This Blue Zones Veggie Recipe Might Be The Secret To Crazy Longevity
The so-called Blue Zones were labeled as such by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, the author of The Blue Zones, and an mbg Collective member and guest on the mindbodygreen Podcast. They refer to the areas of the world where people live the longest, including Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; and Okinawa, Japan. While Buettner attributes the Blue Zoners' longevity to a number of factors, diet plays a large role.
In her new book, Clean Enough, chef Katzie Guy-Hamilton captures some of the keys to the Blue Zone eating and distills them into a recipe, which she calls, fittingly, Blue Zone Greens. "I am not a doctor, but I do pay attention to what different cultures eat around the world—specifically in Blue Zones, where people live the longest, with the highest quality of life, and eat lots of greens," she says. "The family of greens contains a host of vitamins and minerals, along with cleansing properties that are excellent for your kidney and liver."
This recipe features some of Guy-Hamilton's favorites, although she notes that spinach, collard greens, choy sum, all the kale, and mustard greens can be used in it interchangeably. With umami-rich liquid aminos and bright oregano (another Blue Zone staple), the bitter leaves are quickly transformed into a craveable side dish. Make a big batch and add the greens to grain bowls or use them as a side dish when you need a hit of cell-nourishing power.
Blue Zone Greens
9 ounces (255 g) Swiss chard
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon plain sesame oil
9 ounces (255 g) chicory, roughly chopped (3 cups)
3 ounces (85 g) escarole, roughly chopped (2 cups)
3 ounces (85 g) lacinato or another green kale, stemmed and chopped into 2-inch (5 cm) ribbons (2 cups)
About 1½ ounces (45 g) dandelion greens, roughly chopped into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces (1 cup)
2 cups (475 mL) unsalted organic vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1½ teaspoons white sesame seeds
Remove the stems from the chard and roughly chop the leaves into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces (3 cups). Reserve 2½ ounces (75 g) of the stems, sliced into ½-inch (5-cm) pieces (1 cup).
Combine the garlic, shallot, ginger, chard stems, and plain sesame oil in a large flat-bottomed skillet with a lid. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, 6 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and pile in the greens, including the chard leaves. They will take up a lot of volume but will wilt down. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock, liquid aminos, and vinegar to the wilted greens, lowering the heat to low and placing a lid on the skillet to simmer for 10 minutes, further softening the greens; the coloring will darken slightly. Then remove the lid and continue to simmer, reducing the liquid for 15 minutes.
When half of the liquid has evaporated and the greens have fully softened, remove the pan from the heat and add the toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
Place in a serving dish or serve directly from the pan with oregano and sesame seeds sprinkled on top and lemon wedges on the side.
Alternatively, if not serving immediately, omit the seed toppings and store in the fridge as a prepped vegetable for your week, reheating in a sauté pan as needed and then topping with the oregano and seeds.
Based on excerpts from Clean Enough by Katzie Guy-Hamilton, with the permission of The Experiment. Copyright © 2018.