People living in the Blue Zone regions are some of the longest-living people on earth – often living to see triple digits. Areas with official Blue Zone status include Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra Region, Sardinia; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. While less stress and active lifestyles may play a big roll, so does the diet of people living in these areas.
Most people in Blue Zone areas eat a lot of whole foods, not processed or with added ingredients like refined sugar. Plants, herbs and spices are a big part of their diets. Herbs have already been found to have many health benefits, such as supporting our immune system and fighting inflammation. The addition of herbs in recipes may also reduce the amount of salt needed for flavorful dishes.
Here are some herbs that are eaten in Blue Zone regions and easy recipes to help incorporate them into your diet:
Pappardelle With Chicken, Peas & Fennel: In this easy recipe, both parts of the fennel plant are used – the licorice-tasting bulb and the fronds. This pappardelle ragù recipe with chicken, fennel and peas may take a little time, but it’s definitely worth it.
Fresh Tomato and Fennel Soup: Nothing is as comforting as a bowl of tomato soup. This version is elevated with the addition of fennel. Serve with crackers, breadsticks or crostini for dipping. Did you know that the lycopene in tomatoes may help prevent sun damage?
Simple Roasted Fennel: Fennel is an ancient herb that has its origins in the southern Mediterranean region. This easy roasted fennel recipe is simple – and delicious.
Oil-free Oregano Chimichurri: No oil? Oregano? Yes! This easy oregano chimichurri sauce has no oil and is a healthy way to add freshness to grilled meats, pasta, bruschetta or any recipe.
Mediterranean Chopped Salad With Oregano and Lemon Vinaigrette: This easy Mediterranean chopped salad recipe has a delicious three-ingredient lemon-oregano dressing. The simple Greek salad dressing makes it a good choice for outdoor cookouts because there’s no mayonnaise in the dressing – not to mention that it’s refreshing and delicious.
Rosemary Lemon Hummus: Lemony and full of woodsy rosemary, this aromatic lemon and rosemary hummus recipe isn’t shy. The flavors let you know they’re there. Delicious! Serve with pita bread, pita chips, naan, tortilla chips or vegetables.
Garlic Rosemary Potatoes: Craving French fries but want something healthier? These crispy garlic rosemary new potatoes will satisfy that craving in an even more flavorful way. Garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage blended with extra virgin olive oil coat the potatoes with yummy flavor.
Rosemary Croutons: Crank up your croutons by making this easy rosemary croutons recipe. Toss these tasty herb-licious croutons on salads and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing (try our lemon vinaigrette salad dressing). Use whatever bread you have on hand, from plain sandwich bread to French bread to rolls. You won’t believe the delicious flavor boost!
Rosemary Focaccia Bread: Focaccia is a flat Italian bread that’s often served as a side dish or used to make sandwiches. This focaccia bread recipe is full of herbs and garlic – and is surprisingly easy to make.
Garlic and Rosemary Pork Ribs: This oven-baked rosemary and garlic pork rib recipe is quick and easy – and they smell heavenly.
Tuscan White Bean Soup With Rosemary: Want to be out of the kitchen and at the dinner table in about 20 minutes? This healthy white bean soup recipe has just a few simple ingredients, is packed with flavor and requires minimal prep.
Cilantro Stem Sauce: Cilantro stems are perfectly edible and have tons of flavor, so there’s no need to toss them out (#nofoodwaste). Pluck off the leaves for use in your pretty grain salads and garnish, but use the stems in this great summer sauce.
Cilantro Lime Rice: Spanish rice rocks, but it’ll turn green with envy over this cilantro and lime rice recipe. What a great way to spice up taco night!
Carrot, Zucchini and Chickpea Salad With Cilantro and Mint: Zucchini, carrots and chickpeas combine with the freshness of mint and cilantro to create this healthy, Asian-inspired salad.
Zhug (Spicy Cilantro and Parsley Sauce): Zhug, also called shug and shoug, is a spicy green pepper sauce from Yemen. This easy zhug recipe can be used on grilled meats, seafood, chicken, vegetables, sandwiches, falafel, eggs, burgers, bread … anything, really, that you want to add a spicy kick to.
Grilled Flank Steak With Cilantro Chimichurri: Flank steak topped with a tangy cilantro chimichurri sauce is a quick meal for those busy weeknights, but perfect for weekend cookouts, too.
Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic: While 40 cloves sounds like a lot of garlic (and yes, it is!), it’s really only two to three heads of garlic. The garlic not only flavors the dish, but is wonderful squeezed onto toasted bread to enjoy with the chicken.
Roasted Garlic: Roasted garlic is delicious! Use it as a spread or add it to mashed potatoes, pasta or dressings. It’s easy to make, and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Garlic and Green Pea Rice: Just a few simple ingredients transforms into a flavorful side dish that everyone will enjoy. If you really love garlic, add more to this easy green pea and garlic fried rice recipe.
Rosemary Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing: Rosemary, garlic and lemon? Wow! This easy garlic lemon and rosemary vinaigrette recipe can also be used as a marinade.
Have a recipe using a Blue Zone herb to share? Here’s how to submit your recipe.
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