Ollie recommended four St. Patrick's Day dinner ideas

Four St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Ideas That Aren’t Corned Beef

We asked Ollie for ideas of what to cook for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day outside of the standard corned beef and cabbage meal. Like magic, Ollie suggested four fresh dinner ideas that work for traditionalists, vegetarians, and families alike. Sláinte!

For the Traditionalist: Traditional Irish Stew

Ingredients (serves 4): 

  • 1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot, season the lamb chunks with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, brown the lamb on all sides until it gets a nice sear.
  • Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté until it turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the beef broth and water, then add the quartered potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot. Bring the stew to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low once boiling, and cover the pot. Let the stew simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the lamb becomes tender.
  • Near the end of the cooking time, taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley.
  • Serve the Irish stew hot, accompanied by crusty bread for soaking up the flavorful broth.

For a Lighter Option: Irish Soda Bread and Smoked Salmon

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6):

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
  • 8 oz smoked salmon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Fresh dill or parsley for garnish (optional)


Make the Irish Soda Bread: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly flour a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Gradually pour in the buttermilk, stirring with a fork, until the dough comes together. You may not need all the buttermilk, or you may need a little more, depending on the flour. The dough should be soft but not too sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it gently for a few seconds, just enough to bring it together into a round loaf. Do not over-knead.
  5. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make an X-shaped cut about ½-inch deep across the top to help the bread expand as it bakes.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let the bread cool on a wire rack.

Serve with Smoked Salmon:

  1. Once the bread has cooled, cut it into slices.
  2. Spread each slice generously with softened cream cheese.
  3. Lay slices of smoked salmon over the cream cheese.
  4. Sprinkle capers over the smoked salmon, and if using, add a garnish of fresh dill or parsley.
  5. Serve each plate with a wedge of lemon on the side for squeezing over the smoked salmon.

For the Kids: Green Pesto Pasta 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (penne, spaghetti, or fusilli work well)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Prepare the Pesto Sauce:

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until chopped.
  2. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture is well blended. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides.
  3. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Adjust the consistency with more olive oil if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook the Pasta and Vegetables:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time, add the asparagus pieces and peas to the boiling water.
  2. Just before draining, add the fresh spinach to the pot to wilt slightly, then immediately drain the pasta and vegetables in a colander.

Combine and Serve:

  1. Return the drained pasta and vegetables to the pot.
  2. Add the pesto sauce to the pasta and gently toss until the pasta is evenly coated, adding a tablespoon or two of pasta cooking water if needed to help distribute the pesto.
  3. Divide the pesto pasta among serving plates.
  4. Garnish each plate with additional grated Parmesan cheese, a few fresh basil leaves, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.

For the Vegetarian: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (ensure it’s vegetarian)
  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup butter (use vegan butter for a vegan version)
  • ½ cup milk (any unsweetened plant-based milk for vegan)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Prepare the Lentil Filling:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring the rinsed lentils and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cooked lentils, frozen peas, tomato paste, dried thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the vegetable mixture, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
  6. Add the Worcestershire sauce and a little more water, if needed, to achieve a slightly moist but not runny consistency. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Make the Mashed Potato Topping:

  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Return the potatoes to the pot or a large bowl. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Mash until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Assemble and Bake:

  1. Spread the lentil filling evenly in the bottom of an oven-proof dish.
  2. Top with the mashed potatoes, using a spatula or fork to create a smooth layer. For a decorative touch, use the fork tines to make ridges on the top.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are golden brown and the edges are bubbling.
  4. Let the Shepherd’s Pie cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Get Dinner Ideas Without Having to Think About It

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