The Irish are known for their traditional, meat and potatoes based meals almost as much as they're known for Guinness and Celtic music. Thus, it seems obvious that one would want to include traditional Irish fare in their St....

The Irish are known for their traditional, meat and potatoes based meals almost as much as they're known for Guinness and Celtic music. Thus, it seems obvious that one would want to include traditional Irish fare in their St. Patrick's Day festivities. But for those who avoid meat in their diets, Irish recipes may appear to conflict with their lifestyle.

Fortunately, with the rise in alternative diets and the heightened public awareness of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, it is now easier than ever to add an animal friendly twist to traditional recipes.

For your convenience, we've selected recipes for two Irish dishes that have been converted to suit a vegetarian diet. Though the possibilities are endless for Vegetarian St. Patrick's Day meals.

Shepherd's Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Lentils

Shepherd's Pie is an obvious classic, and for good reason. The combination of steamed root vegetables, hearty protein, and a fluffy layer of mashed potatoes compliment each other perfectly. But did you know you can easily swap the meat for cooked lentils instead? Without compromising the flavor or integrity of the meal? Indeed, you can! It has been done with great success. And here's the recipe to prove it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • 3 whole carrots, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • fresh thyme, to taste
  • fresh rosemary, to taste
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups lentils, cooked
  • 6 potatoes (washed, peeled, and cubed)
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large pot or sauce pan, bring water to boil and add the potatoes.
  3. Allow the potatoes to cook and medium-high heat for several minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the leeks, carrots, garlic, and onions.
  5. Stir occasionally.
  6. When tender, add the mushrooms and let cook for an additional five minutes.
  7. When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and mash with milk and butter.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. In a generously sized casserole dish, add the lentils.
  10. Top with the vegetables and stock.
  11. You can either incorporate the lentils with the vegetables or keep them in separate layers.
  12. Spread the mashed potatoes across the entire dish and top with fresh thyme and rosemary.
  13. Bake for 45 minutes.

Tip: This shepherd's pie is an excellent dish to use leftover vegetables in! Have any vegetables in the fridge that you don't know to do with? Chop them up and add them to the dish. 

Calcannon

Calcannon
Calcannon

Calcannon is another dish that springs to mind during the month of March. This one actually happens to be one of the so-called "accidentally vegetarian" meals. This isn't to say there aren't folks who add their meat of choice to the dish, but it certainly isn't a necessary inclusion. For a great, foolproof version of Calcannon, you need only the following:

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium sized potatoes (Yukon or Russet work well)
  • 1/2 cup of milk or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 4 cups of chopped cabbage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and steam them in their skins for half an hour.
  2. If you're short on time, you can do this by baking them in the microwave using the potato setting.This will make them more tender before mashing, which will pair well with the texture of the cabbage.
  3. While the potatoes steam, boil the cabbage in a large pan until it turns a dark green and becomes limp.
  4. Remove from heat and drain. You may add butter to the cabbage for additional flavor.
  5. When the potatoes are done steaming, simply peel off their skins with a fork and mash them with the butter and milk.
  6. Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
  7. Mix the cabbage in with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
  8. If you really want to observe tradition, pat a generous dollop of butter into the center of each serving.

Enjoy!

We also have a whole green menu for St. Patrick's Day with a lot of vegetables, which you can get some more inspiration from: Naturally Green St. Patrick's Menu. If you need any creative drink ideas for St. Patrick ideas, be sure to check out our other recipes: Whiskey Recipes and the Guinness Recipes coming up tomorrow!.

For questions or comments on the latest food trends, please contact us. We love to hear your feedback!