Colcannon with Kale and Garlic

St Patrick’s Day Calls for Colcannon

St Patrick’s Day is the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick, and it also falls during Lent. Because of St Pat’s, Catholics were given permission to eat meat as part of the celebration, and return to the pescatarian recommendations of the Church on the next day. Of course, my vote is for going plant based on St Pat’s, as well as the rest of the year.

In that spirit, I’ve made my latest rendition of Colcannon, the classic potato dish of Ireland. The original is a simple dish of mashed potatoes, mixed with very buttery sautéed cabbage or kale, served with a big puddle of butter on top. The mythic Irish farmstead was built on potatoes and butter, or at least that’s how we see it, through the haze of nostalgia and imagination. In the Irish farm of my personal imagination, butter is too dear, and a creative cook summons maximum flavor from humble plants she’s got in the root cellar.

This colcannon does not rely on butter for flavor, but on slowly confited garlic and caramelized onions, and a generous splash of good avocado oil. I used La Tourangelle Avocado Oil, a high quality oil from a company I trust. The kale is also cooked slowly, to soften and mellow the deep green leaves.

Colcannon with Kale and Garlic
I bought some breakfast sausages to serve with it!

I also used Yukon Gold potatoes, which have a buttery quality and a smooth, creamy texture when mashed. It all comes together in a savory, hearty bowl of pure flavors. I like being able to taste the potatoes, among the earthy alliums and slightly bitter kale leaves.

I’ve got more St Pat’s recipes on the blog, including this Hasselback Potatoes with Greens one you’ll love.

Hasselback Potatoes and Kale

Even if you have this as a side with a traditional (meaty) St Pat’s feast, it will hold its own.

Happy St Patrick’s Day to you, and may the luck of the Irish come your way!

Colcannon with Kale and Garlic

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes quartered
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves halved
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 bunch kale chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Halve the potatoes and place them in a pot with water to cover, bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool just until you can put them through a ricer or mash them. I removed the skins, it's optional.
    While the potatoes cook, place the garlic cloves and half of the oil in a small pot and bring to a bubble over medium heat, lower the heat to low and let the cloves poach for about 10 minutes, until very soft. Mash the cloves with a fork and reserve.
    In a large saute pan, drizzle the remaining oil and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and stir, and keep stirring until the onions sizzle and start to stick. Reduce to medium-low and stir often, for about 30 minutes to start caramelizing the onions. Add the kale and stir over medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes, until very soft and melted.
    Stir the kale mixture and the garlic and oil into the potatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little more avocado oil, if desired. Serve warm.