Colcannon with Camote: A Vegan Irish Tweak

Vegan Colcannon with Sweet Potato.

Colcannon is a hearty Irish dish traditionally made of mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, butter, and sometimes onions, scallions, or ham.

The first time I made my own vegan version of Colcannon, I used potatoes mashed with unsweetened almond milk, a touch of olive oil, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. I threw in cooked curly kale and whipped it all together, adding some chopped scallions at the end.

It made a killer meal.

Today, I was ready for another dose of Colcannon but, inspired by the presence in my larder (oooh, that’s not a very plant-based word) of a sweet potato (called camote here in Mexico) and the presence in the garden of two types of kale ready for the picking, I decided on yet another experiment.

Colacannon kale

Colcannon with Camote

The potatoes:

1 large potato or two small
1 small to medium sweet potato
2 tsp olive oil or to taste
2 T unsweetened almond milk or to taste
2 garlic cloves, roasted in skins until soft (optional)
Salt and pepper

Peel and steam or boil the potatoes until tender (I prefer leaving the skin on the regular potato). Drain and mash, adding almond milk, olive oil (optional), and the squeezed-out softened garlic pulp. Mash to the consistency you prefer (I like mine really chunky, not smooth) and season with salt and pepper.

The kale:

4 cups kale, finely chopped (I used a combo of curly kale and the coarser Portuguese kale that I have in my garden, but use whatever you can find, including regular cabbage)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and water till bubbly in a heavy pan or pot. Add the chopped kale, season with salt and pepper, and braise for five minutes or so, stirring often, until the kale wilts and softens but is still a nice, vibrant green. If you’re using regular cabbage, cook until tender and darkened in color.

Putting it together:

Fold the kale into the mashed potatoes and combine well. Adjust seasonings and add:

2 T chopped chives (I used half garlic chives and half regular chives. Scallion tops work just as well.

Combine thoroughly and serve.

Colcannon camote bowl

This recipe, although not very different from my original version, stands out because the camote lends a touch of sweetness that helps bring out the wonderful and robust kale flavor in the mixture. It also gives the potato a nice orange-pink blush that complements the deep green of the kale.

This will make enough for three or four people as a side served with other dishes, but I actually like it as a full meal with just a sliced tomato as accompaniment.

The proportions are really quite arbitrary. I go heavy on the kale because I make it as a full meal and so like more greens than potato, but the dish would be just as tasty with less kale and more potatoes.

Here, for the sake of comparison, is a traditional Colcannon recipe from the Irish Food Board: