Get back to basics with these traditional Irish recipes for World Health Day on April 7.
Irish food has developed a bad rap as being heavy and stodgy but this is not the case. It’s true that you can dine out on full Irish breakfasts and mashed potatoes with cream, but there is much more to Irish cuisine.
In fact, the beauty of the traditional Irish diet is that it changed very little between the late 1800s and the mid-1900s. Its ingredients were based on local food or foods that could be easily imported. What was created was a simple diet made up of local and healthy foods.
Here are some of our favorite healthy and hearty Irish recipes:
1. Irish Stew
If you’re launching yourself into an Atkins-style diet you can even skip adding the beloved potatoes and replace them with another vegetable.
2. Oysters and Fish
Great for the brain and your diet - get some fish oils into you this January with some oysters or fish recipes.
Although Chef Gilligan’s chilled Kumamoto oysters with sturgeon caviar and vodka recipe might be a little too fancy for a typical weeknight meal, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of grilled salmon or cod and a side of veg.
3. Soda bread
I know, I know, starch and carbs are the weight watchers enemies but if you’re going to break your diet by eating bread, this is the one you want. The simple ingredients in this bread and its great taste make it both healthy and delicious.
Also, nothing goes better with soda bread than smoked salmon.
Vegetable soup has long been a staple of the Irish diet. There’s nothing better than coming home to a bowl of hearty soup after walking out in the blustery Irish weather.
5. Bacon and Cabbage
This is the ideal Atkins and South Beach diet – low in carbs and GI and it also happens to be Ireland’s official favorite dinner.
Although bacon is the meat of choice in Ireland, the Irish who came to the United States quickly replaced it with the more regularly available corned beef.
Although modern, quick weight-loss, diets tend towards skipping out on carbs, potatoes are far from unhealthy, especially if you prepare them in a healthy manner. In fact, in 2016 the Head of the Washington State Potato Commission went on a purely potato diet and lost 21 pounds.
* Originally published in 2013, last updated in December 2020.