get a little leathery.

    • Reply
      March 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      This is fun and fascinating … thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I am half-Irish and remember my Irish grandmother making this for me as a child. I even remember her singing the rhyme posted above. That song always chokes me up when sung at an Irish pub, especially when all patrons join in. This recipe is a great use of greens. It tastes very similar to my grandmother’s. She would use dandelion green growing in between the sidewalk cracks on our block, much to my mother’s horror. She would also use the grease for fat was collected in a cat food can and was never refrigerated, again to my mother’s horror.

    But after tasting the finish produce here, I remembered why Irish food does not appeal to me. It is just too bland for my tastebud unless it is slathered in cream and butter.

    So instead I mixed in an entire jar of salsa at the end. Now it tastes fantastic!

    (I am also half-Mexican.)

    • Reply
      August 29, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Jan, that’s really amusing … thanks for sharing!

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