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Diane Kochilas is a chef and award-winning author of numerous cookbooks, including a favorite of ours, called Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Island Where People Forget to Die. This recipe is from her new book, The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired by My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity. It publishes on March 26th and we can't wait to get a copy. There are so many good things to eat the this region, and it's part of the famous Blue Zones that enjoy amazing longevity. Spoiler alert: Beans are almost always a part of the long-life equation. 
From Diane: "Cabbage lovers rejoice! This brassica-heavy bean soup is packed with several members of the Brassica genus, one of the healthiest and most nutritious vegetable groups in the world. I can’t help but think this soup is like an Ikarian garden on steroids, so to speak, chock-full of various species of these cruciferous vegetables and roots, many of which have long provided easy, inexpensive, and health-giving opportunities to make a delicious dinner that doesn’t cost that much or take much to produce in one’s own backyard. You can play around with this, adding, say Brussels sprouts or even kale to the soup."
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 small celery root (celeriac)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 small bunch Chinese celery, trimmed and chopped (with leaves)
  • ½ small head Napa or Savoy cabbage, trimmed and finely shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, trimmed, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 parsnip, pared and cut into a ½-inch (1½-cm) dice
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into a ½-inch (1½-cm) dice
  • 1 kohlrabi, trimmed and cut into a ½-inch (1½-cm) dice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups canned navy or other white beans, preferably organic (RG Note: We recommend our Marcella or Alubia Blanca beans)
  • 10 cups vegetable broth or stock, or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • Fresh strained juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch dill, leaves snipped or chopped

  1. Prepare acidulated water by squeezing and dropping half a lemon into 3 cups of water in a medium mixing bowl. Trim, peel, and dice the celeriac (celery root) and place it in the acidulated water. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Drain the celeriac. In a large soup pot, heat ¼ cup of olive oil and cook the onion, leek, celery, celeriac, carrot, parsnip, rutabaga, and kohlrabi until translucent and al dente, and until the onions are soft. Stir the garlic into the vegetable mixture. Add the beans, stock or water, bay leaves, and thyme. Reduce heat to low, bring to a simmer, keep the lid on the pot ajar, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Fish out the thyme and bay leaves with a spoon and discard.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree a little bit of the soup in the pot, about 1½ cups or so—use your judgment to “eyeball” it. Doing this will create a creamy texture. Stir in the cabbage and cook the soup for 15 more minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Whisk the lemon juice and remaining olive oil together in a small bowl and add the mixture to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the dill. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.
Recipe and photo from The Ikaria Way, by Diane Kochilas. Copyright © 2024 by the author, and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.


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