Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With These 7 Hearty Irish Recipes

Despite its Irish origins, St. Patrick’s Day has become an Americanized holiday. Decades of celebrations have resulted in green beers, mint-flavored desserts, and the iconic Shamrock Shake, and while we’ll happily partake in these food traditions, we’re also interested in exploring more traditional Irish cuisine. Give the rainbow-inspired foods and green-hued eats a rest, and try your luck at whipping up one of these seven vegan Irish recipes.

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The history of St. Patrick’s Day

While St. Patrick’s Day traditions have changed since the holiday was first celebrated, let’s take a look at its origins. 

St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of, well, Saint Patrick. Yes, Saint Patrick was a real person. Believed to have been born in Britain during the fourth century, Saint Patrick was kidnapped at 16 years old and taken to Ireland as a slave. He managed to escape to France and later became an ordained bishop. Saint Patrick returned to Ireland, at the orders of Pope Celestine I, to spread Christianity throughout the country. 

In the US, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t regarded as a religious holiday, but in Ireland, the holiday’s religious ties remain. In fact, green clovers—perhaps one of the holiday’s best-known symbols—are believed to have been used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. Legend has it Saint Patrick used a three-leaf clover, not the lucky four-leaf clovers we often associate with the holiday today.

Irish-inspired recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

The best way to celebrate any holiday is with plenty of food. Below, we’ve picked a few of our favorite vegan Irish-inspired recipes for your St. Patrick’s Day feast. And, of course, washing it all down with a Guinness or two is highly recommended.

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1 Vegan Corned Beef 

Corned beef traditionally involves a fatty piece of meat that is brined for several days. This recipe swaps the meat for juicy tofu (but you can also opt for seitan or jackfruit if you prefer) and cuts down the brining and cooking time to under two hours. The result is a meaty, vegan corned beef that can be enjoyed with cabbage and potatoes or chopped up into hash, depending on your preference.

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2 Vegan Irish Soda Bread 

Surprise! Soda bread does not actually contain soda (not the carbonated kind, at least). This yeast-free bread gets its name (and rise) from the reaction of baking soda and acid. In this case, the acid is apple cider vinegar, though original recipes relied on buttermilk. Whether you opt to include raisins or not, this not-too-sweet loaf is a staple on St. Patrick’s Day or any time of year.

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3 Traditional Vegan Irish Colcannon

Think of colcannon as Irish mashed potatoes. This creamy dish is simply made with cabbage, kale, herbs, and plenty of vegan butter and soy milk for a divinely silky texture. You might just carry this recipe over to Thanksgiving.

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4 Dublin Coddle With Vegan Irish Sausage

While this traditional dish relies heavily upon pork products, the Fat-Free Vegan has successfully veganized this meat-and-potatoes recipe. Make your own or buy store-bought vegan sausages and boil them with spices, thick-cut potatoes, vegetable broth, and beer for a hearty main with the staying power to keep you celebrating all night.
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5 Vegan Irish Barmbrack

Most Americans think of soda bread when it comes to Irish baked goods, but barmbrack (often referred to as just brack) is the quintessential bread when it comes to sipping tea. It’s essentially a black tea-infused, fruit-studded quickbread, and it’s heavenly with a spot of strong breakfast tea. 

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Rustic Vegan Irish Stew With Orange Gremolata

If St. Paddy’s Day falls on a chilly night, this belly-warming stew must be on the menu. Traditionally made with lamb, this recipe calls on chickpeas for the protein source, but you could easily swap in some store-bought seitan for a meatier texture. Make a double batch, freeze it, and enjoy generous bowlfuls for the rest of the month.
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7 Buttered New Potatoes

No recipe is needed for this classic home-cooked comfort food. Simply boil new potatoes (the tiny ones) in unsalted water until fork-tender. Dry them off, transfer to a plate, and slather on your favorite vegan butter and a sprinkle of salt. This dish is intoxicatingly delicious in its humble simplicity. Enjoy! 

For more vegan ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, read: