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Ikaria Stew From the ‘Blue Zones Kitchen’


The Sunday Dinner Club: We here at The Sunday Paper believe in meaningful conversations around the table, and we want to encourage you to start your own Sunday Dinner Club. Invite friends and family members to your home, reach out virtually, and share meaningful conversations. Then report back to us and tell us about the experience.

The Ingredients of a Meaningful Dinner: 1) Set an intention. 2) Say Grace. 3) Serve healthy food. 4) Start talking. 5) Be open-minded and listen.

Conversation Starter: In what ways can you best express your love this holiday season?


Servings: 4

This is hands-down my favorite longevity recipe. 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. 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.

Technique tip: This protein-rich stew freezes well, though the kale will lose a little of its vibrancy. To refresh, add a few more slivered leaves when reheating.

Swap option: For a quicker meal, substitute 4 cups frozen black-eyed peas, thawed, or 4 cups drained and rinsed canned black-eyed peas. Simmer the stew for only 25 minutes to blend the flavors and cook the fennel.


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red globe, beefsteak, or heirloom tomato, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large kale leaves, slivered
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill


1. Spread the black-eyed peas on a large baking sheet and pick over to remove any damaged peas or debris. Put the peas in a large pot, add enough cool tap water to submerge by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Set aside off the heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain in a colander set in the sink.

2. Warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the black-eyed peas, carrots, tomato, tomato paste, bay leaves and salt and stir until the tomato paste dissolves. Add enough water just to cover the vegetables. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the black-eyed peas are tender (not rocklike but not mush), about 50 minutes.

4. Stir in the kale leaves and dill. Cover and cook until the kale is tender, 5-10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Ladle into four bowls. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of each helping.

Reprinted with permission from The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, National Geographic. Copyright © 2015.

This recipe was featured in the December 8th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.


Best-selling author Dan Buettner debuts his first cookbook, "The Blue Zones Kitchen," filled with 100 longevity recipes inspired by the Blue Zones locations around the world, where people live the longest. Click here to order.

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