top of page

Ikarian Longevity Stew (oil free, whole food plant-based)

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Blue Zones Ikarian Longevity Stew

Ikarian Longevity Stew is a delicious, hearty, warming stew that will satisfy big appetites with very few calories. We did an oil-free version, whole food, plant-based version of the original Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook* version for a lighter option.

About the Blue Zone, Ikaria

Ikaria is a small island off the coast of Greece, just under 100 miles wide. It's known for its beautiful, rocky coasts.

Ikaria, as it existed for centuries, was marked as a Blue Zone by Dan Buettner - journalist and National Geographic fellow. Blue Zones are pockets of civilizations around the planet where people lived long, healthful lives - many times into their 100's, with vitality and purpose. In Ikaria, people lived around eight years longer than the average US lifespan, with half the heart disease and almost no dementia.

Ikarians had a strong sense of community and faith, Greek Orthodox, which mandates upwards of 200 days of fasting per year!!


Recommendation! We LOVE the Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook and we think you will too!

Get a copy of of Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook* to learn more about Ikaria and try authentic recipes for longevity.

Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook


What is the Ikarian Diet?

According to the list in Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook*, this is what the Ikarian diet is generally made up of:

  • Lots of vegetables

  • Lots of beans (chickpeas, lentils, black eyed peas)

  • Lots of wild greens

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Wild asparagus

  • Wild onions

  • Very low amounts of cow dairy, seafood and meat; mainly goat or pork during special festivals

  • Goat milk

Seasonal gardens:

  • Winter beds: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, green peas,

  • Summer garden beds: arugula, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, citrus

What you need for Blue Zones Ikarian Longevity Stew (Oil Free):

1 onion

1 bulb of fennel

4 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of dill

2 tsp tomato paste diluted in 1/4 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 pint grape tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1 cup prepared black eyed peas (cover with water, bring to a boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour)

Add a squeeze of lemon for extra zing and depth of flavor (not pictured in video)


Why no oil?

Oil is a controversial topic. Some experts love it, some hate it. It sure can be confusing. When it comes to heart disease, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease*, is very clear. No oil, not coconut oil, not olive oil, not a drop of oil. This is because oil is a processed food that is the most calorie dense food on the planet.

It damages the lining of the endothelium, the thin lining of our arteries, and promotes heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn prefers we get fats from other sources such as avocadoes, nuts and seeds in moderation. For advanced heart disease patients, even those fats are to be avoided. The results of his heart disease reversal protocols are astounding and the evidence can't be denied.

The message to avoid oil is consistent across a variety of experts in this field; Neal Barnard, MD, Michael Klaper, MD, John McDougall, MD, Colin Campbell, PhD, to name just a few.

I, personally, do my best to use no oil, or very minimal oil. I can't say I'm 100% oil-free, but I've made great strides in reducing it significantly and I'm happy with where I am.

How to make Ikaraian Longevity Stew with no oil

They key to an oil-free soup or stew is to dry sauté the veggies. This means that you heat the pan and when one piece of veggie sizzles it's hot enough. Add all the veggies and stir frequently. Add water or broth, one tablespoon at a time, to keep the veggies from sticking until they reach the desired doneness.

Listen and learn about why Dan Buettner loves Ikarian Longevity Stew

4 minute clip of Dan Buettner discussing why he loves this recipe on a recent Rich Roll Podcast.

Why does this Ikarain Stew help with longevity?

The concept of the Blue Zones is the study of the factors that created the longest, healthiest populations on the planet - what they eat is a part of that. What the blue zones have in common is beans, greens, herbs, fresh and seasonal produce. Ultra-nutrient-dense foods. This is a perfect example of an often-eaten stew. It will change with the seasons - but this is a cold-season version. In the summer they use black eyed peas, collard greens, onions, green onions, potatoes and sun dried tomatoes.


Fennel and dill are two polarizing ingredients. People seem to love them or hate them, much like olives and cilantro. Read on for some substitution ideas.

Substitutes for fennel

Try 1 cup of chopped leek whites or celery.

Substitute for dill

Try a small bunch of fresh parsley. For people who don't like strong herb flavors, start with 1/4 cup chopped parsley and increase from there.

Ikarian Longevity Stew (Oil-Free)

Ikarian Longevity Stew Recipe
Download PDF • 805KB


1 onion, chopped

1 bulb of fennel, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup prepared black eyed peas (cover with water, bring to a boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour)

1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp tomato paste diluted in 1/4 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 bunch of dill, chopped

Salt and pepper

Add a squeeze of lemon for extra zing and depth of flavor (not pictured in video)


  1. Heat a chef pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and dry sauté, stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Stir in the black eyed peas, tomato, tomato paste, bay leaves and enough water to cover the beans by an inch.

  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. or until black eyed peas are almost cooked. (If using canned black eyed peas, simmer for just 10 minutes)

  4. Add the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the black eyed peas are fully tender, about 20 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaves. Serve with sourdough bread.


Click here* or click the book to purchase your copy of the Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook!

Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook

*Affiliate link: By clicking the links on this page and purchasing, you help support VegeCooking. We can't thank you enough for helping us teach kids, teens and adults to LEARN to cook and LOVE their veggies!

Recent Posts

See All


Jan 06, 2023

I will try this recipe. It did look so good and comforting. Thanks for always sharing recipes with us.

Chef Dawn
Chef Dawn
Jul 13, 2023
Replying to

You're so welcome!

bottom of page