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Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30)

5 from 16 votes

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What’s Inside: Paleo Mashed Cauliflower and Parsnip Colcannon is a tasty lower-carb option for  Traditional Mashed Potato Colcannon. It’s a perfect addition to your St. Patty’s Day table.

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by Mars


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Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon

I love a good mashed potato dish but truth be told, my blood sugar is not quite in alignment with that sentiment most of the time. So here I am, with St. Patty’s approaching, craving a huge bowl of mashed potatoes studded with glistening crispy bacon and kale. And my wheels start turning. Would it be possible to make a copycat, lower carb mashed cauliflower Irish Colcannon instead? One with a similar texture to potatoes?

Of course! The only thing that’s impossible is for a dish cooked in bacon fat to fall short. So clearly we’re up for a win-win here. 

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by Mars

When considering the swaps, obviously trusty cauliflower comes to the rescue but I wanted some starchiness, so blending the cauliflower with parsnips gives it a little more oomph… this simple one-pot colcannon mash has it going on.

This copycat version of Irish Colcannon is:

  • Lower in carbs than potatoes
  • Paleo, AIP, and Whole30 so everyone can enjoy
  • Very easy
  • Bursting with flavor
  • Made in one-pot for easier clean-up
Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by Mars

What’s Irish Colcannon?

A traditional Irish dish that consists of creamy mashed potatoes mixed with green onions and kale. Ham or bacon is a common addition (and I couldn’t help myself). Finished off with a pat of butter or in this case ghee or olive oil… it makes the perfect side dish for St. Patrick’s Day or any feast you’d like it for! 

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by MarsAbout the Nutrient-dense Potato Swaps

  • Parsnips are…
    • higher in fiber than potatoes
    • 1 cup has approx. 24g of carbohydrates compared to potatoes (37g)
    • rich in antioxidants
  • Cauliflower is…
    • naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins
    • great for detox
    • also rich in antioxidants

P.S. Let’s not forget we have KALE in here, people! That’s 3 veggies in one dish. And hey, if parsnips aren’t your thing… feel free to just make this a cauliflower mash situation. Here’s my recipe for that!

…wait, are potatoes “bad”? Unless they’ve insulted you or your mother in some way, I’m gonna say NO. Potatoes are vegetables just like parsnips and cauliflower, but for some of us looking to cut down on excess sugar, it’s nice to have other nutrient-dense options. Aside from the carbs/sugar content… potatoes do happen to be nightshade which can be inflammatory for some (especially with Autoimmunity) and are not AIP-friendly. I eat potatoes from time to time in moderation and love them, but I love a lot of other veggies too. Why not try something new? It’s easy to get stuck on the same old-same old veggies and it’s nice to mix it up. 

More Irish-inspired Recipes:


Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by Mars

Video: Watch How To Make The Recipe

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30) via Food by Mars

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower + Parsnip Colcannon with Bacon (AIP, Whole30)

5 from 16 votes
A lower carb option to the traditional Irish mashed potato dish using cauliflower and parsnips for an AIP, Paleo, and Whole30 side dish that's perfect for your St. Patty's table!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4


  • Water for boiling
  • 2 lbs cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 lbs parsnips peeled and cored
  • 12 oz. bacon roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch Lacinto Dino kale, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion scallions, roughly chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil or ghee to top olive oil for AIP
  • Sea salt


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil while you prepare the vegetables.
  • To cut the parsnips, peel them with a vegetable peeler, and cut similarly as you would a pear (around the core) to get rid of it safely. Cut the parsnips into 1-inch rounds and add to boiling water for approx. 8 mins.
  • Next, add in the cauliflower florets to cook for approx. 10 minutes until all veggies are tender when pricked with a fork.
  • Drain parsnips and cauliflower in a colander in the sink and let then dry well.
  • Meanwhile, de-stem, clean and roughly chop the kale into small pieces and set aside.
  • Clean and roughly chop green onions as well and set aside.
  • Roughly chop bacon and add to your pot over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until crispy for approx. 8 mins. When the bacon is cooked as you’d like it, add in the kale and mix well for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Turn heat off and set aside.
  • To a large serving bowl, add in the drained parsnips and cauliflower and use a masher to mash them well. Alternatively, you could add them to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  • Mix in the bacon and kale with your veggies in the serving bowl and serve with a drizzle of olive oil or pat of ghee! Serve and enjoy.
Diet: Irish
Keywords: AIP, one-pot meal, paleo, side dish, whole30
Course: Side Dish
-Alison Marras
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  1. Absolutely delicious! The flavor of the parsnip mash goes perfectly with the rich bacon and greens. To speed it up I used organic bagged dark greens and it was perfection. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

  2. This sounds like a delicious combination. I don’t eat bacon but I don’t think it will be missed – so much great flavour from the veggies. Yum!

  3. This looks amazingly delicious, especially with the addition of bacon. Will go perfectly with corned beef.

    • Always better with bacon and YES it would be perfect! I wish I had some this year but with quarantine, couldn’t get it haha

  4. Delicious and easy! I’m always looking for ways to use parsnip and this is perfect. Thanks for sharing another great recipe 🙂

  5. I love the addition of parsnips in this whole 30 dish. This is true comfort food without the carbs.

  6. I love colcannon, it’s such comfort food. . We have a similar dish in Scotland called Rumbledethumps. It’s basically a cabbage and potato pie, topped with cheese and baked.

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