Slow Cooker Ikarian Stew is a delicious and hearty mixture of black-eyed peas, vegetables, and spices slowly cooked, and perfect for a chilly day.
Or for any day when you’re craving a healthy, Mediterranean soup that has its roots in a region of people long known for their healthy living and longevity.
If you’re looking for a quicker cooking recipe, check out our Longevity Ikarian Stew here.
Where is Ikaria?
This stew is named for the tiny island of Ikaria in an outcropping of the Aegean Sea, long “been the target of invasions by Persians, Romans and Turks, forcing its residents inland from the coasts. The result: An isolated culture rich in tradition, family values – and longevity.”
Why We Look to Ikaria for Longevity Lessons?
“Today, Ikarians are almost entirely free of dementia and some of the chronic diseases that plague Americans; one in three make it to their 90s. A combination of factors explain it, including geography, culture, diet, lifestyle and outlook. They enjoy strong red wine, late-night domino games and a relaxed pace of life that ignores clocks. Clean air, warm breezes and rugged terrain draw them outdoors into an active lifestyle.”
For more Ikarian common practices that promote longevity, visit Blue Zones.
Black Eyed Peas Nutrition
Dr. Andrew Weil says: “These legumes contain a wealth of nutrients and are a delicious addition any time of the year. Like most beans, black-eyed peas are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, and iron. With 11 grams of fiber per one-cup (200-calorie) serving, black-eyed peas certainly give you your money’s worth in terms of nutrition, if not future prosperity!”
Do I Need to Soak the Black Eyed Peas?
Yes, I like to soak the dried peas. It shortens the cooking time and helps with digestion. However, frozen black-eyed peas, found in most market freezer sections, eliminates that step. Instructions for quickly soaking the peas are in the recipe section below.
Can I Make Slow Cooker Ikarian Stew with Canned Peas?
Yes, instead of dried peas, you can also use canned black-eyed peas. Two to three 14-oz cans should be sufficient. Rinse and drain the peas and add them to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. The cooking will be shorter, so start checking around 4 hours in.
Can this Ikarian Stew be Frozen?
This stew can be frozen. Let it cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe or ziplock bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in a saucepan over low heat. Reheating the stew without first defrosting changes the texture and I wouldn’t recommend it.
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas (*see note for swaps)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, and sliced into thin strips
- 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large tomato, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large kale leaves, slivered
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- olive oil for drizzling
- Rinse peas and discard any stones. Place the dried black-eyed peas in a pot and quick soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the peas before proceeding with the recipe. See the notes section for soaking the peas.
- Place the soaked peas, onion, garlic, fennel, carrots, celery, and tomato in the slow cooker. Cover the beans and vegetables with water. Then add the tomato paste, bay leaves, and salt.
- Cover with the slow cooker lid and cook on LOW for about 7 to 8 hours (or until the peas are soft). I like to check the soup at about 4 hours. About 15 to 20 minutes before the soup is done, add the kale leaves and fresh dill. Cook until the kale is soft. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
How to Quick Soak Black Eyed Peas
Spread the peas on a baking sheet and discard any damaged peas or debris. Rinse and place dried peas in a pot, cover with water to submerge the peas by 2 inches. Bring them to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Proceed with the recipe.
Dried Peas Alternatives
If using frozen black-eyed peas, I like to use 2 packages, 12 ounces each. My market (Kroger) usually has these in stock but I think Trader Joe's also carries them. Add the frozen peas to the slow cooker, eliminating the pre-soaking, and proceed with the recipe.
You can substitute 2 to 3 cans of black-eyed peas for the dried version. Cooking time will be reduced because the peas are already cooked. Begin checking at about 4 hours.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 649mg Carbohydrates: 71g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 15g Sugar: 15g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 24g