Colcannon Irish Potatoes, Potatoes & Greens

Most Americans think corned beef and cabbage is the traditional Irish meal, but that’s far from the truth.  During The Great Famine, a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852, the Irish were too poor to buy beef. Their diet was mainly potatoes and occasionally bacon. When disease ruined the potato crops, mass starvation and emigration resulted.  In America, the immigrants had more more money and began to buy beef.They transformed  St Patrick’s Day from a religious day into a celebration of their homeland with parades and a dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Ireland now has parades adopted from Americans but the chief meats in their diet are still lamb and pork.  (For an excellent history lesson, see Smithsonian’s post, Is Corned Beef Really Irish?)

For a  traditional Irish dish, think Colcannon potatoes. Some people call it “Irish Soul Food”. It’s  made from potatoes and greens, and there are many variations in the recipes. Kale or cabbage are most often used in partnership with green onions, shallots,  or leeks. The Irish serve  it often throughout the year. There’s a saying that there are as many versions of colcannon as there are Irishmen. Keeping with tradition in the staple ingredients, my recipe is potatoes combined with sautéed cabbage for a comforting side dish. Kale can be used as an option; it’s also very tasty!

Variations:  You can choose large Yukon Gold potatoes, smaller red potatoes, Russet or a mix of your favorites potatoes. Shredded kale can be used instead of cabbage. Instead of the heavy cream and butter you’d normally find in colcannon, this recipe uses olive oil, Earth Balance margarine,  and milk to blend the ingredients together.  The result is a tasty dish that fits many diets. Serve it with corned beef, grilled sausage,  ham, or any roasted meat for dinner. Have a cooked egg on top for breakfast.

Colcannon Irish Potatoes With Greens

Use organic when available. Serves 8


Colcannon Irish Potatoes With Greens

A modification of traditional Colcannon potatoes with cabbage using less fat for a heart healthy meal.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword Colcannon potatoes, mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes with greens
Servings 8


  • 2 lbs Potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups Cabbage or kale, thinly sliced or shredded (or 1 lb)
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced or green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp margarine
  • 3 scallions or herbs chopped for garnish (optional)


  • In a large pot with water, combine potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are soft but not mushy.
  • Saute shredded cabbage in pan with olive oil.
  • When it's starting to brown add shallot and garlic. 
  • Cook another minute.
  • Remove cabbage mix from the pan.
  • Drain cooked potatoes from water and add back to pot.
  • Mash potatoes
  • Add cabbage mix to pot.
  • Add milk and mash potatoes and cabbage together.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of margarine or butter on top. Fold into mashed potatoes.
  • To serve, garnish with scallions or herbs. (optional).



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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

21 thoughts to “Colcannon Irish Potatoes, Potatoes & Greens”

  1. Oh yummy! My SIL introduced me to this tasty dish a few years ago. I will miss it this year as I have some diet restrictions that won’t allow me to indulge. I think I slobbered all over your post.

    1. I’m so sorry you can’t indulge in it this year, but I love that you made a comment. Come see me again!

  2. Hi Carol, I have never made colcannon before, but reading your recipe I know it’s something my family would enjoy. Especially served with a few rashers of bacon and an egg on top. One of the things I do miss living here is, potatoes are just potatoes, it’s potluck as to how they cook. Sometimes I can buy a bag and they turn out to be a mix of yellow and white potatoes. It can be quite frustrating when they don’t cook how I’d like.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    1. That is frustrating about the bag of potatoes. I prefer buying specific kinds, like golden, purple, or a mix of babies. Hope your family loves it. As with all recipes, I believe you adapt it to make it your own. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Our dil made Colcannon for our St. Patty’s dinner and they were delicious! Thanks for sharing the history and recipe with SYC.

  4. I do love a good potato recipe, and I am always up to trying something new. I think we’d really like this! Thanks for sharing at My Busy Beehives #beeparty! Hope to see you again!

  5. Ummm, I do love cabbage… I think this will make an appearance on this weeks’ table. Thank you!

    I came by to visit from the Sweet Inspirations bloghop; I hope you’ll find time one day to visit the 4Shoes & let me know you’ve been. 🙂

  6. Hi Carol, this looks and sounds delicious! I’ll give it a try as soon as possible. Thank you for linking up with Friday Favorites 🙂

    I hope to see you again this week!


  7. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post at #OverTheMoon. I look forward to what you will share next week! Like someone in person today! We hope you’ll come back again next Sunday when we open our doors at 6:00 PM EST. Pinned and tweeted!

  8. I have never tried these before but they sound so yummy! Thanks for sharing at the Friday at the Fire Station link-up!

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

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