Healthy Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)
Do you still need a delicious side dish for your St. Patrick’s Day feast (or any day)? This version of Irish mashed potatoes, or colcannon, is much healthier than the traditional, but just as tasty! We use Greek yogurt instead of copious amounts of butter, plus a few extra flavorful ingredients, to result in smooth, rich potatoes without all the saturated fat! Healthy Colcannon? Who knew!
What is Colcannon?
Colcannon is a traditional Irish potato dish. It is usually made with potatoes mashed with cabbage or kale, and lots of butter and/or cream. There are many many variations, but those are the basics.
Healthy? Nah. Not so much. And it isn’t the potato part that’s the culprit! While potatoes sometimes get a bad rap, in colcannon, it’s the copious amounts of butter and cream that are the downfall of the dish. I’ve made a few modifications to rectify that, while maintaining that wonderful creamy consistency of the recipe. The secret is using plain Greek yogurt. A little unexpected maybe, but one bite, and you’ll be a believer!
What do you eat colcannon with?
Colcannon is great with other traditional Irish dishes: steamed cabbage and corned beef might just be the most iconic! Boiled ham (Irish bacon), smoked salmon, and steamed greens are some other options.
I recommend serving this recipe with Southern-Style Cabbage, and Vegetable Hash with Chickpeas Skillet Dinner!
Tips and Substitutions
Lots of options here!
- Instead of leeks, use one large onion. It may require a little extra roasting time – or consider sautéing it long enough for caramelization to occur.
- Use another green besides kale. Savoy cabbage would be the next best thing, but also spinach, collard greens, or another robust green would work.
- Use a plant-based yogurt, like cashew yogurt. As long as it’s a plain, unsweetened yogurt, it will work well.
- To cut down on prep time, instead of roasting in the oven, chop the raw garlic and leeks, and sauté in a tablespoon of oil until very soft, and beginning to caramelize. Then chop into a paste or puree in a food processor. In the same pan, sauté the kale until wilted, just before adding to the potatoes.
- If you prefer, you can leave out the garlic and leeks altogether to cut prep time even more. You’ll still have a delicious potato dish!
- Got leftovers? Form patties, and pan fry a few minutes on each side to make colcannon pancakes, or try using a waffle maker for colcannon waffles!
If you try my Healthy Colcannon version, tell me in the comments!
Healthy Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes)
This version of Irish mashed potatoes, or colcannon, is much healthier than the traditional, but just as tasty!
- 1 head Garlic
- 2 Leeks, green and white separated (or 1 large onion)
- 2 Tbsp Oil, separated
- 2 lbs Russet Potatoes
- 4 oz Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
- 4 oz Kale, stems removed and chopped small (or Savoy cabbage)
- ½ cup Milk of choice
- Chives, for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Butter for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
To prepare the garlic: Slice the top of the whole head of garlic off, making sure to slice through each clove. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, and drizzle with oil (about 1 Tbsp). Wrap the foil around the head and place on a baking sheet.
To prepare the leeks: Slice the white of each leek in half, lengthwise. Rinse under cold water to remove any debris, and place on a large sheet of foil. Drizzle with about 1 Tbsp of oil, and wrap the foil around the leeks. Place on a baking sheet with the garlic.
Bake the leeks and garlic for 30 minutes.
Remove the leeks and garlic from the oven, and unwrap the foil to allow them to cool enough to handle.
Move the leeks and garlic to a cutting board (pop the garlic cloves out of their paper husk by gently squeezing from the bottom of the head), and mince the garlic and leeks together until you get a rough paste. Alternatively, pulse in a food processor. Set aside.
Finely mince half of one of the leek greens, and set aside. (If you’re using onions instead of leeks, either use ¼ cup of chopped green onions, or just omit this step.)
While the garlic and leeks roast, roughly peel the potatoes, and cut into small cubes, about 1in x 1in.
Put the potatoes in a pot that comfortably holds them, and cover with water.
Bring the pot to a boil. Continue to boil until the potatoes are tender; about 15-25 minutes depending on the size of the potato pieces.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add a steamer pot to the top of the pot of potatoes, and add chopped kale. Steam until the kale is wilted and bright green. Remove the steamer pot.
(If you don't have a steamer pot that sits on top of another pot, you can steam in a separate pot with a basket, or sauté the kale in a few teaspoons of oil for a few minutes.)
Drain the potatoes, and add the yogurt to the pot.
Mash until the potatoes are the consistency you like. Add milk as needed to thin the potatoes.
Add the kale, garlic/leek mash, and minced leek greens. Stir to combine.
Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Serve with chopped chives and butter (if desired)