Vegan Colcannon with Cabbage and Carrots
Growing up, mashed potatoes were a little-understood, much-expected component of Thanksgiving dinner. The more classic versions are rich, smothered in butter and laden with heavy cream. As I wade deeper into ethical eating, I realize that the age-old way of making this popular dish is not only environmentally harmful but also not entirely fair to potatoes. You see, potatoes are completely underrated for their nutritional value in the meat-eating world. The entire tuber - not just the skin - is an excellent source of B6, calcium, and potassium; something I completely overlooked in years past.
Thanksgiving should be all about the vegetables so this year, I'll bring a big casserole dish of colcannon instead: Irish mashed potatoes with cabbage and root vegetables. There's only a small amount of homemade cashew milk in this recipe but most importantly, there's no butter. What this dish lacks in conventional richness, it more than makes up for in depth of flavor. The potatoes get to be themselves and you get 5 veggies for the price of one (dish).
Yield: 6 servings
2.5 lbs peeled russet potatoes
1/4 head of cabbage (about 10 oz)
4 small carrots
1/2-cup cashew milk (unsweetened)
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 leek stalk
2 tsp salt
Neutral cooking oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Begin with vegetable prep: Mince shallots. Peel and evenly cube potatoes. Quarter, core, and chop cabbage. Thinly slice carrots - I used a peeler, so that they would soften quickly, and this is the end result. Slice one whole leek stalk with the largest gauge on a mandoline.
Tip: Set aside scraps to make more vegetable stock!
2. In a large frying pan, heat just a few drops of neutral cooking oil. Drop in shallots and leeks and cook until the shallots are translucent. Add in carrots and a few tbsps of vegetable stock. Stir and cover, until carrots begin to soften.
3. Finally, add in the chopped cabbage, 1 tsp of salt, (+ a bit more stock if necessary) and cover. Stir ocassionally, until the cabbage is soft but still crunchy. Take off of heat - still covered - and set side.
Tip: Set aside 1/3 cup for garnish, if you'd like.
4. In a large sauté pan, cover potatoes with cold water (just a few inches). Set heat to High. Once the water reaches boiling point, reduce the heat, and cover your pan. Every stove top is different, so check your potatoes in 15 minute intervals. When you can cut a potato with a fork, with no give, they are fully cooked.
5. Add strained potatoes to a pyrex bowl and begin mashing, with a masher or like tool. Slowly add in nut or plant milk and 1 tsp of salt.
6. Once mashed potatoes reach a good consistency, fold in your cabbage mixture and salt to taste. Place in the oven (on Warm) until serving time.
Sourcing & Advice
All of these veggies were available, where I live, as organic. Farmer's markets get a bad rap in late fall and winter, but the cabbage, carrots, and shallots in the recipe can all be found locally, here in Texas. Leeks will be widely available next month, too. So, definitely give your closest market a try if you'd like to make this recipe after Thanksgiving.
Finally, remember that nut and plant milks commonly contain palm-oil, in the form of Vitamin A palmitate. Read more about the issue here.