cauliflower colcannon with corned beef

Low Carb Cauliflower Colcannon

Mashed cauliflower studded with cabbage, leeks, and green onions, this low carb Cauliflower Colcannon is not to be missed. This traditional Irish side-dish is given a keto reinvention making it a healthy year-round side dish.

Best Colcannon Recipe – Low Carb, Keto, Gluten-free, Sugar-free

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is an interesting affair. We dye the river some kind of odd shade of green (with what, I could not say) and locals take to the streets for a parade and a lengthy drinking binge in their best and gaudiest green decoration. Apparently this is “Irish” behavior. I’d like to propose some new traditions to celebrate the holiday. 

  1. Chase the spring bunnies out of your neighborhood with a stick, similar to St. Patrick’s real contribution of driving the snakes out of Ireland.
  2. A Kerrygold Dubliner eating contest. I will win.
  3. Stay home and cook yourself a delicious Irish spread to celebrate the culinary traditions of Ireland.

I suppose, though, I am in no place to judge given that on St. Patrick’s Day I make corned beef. An Americanized favorite, beef was once a luxury in Ireland, so this was not necessarily on most family tables. Lamb was and is a bit more common even today.

A full St. Patrick's Day dinner with corned beef and cabbage, cauliflower colcannon, and Irish soda bread

I’m not entirely sure how corned beef came about (perhaps a product of Irish immigrants in NYC), but I do love it, so that dish will make an annual appearance. I’m even more fond of making fun breakfast items out of the leftovers. Don’t miss my Corned Beef Hash!

One dish that has Irish cultural roots and makes it onto our St. Patrick’s Day dinner table is colcannon. But it needed a low carb make-over to stay part of our holiday meal.

What is Colcannon Made Of?

Traditionally, Colcannon is mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage, onions or leeks, cream, and slathered with butter. The recipe certainly varies from region to region and family to family. But it does have real Irish roots, unlike Corned Beef.

This is a side dish that I can stand behind. Regional variations dictate the final recipe, but for my low carb version, I’ve swapped the potatoes for cauliflower. I like a blend of cabbage, leeks, and green onions. Heavy cream and Irish butter are a must.

low carb cauliflower colcannon in a white bowl

How to Make Low Carb Keto Colcannon

Ingredients

  • cauliflower
  • green cabbage, chopped
  • leek, sliced and chopped
  • green onions, sliced thin
  • Irish butter, divided
  • heavy cream
  • sea salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
cauliflower colcannon
Studded with cabbage, green onion, leeks, and parsley, Colcannon makes a delcious low carb side dish aside from St. Patrick’s Day.

Healthy Cauliflower Colcannon Tips & Tricks

Steaming the cauliflower is essential otherwise it will hold water and your final mash will be too thin. I blend the cauliflower with cream and butter, and then set aside while I work on the vegetable component. The cabbage, leeks and onions are sauteed in butter. Heavy cream is added to the pan at the end to warm through.

Use real Irish butter! I cannot stress how different and worth-it Irish butter can be. The flavor is much more complex and absolutely much more delicious than your run-of-the-mill grocery store butter. I combine both the cauli mash with the cabbage mixture in a serving bowl, top with more butter, and sometimes bacon crumbles.

I serve Cauliflower Colcannon with corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, but this side dish can be a great accompaniment for a number of meat dishes. Cauliflower, cabbage, and kale are fall/winter vegetables, so this is even more enjoyable in-season. Enjoy!

Other Low Carb Keto Side Dishes you’ll love

Cauliflower Colcannon
Yield: 6 people

Cauliflower Colcannon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A low carb version of the traditional Irish side dish featuring mashed cauliflower, cabbage, leeks, and green onions.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, sliced and chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 4 tbsp unsalted Irish butter, divided
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • sea salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Fill a large sauce pan with one inch of water. Place steamer insert inside and heat to a boil.
  2. Cut head of cauliflower into florets. These will be steamed and mashed, so beauty is not important, but size consistency will be to get an even steam.
  3. Once water is heated, place cauliflower inside the steamer insert. Cover and steam for about 10-12 minutes.
  4. While cauliflower steams, heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large heavy saute pan. Add cabbage, leeks, and 3/4 of the green onions. Cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Set off to the side.
  5. Drain steamed cauliflower in a colander. Let cool a few minutes.
  6. Dump contents into a large blender or food processor. Add 2 tbsp butter and heavy cream. Process until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.  
  7. Combine cabbage mixture and cauliflower mash into a large serving bowl.  Stir to combine. Garnish with remaining green onion and parsley. Add a dollop of butter. Serve hot.
  8. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

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