Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional Irish-American meal for St. Patrick’s Day, but it doesn’t have to be the only option. There are many other delicious foods and dishes that can help you celebrate Irish culture and heritage on March 17th. Keep reading for 10+ tasty alternatives to corned beef and cabbage that still feel festive and shamrock-approved.
Traditional Irish Foods
Many classic Irish foods make great St. Paddy’s Day meal options beyond corned beef. Here are some authentic Irish foods to consider:
- Irish soda bread – This quick bread is a staple in Ireland, made with whole wheat flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and currants. It’s often served with Irish butter or dips.
- Colcannon – A traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, milk, butter, and scallions. Simple but delicious.
- Irish stew – A hearty meat and root vegetable stew, often made with lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, and parsley.
- Boxty – These potato pancakes are made with a batter of grated raw potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk and occasionally extras like scallions. They’re often fried and served with Irish butter.
- Dublin coddle – A layered casserole with sausages, rashers (bacon), potatoes, and onions. Seasoned with herbs like thyme.
- Shepherd’s pie – Ground lamb or beef topped with mashed potatoes and baked. A classic comfort food.
- Bangers and mash – Irish sausages served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and fried onions. Perfect pub food.
Dishes like these allow you to sample authentic Irish flavors and ingredients. They’re easy to make at home too.
Hearty Soups and Stews
Warm, filling soups and stews also make fantastic St. Patrick’s Day fare. Here are some savory soup recipes to try:
- Beef and Guinness stew – Tender beef slowly simmered with vegetables in a rich Guinness beer broth.
- Lamb or chicken coddle – Just like the casserole but in soup form, with chunky pieces of meat, potato, carrot, and onion.
- Potato leek soup – A velvety blend of potatoes and leeks, with herbs like thyme or parsley.
- Irish seafood chowder – Chowder made with fish, clams, potatoes, and cream. Serve with Irish brown soda bread.
- Root vegetable soup – Carrots, parsnips, celeriac, and potatoes boiled with veggie or chicken broth.
These soups and stews will warm you up in true Irish fashion. Pair them with some crusty bread for a perfect cold weather meal.
Hearty Salads and Sides
Salads and vegetable side dishes also give you lots of flavorful St. Paddy’s Day options beyond corned beef. Try these hearty salad recipes:
- Warm potato salad – Waxy potatoes tossed with vinegar, bacon, scallions, parsley and a warm dressing.
- Cabbage and bacon salad – Shredded green cabbage, crispy bacon, carrots, parsley, and a tangy Irish whiskey vinaigrette.
- Roasted root vegetables – Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and turnips roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Colcannon potatoes – The classic Irish dish of smooth mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage and scallions.
- Potato farls – Griddled potato cakes made with shredded raw potato, flour, and butter. Serve warm.
Round out your meal with some traditional Irish veggie sides. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and greens are all symbols of Irish cuisine.
Classic Irish Pub Grub
For a true taste of Ireland, you can’t go wrong with classic pub favorites. These Irish bar foods are perfect for a casual St. Patrick’s Day meal:
- Fish and chips – Beer-battered Atlantic cod or haddock served with thick cut fries and malt vinegar or tartar sauce.
- Cottage or shepherd’s pie – Minced meat and veggies topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and baked.
- Bangers and mash – Plump Irish sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and onion gravy.
- Irish breakfast – A full fry-up with eggs, Irish bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, and toast.
- Scotch eggs – Hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, breaded, and fried. A British pub classic.
Recreate the fun ambiance of an Irish pub at home with menus featuring these hearty dishes. They definitely beat corned beef!
Traditional Irish Desserts
Finish your St. Patrick’s Day feast on a sweet note with these beloved Irish desserts:
- Irish cream cheesecake – New York-style cheesecake infused with Irish cream liqueur.
- Guinness chocolate cake – Dense chocolate cake made with the Irish stout.
- Irish apple cake – Apples baked into a tender cake with warm spices like cinnamon.
- Porter cake – A type of Irish fruitcake made with stout and whiskey or porter.
- Bailey’s chocolate mousse – Light chocolate mousse spiked with Baileys Irish cream.
- Shamrock sugar cookies – Buttery shortbread cookies decorated with green icing.
Treat your guests to something sweet with these Irish-inspired desserts. The Guinness and Baileys add a fun twist.
Green Food and Drinks
For a more festive, over-the-top St. Patrick’s Day meal, go green! Play around with food coloring or choose ingredients to give all your dishes a shamrock green hue. Here are some ideas:
- Green beer or cocktails – Add a few drops of food coloring to beer, wine, or liquor.
- Green pancakes or waffles – Make the batter green, or add green chocolate chips.
- Green eggs – Blend in some spinach, kale, or food coloring.
- Green milkshakes – Use mint or pistachio ice cream or add food coloring.
- Green mac and cheese – Blend in some spinach or kale.
- Green mashed potatoes – Mix in some spinach, kale, or green food coloring.
You can get extra creative with green-hued dishes. It’s all about having fun on St. Paddy’s Day!
Classic American and Irish-American Fare
You don’t have to stick to authentic Irish cuisine to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. There are plenty of Irish-American classics and American comfort foods that fit the green theme:
- Reuben sandwich – Corned beef or pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye bread.
- Chicken pot pie – Chicken baked under a flaky pie crust topped with parsley.
- Beef brisket – Slow cooked corned beef brisket with carrots, potatoes, and cabbage.
- Green chili or minestrone soup – Pair with an Irish soda bread bowl.
- Philly cheesesteak – Seasoned beef, onions, peppers, and melted cheese on a hoagie roll.
- Baked ziti – Ziti pasta baked with cheese, spinach, and Italian sausage.
The Reuben sandwich and corned beef brisket offer a nod to Irish flavors. Or opt for hearty American comfort foods in festive green colors.
Vegan and Vegetarian Options
You can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with delicious food if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Try these meatless and dairy-free options:
- Vegetable stew – Hearty chunks of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips simmered in veggie broth.
- Cabbage rolls – Stuffed cabbage leaves rolled up and baked in tomato sauce.
- Lentil shepherd’s pie – Lentils, veggies, and vegan mashed potatoes.
- Vegan Irish soda bread – Dairy-free bread with whole wheat flour, almond milk, and raisins.
- Vegan chocolate Guinness cake – Rich stout-flavored cake without eggs or dairy.
- Potato leek soup – Made with vegetable broth and coconut milk or cream.
With a few easy substitutions, you can still enjoy Irish-inspired flavors and dishes. Cabbage, potatoes, carrots, lentils, and barley make great veg-friendly options.
Want to make a fun St. Patrick’s Day meal for kids? Go beyond boring hot dogs and chicken nuggets with these festive, kid-approved dishes:
- Green mac and cheese – Kraft macaroni and cheese or homemade mac dyed green.
- Green pizza – Homemade or store-bought pizza with green crust, sauce, or toppings.
- Shamrock chicken tenders – Chicken strips coated in green breadcrumbs or panko.
- Rainbow goldfish – Color goldfish crackers green with a few drops of food coloring.
- Green deviled eggs – Add green food coloring to the egg yolk filling.
- Lucky charms bars or rice krispie treats – Made green with food coloring.
For dessert, make green chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes decorated with green frosting shamrocks. Kids will have a blast with green food.
Easy Shortcut Meals
If you’re short on time, use shortcuts from your grocer’s shelves and freezer section to put together fast St. Patrick’s Day meals:
- Frozen fish fillets or shrimp – Bread, fry, or bake. Serve with fries or slaw.
- Store-bought corned beef – Heat and serve with instant potatoes and veggies.
- Pot pie – Frozen chicken or veggie pot pie, heated and ready in under an hour.
- Pizza – Pre-made crust and sauce. Top with cheese, sausage, and peppers.
- Ravioli or tortellini – Boil, top with pesto or marinara sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan.
You can also make quick shamrock appetizers like frozen mini quiches, chicken nuggets, or pizza bites. Ready-to-eat sides like bagged slaw mix and salad greens help round out the meal.
For minimal dishes, try these easy one-pot recipes that still have lots of Irish flavor:
- Guinness beef stew – Seared stew meat simmered with veggies in Guinness and beef broth.
- Sausage and cabbage skillet – Smoked kielbasa, potatoes, and cabbage all cooked together in one pan.
- Irish coconut curry – Chicken, sweet potato, peas, and spinach simmered in coconut milk curry.
- Scotch eggs casserole – Sliced hard boiled eggs and sausage baked in a creamy potato and cheese sauce.
- Chicken and dumplings – Comforting chicken stew with homemade biscuit dumplings on top.
Dump everything into one pot, skillet, or casserole dish for meals that are easy but still interesting.
Corned beef and cabbage might be the default St. Patrick’s Day meal, but you have so many more options. Cook up an authentic Irish feast with dishes like colcannon, Irish stew, and soda bread. Hearty pub grub like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips are quick and casual. Bake up some Irish desserts like Guinness chocolate cake or whip up festive green foods. There are even great veg-friendly and kid-friendly picks. However you choose to celebrate, there are tons of tasty recipes beyond boring corned beef to make it a true Irish holiday.