It’s good to stew about living longer

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blue Zones’ Ikarian Longevity Stew

Blue Zones’ Ikarian Longevity Stew

When Dan Buettner spoke at the Blue Zones Project’s homecoming celebration in November, he challenged all of us to live longer, healthier, more purposeful lives. He also challenged us to try his Ikarian longevity stew and said he’d give a dollar to anyone who didn’t like it. How many of you remember that little gem?

I love trying new recipes and had been on the search for more Blue Zones-approved ones to try on my family. So I thought, Mr. Buettner, challenge accepted!

Jennifer Levisen

Jennifer Levisen

Albert Leans already know that the Blue Zones are areas of the world where people tend to live longer lives. The organization seeks to take the practices of the people living in those places and share them with the rest of the world. Albert Lea was part of a pilot project in 2009 to encourage healthier lifestyles and infrastructure, and now those similar steps have been implemented in other cities in the United States, from Iowa City, Iowa, to Manhattan Beach, Calif., to Fort Worth, Texas.

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The Blue Zones returns to Albert Lea this year not as a pilot project but as the real deal, to offer activities for healthy living and to make Albert Lea an official Blue Zones city.

After a little digging on I found the recipe and, sadly, I have to report I’m not one dollar richer. The stew is fabulous! It’s Mediterranean diet-friendly and perfect for cold winter nights! It’s been on heavy rotation at my house this winter and, hopefully, soon yours. Enjoy!


Blue Zones’ Ikarian Longevity Stew with Black-eyed Peas


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 large, firm ripe tomato, finely chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/4 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 stirring occasionally, until soft (about 12 minutes, but please eyeball it). Add the black-eyed peas and toss to coat in the oil.

2. Add the tomato, diluted tomato paste and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the black-eyed peas are about halfway cooked. (Check after 40 minutes, but it may take an hour.)

3. Add the chopped dill and season with salt.

4. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender. Remove from heat, pour in remaining raw olive oil and serve.



• I did not add the last half of the olive oil as mentioned in Step 4. The stew would have been too oily for my taste if I had.


• Check out for other great recipes! You’re sure to be a hit at your next potluck moai!


Jennifer Levisen lives and works in Albert Lea. She enjoys finding new recipes to share with her family and friends.