One-pot meals are always a lifesaver on busy nights when you hardly have time to eat, let alone clean up a messy kitchen. The one-pot meals Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Kitchen, whips up on a regular basis give “lifesaver” a new meaning because eating them quite literally has the potential to increase your longevity.
Buettner has been studying the people in the world’s Blue Zones for years, figuring out exactly what they do—and eat!—to live into well into their 100s. Straight from an island in Greece, he highlights a flavorful Ikarian Longevity Stew loaded with black-eyed peas. Legumes have always been a big part of the Blue Zones’ diets, says Buettner. In fact, he shared one of their biggest secrets is eating a cup of beans a day, which could add up to four years to your lifespan.
“This savory one-pot meal fuses the iconic flavors of Ikaria with the faintest hint of sweet fennel. As is customary in Ikaria, a small amount of olive oil is used to sauté the vegetables, then a generous drizzle finishes the dish,” he writes. “This practice is instinctively brilliant: Heat breaks down the oil, so saving most for a final drizzle assures its rich flavor and maximum health benefits.”
Aside from black-eyed peas, you only need a handful of other ingredients to make the stew: some red onion, garlic, fennel, tomato, bay leaves, and dill. After heating up your ingredients in layers in a single pot, you’ll have a meal that’s ready to gobble up and enjoy all week long.
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Blue Zones Ikarian longevity stew
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb
1 cup (8 ounces) black-eyed peas
1 large, firm ripe tomato, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato paste, diluted in ¼ cup water
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
1. Heat half the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, and fennel bulb stirring occasionally until soft (about 12 minutes).
2. Add the black-eyed peas and toss to coat in the oil. (Note: If you’re using dried peas, first bring them to a boil, boil for one minute, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for an hour. Drain, rinse, and use.)
3. Add the tomato, tomato paste, and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the black-eyed peas are about half-way cooked. Check after 40 minutes, but it may take over an hour.
4. Add the chopped dill and season with salt.
5. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender. Remove, then pour in the remaining raw olive oil and serve.