May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up!
-An Irish Toast
Since I’m Irish, I’ve always had plenty of Irish recipes in my arsenal. Of course these recipes tend to be heavy on starchy foods I usually avoid… especially around the 17th of March when mean green beer, Irish potatoes, and soda breads are in style!
Thankfully, over the years I’ve figured out some ways to adapt my favorite Irish recipes to our lifestyle. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a good alternative to beer… please tell me if you know of one!
How to Make Healthy (and Tasty) Irish Recipes
Since I switched to real food and cut back on potatoes and grains, I’ve had to find ways to fill the void using nutrient-dense substitutes. (This is actually my main strategy in the over 200+ recipes in my Wellness Mama Cookbook.)
As a general rule, I’ve found that mashed cauliflower makes a great substitute for potatoes, especially in these traditional dishes, and there are easy almond flour or coconut flour alternatives to most baked foods.
If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, put on the green, brush up on your toasts, and try one of these great recipes!
The St. Patrick’s Day Menu (Take Your Pick!)
Try these real food takes on classic Irish recipes…
Corned Beef and Cabbage
A traditional Irish dish of beef brisket cured in a homemade brine, slow roasted in the crockpot, and served over sautéed cabbage and carrots. Brining your own brisket avoids the MSG and other chemicals found in store bought versions. (Don’t forget to start brining 3-5 days before St. Patrick’s Day!).
And yes, I know that this recipe is not authentically “Irish” in that it wasn’t invented and popularized in Ireland. It was predominately an Irish-American dish that was adapted to make an inexpensive cut of meat more tender and palatable. My Irish-American grandmother wasn’t technically only “Irish” either since she was born here (to Irish immigrants) but I would have dared you to tell her that! Corned beef and cabbage isn’t exclusively Irish in the same way that pizza and spaghetti aren’t purely Italian, but they still get credited to those cultures for good reason.
The savory meat and potato dish you know and love, made without the potato! Delicious ground beef or lamb browned, then topped with a hearty helping of vegetables, and a mashed cauliflower seasoned with herbs. Finish with bubbling toasty cheese if not avoiding dairy.
Bangers and Mash
A classic Irish recipe featuring sausages and potatoes, but of course made without the potatoes. Mashed cauliflower to the rescue (again!), topped with browned sausage and delicious onion gravy… mmm!
This one is so simple, there’s no need to post a recipe. Just make mashed “potatoes” with cauliflower like in the recipes above, but mix in a little extra butter and some thinly sliced green onions. Delicious and ready in a snap!
And for dessert on St. Patty’s Day, there’s nothing like sipping on a Coconut Milk Irish Cream. This dairy-free Irish cream recipe uses Irish whiskey, coconut milk, honey, and a dash of coffee for a rich and delicious nightcap. Serve “on the rocks” or latte-style with extra coconut milk.
Also, my real food version of the Shamrock Shake packs enough nutrients for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
An Irish Blessing
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies, quick to make friends,
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, what are your favorite food traditions?