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Ikaria is the tribute by Diane Kochilas to the native island of her family. Sunny, dry, even dessert-like, Ikaria is a land where people careful manage their resources, making every plant and animal and fish count. Here’s a perfect example, the Everything Summer Vegetable Stew where literally you do use whatever is available from the garden just beyond the kitchen door.

When I hear the word “stew” I expect to find some protein. There is none here, of course, but I don’t think Diane would mind if you snuck in some chicken pieces. In fact, she notes that originally this recipe might be prepared with some salted, cured goat or bits of preserved pork. So, feel free to experiment.

Diane says that this dish appears weekly on home menus as the garden evolves from spring into fall. If amaranth greens are not available for you, Diane suggests using whatever sweet green you might find: chard or dandelion.

Everything Summer Vegetable Stew

Yield: serves 4 to 6


  • ⅓ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 3 green bell peppers, cut into ½-inch rings or strips
  • 1 fresh chile pepper (optional), whole
  • 3 ears of corn, husked and halved
  • 4 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 large firm-ripe tomatoes, chopped or grated
  • ½ pound amaranth or sweet dandelion greens, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt


In a large pot, heat the olive oil and water over medium-high heat. As soon as the water simmers, add the onions, garlic, beans, bell pepper, chile pepper (if using), corn, and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes and corn are firm-tender, about 25 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, greens, and herbs. Season with salt to taste. Stir gently to combine, cover, and simmer over low heat until all the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with as much additional olive oil as desired.

Source: Ikaria by Diane Kochilas [Rodale 2014]