Pass the Boxty: Vegan Twists for a St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Vegan takes on traditional Irish food and drink

By Joanna Nix

March 16, 2022

Green Irish soda bread

This story has been updated since its original publication on March 15, 2017.

Ireland may be famous for its rolling green hills, but it doesn’t have the greenest diet. The country has more sheep than people, a growing dairy industry, and a food tradition that’s heavy on all kinds of meat and fish—and in turn, on greenhouse gas emissions.

Want to honor the Irish and the earth? These vegan takes on traditional Irish food and drink are the perfect complement to your St. Patrick’s Day festivities (and the morning after).


Irish Soda Bread

This traditional quick bread requires only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Substitute the buttermilk with plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a vegan delight! Eat it plain, or add some spinach to dye it a festive green without artificial coloring.


Latkes for Hanukkah; boxty for St. Patrick’s Day. This recipe from The Veg Life! is simple: Take your soda bread ingredients, add some mashed and grated potatoes, fry 'em up, and enjoy.

Corned Beef

Have your beef and eat it too with these creative vegan corned beef recipes. Combine seitan with a variety of seasonings to achieve that salty, sour taste. This dish is great on its own or as a sandwich.

Shepherd’s Pie

This nine-ingredient recipe by Minimalist Baker replaces beef with protein-rich lentils for a vegan-friendly Irish staple. Makes for delicious leftovers.


Pair your mashed potatoes with cabbage or, as this recipe from The Full Helping does, substitute it with kale. Add your favorite vegan bacon or sausage and it’ll taste just like the dish your mother used to make.

Potato and Leek Soup

Spring is technically right around the corner, but it may still feel like winter where you are. If it’s raining (or snowing) on your St. Patrick’s Day parade, perhaps this vegan potato and leek soup from Maple Spice can warm you up. It’s simple and tasty, and pairs nicely with soda bread.


Guinness: (Mostly) Vegan These Days!

Revelers will drink about 13 million pints of Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day. The iconic Irish brewery announced in 2015 that it would go vegan, and completed the transition in 2018

Baileys Almande

Good news! Baileys just updated its dairy-free variety so it’s now totally vegan. Just make sure your bottle has a “vegan” label on it (their noncertified-vegan formula was made with beeswax and may still be carried in some stores). Have it with a cup o' joe, on the rocks, or with your favorite vegan Irish whiskey.

Shamrock Green Smoothie

Want to honor the life of Saint Patrick in sobriety? This recipe from Simple Green Smoothies is delicious, festive, and won’t give you a headache. Just blend spinach, kombucha, frozen peaches, coconut sugar, and lime juice, and you’ve got yourself a fun—and healthy—plant-based drink.