St. Patrick’s Day Vegan-Style

Finding alternatives for a meat-free St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t difficult. I was never a corned beef fan in my pre-vegan days anyway, so finding a substitute for salty beef was not necessary. I decided to stick with mostly whole foods and forgo any faux meat products for this year’s feast. While listening to Flogging Molly in the background, I concocted our Irish feast.

The menu consisted of an Irish Carrot Soup, Kale Salad, Chickpea Shepard’s Pie, sour gherkins, castelvetrano olives, whole wheat Irish Soda Bread, Shamrock Shakes for dessert, and a veganized Bailey’s Irish Cream.

We started off with some freshly baked whole wheat Irish Soda Bread (minus the raisins) from Happy Herbivore. The bread was dense, moist, and chewy. It was great with some vegan butter and dipped into our next soup course.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Next we had Irish Carrot Soup from this Epicurious recipe (minus the whipping cream). The soup was described by others as tasty and “carrot-y.” I found it a tad bitter for my taste, which could have been attributed to either the lemon juice or cloves included in the ingredient mix. I would make it again in the future if I omitted one or both of those ingredients.

Irish Carrot Soup

The soup was followed by a nice green salad and our main course. I had previously made the kale salad numerous other times and blogged about it. I also have made the Chickpea Shepherd’s Pie before, but it came out even better this time because I used a different mixture of veggies from my first attempt. I used a mixed bag of frozen corn, peas, and carrots. I also added some nutritional yeast in the chickpea mixture as the original creator of the recipe recommended. Delish! The sour gherkins and castelvetrano olives were a nice salty side dish to the meal as well. Okay, so the olives were actually Sicilian (not Irish), but they were green and addicting.

Chickpea Shepherd's Pie, Kale Salad, gherkins, olives, and Irish soda bread

Beverage wise, we were delighted by some spirits that our friend Brent brought over. The men enjoyed Guinness Extra Stout, which according to Barnivore, is the only vegan Guinness beverage. Normally Guinness is made with a fining process using isinglass (from the swimbladders of fish).

After dinner, we had a nightcap of a veganized Bailey’s Irish Cream (consisting of a coconut milk base) that was absolutely amazing. It was creamy, smooth, and sweet with just the right amount of Jameson.

Vegan Bailey's Irish Cream

Since it was a warm evening, I decided to make veganized Shamrock Shakes for dessert. I added a healthier version of Oreos to the mix for a cookies and cream appeal.

Shamrock Shakes (2 servings)

2 to 2 1/2 cups of Rice Dream vanilla ice cream
3/4 to 1 cup of rice milk
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup of fresh cilantro (more or less until desired “green” color is reached)
4-6 Oreo-style cookies (broken in half)
Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
Straws (optional)

Put all of the ingredients (minus the mint and straws!) into a blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Add more ice cream or milk depending on how thin or thick you want it. Garnish with mint and stick a straw in the glass for easier drinking.

This was the perfect blend of mint, vanilla, and cookie-goodness! The cilantro was a nice addition and wasn’t too strong or overbearing (for those who aren’t cilantro fans).

Vegan Shamrock Shakes

To top of our St. Patty’s Day vegan feast, we watched the campy, cult horror film Leprechaun, featuring a young Jennifer Aniston. It was hilarious and silly and the perfect ending for a great dinner with friends. It turns out that Jennifer Aniston’s character is vegetarian in the movie, thus prepping me up for another future edition of Vegetarian Protaganists in Horror Movies. Erin go Braugh!

Overall, I’d give this meal a 4 1/2 out of 5 carrots on the veganlicious scale!