Colcannon Green for St. Patrick's Day - Our Daily Green

Friday, March 15, 2013

Colcannon Green for St. Patrick's Day

photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
As promised, yesterday we urged our readers to forego artificially dyed food. There is nothing healthy or festive about ingesting petroleum based dyes that turn food and beverages green. Instead, there is a plethora of naturally occurring green food, including the current darling of the nutritional world, kale.

According to Nutrition and You, some of the benefits include:
  • Kale is very rich in vitamin A, 100 g leaves provide 512% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Foods rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Kale is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • 100 g of fresh leaves contain 120 mg or 200% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C. Scottish curly leaf variety yet has more of this vitamin, 130 mg/100g. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
We have tried kale a few different ways. If you're not used to cooking it, there is a bit of adjustment. It's not a typical green, it's actually a member of the cabbage and broccoli family. We tried kale chips, but didn't really care for them. But when mixed with mashed potatoes? And green onions? What a great way to incorporate this highly nutritious, green-colored vegetable into your diet without DYING anything.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish so the timing is perfect for St. Patrick's day. In fact, I'm taking colcannon to a potluck dinner tonight. The key to working with kale is to steam it first. I do that in our microwave, with a minimal amount of water. I chop the kale leaves and then steam it for 6 minutes, until they are tender. Save the stems for other recipes (here is one for Cauliflower and Kale Stem Soup, which is what I'll do with the stems).

Without further ado, Our Daily Green presents:

Colcannon (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

6 red potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), unpeeled and cut into large chunks (we like red potatoes for the color and slighly lower calories)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, steamed in microwave with small amt. of water
3 green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup buttermilk (we use the buttermilk and cut back on the actual butter, to save on calories)


1 Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain in a colander.

2 Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it's hot, add the pre-steamed kale. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.

3 Pour in the buttermilk, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.

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