By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
In the Kitchen: Healthy recipes from the Blue Zone

In this past Wednesday’s column, I wrote about Blue Zones around the world. These are regions where people live longer than average people elsewhere. These communities consist of many people who live well into their 90s and even into their 100s and enjoy good health. 

Those who study these people, attribute their longevity more to their lifestyles than it is to genetic makeup. 

Besides living active lives, getting adequate sleep, these long-living people also consume healthy foods. 

In certain regions, residents follow the Mediterranean diet. Here are some delicious recipes that follow the principals of this diet — as diets go, it is certainly a healthy one.


Greek salad

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1 European cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

6 cups Romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces


Soak onion slices in ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and dry onion slices. Whisk together red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. 

In salad bowl, toss together cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cucumber, feta and lettuce. Drizzle dressing over and toss salad to combine.

 •    •    •

Artichokes Provencal

1/2 cup onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 9-ounce package of frozen artichoke hearts

3 tablespoons water

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into slivers


In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add salt, pepper, white wine, artichoke hearts, water, zest and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce by half. 

Cook another 15 minutes, according to the package directions on the artichoke hearts. 

Stir in Kalamata olives and fresh basil. Add more salt and pepper to taste.  

 •    •    •

Salmon with herbs and mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

4 salmon fillets

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 lemon wedges


In a food processor, whirl together garlic, rosemary, thyme, white wine, olive oil, and whole grain mustard. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Spray a rimmed baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place fillets in dish. Broil for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and evenly spoon mustard sauce on top of each fillet. Return to oven and broil about 5 minutes until salmon flakes easily. Serve with lemon wedges.

 •    •    •

Bean salad with balsamic vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup parsley, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium red onion, minced

1/2 cup celery, minced

6 cups lettuce


In a jar, add balsamic vinegar, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Shake to combine. In a bowl, combine garbanzo beans, black beans, red onion, and celery. Pour dressing over and toss to combine. To serve, spoon bean salad on top of lettuce.

 •    •    •

This cake is light and delicate — the perfect way to end a healthy dinner.


Olive oil cake

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and thick. 

Add olive oil, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Gently fold in flour, orange and lemon zest. Pour into prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. When ready to serve sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.