Irish Colcannon Soup (Heart Healthy Version)

Saint Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without making an Irish dish or two. This Irish colcannon soup is not a traditional colcannon recipe. It’s a SOUP inspired by Irish colcannon! And I made this one especially for individuals that need to monitor their sodium intake.

Combine the flavors of leeks, potatoes, cabbage, and kale together in a low sodium broth and enjoy this soup any time of year.

Colcannon soup prepared

What is Colcannon?

This traditional Irish dish, pronounced kuhl-kan-uhn with an emphasis on the “kan”, is made with potatoes and cabbage. Some recipes may also incorporate kale, green onion, leeks, and/or bacon.

In a nutshell, this is Irish mashed potatoes with greens. In general, traditional colcannon isn’t a health-conscious dish, as salt, heavy cream and butter are included to add flavor and richness.

It can be served as a main or side dish. It is also a very budget friendly recipe, utilizing cheaper ingredients like cabbage and potatoes.

This Irish colcannon soup recipe is a nod to the original, and is suitable for anyone wanting a lower sodium and fat version of the original.

Colcannon Soup Nutritional Value

As mentioned above, the traditional recipe is higher in fat and sodium. It was my goal to make this colcannon soup healthy by adjusting a few ingredients.

The most notable adjustments to lower the sodium content were low sodium chicken stock and adding only one teaspoon of salt during the cooking process.

To reduce the overall fat, I chose Canadian bacon in place of regular bacon, and fat free half-and-half in place of heavy cream. I also did not add any butter to this Irish colcannon soup. Instead, I opted for a small amount of olive oil.

Overall, I was happy with resulting nutritional breakdown.

Each one-cup serving of this Irish colcannon soup provides:

Calories106 calories
Total fat2.7 grams
Saturated fat0.5 grams
Carbohydrates12.5 grams
Protein7.4 grams
Fiber1.4 grams
Sodium389 milligrams
Potassium397 milligrams
Cholesterol7.5 milligrams

Ingredients

So are you ready to learn how to make this comforting Irish-inspired recipe? Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Russet potatoes– colcannon isn’t colcannon without potatoes. I use Russet potatoes, which are also known as Idaho potatoes and are very versatile. They can be mashed, baked, roasted, fried- you name it!

Green cabbage– cabbage is a common (and cheap) cruciferous vegetable that adds a hearty texture to this soup.

Leeks– this vegetable is in the same family as onion and garlic, though is it MUCH milder and slightly sweet. Only use the white and lighter green parts of the leek for this recipe. You can discard the dark green leaves or use them to make stock.

Kale– I make this colcannon recipe using common kale, although you can also use baby kale which is more delicate. I also only use the leaves, not the kale ribs which can be very tough.

Canadian bacon– I prefer Canadian bacon over regular bacon just because it is much leaner. By crisping it up in a pan before sprinkling it over this satisfying colcannon soup recipe, you’ll get a lot of flavor.

Chicken stock– when making soups, I ALWAYS use low sodium broths and stocks. This cuts back on the sodium content significantly. For those with high blood pressure…you’re welcome! 😉

Extra virgin olive oil– when sautéing vegetables for savory dishes, olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter. With the little bit used in this Irish colcannon soup recipe, you won’t even miss the butter.

Bay leaves– adding Bay leaves to soups gives it a little something-something in my opinion. The longer your soup simmers, the more you’ll notice the slight herbal fragrance and taste.

Salt and pepper– then of course, there is a little seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. I try not to add too much salt to keep the sodium content low.

ingredients for Irish colcannon soup recipe

How to Make Irish Colcannon Soup

Okay, now that you’ve got your ingredient list, let’s begin the how-to instructions for making this colcannon soup!

Step 1: Sauté the Leeks

After prepping and chopping all of your ingredients, heat a large soup or stock pot over medium heat on the stove.

Add your extra virgin olive oil along with the chopped leeks. Season the leeks with salt and pepper during this step as well.

Stir the leeks constantly for about 7-8 minutes to prevent any burning. They will begin to soften and caramelize which is what you want.

Sautéing leeks for Irish colcannon soup

Step 2: Add the Veggies and Stock

Add in the chicken stock, stirring the bottom with a wooden spoon to get any caramelized browned bits off the bottom of your pot. Then add the potatoes, green cabbage and bay leaves.

Turn up the heat slightly and cover your pot to allow the potatoes and cabbage to soften. Let it boil for about 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes soften.

Adding vegetables to soup pot for colcannon soup

Step 3: Fry the Bacon

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the Canadian bacon. While the soup is simmering, you can crisp up your Canadian bacon in a separate frying pan over the stove. Add your chopped Canadian bacon to medium-hot pan and fry it until the edges of the bacon get brown and slightly crispy.

This will take about 8 minutes, which is why it’s best to do this while your Irish colcannon soup is simmering. Set the bacon pieces aside for now and go back to your soup pot.

Frying Canadian bacon in pan

Step 4: Add Kale and Half-and-Half

Remove the lid to your soup pot. Add the kale and half-and-half, then stir to combine. Replace the lid and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the kale is wilted.

Adding kale and half-and-half to colcannon soup

Step 5: Serve and Garnish

Now the soup is done and it’s time to add some finishing touches.

Ladle your soup into serving bowls and top with some of the Canadian bacon. Alternatively, you can add the Canadian bacon to the whole soup pot when you add the kale to allow the saltiness and flavor to infuse into your colcannon soup.

You can also save some thinly sliced leeks to sprinkle onto each bowl for presentation.

What To Serve With Colcannon Soup

This colcannon soup recipe can be eaten as the main entrée or as an accompaniment to your meal. In my opinion, any soup recipe is incomplete without crackers or crusty slices of bread and butter. Of course, there are many other serving suggestions. Here are some other ideas of what to serving with this Irish colcannon soup:

FAQ

How long does this soup stay fresh?

This hearty-healthy colcannon soup recipe will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It reheats well in the microwave or over a stovetop. If you have any left after 3 days, you can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Can you make this soup in a slow cooker?

I have not tried making this soup in a slow cooker. However, you could easily place all the ingredients (minus the kale and half-and-half) in your slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 hours, adding the kale and half-and-half during the last 30 minutes.

Can I use cabbage only?

Yes! You do not have to use both cabbage and kale. One or the other works just fine and both have nutritional value.

Can I substitute milk for the half-and-half?

Yes. You can easily sub either whole milk or 2% milk for the fat-free half-and-half. This add some creaminess and depth to the soup that I don’t recommend leaving out.

Colcannon soup prepared

Irish Colcannon Soup

A traditional Irish recipe converted into soup form. This Irish colcannon soup marries hearty Russet potatoes, leeks, and greens with a low-sodium broth, topped off with pan-fried Canadian bacon pieces. It's satisfying, comforting, and heart-healthy all in one. A great lower sodium alternative to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 12
Calories 106 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 leeks, light green and white parts only sliced thin and chopped (~2.5 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock unsalted
  • 2 bay leaves whole
  • 3 medium Russet potatoes peeled and diced (~3 cups)
  • ½ small cabbage sliced and chopped (~2.5 cups)
  • ½ bunch kale, leaves only rinsed and chopped (~2.5 cups)
  • ½ cup half-and-half fat-free
  • 1 6 oz package Canadian bacon diced

Instructions
 

  • In a large soup or stock pot, sauté the leeks in olive oil for about 7-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. The leeks should start to soften and caramelize.
  • Add your chicken stock, diced potatoes, cabbage, and bay leaves. Stir the soup, scraping the bottom of your pot to loosen any browned bits. Cover your pot and bring the soup to a boil for 3-5 minutes or until the potatoes and cabbage soften. Then reduce the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • While the soup is simmering, fry the Canadian bacon in a frying pan over medium-high heat. No oil or butter is needed. You just want the bacon to heat through and crisp around the edges. This should take about 8 minutes. Then set the bacon aside for now.
  • Next, add the kale and half-and-half to your soup mixture. Stir and replace the lid. You only want the kale to wilt which will take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Ladle the prepared soup into serving bowls and garnish with the fried Canadian bacon you set aside from earlier. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Additional Notes:
  • Feel free to use only kale OR cabbage if you don’t want to use both. The contrasting colors, textures, and added nutritional value are one benefit of adding both but this soup will still taste great  using only one.
  • Try using other meat options in place of Canadian bacon. Some ideas to try are low-sodium ham, bacon, turkey bacon, or even thinly sliced corned beef to go along with the Irish theme!
  • For additional garnish, you can add some saved sliced leeks or some freshly shredded cheddar cheese. 
  • Add some bread and butter or dinner rolls and you can make this a main meal!
  • This soup also freezes well. After allowing the soup to cool, it can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. 
 
Nutritional Information Per 1-Cup Serving (Makes 12 Cups):
106 calories, 2.7 gm total fat, 0.5 gm saturated fat, 12.5 gm carbohydrate, 7.4 gm protein, 1.4 gm fiber, 389 mg sodium, 397 mg potassium, 7.5 mg cholesterol
Keyword cabbage, gluten-free, kale, leek, low sodium, potato

💬 Share With Me: What favorite Irish foods do you eat on Saint Patrick’s Day? Send me a comment below and let’s chat about traditions!

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