Vegetarian recipes for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration


Editor’s note: This story was originally published on March 11, 2015.

St. Patrick’s Day, which celebrates the patron saint of Ireland, is the perfect time to gather with close friends or family around a table adorned with hearty food and inspiring beverages. But Irish cuisine is not usually welcoming to vegetarians, making liberal use of bangers (sausage), lamb and rashers (aka bacon).

As a vegetarian with a deep appreciation of Irish culture and history, much of the signature cuisine is off-limits to me. Or, it would be, but with a little work, you can give many classic dishes a vegetarian twist to make this holiday fare more vegetarian-friendly.

In addition to meats, many dishes prominently feature root vegetables of all sorts from potatoes to parsnips and all points in between. Stews cooked with pints of Guinness are also common. Then there is the Irish penchant for quick breads that make for great dipping. While it may not be quite as exotic as say the cuisine of the Punjab, it still has plenty to offer.

Whether you are gathering for the joy of time together or for the revelry of the occasion, this selection of vegetarian dishes is worthy of Ireland’s patron saint, resplendent in hardy veggies and the occasional pint of Guinness with not a drop of green dye. There’s a little something for the morning, afternoon and evening, plus a soda bread to serve on the side.

But uber-strict vegetarians and vegans beware: Guinness Draught is made using isinglass — fish bladder — which strains out unwanted particles. There are stouts out there that don’t use isinglass, which can be substituted. Guinness Extra Stout has been declared vegan friendly, so it’s still possible to do St. Patrick’s Day right.

Sláinte mhaith!


These Irish baked beans are friendly for vegetarians who want traditional fare for their breakfast on St. Patrick's Day.
Irish baked beans for St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish baked beans

serves 6

Unlike our Boston baked beans that uses molasses or maple syrup, Irish beans are made with tomatoes, honey and garden herbs. This dish is commonly eaten as part of a full breakfast — beans, sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes, toast, sausage, rashers and tea — which was eaten in preparation for a long-day’s labor.

2 lbs. navy beans

1/4 cup olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

1 tbsp. ground sage

2 tsp. white or black pepper

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

4 cups water

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Soak the navy beans overnight, covered by at least one inch of water and lightly salted.

In a large stainless steel skillet heat the olive oil. Add the onion, stir to coat in oil, cover and let cook for 5 minutes. Once the onion softens, add the sage and pepper, stir and cook for 1 minute. Then add the honey and tomato paste, stir until the mixture turns a deep red. Remove from heat.

Drain and rinse the beans and combine with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, water and onion mixture in a 6 quart slow cooker. Stir, cover and let cook 5 to 7 hours.

When most of the water has been cooked off and the beans are nice and soft, add the chopped parsley. Let cool before you enjoy.


The Dublin coddle is a classic dish for St. Patrick's Day. But it's traditionally laden with meat. This recipe gives a slight vegetarian twist to this classic Irish dish.
Vegetarian Dublin coddle for St. Patrick’s Day.

Dublin coddle

serves 4

Dublin coddle is a traditional Irish hot pot dish typically made with root vegetables and Irish bangers, a flavorful sausage. For this vegetarian version, I used a vegan sausage to mimic the usual flavor and texture of the dish.

1/4 cup olive oil

4 SmartLife vegan sausage, sliced

4-5 red potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3 carrots

3 celery stalks

1 yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt and black pepper, to taste

2 cups water

1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

1 12-oz. Guinness Extra Stout

In a large stainless skillet, heat the olive oil on medium. Cook the vegan sausage for about 5 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.

In a slow cooker, layer ingredients in this order: half the potatoes, half the carrots and celery, half the onion and parsley, black pepper and salt, all the vegan sausage, the rest of the potatoes, the rest of the carrots and celery, the rest of the onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the liquid smoke in the water. Pour over the mix, cover and let cook 4 hours. Don’t fear the mixture will cook down, but feel free to add water if needed.

When it’s done, pour over a bottle of Guinness and let cook another 10 to 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.


Loaded with root vegetables and a vegan stout, this recipe for an Irish-style barley stew can be enjoyed by any vegetarian.
Vegetarian barkey and vegetable stew for St. Patrick’s Day.

Barley and vegetable stew

serves 4

Before an evening on the town, it won’t hurt to mow down on something nice and good for you. This delicious soup is full of root vegetables and herbs you need.

1/4 cup olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

1 parsnip, sliced

2 red potatoes, cubed

1 turnip, peeled and cubed

3 celery stalks, sliced

3 carrots, sliced

4 cups vegetable stock

1 12 oz. Guinness Extra Stout

1 tsp. Marmite

1 cup pearled barley

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. black pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, cover and cook 5 minutes until soft. Once the onions are done, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes.

Now add the stock, Guinness, Marmite, barley and herbs to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour, or until the vegetables soften. Add extra water if needed.

When the stew has finished, add the pepper. Let cool and enjoy.

On the side

Egg-free Irish soda bread

yields 1 loaf

There’s little fuss or muss with this bread recipe. You don’t need much and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can customize as you see fit.

3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. flaxseed

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to about 400 degrees.

In a large bowl blend the flour, baking soda and flaxseed. Add the buttermilk in ½ cup portions (it may take more or less than what’s called for above) until the flour becomes doughy and sticky. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.

On an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan, work the dough into the shape of a disk, about 6- to 7-inches wide, and 2-inches tall. Take a knife and carve a big X in it.

Pop in the oven and bake 45 to 60 minutes.

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