If you’ve been inspired to take a leaf out of the eating habits of people who live in areas of the world known as Blue Zones, then try the Blue Zone recipes below. Each one includes many of the Blue Zone ingredients known to help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity.
The recipes are all plant-based, with small amounts of animal products. They are wonderfully varied but rely heavily on vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds. All of these ingredients are believed to be part of the reason why residents of Blue Zones live longer, healthier lives than in other areas of the world. Time to dust off that saucepan and get cooking these Blue Zone recipes!
Harissa chickpeas, courgettes, preserved lemon and parsley
This recipe ticks several boxes of a Blue Zone diet. It’s based around chickpeas, a popular ingredient in both Ikaria (Greece) and Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy) – both Blue Zone areas – while the courgettes and parsley add two plants to your daily intake. In addition, the low-fat Greek-style yogurt adds some fermented dairy to the meal, which is excellent for gut health.
Prepare: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
- 4 tbsp low fat Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp Waitrose & Partners Cooks’ Ingredients Rose Harissa
- 400g can Waitrose & Partners Duchy Organic Chickpeas, drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small (40g) Belazu Beldi Preserved Lemons, halved, pulp removed, skins roughly chopped, plus 1 tsp juice from the jar
- 2 courgettes, cut into 7cm batons
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 25g pack flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 x Deli Kitchen Seeded Flatbread Thins, toasted, to serve
1. Put the yogurt and 1 tbsp harissa into a large bowl, season and mix. Add the chickpeas and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp harissa, 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp juice from the lemon jar to make a dressing.
2. Add 2 tsp oil to a pan, then the courgettes. Fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden and just tender. Tip in the cumin and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
3. Fold the preserved lemon skins and parsley into the courgettes and check the seasoning. Tip the chickpeas onto a platter, mound the courgettes on top, then drizzle with the tangy harissa dressing. Serve with the flatbreads.
- Per serving 1675kJ/400kcals/14g fat/2.3g saturated fat/43g carbohydrate/7.3g sugars/11g fibre/18g protein/1.7g salt
- 1 of your 5 a day
- Low in saturated fat, source of fibre, source of protein
Butter bean houmous and cumin-roasted carrot flatbreads
Another pulse-based dish, this time with butterbeans as the star. Beans reign supreme in a Blue Zone recipe and are the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world. People in these zones eat at least four times as many beans as most Americans do on average. The carrots and peppers add another two plants to your daily intake.
Prepare: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
- 500g carrots, trimmed, peeled and halved
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 75g tahini
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika, plus extra to serve
- 4 essential Waitrose & Partners Wholemeal Tortilla Wraps
- 10g coriander leaves
- 4 Fragata Hot Peppers (Guindillas) from a jar, halved
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Toss the carrots with 2 tsp of the oil, the cumin seeds and maple syrup. Scatter in a parchment-lined roasting tin and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway until golden and tender.
2. Place the remaining oil, butter beans, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and paprika in
a small blender or food processor with 4 tbsp warm water. Season and blend until smooth. Add more water, salt and lemon juice as needed.
3. Heat the tortillas according to the pack instructions, then pile up with the houmous and roasted carrots. Scatter with a little more paprika, top with coriander leaves and serve each with a hot pepper.
- Per serving 1941kJ/465kcals/ 21g fat/4.3g saturated fat/ 46g carbohydrate/12g sugars/ 14g fibre/15g protein/1g salt
- 1 of your 5 a day
- Low in saturated fat, high in fibre, source of protein
Puy lentil salad with peaches and feta
Lentils are the legume – or pulse – of choice in this delicious main-course salad. The small amount of feta cheese is exactly how they would consume dairy produce in the Blue Zones, in tiny amounts, while the nuts, fennel and watercress add a wide variety of plant-based goodness to the Blue Zone recipe.
Prepare: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
- 150g Puy lentils, rinsed
- 1 large continental salad onion, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
- 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel, thinly sliced
- 100g bag watercress, thick stalks removed
- 75ml honey and mustard dressing
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 100g Greek feta, roughly crumbled
- 2 peaches, sliced
- 25g roasted salted almonds, chopped
1. Put the lentils in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for 25-30 minutes until tender. Put the salad onion, chilli, fennel and watercress in a bowl and mix well. Combine the honey and mustard dressing with the lemon juice in a small bowl.
2. Rinse the lentils in cold water and drain thoroughly. Add to the salad with the dressing and mix well. Spoon onto plates and scatter with the feta, peaches and nuts.
- Per serving 1480kJ/355kcals/18g fat/5.2g saturated fat/27g carbs/8.6g sugars/10g fibre/16g protein/0.8g salt
- 1 of your 5 a day
- High in fibre, source of protein
If you want even more plant-based inspiration for your meals, check out 9 ways to get your protein fix from plant-based foods.
As a Vitality member, you could get up to 25% cashback on Waitrose & Partners Good Health food when you get active. If you have a second eligible health insurance or life insurance plan, you could get up to 40% cashback. Excludes beverages. Log in to Member Zone for the details.