About 15 years ago, Dan Buettner set out to reverse-engineer a formula for longevity. He worked with many doctors and experts and identified the places around the world where people live the longest. Once discovered, he drew a line around each area in blue ink and created the concept of Blue Zones: the set of characteristics that have produced the world's longest-lived people. The 5 Blue Zones he discovered are 1) Sardinia, Italy 2) the South Pacific Islands of Okinawa, Japan 3) Ikaria, Greece 4) Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula, and 5) Loma Linda, California.

Keep reading to see the fan-favorite recipe from Dan Buettner's Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook. I guarantee it will become a staple recipe in your kitchen!

Ikarian Longevity Stew

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:40 mins
  • Total Time:50 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 8-ounce can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb chopped
  • 1 large firm ripe tomato chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste diluted in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch dill finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch pepper
Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 1

    In a large pot, heat half the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, and fennel, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes.

    Spoon Tip: The original recipe doesn't call for cumin, paprika, or turmeric. However, I like to add them because these three power spices have the ability to improve digestion, prevent cancer, and boost immunity. The list of health benefits from these three spices goes on and on, so I encourage you to not only research this more on your own but add them into the stew once those veggies become soft!

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 2

    Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas. Add in and stir for 2 minutes.

    Spoon Tip: If you can't find black-eyed peas for some reason, black beans work for a substitute.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 3

    Next add the tomato, diluted tomato paste, and 1/2 cup water. Add the bay leaves.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 4

    Add in the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 20 minutes.

    Mareesa Ahmad
  • Step 5

    Remove from heat and pick out and discard the bay leaves. Pour in the remaining olive oil, stir, and serve.

    Spoon Tip: I like to pair my stew with a toasted piece of sourdough bread. The Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook mentions that traditional sourdough breads actually lower the glycemic load of meals, making your entire meal healthier, slower burning, easier on your pancreas, and more likely to make calories available as energy than stored as fat.

    Mareesa Ahmad

"If you want to live to a healthy 100, eat like healthy people who have lived to 100." Dan explains in his cookbook that the people in the Blue Zones don't live longer because of supplements, pills, or hocus pocus anti-aging serums. It's because their surroundings nudge them into the right behaviors. And this Ikarian Longevity Stew recipe is the first step in the right direction!

If you would like to learn more about the Blue Zones, check out Dan Buettner's cookbook. Or, watch the Sardinia episode in Zac Efron's documentary Down To Earth on Netflix. Happy Cooking!