Celebrate your St. Patrick’s Day this year with healthier versions of traditional Irish dishes.
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
Lentils substitute the ground meat in this all vegetable version of Shepherd’s pie.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans and corn
- 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thoroughly washed
- 3-4 Tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
- Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add desired amount of vegan butter (2-4 Tbsp), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
- While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparably sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close!).
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
- Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, thyme, and stir. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
- OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
- Place on a baking sheet to catch the overflow and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
- Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.
Crockpot Vegan Irish Stew
Traditional Irish stew is made with beef or lamb, however, our low-fat version calls for a rich, vegetable stew simmered all day in a crockpot.
- 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium sweet yellow, white or red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth at room temperature (make your own vegetable broth from scraps)
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- ¾ cup apple juice or cider
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 large ribs celery, cut into chunks
- 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 Tablespoons pearl barley
- ½ teaspoon dried sage or 3 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 4 to 6 green onions, chopped, for garnish (optional) or coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- In large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove to crockpot.
- To crock pot add vegetable broth and nutritional yeast; stir to dissolve nutritional yeast. Add apple juice and apple cider vinegar to the crockpot.
- Add remaining ingredients except for peas and green onions to crock pot. Stir well; cover and set on low. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
- Add the peas the last hour of cooking time.
- Remove bay leaf and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle generously with chopped green onions or chopped parsley.
Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage
Make this a healthy meal by choosing lean corned beef.
- 1 (4-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed
- 16 cups water
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch strips
- 4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (try gluten-free)
- 1 (5-ounce) jar prepared horseradish, drained and squeezed dry
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Place brisket in a large stockpot; add water and next 5 ingredients (water through garlic). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 3 hours. Remove brisket from pot.
Place brisket on the rack of a broiler pan or roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Strain cooking liquid through a colander into 2 large bowls; discard solids. Return liquid to pot. Add caraway seeds and cabbage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Drain.
While cabbage is cooking, place potatoes in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to pan. Stir in parsley, butter, rind, juice, and pepper; toss to coat.
Combine breadcrumbs and horseradish. Spread mustard over one side of brisket. Press breadcrumb mixture onto mustard. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve brisket with cabbage and potatoes.
Roasted Garlic Colcannon
Upgrade this Irish staple with roasted garlic and kale.
- 1 large bulb garlic, left whole and unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 2¼ pounds baking or russet potatoes scrubbed clean
- 1 pound kale
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra to serve
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C/Gas mark 7).
- Place the whole bulb of garlic in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add the sprig of rosemary. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 45 minutes, until the garlic has completely softened.
- Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a good pinch of salt, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. After 10 minutes, strain off two-thirds of the water, put the lid back on the pan, and cook over a gentle heat so that the potatoes steam for about 30 minutes until they are tender.
- Remove and discard the dark tough outer leaves from the cabbage (if using). Wash the rest and cut into quarters, removing the core. Cut the cabbage across the grain into slices about ¼ inch (5mm) thick. Place in another large saucepan, add the milk, and simmer for about 4 minutes or until tender. If you’re using kale, cut out the tough center rib of the leaves, then slice and cook in milk as for the cabbage.
- When the potatoes are just cooked, peel them while still warm and immediately mash them with the butter and some salt and pepper. Use your fingers to squeeze out the roasted garlic pulp and beat into the potatoes with enough boiling milk from the cabbage to make a fluffy purée. Then drain the cooked cabbage or kale, stir into the mash, and taste for seasoning.
Grilled Cabbage with Spicy Lime Dressing
Make this tangy, Thai-inspired, cabbage side dish in lieu of boiled cabbage to accompany your corned beef.
- 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional — omit for a vegetarian or vegan dish)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Lime wedges, to serve
- 1 head green cabbage
- Grapeseed or canola oil
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill. Whiz the limes, olive oil, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, salt, cayenne, and sugar in a small chopper or blender until the sauce is pale orange and the garlic is pulverized. Set aside.
- Remove the loosest, toughest outer leaves from the cabbage, and cut into 8 evenly sized wedges. Do not remove the stalk or inner core. Lightly brush the wedges with grapeseed or canola oil.
- Place the wedges on the grill and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the edges of each layer are blackened and the cabbage is beginning to soften. Flip each wedge over, cover the grill, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes on the other side. Remove the cabbage when it is beginning to wilt but is still firm in the middle. (This will also be somewhat a matter of taste; I like it fairly crispy still, but you may prefer it more well-done.) If necessary, turn the heat down or move the wedges to a cooler part of the grill so they don’t burn. But don’t be afraid of those blackened edges; you want a lot of grill and char marks on the cabbage to give it a smoky flavor.
- Take the cabbage off the grill and arrange the wedges on a plate. Pour the dressing over top and serve immediately, with wedges of lime to garnish.
Minted Mashed Peas
Serve these peas spread on toast or crostini for a light appetizer.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 bags (10 ounces each) frozen peas, thawed
- 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Coarse salt and ground pepper