Blue Zones Minestrone

The world’s longest-lived family, (9 siblings, collective age 851) ate this soup every day of their lives.  Now it’s your family’s turn:

In Sardinia, I had the good fortune of meeting the Melis family who holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest family in history. They are nine siblings whose collective age was 851 years (the oldest was 109).  They ate the same lunch every day:  sourdough bread, a glass of Blue Zones Cannonau wine, and a very special minestrone.

Minestrone is simply a soup made from available garden vegetables, beans, and grain (usually a type of pasta). The combination yields a delicious one-bowl meal that is high in protein and most importantly, a potpourri of fibers and fuel your microbiome.   Here’s the recipe, with just a couple modifications to make it even MORE delicious:

Blue Zones Minestrone Recipe


  • ½ cup dry garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup dry white beans
  • ½ cup dry pinto or red beans
  • 1.5 cups 1-2”  cubed potatoes
  • ½ cup of pearl barley (not quick cook)
  • Approx 4 cups of water or veg stock if you like it richer (I use 1 Tbs Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery minced
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped,
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp red or black pepper (red makes it hotter)
  • 1 – 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes or 5 Roma tomatoes
  • Salt to taste


  1. I like to soak beans overnight or if you forget, Microwave dry beans in a bowl of water as you chop the other ingredients.
  2. Sauté all vegetables in olive oil over low heat until onions are clear.
  3. Add beans and a can of tomatoes, slow cook, until beans are tender. (For quicker soup, pressure cook  or use an instapot, set on 1 min and let the cooker cool naturally)
  4. Either way, I let it cook on extremely low heat all day, adjusting water so it’s thicker than a soup and thinner than a stew
  5. Finish with avocado when serving.
  6. Freeze leftovers in single-serving glass Tupperware.

100 Recipes to Live to 100 THE BLUE ZONES KITCHEN

The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. The Blue Zones’ food tradition is going the way of the dodo bird, thanks to the encroachment of the American Food Culture.

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