Dugan's Kitchen

Great meals made easy!

A New Approach to Food…For Me!

By now you know that I like good food.  I like to plan it. I like to cook it. I like the creative aspect of it. And of course, I like to eat it. But recently I’ve been exposed to two different presentations, a documentary and a news story, that have altered my views on the kind of food I want to make and eat.

The first was a documentary on Netflix about health and the American diet. I won’t tell you everything they talked about because you would never eat meat or dairy again.

The second was a story on the Today show that talked about the Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are places all over the world where people live to be over 100, and are healthy and active until the end. The one thing that seems to be common in all of these communities is their diet, which is plant based. In both presentations it was clear that humans have less disease and feel better the more they eat plant based foods.

I have never been a huge fan of things like lentils, barley, or some beans…I think it’s a texture thing.  But the two presentations were compelling enough for me to try some new recipes, and maybe take baby steps toward a more vegetarian diet. I think this will be an interesting journey and I invite you to join me.

The first recipe I want to share is called Ikarian Stew. It is from The Blue Zone Solution by Dan Buettner, National Georgraphic. As always, I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the original recipe. After making it twice we’ve put it into our regular menu rotation. Try it and see what you think.

Nathan Congleton/Today



Ikarian Stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • One package of frozen black eyed peas, thawed  (about three cups)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste *
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large kale leaves, slivered
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill

* I buy tomato paste in a tube. You have much less waste then when you buy it in a can.


  1. Warm ¼ cup of the olive oil, in a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat
  2. Add the onion and fennel; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds
  4. Stir in the black eyed peas, carrots, tomato, tomato paste, bay leaves, and salt
  5. Stir until tomato paste dissolves
  6. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables (you could also use vegetable broth)
  7. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil
  8. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for about 25 minutes
  9. Stir in the kale leaves and dill. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5-10 minutes
  10. Discard the bay leaves. Ladle into bowls and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on top of each serving



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This entry was posted on August 28, 2017 by in Dinner, One-dish meals, Vegetarian and tagged .

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