I adapted this recipe from The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, which I highly recommend reading. The Blue Zones are 5 geographic locations in the world where there are an unusually high number of Centenarians (people living beyond age 100). Not only do these people live beyond 100, but they do so with good health and vigor and are on few medications. The rates of heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses are much lower in these communities. The Blue Zone communities include Ikaria, Greece, Loma Linda, California, Okinawa, Japan, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and Sardinia, Italy.
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, spent 10 years traveling to the Blue Zones to research commonalities among these communities and ultimately came up with a list of 9 lifestyle habits that existed among them all. A key component to the longevity in these communities was a 'plant slant', or a mostly plant-based diet.
There are lots of great recipes at the end of this book inspired by the Blue Zone communities. One of these recipes was the "Horta-Longevity Greens" from Ikaria, Greece. The word for Vegetarian in Greek is hortogagos, which loosely translates to 'weed eater'. Ikaria has more than 150 different types of greens growing on the island and residents often mix together a variety for their daily dose of greens, which they consider among the healthiest of foods. They often save the cooking water to make tea with lemon. I did this and drank it right away with my meal, but the reserve can be refrigerated and heated again for later use or can even be used as a vegetable broth.
You'll want to stem any greens such as kale before cooking and you may want to cut up any larger leaves before cooking as well.
Time: 10-15 minutes
What you need:
- 8 cups of mixed leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens- any type of greens will do! Play around with it)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
What you do:
- Submerge and agitate the greens in a large bowl of cold water and let soak for a few minutes. Rinse until there is no sand or grit in the bowl.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the washed greens and submerge with a wooden spoon.
- Cook, uncovered and until wilted (about 1-2 minutes).
- Drain in a large colander, reserving some of the water to make tea.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon.
- Season with sea salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
- Eat your weeds.