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Sardinian Minestrone


James and I spent ten days in the Ogliastra region of Sardegna (sardinia), Italy.  We traveled in a little convertible, black Fiat through the most rugged terrain, visiting villages nestled on the side of the mountains where people lived to be over 100 years old without disease.  Yes, no cancer, no diabetes, no dementia, and no heart problems.  Often times we arrived in mid-day to find the streets deserted, but late afternoons, the streets came alive, and in the evening, there would be dancing and laughter and liters of cannonau wine.

This area of Sardinia is known as one of the Blue Zone areas, an area in the world where people live a quality life well into their nineties and one hundred years old.  Typically, the Sardinian diet consists of fava beans and chickpeas, fennel, goats milk and goats cheese, tomatoes , almonds, milk thistle, and cannonau wine.  The soup I’m sharing today, celebrates these ingredients.  The world’s longest living family from Sardegna eats a similar minestrone soup almost every day.


To start, I soak 16 ounces of beans in water.  I use a combination of any three beans.  Today I’m using lima beans, chickpeas, and azuko beans.  The Sardinians almost always use a type of fava beans or chickpeas.  Those two beans are the toughest to cook and seem to go along with the ruggedness of the Sardinian Mountains.  I cook the beans first, usually after rinsing and draining, and then simmering for a couple of hours.  Recently, my girl, Molly Kennamer, introduced me to her Tupperware pressure cooker.  This cut my cooking time by two hours. A great little kitchen appliance! 

The freshest of vegetables is what gives this soup its flavor and nutrition.  The Sardinians change their soup weekly, depending on what is available from the garden.


After adding the beans into a huge stock pot, I add a vegetable broth (or water), onion, fennel, carrots, celery, garlic, barley and a can of crushed tomatoes. 

The onion and fennel must be minced well.  My new chopper gadget from Tupperware makes this job a breeze.  One onion turns into tiny choppings with just three “fun” pulls:

Step 1:



Step 2:


And the fennel:


Give it a stir and add salt and pepper and little kick of cayenne.  I chop a little flat leaf Italian parsley and grate some pecorino cheese to top it off before we eat.



This is a staple at my house.  I make it in many different variations.  I hope you enjoy!

Sardinian Minestrone, Longevity Soup
This is a hearty soup eaten by the worlds longest living people. My family says its the best soup I make. It's best served with a slice of sourdough bread, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and a splash of Italian Parsley.
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2798 calories
411 g
236 g
69 g
151 g
40 g
2735 g
7245 g
28 g
0 g
23 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2798
Calories from Fat 603
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 69g
Saturated Fat 40g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 19g
Cholesterol 236mg
Sodium 7245mg
Total Carbohydrates 411g
Dietary Fiber 89g
Sugars 28g
Protein 151g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 16 oz beans: I use three different types - lima (or fava), azuko (or red beans), and chickpeas
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  4. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  5. 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  6. 3 carrots, chopped
  7. 3 medium potatoes (or four), I like the yellow type
  8. 2/3 cups of barley (small pasta can be used)
  9. 2 cups of broth (water can be used)
  10. 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  11. 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  13. a splash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  14. chopped Italian parsley
  15. grated pecorino cheese or freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. 1. Cook dry beans until tender. You can use cans if you have little time. Or, use a pressure cooker. Sometimes I use a crock pot.
  2. 2. Add beans to a stock pot.
  3. 3. Add all other vegetables.
  4. 4. After vegetables become tender, add the crushed tomatoes.
  5. 5. Cook until everything is tender.
  6. 6. Serve in a small bowl, top with parsley and cheese.
  7. 7. Add a slice of sourdough bread and enjoy.
  1. The nutritional information provided by this recipe card inaccurate. I will correct the glitch as soon as I can, but for now, you can be assured there is NO SUGAR added to this recipe.
Adapted from Blue Zones Solutions
Adapted from Blue Zones Solutions
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