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Colcannon soup is a healthy new take on a classic Irish dish

Have you ever heard of the traditional Irish side colcannon? Until recently, I hadn’t. But it was easy to fall in love with the dish consisting of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. It’s basically a better-for-you mashed potatoes, and it’s made even better in this re-creation of the dish as soup. Soup! Who doesn’t love a good soup?

Personally I think this dish is best enjoyed on its own, though you could also add boiled ham or Irish bacon. And I wouldn’t mind some pulled pork or pancetta either. Really, it is a versatile soup that is made even better by the parsley pesto. If you’re not convinced yet, then just think of fresh spring parsley… Mmmm, doesn’t that sound delicious?

colcannon soup

Colcannon soup with parsley pesto recipe

This soup reinterprets the Irish classic colcannon, a dish that is made of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. You could add some pulled pork or pancetta to this soup if you wish. Serve with scones.

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 50 minutes | Total time: 1 hour


  • 3-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 10-1/2 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-1/2 ounces onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3-1/3 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 14 ounces savoy cabbage, sliced 3/4 cup plus
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the parsley pesto:

  • 4 ounces flat-leaf parsley
  • Scant 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Scant 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 toasted garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic and nutmeg, stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low, and let sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the hot stock, and bring the heat up to high. Let the onions and potatoes cook in the stock until they are completely soft, then add the cabbage. It will take only 5 minutes to cook.
  3. While the cabbage is cooking, in a food processor, place all the ingredients for the parsley pesto, and blend until you have a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  4. When the cabbage has wilted, stir in the cream, then pour the soup into a blender, and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary, return to the pan to warm through.
  5. To serve, pour the soup into bowls, and garnish with a generous drizzle of the parsley pesto.

Recipe from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen by Clodagh McKenna. Copyright (c) 2015 by Clodagh McKenna. Used with permission by Kyle Books. All rights reserved.

clodagh's irish kitchen

About the book

The food scene in Ireland is thriving, and Clodagh McKenna is at the forefront of it all. Clodagh presents today’s Irish cooking at its best with Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen, in which she takes the stereotypical Irish dishes Americans usually think of and revitalizes them to the current Irish palate. Dubbed as Ireland’s answer to Martha Stewart by Forbes Magazine, Clodagh says, “In Ireland life revolves around the kitchen, whether it’s cups of tea and a piece of cake fresh from the range, a family supper, Sunday lunch, or our famed Irish breakfast — life happens over a simmering pot in Ireland. I have gathered all my family recipes from my earliest memories of baking cakes and breads with my mum and sisters on a Saturday to comforting suppers that I love to eat when I go home to my more sophisticated Irish menus I cooked for the Taoiseach of Ireland. We love to celebrate at home in Ireland, so I have gathered all my favorite Irish recipes and given them my twist to make them even more delicious and achievable just for you…”

With Ireland’s rich culinary history, it’s understandable that internationally recognized dishes such as colcannon and soda bread should be representative of the country’s identity, but there is far more to discover about Irish cooking. Let Clodagh guide you through this tempting collection of 150 recipes — potato dumplings are reinvigorated with a spicy Cashel Blue sauce, while the famous full Irish breakfast is given a new lease on life as a tortilla. With everything from soups and stews to preserves and sophisticated dinner party dishes, Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen is a mouthwatering adventure around this sumptuous cuisine.

Enjoy this exclusive recipe preview from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavors. Get the book >>

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