Healthy Irish Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

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Irish recipes for Saint Patricks Day
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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

healthy st patricks day recipesSince 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.

Shepherd’s/Cottage Pie

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!

Irish Champ

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?

These healthy Irish recipes for St. Patrick's Day are real food takes on classic Corned Beef and Cabbage, Shepard's Pie and Bangers and Mashed potatoes

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


12 responses to “Healthy Irish Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Susan Eileen Avatar
    Susan Eileen

    That’s the one day of the year when those of Irish descent are excused from fasting, dieting or other restrictions. Low carb be damned, I’m having Colcannon!

    1. Diane Eberle Avatar
      Diane Eberle

      Exactly! Hey if it falls on a Friday Catholics get to eat meat! One day will not hurt too much. Concannon was one of the few things my kids would eat. They did like Katie’s beef and cabbage and the shephards pie!

  2. Chloe Avatar

    As an Irish person I can’t tell you that corned beef and cabbage really isn’t something we eat, usually we eat bacon and cabbage. I’m talking about Irish bacon, in America you’d call it ham. Also bangers and mash is a British dish, not Irish.

  3. SMG Avatar

    We’ll be transferring our St Paddy’s day celebration to Sunday since 3/17 falls on a Friday in Lent… I know that some bishops give a dispensation from the Friday abstinence from meat precept, but we decided it would be more fun to really enjoy it on Sunday! Especially since the Solemnity of St Joseph is being transferred this year to Monday. Gotta love those solemnities in Lent! We’ll be eating cabbage & potatoes & other yummy non-meat Irish foods on Friday. 🙂

  4. Irene Tiger Avatar
    Irene Tiger

    I’m zero percent Irish, it’s June now, but our Saint Patrick’s Day typically involves corned beef and cabbage (not the real type, sob sob, but the leftover cabbage [either raw or cooked] is excellent for making wraps for when you’re grain-free), dancing a faintly remembered jig from when I used to take Irish dance class (very difficult in a house without a lot of free space) and singing “Another Irish Drinking Song”. XD

  5. Erin Avatar

    Wellness mama,
    I’m pretty excited, for the first time since going Grain Free I’ve just done undertaken some family baking. So we were able to celebrate St Paddy’s Day with shamrock cupcakes using coconut flour. Strictly speaking we broke some of the ‘rules’. The shamrock’s (lollies) had corn in them, and I made Vienna icing. But I didn’t have to do these short cuts.

  6. Allison Avatar

    Thanks for the recipes! I recently stumbled across your blog and I love it. Having lost over 100 pounds following a low-carb, paleo, primal “ish” type of diet I’m ever hungry to keep reading and expanding my knowledge of this style of healthy eating. Now the hard part has begun – maintenance. Being able to visit your blog helps give me inspiration. Keep up the great posts.

  7. Lisa Avatar

    Do you have any recommendations for snack items I can prepare in advance and have around for my husband? My husband is a type 1 diabetic who relies on cereal and other quick carbs (cookies, granola bars, ice cream) for blood sugar boosts when his blood sugar gets too low. He’s fairly healthy overall, but he carries a few extra pounds that his doctor would like him to take off, and it’s so hard to do even with exercise when he snacks like this. Oh, and he has a number of food allergies…nuts, peanuts, chocolate and tomatoes are my major stumbling blocks. He’s prone to autoimmune problems (thus the allergies), so I think a major diet overhaul would really help, but I think I will have to drag him kicking and screaming into giving up on grains unless I come up with some good alternatives. Maybe even if…

    1. Julie Avatar

      hey honey ive been a t1d for 33 years and im 38 my dr also wanted me to lose weight as i was over 100 lbs over weight and pretty much life as i knew it had to change so i started diet programs and joined a few of the pay plans and after doing that for 4 years i only lost 7 lbs and later found out that 99% of my problem i couldnt get rid of witch was my insulin at the time i was using acting insulin and that is a hugh facter in putting on the lbs im now on and insulin pump and im down 163 lbs in less then ten months (and this is without surgery) though i did see a weight loss surgeon and there number one rule was TO EAT THE LEAST ANOUNT OF CARBS POSSIBLE. at first it was rough i had carb withdraws bad but after the three weeks of NO CARBS and training your brain that you dont want them i lost 26 lbs and now my insulin basel went from 2.8 down to .4 and hour my a1c went from 8.6 to 6.7 the best thing to use for a snack is a protien it makes your body happy and most of all it makes your tummy happy i never thought id lose weight and keep it off but here i am good luck and be safe hope it works for him if he tries it

  8. Michelle Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these recipes! I can’t wait to try the Sheperd’s Pie, the recipe doesn’t look to hard and plus my husband is not eating potatoes right now so this is perfect for him!

    1. Justine Avatar

      I have found sweet potatoes are a wonderful substitution for white potatoes on Shepard’s pie.

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