During my pregnancy all I wanted was the warm, starchy comfort of potatoes. Even though it’s been eight months since I had Abby, my appreciation for this delicious tuber remains.
In the aftermath of the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet, potatoes are considered a food to avoid by many people who are trying to lose weight. Although it is possible to overdo it, potatoes should not be avoided entirely.** Potatoes are excellent sources of potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Just choose waxy potatoes like Yukon golds or red/new potatoes over the starchy Russets, and eat the peels if the potatoes are organic.
**Potatoes are broken down into simple sugars quickly, which puts them high on the glycemic index. They should be limited by people with poor blood sugar control.
Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that blends the creamy comfort of mashed potatoes with the delightful chewy texture of steamed kale or cabbage. The original dish is typically full of heavy cream and topped with melted butter, so I took it upon myself to create a version that is lighter and cholesterol-free. My version combines mashed potatoes and cauliflower in a 2:1 ratio to lower the starch (aka sugar) content without losing the comfort of the mashed potato texture. I also substituted unsweetened coconut creamer (I use the SO Delicious brand) for the heavy cream and drizzled a very small amount of melted Earth Balance on top right before serving.
I let Abby be my taste tester, and she loved it so much that she became hostile between bites! This colcannon would be a great side dish for a holiday meal or a simple meal at home. You can also play around with the ingredients and add garlic, onion, mushrooms, seeds, etc.
Potato & Cauliflower Colcannon
- 1 lb waxy potatoes, diced
- 1/2 lb cauliflower, diced
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1/2 bunch of kale or collards, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces, tough ribs removed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut creamer or nondairy milk of choice
- 1/2 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 t. nondairy butter spread (Earth Balance), melted
- In a medium-sized pot, steam potatoes with the sprigs of rosemary for about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and continue steaming for 10-15 more minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Transfer potatoes and cauliflower to a flat-bottomed bowl and mash with the milk/creamer, salt, and pepper.
- Place the kale into the same pot you used to steam the potatoes and cauliflower and steam the kale until wilted. Add the kale to the vegetable mash and stir to combine.
- Spoon vegetable mash into four individual serving dishes or into one large serving bowl. Depending upon the temperature of the added milk or creamer, the dish may need to be reheated.
- Right before serving, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon melted Earth Balance over each serving and add more ground black pepper as desired.