The most famous versions of this dish are made with good old-fashioned spuds, sometimes with other root vegetables thrown into the mix, but always with a potato-y backbone.
However, my Parsnip Colcannon messes with that traditional tater taste by swapping in some other vegetables for my nightshade free friends who, somewhat tragically, can’t tolerate the usual potatoes in this recipe.
And yet, despite the absence of nightshades or any milk-like products, this Parsnip Colcannon stays fluffy and creamy, using the parsnips to give it the starchy stiffness of spuds, while the hidden cauliflower counterbalances the parsnips’ sweetness and density.
(If you wanna know more about the whys and hows of that, I explain it in way more detail in my Creamiest Parsnip & Cauliflower Mash with Garlic & Chives recipe here)
If you’re not thinking about it too hard, chances are you’d never notice the lack of potatoes. It is a little lighter, it’s true, because I’ve swapped out the typical kale for a more seasonal, Spring-like mix of buttery leeks, almost-crisp cabbage and a light-bright finish of green onions. What can I say? I’m in the mood for those lighter greens to start making their way back onto my plate already!
For my AIP and dairy free people, take a look at this AIP Butter blend or even this AIP Garlic Butter! Both would work beautifully here to give you more of a “buttery” taste than a single oil or fat alone.
And if this recipe has you thinking of Irish inspired comfort food, try my Almost Irish Stew recipe!Print
Parsnip Colcannon with Cabbage & Leeks
This fluffy parsnip Colcannon is a fun, nightshade free take on the classic recipe. Here, it’s lighter, brighter & more spring-y, with leeks & green onions!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4, makes 3 1/2 cups / 840 g 1x
- Category: sides, vegetables
- Method: stovetop
- 1 lb / 454 g parsnips
- 3/4 lb / 340 g cauliflower florets
- 5 tbsp / 75 ml oil or cooking fat of your choice, divided, see notes
- 1 medium-large leek
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 packed cups / 100 g shredded Savoy cabbage, about 1/4 head
- 2 large green onions, sliced finely
- liberal amounts of salt & pepper, to taste, omit pepper for AIP
CHOP: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Peel the parsnips, discard their tops and slice them in half. Chop each half into quarters so that you can get to the woody inner cores. Carefully cut out and discard the cores from the parsnips, then chop them into about 1/2 inch / 1.25 cm pieces.
BOIL: Add the chopped parsnips to the salted water, bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the cauliflower florets to the pan, topping off with extra boiling water from the kettle if needed to cover. Simmer until the cauliflower and parsnip are both fork tender, about another 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
DRAIN: Pour the vegetables into a large colander to drain and let them sit in the colander while they release steam. Wipe the pot clean of any residue and save it for later.
SOFTEN: While the vegetables are boiling, trim the leeks of their dark green tops (you can save those for broth or other meals) and cut them in half through the root end. Carefully wash them under running water to get out all of the hidden dirt between layers. Slice the leeks thinly and add 2 tablespoons / 30 ml of the oil or fat to a skillet over low medium heat. Once the fat has melted, add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened and just barely beginning to brown at the edges, about ten minutes.
WILT: Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the shredded cabbage to the pan and cook until just wilted and beginning to soften, but still retaining a little bite if not crunch, 2 – 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
DRY: While the leeks and cabbage are softening, tip the parsnips & cauliflower from the colander back into their original cooking pot. Pop them on the stove over low medium heat for a few minutes, stirring often, so that any surface moisture left behind evaporates, but the vegetables don’t begin to brown. Add the remaining oil or cooking fat and warm until melted and liquid. Remove from the heat.
MASH: How smooth or coarse you like your mash is up to you, but I like to use a potato masher to get things started, then use an immersion blender right in the pan to smooth things out & break up any of the tougher parsnip fibers left behind without making the Colcannon so smooth that it can become pasty.
COMBINE: Once the mash is the texture you like, stir in the softened leek, garlic and cabbage mixture. Add the sliced green onions, too. At this point, you’ll want to taste and season – more aggressively than you might think! – with plenty of salt and pepper, if using. I also like to add about 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic at this point, which gives an extra depth to the flavors. If you like, serve with some extra green onions on top and an extra drizzle or two of the fat of your choice.
If you’re in the elimination phase of the AIP, avoid butter or ghee. You can use the fat or oil of your choice here, but make sure it’s one that you like the flavor of, since it will come through the flavor of the vegetables. Try lard, rendered bacon fat for a smoky flavor, avocado oil or even a mild flavored olive oil.
For my AIP or dairy free peeps, take a look at this AIP Butter blend or even this AIP Garlic Butter! Both would work beautifully here.
I love your recipes. Want to try this soon. Do you need to core out the middle of the parsnips? Is it just for texture? Thanks!
It helps make for a smoother mash, but if your parsnips are are on the smaller side, it’s not as necessary. Just for those large ‘snips that tend to be woody & tough at the core, since the middles will then take longer to cook than the more tender outsides, so to speak!