Another ingenious Ikarian creation, this sublimely flavorful dish combines mint, chili peppers, and garlic to bring out the island’s North African and Middle Eastern influences. Ikaria is at the crossroads of East and West, and this history is often reflected on the dinner table.
1 pound fresh beans (giant, lima, or navy) soaked in water over- night (or three 15-ounce cans, drained)
1 large tomato, quartered
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
5 mint leaves
4 chili peppers,* soaked in oil and chopped
1⁄2 cup bean broth (from cooked beans) or vegetable broth
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)
If using dried beans, bring to a boil in water, and simmer until almost cooked through. (Giant beans will need to simmer for 60-80 minutes, lima beans for 20 minutes, navy beans for about 50 minutes.)
Drain when done, reserving water for broth.
If using canned beans, skip this step.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9 x 13 casserole dish (make sure it’s deep enough that you won’t have overflow), mix beans and remaining ingredients—except salt and pepper— together and spread evenly in dish.
Bake, uncovered, for around 20 minutes, or until all veggies are cooked and soft.
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
*You might be able to find Italian Calabrian chili peppers in oil at your local grocery. If not, you can substitute with 2 tablespoons of harissa—a spicy Middle Eastern chili garlic sauce—or other preserved chili peppers. You can also omit them entirely if you prefer less spice.
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.Learn More