Vegan Kale Colcannon
March 16, 2011

Vegan Kale Colcannon | The Full Helping

Today’s dish is clearly in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Since I’ll be traveling tomorrow, I whipped up some festive food two nights early this week. The meal was appropriately potato themed, and this vegan kale colcannon was the star.

Colcannon is an example of simple, rustic food at its best. It’s a mashed potato dish made with cabbage or kale, though the cabbage variety is more traditional. Depending on how fancy you want to be, you can add chives, sour cream, butter, leeks, bacon, or ham to the dish. I tend to like it on the simple side, and as you’ll see, this version is pretty fuss-free. What makes it unusual is the substitution of one brassica (kale) for another (cabbage).

Vegan Kale Colcannon | The Full Helping

Don’t get me wrong: I think the cabbage version is delicious. But curly kale adds wonderful texture, not to mention a hefty dose of nutrition and bright spots of color. You can leave it very simple–just potatoes, salt, pepper, a splash of soy or almond milk, a touch of Earth Balance, and the steamed kale–or you can add some smokiness and protein in the form of crumbled tempeh, vegan sausage, or another vegan meat. If you’d prefer to use something homemade, my lentil walnut taco meat would be wonderful in the dish (though I’d omit the cumin and chili powder, just to keep the flavors consistent). Smoked tofu would be great, too.

As far as the vegetable goes, feel free to use kale or any other leafy green here–beet greens, chard, spinach, or mustard greens. Red and green cabbage will keep it traditional, and chopped cauliflower or broccoli florets would be wonderful, too.

Vegan Kale Colcannon
Recipe Type: Side dish, small plate
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free optional, soy free optional
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5 cups, or 4-5 servings
  • 4 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups washed and finely diced kale, tightly packed
  • [i]Optional[/i]: 1 cup chopped [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Fakin Bacon[/url], [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Field Roast sausage[/url], or another vegan sausage/meat substitute of choice; my [url href=”” target=”_blank”]lentil walnut “meat”[/url] would also be great (adjust seasonings as needed)
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes. Boil till tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and return potatoes to the cooking pot.
  2. While the potatoes cook, bring a small pot of water to boil and steam the kale lightly. Set kale aside.
  3. Add the plant milk, Earth Balance of coconut oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the potatoes. Mash evenly, leaving just a bit of texture in the mixture. Stir in the kale and the vegan “meat,” if you’re using it. Mix everything well, adding extra plant milk as needed, and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Vegan Kale Colcannon | The Full Helping

The real challenge of this recipe is to prepare it without eating half of it, as it’s totally irresistible. The combination of creamy potatoes, fresh and zesty kale, and smoky tempeh (or whatever other protein you decide to use) is such a winner. This is an ideal vegan recipe for St. Patrick’s Day, but frankly, it’s also perfect vegan comfort food for any time of the year. I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll be checking in tomorrow from the Big Easy. Night, friends.


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  1. I can’t do almond milk for mashed potatoes, taste too much like almonds :/ instead I’ve found adding veganaise is REALLY good, just enough with the butter to give it some creamy texture. Not a whole lot though i try to keep it low fat as possible, But if you have the perfect amount it is amazing.

  2. This Recipe is AMAZING! This was my first St. Patrick’s day being vegan,which i thought would be SO hard. I had to cook all my family recipe’s and colcannon typically has meat in it. I used this recipe and about half way through our meal family & friends were digging into my vegan colcannon It was a HUGE success and I didn’t even miss any of the traditional fare im use to every year. I had so much fun turning all my recipes vegan this recipe inspired me. Thanks SO much! – Kristina

  3. wish we had kale more easily available here (melbourne) – I usually end up with plain old cabbage but I like this dish – don’t get your sausages here but often use some smoked paprika for flavour and I have recently discovered some wonderful vegan bacon that is a mix of red beans, buckwheat groats and flavourings – would go very well in this dish

  4. Thanks for the information (and the shout-out) Gena! I always buy nooch in bulk and never looked at the nutritional info- but i am so glad that i did. aloha, andrea

  5. This does look fabulous! However, having read your last comment about raw kale directly after perusing your (more recent) raw mashed potato post, I’m suddenly going all a-whirly about the idea of raw vegan colcannen…

  6. Ooo this looks so yummy! I’m trying to incorporate more savory meals (and by ‘savory,’ I mean not breakfast) into my repertoire and I think I’ll have to take a crack at this one; looks so creamy and comforting!

  7. This looks so good, and I totally agree with you: kale over cabbage, any day 🙂 I had not had much kale until late 2008/early 2009 and now I am obsessed and am confused that I lived so many years without it LOL 🙂

    Have fun in NOLA 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Do you have any feelings or suggestions about Vit B supplementation for adults and kids (10 y/o) who try (their best) to follow a similar diet? Thanks!

  9. Looks delicious- nice to see you veganized a classic, unhealthy Irish dish! So simple, yet super wholesome, and not lacking the “yum” factor!
    Have a good day!

  10. Definitely making this tonight! Two of my favorites-kale and potato-married in the magic of garlic and (vegan) butter 🙂 I really appreciate the nooch insight. I love it and use it on countless salads, but always felt a tinge of worry-will this cause yeast growth? But I have not noticed any negative impact on my diet/health, so its good in my book. Speaking of nooch, I made your tomato tahini dressing two nights ago for a big dinner with my best friend, her new boyfriend and family. Wow-it went over sooo well. Even her dad was raving about the dressing. Thanks again for another amazing recipe Gena 🙂

  11. I’ve never had colcannon…I might have to try it. That cabbage white bean soup sure sounds delicious, though? Do you have a recipe? 😀

  12. Haha this is hilarious. Here in Holland it’s such a traditional winter dish: mashed potato with endive or kale, some butter, milk and salt. We make a little ‘pool’ in the middle for gravy and tradionally eat it with either bacon bits throughout, or a hunk of sausage next to it. We call it ‘stamppot’, something like mashed dish. The Dutch get made fun of because of this dish (ok and maybe our windmills…)

  13. I had never even heard of colcannon until today I’ve seen a few recipes for it. Sounds like a good combo of yummy vegan things.

    ps: when I tried to post this for the first time it failed said to contact the blog owner and have them look into java something and cookies. tech speak.

  14. I wrote a colcannon post not too long ago with both kale and cabbage, sweet, and regular potatoes: White, Orange, and Green for the flag! I think it makes up for my not food-celebrating tomorrow.

  15. Colcannon…I had no idea what that WAS til I read the recipe. It definitely looks wonderful and full of flavor and like my hubs would ADORE it.

    Ironically I just posted a potato themed recipes post today in honor of St Paddy’s Day with about 20 of my tater recipes. The funny thing..I don’t even “love” potatoes. They are fine, but I’d rather eat green veggies…and sweets 🙂

    Seriously though, great work on this one!

    And I liked your nooch commentary. I am one of those readers/people who love nooch and only got into it a couple years ago.

    Have fun in the Big Easy!!!!!! Don’t drink too much green beer. (kidding!)

  16. Love nutritional yeast! Still trying to get the BF to like it. I have to use such a small amount with him, haha. Baby steps right 😉

    And your Vegan Colcannon looks amazing!!!

  17. I have never heard of this dish before, then a few days ago my business partner was telling me about how she saw a mashed potato dish on the internet that had kale in it . . . but that it was loaded with butter and heavy cream. I immediately put it out of my mind and then you come at me with this! Is it a sign? Do I need to be making some of this yumminess?

    Have an awesome trip!

  18. As usual, your post strikes a chord — for the past few days, I’ve been wondering whether nooch was candida-friendly or not. I’m so tempted to try it now!

  19. I NEVER taste! In fact, I kind of freak out if someone tries to put a spoon in my mouth. Over the years, anyone I’ve cooked with regularly has learned not to dare offer me anything to eat before dinner’s actually being served. Then again, it’s rare for me to make anything with more than four or five ingredients and without a huge margin for error, so it’s not much of a problem. If something’s “off”, I’ll adjust next time I make whatever it was.

  20. Yup, I have similarly acquired a love for the nooch. I’m not making kale chips on a regular basis because they’re just too tempting… I have been experiencing some period stomach discomfort (cramping, bloating, etc), and I have been wondering if the nutritional yeast may be the cause. I’ve cut it (and a few other things like raw sweet potato and squash) out of my diet for a bit just to try and figure out what I’m sensitive too. Anyone else experience difficulties digesting nooch?

    • Yes!!! Been feeling quite uncomfortable lately – and noticed that l have been eating a lot more nutritional yeast, but l have been also eating more tahini lately.
      could not figure out what the culprit was until l read your post – will cut out and see what happens.

    • Yes! I get a “lactose intolerant” reaction from it. I just read a comment above which said it is grown on molasses, which is interesting, because I get the same type reaction when I eat molasses or brown sugar. Who knows.. my body is weird!

  21. This sounds yummy! And I’m glad to hear your opinion about nooch—it would be a big ruin on my anti-candida diet to know I’d been sabotaging myself 🙂

    • That’s the thing Lisa, I think nooch is fine for most people but for me, eating nutritional yeast results in major candida flair-ups. It probably doesn’t help that dishes containing nooch also often contain tahini and/or cashews, which also trigger reactions…sigh, it is super yummy but not good for all people.

      • I just went back to read the post again, and realized that Gina specifically mentions Candida and that she doesn’t think it matters. This has not been the case in my experience at all–of course, the combination of sesame, cashews and nooch might be the culprit, not nooch alone.

  22. I love nooch! Though I get confused – on the packet I have, it says if you heat it above 100degrees C, it loses all its nutrient value – yet basically all the recipes I see with it in have it cooked at much higher heats – like 160-200degrees C. Is it true that it loses its nutrients when heated?
    As for that colcannon – um, yum!
    Have a safe flight tomorrow 🙂

  23. I grew up eating brewer’s yeast (that’s what my Mom called it, and I believe it’s the same thing as nutritional yeast) on popcorn and now as an adult I put it on everything! I’ve seen “nooch” used on blogs but could not for the life of me figure out what it was. Thanks for bringing me up to speed 🙂

    • by the way, Annie: Brewer’s yeast is not the same as nutritional yeast. Nooch is grown on molasses. Brewer’s Yeast is grown on grain. They taste different too.

  24. Nutritional yeast is one of my favorite new foods in the past few months and I’m not even a vegan!

    Vegan Colcannon sounds amazing! I love all the ingredients, even the Field Roast, which is another vegan food that I am fond of. Plants rule!! 😀