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Food

‘The Ikaria Way’, a New Cookbook by Diane Kochilas

March 22, 2024

The health benefits of a plant-based diet, like the Greek diet, are well-known. ‘The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired by My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity’ by Diane Kochilas offers easy to follow recipes for flavorful meals by the celebrity chef, award-winning cookbook author, and cooking school owner, who has been at the forefront of bringing healthy, delicious Greek cuisine to a wide international audience for many years.

Kochilas is the host and co-executive producer of ‘My Greek Table’, a 13-part cooking-travel series about Greece and Greek cuisine airing nationally on Public Television. She also runs the Glorious Greek Cooking School on her native island, Ikaria, where people live long, healthy lives often reaching and surpassing 100 years.

The Ikaria Way is Kochilas’ latest cookbook and is filled with easy, contemporary recipes rooted in her background and steeped in the ancient Greek traditions of plant-based cuisine.

The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired by My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity by Diane Kochilas. Photo: Macmillan/ St. Martin’s Griffin

As Kochilas writes in the introduction to her book: “The Ikaria Way was born in the summer of 2021 on Ikaria, the Blue-Zone Greek island where ‘people forget to die,’ as the venerable New York Times wrote a few years ago.”

“I have deep family roots on the island, and for almost two decades, I have been running a cooking school out of the kitchen and garden of my village home,” she continues. “It was at one such weeklong class that the idea for this book was sparked. I had two guests from Montana who stood in bewilderment at the kitchen counter on the third day of the class and confessed that they not only ate meat three times a day back home, but they also never imagined that plant-based cooking, which is mostly – but not all of – what we do during our week together on the island, could be so satisfying, varied, and real.”

As noted in the book’s description, Kochilas says that “Greeks are almost vegan, but they would never call themselves that.”

Greek cuisine is unsurpassed for its variety of plant-based dishes among the cuisines of other Mediterranean countries. Kochilas’ pantry, also suggested for her readers, draws on the traditions of the Mediterranean and includes herbs, olive oil, and nuts, among other ingredients that have been used for millennia in the region to impart their distinctive aromas and flavors to food. The recipes in The Ikaria Way are simple, almost entirely plant-based, prepared with real food and almost nothing processed, save for the occasional can of tomatoes. Readers will love meze like rainbow chard tzatziki, smoked eggplant with tahini and walnuts, and baked chickpea and pumpkin patties. Among the tasty salads in the book are marinated Greek bean and tomato salad with toasted almonds and a roasted beet and tangerine salad. The main dishes include a variety of stuffed vegetable recipes, vegan moussaka, and white bean stew with eggplant.

This informative book once again highlights Kochilas’ writing talent as she shares her recipes and insights into her island’s healthy eating tradition.

The Ikaria Way: 100 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Inspired by My Homeland, the Greek Island of Longevity by Diane Kochilas is set to be released on March 26.

Fans may join Kochilas for a discussion of her latest cookbook, The Ikaria Way, at Books & Greetings, 271 Livingston Street in Northvale, NJ, on Wednesday, March 27, 6 PM.

More information is available online: https://shorturl.at/ajvU0.

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