Fully Loaded Vegan Colcannon

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Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Treat yourself… to mashed potatoes for dinner!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

If you’re anything like me, you relish any opportunity to chow down on mashed potatoes. I think it’s unfortunate that they’re typically treated as a side dish instead of a main or a meal in their own right. Enter colcannon, the Irish dish featuring mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage… or both! My version of colcannon is chock-full of veggies, with just enough vegan butter and plant milk to make it nice and creamy. I also add a few tablespoons of vegan mayo. Sounds crazy (and kinda weird), but you don’t taste it at all, and it ups the creamy factor. You can certainly leave it out if you’d prefer. Either way, these vegan mashed potatoes are a meal unto themselves. Treat yourself!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

Fully Loaded Colcannon

  • 2.5 lbs of your favorite mashing potatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 5 large kale leaves, roughly shredded or sliced into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 T vegan butter
  • 1 T vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Measure out the almond milk and let it come to room temperature while you cook.

Add water to a large stockpot and heat on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, chop the potatoes. You can peel them first, but I like to leave the skins on. When they’re ready, add them to the stockpot (whether it’s boiling or not). When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and let gently boil for 15-20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes, just until they start turning golden. Add the cabbage and a sprinkle of salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the cabbage starts getting tender. If necessary, add a little water to the pan to prevent the cabbage from sticking. Add the kale to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Check the potatoes. When they’re fork-tender, drain them and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato ricer, masher, or your favorite tool, mash away! Add the butter early on so it melts right in, then add the almond milk and vegan mayonnaise once everything starts getting creamy.  Add spices to taste; you can also add more butter, milk, and mayo to taste. Finally, fold in the kale and cabbage mixture. Taste for salt and pepper and season as necessary.

Enjoy for dinner, and have the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Notes

  • Your average Idaho or russet potato works beautifully, but I’ve used golden potatoes and they work just fine.
  • Feel free to mix in seitan or bacon bits for added flavor and protein.
  • Go wild with the creamy ingredients to taste. I won’t judge!
  • You can reserve the cooking liquid to add back in as you mash. I don’t do this often, but it certainly works for a less fatty option.
  • Colcannon is traditionally eaten by itself, without gravy, but if you want to add some, I won’t tell. Opt for a recipe with lots of umami.

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Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

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The Other Kind of Pantry Challenge (+ Colcannon, Reinvented)

These days, my Google Reader is filled with bloggers participating in pantry challenges. Their general goal is to avoid spending money on groceries by only using what they have in their pantries. It’s a fine goal, to be sure. But when I see their lists of pantry items (5 kinds of rice, 7 varieties of dried beans, 3 cartons of almond milk, 4 jars of various nut butters, 2 pounds of tofu, etc etc etc!) I just can’t help but think, “If only my pantry were a tenth as full as theirs!”

The sad thing is that I’m not even exaggerating. As tempting as it would be to play down my foodstuff inventory for comedic effect, the pathetic truth is that – not counting spices – I probably have less than 30 food items to my name at this moment in time, and that’s counting stuff like soy sauce and Bragg’s and ketchup. So… yeah. It’s pretty sad. Being carless in an area with less than stellar public transportation kiiinda sucks. I don’t want to ask my roomie – as fantastic as she is – for rides all the time, so I walk to the grocery store when I need food and she doesn’t. I don’t mind walking at all, even when it’s f-f-freezing outside, but it does limit the amount of food I can purchase. Plus, the grocery store within easy walking distance is rather limited in its selection of non-boring food. The bottom line is that I haven’t been to the grocery store in almost two weeks, and my pantry is takin’ a major hit.

But fear not – my limited resources don’t always result in limited creativity! Tonight I realized that if I didn’t use up a couple of potatoes, they were going to reach levels of softness that would make the Pillsbury Doughboy’s tummy seem like abs o’ steel in comparison. Obviously I had to mash them, but I wanted to do something a little more interesting. So I decided to make a modified, empty-pantry-influenced version of colcannon.

Now, I’m not gonna lie – I’ve never actually eaten colcannon, which is stupid because 1. I’ve got me some Irish blood, 2. I love kale, and 3. I love taters. But theoretically it’s one of my favorite foods. Heh heh. Anyway, my sad lack of fresh veggies resulted in my using some frozen spinach in the place of kale or cabbage. Not the kind that comes in a dense block, mind, but loose leaf spinach from a bag. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad.

Colcannon...ish.

Now, obviously my ghetto colcannon is nowhere near as pretty as, say, Lolo’s more traditional variety. But I enjoyed it, and other than the potatoes that were on the verge of death, it didn’t really use up many of my limited pantry resources. I just boiled up two taters with some onions, then added the spinach to the mix just before the potatoes were soft. I mashed it all up with some Earth Balance, a bit of garlic powder, and – in keeping with my firm eschewing of tradition – a dash of Tabasco and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. So, was it actually colcannon? Prooooobably not. But was it good? Hell yeah! And will I be making a trip to the grocery store this weekend before my meals cross the line from “untraditional” to “downright revolting?” You better believe it.

Zebras like colcannon, too.

P.S. Isn’t my zebra bowl cute?! Best Goodwill find EVER.