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30 Recipes to Eat on New Year’s Day for Good Luck

All over the world, people eat different foods on New Year's Day to bring good luck in the coming months—each dish with an interesting reason for its place at the table. Read on to learn more about these fun traditions.

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Black eyed peas in a wooden spoon on a black eyed peas background. Close-up.; Shutterstock ID 212442178; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHStepanPopov/Shutterstock

Black-Eyed Peas

Though several theories exist to explain why Southerners eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, the prevailing notion dates back to the Civil War. The legumes were considered animal food, but when the Confederate troops were starving after being raided by the Union soldiers, those black-eyed peas saved the day and their lives. Talk about lucky!

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Black-Eyed Peas & HamTaste of Home

Black-Eyed Peas & Ham

Every New Year's Day we have these slow-cooked black-eyed peas to bring good luck for the coming year. —Dawn Legler, Fort Morgan, Colorado

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Southern Black-Eyed PeasTaste of Home

Southern Black-Eyed Peas

I find pork the secret to a good black-eyed pea recipe. A double dose of ham for flavor and slow and gentle cooking creates this perfect side dish. —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia

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Southern Hoppin' JohnTaste of Home

Southern Hoppin' John

This is a quick and easy side dish that will become a favorite of your family.—Anne Creech, Kinston, North Carolina

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Vibrant Black-Eyed Pea SaladTaste of Home

Vibrant Black-Eyed Pea Salad

My black-eyed pea salad reminds me of a southern cooking class my husband and I took while visiting Savannah, Georgia. People go nuts for it at picnics and potlucks. —Danielle Lee, Sewickley, Pennsylvania

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Roast pork with cranberry dip, basil, coriander and rosemary.; Shutterstock ID 403613626; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHgkrphoto/Shutterstock

Pork

Because pork can be such a rich and fatty meat (hello, bacon!), it can represent success in the coming year. Further, pigs are animals that continuously push forward as they eat (unlike chickens, which move backward), symbolizing the potential for progress.

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Pork Tenderloin with Cran-Apple SauerkrautTaste of Home

Pork Tenderloin with Cran-Apple Sauerkraut

I love all the ingredients in this recipe because together they're perfect for Oktoberfest, a fun festival during my favorite time of the year. Serve the pork and sauerkraut with a hearty dark bread, such as rye or pumpernickel, along with an ice-cold beer. Delicious!—Barbara Lento, Houston, Pennslvania

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Andouille-Stuffed Pork LoinTaste of Home

Andouille-Stuffed Pork Loin

This andouille-stuffed and bacon-wrapped pork loin is full of bold flavors and simple to prepare. It is a faculty potluck favorite. This recipe may be prepared ahead, covered, refrigerated and baked before the faculty meeting or potluck to provide a wonderful, warm entree.—Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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Slow Cooker Peach BBQ RibsTaste of Home

Slow Cooker Peach BBQ Ribs

For eat-the-whole-rack ribs, start with a rub of chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Then slather on sweet peachy sauce. Keep the napkins coming. — Sue Ryon, Shorewood, Wisconsin

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Pork Medallions with Brandy Cream SauceTaste of Home

Pork Medallions with Brandy Cream Sauce

I adapted this easy, elegant main dish from a recipe my mother-in-law cooked for our family. Cayenne lends a bit of heat to its rich, creamy sauce. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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Soba noodles with sauce and garnishes. Japanese food. Top view. Black slate background.; Shutterstock ID 1100194787; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHAnna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock

Noodles

Noodles can signify a long life, but only if they make it into the mouth before breaking! This is a New Year’s tradition in many Asian countries. Soba noodles are especially important in Japan, as their buckwheat flour base is a symbol of resiliency.

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Udon Noodles with Pineapple VinaigretteTaste of Home

Udon Noodles with Pineapple Vinaigrette

Thai cuisine has such wonderfully intense flavors, but the dishes can be heavy and time-consuming. My answer is a refreshing salad with mango, gingerroot and a pop of jalapeno. —Melanie Stevenson, Reading, Pennsylvania

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Edamame and Soba Noodle BowlTaste of Home

Edamame and Soba Noodle Bowl

Toothsome soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. —Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin

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Asian Long Noodle SoupTaste of Home

Asian Long Noodle Soup

This flavorful soup is perfect when you want something warm and filling in a hurry. If you can't find long noodles, angel hair pasta is a good substitute. —Carol Emerson, Aransasqueen Pass, Texas

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Thai Chicken CasseroleTaste of Home

Thai Chicken Casserole

When my family goes out, I can count on someone ordering chicken pad thai. I decided to make an easy version at home. Top it with a sprinkle of peanuts and cilantro. —Sandra Dombek, Camillus, New York

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Composition with bowl of lentils on wooden table.; Shutterstock ID 1144805825; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHmonticello/Shutterstock

Lentils

Lentils are another legume that gets attention on New Year’s Day. Their resemblance to ancient Roman coins (brown, shiny and round) make them a symbol of good fortune in Italian homes, and they’re most often served with that other notable luck-bringer, pork.

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Coconut Lentils with RiceTaste of Home

Coconut Lentils with Rice

Years ago I made this recipe for my kids, and they loved it. One of my daughter's friends would always request this dish when she came over to visit. I recommend basmati rice for this dish. —Diane Donato, Columbus, Ohio

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Sausage & Kale Lentil StewTaste of Home

Sausage & Kale Lentil Stew

I made a pot of this awesome soup when visiting my sister and her family. Now, I'll bring it along when I stop by or pack up a few containers for my nephew, who appreciates a home-cooked meal while he's off at college. —Tiffany Ihle, Bronx, New York

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East Coast Shrimp and Lentil BowlsTaste of Home

East Coast Shrimp and Lentil Bowls

If you have frozen shrimp, a few seasoning ingredients, bagged spinach and lentils on hand in your pantry, you can make this dish in no time. It's so delicious, nobody needs to know that it's healthy, too! —Mary Kay LaBrie, Clermont, Florida

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Fresh salad plate with mixed greens (arugula, mesclun, mache) on dark wooden background top view. Healthy food. Green meal.; Shutterstock ID 534979237; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHElenadesign/Shutterstock

Leafy Greens

The luck behind leafy greens comes from their appearance—the color and shape is thought to resemble folded money, making them symbolic of wealth and prosperity. Southerners often pair them with the aforementioned black-eyed peas to double their chances of a good year!

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Grandma's Collard GreensTaste of Home

Grandma's Collard Greens

My grandmother made the best collard greens in the world. Eating them with a slice of buttermilk cornbread is pure bliss. —Sherri Williams, Crestview, Florida

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Black-Eyed Peas with Collard GreensTaste of Home

Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

Time to gather round the table, y'all! This dish has special meaning on New Year's Day, when Southerners eat greens for future wealth and black-eyed peas for prosperity. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina

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Kale SaladTaste of Home

Kale Salad

I love making meals that wow everyone. The flavor and nutrition in this kale salad set it apart from other 30-minute creations. —Gina Myers, Spokane, Washington

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Half pomegranate and raw pomegranates on a white wooden background; Shutterstock ID 228369412OZMedia/Shutterstock

Pomegranates

Pomegranates may not be on your list of lucky foods, but they should be! Not only does their vibrant red color represent life and fertility, but those plentiful round seeds are an emblem of prosperity.

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Pomegranate Macadamia Cheese BallTaste of Home

Pomegranate Macadamia Cheese Ball

Cheese balls are a dime a dozen during the holidays, but this one earns points for being posh. It's creamy, sweet, spicy and studded with pecans and pomegranate seeds. We scoop it up with pita chips, but it can also be served with chutney, jam or high-quality crackers. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Pomegranate MartiniTaste of Home

Pomegranate Martini

Ring in the holidays with this crimson creation that sparkles with holiday cheer. It's a smooth delight that's sure to be the talk of your get-togethers. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Blood Orange-Pomegranate SorbetTaste of Home

Blood Orange-Pomegranate Sorbet

When guests set eyes on this ruby-red dessert, they'll know they're in for a treat. It's the perfect ending for a hearty summer or wintertime meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Orange Pomegranate Salad with HoneyTaste of Home

Orange Pomegranate Salad with Honey

I discovered this fragrant salad in a cooking class. If you can, try to find orange flower water (also called orange blossom water), which perks up the orange segments. But orange juice adds a nice zip, too! —Carol Richardson Marty, Lynwood, Washington

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Winter citrus pound bundt cake with orange zest maple cirup; Shutterstock ID 1012626319; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHElena Veselova/Shutterstock

Ring-Shaped Treats

Ring-shaped baked goods like cakes, bagels and donuts are often eaten on New Year’s Day in an effort to bring a year of luck full circle. Sometimes, a coin, trinket or whole nut is slipped into the batter, and whoever discovers it in their piece is supposedly blessed with extra good fortune!

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First-Prize DoughnutsTaste of Home

First-Prize Doughnuts

"One year I entered 18 different baked goods in the county fair and all of them won a ribbon. Here is my favorite prize-winning doughnut recipe. I have been making doughnuts since I was a bride 58 years ago!" —Betty B. Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania

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Surprise Monkey BreadTaste of Home

Surprise Monkey Bread

When my neighbor hosts brunch, she always asks that I make this monkey bread recipe. I also make a savory version with garlic and cheese for dinner. —Lois Rutherford, Elkton, Florida

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Chocolate Comfort CakeTaste of Home

Chocolate Comfort Cake

This moist and delicious chocolate cake is usually the first dessert to go. People even eat the crumbs. It’s always my top choice for holiday dinners. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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Very Cherry Crescent RingTaste of Home

Very Cherry Crescent Ring

My mother used to prepare this pretty coffee cake on Christmas Eve for our family to enjoy the next morning after opening gifts. It's an easy way to add an elegant touch to a holiday breakfast or brunch. —Karen Sevensky, Hackettstown, New Jersey

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Bowl with pink grapes on a wooden stand.; Shutterstock ID 523852714; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHSMarina/Shutterstock

Grapes

There’s a popular tradition in Spain in which grapes are eaten for luck. Superstitious folks believe that consuming twelve grapes in the twelve seconds after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve will ensure twelve months of good things in the coming year. Why risk the opposite?

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Cheese/Grape AppetizersTaste of Home

Cheese/Grape Appetizers

These small bites are well worth the time they take. Serve them as part of an antipasto platter or as a cheese course alongside your favorite wine. —Eleanor Grofvert, Kalamazoo, Michigan

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Sweet & Spicy Pickled Red Seedless GrapesTaste of Home

Sweet & Spicy Pickled Red Seedless Grapes

Most people don't think about grapes when creating a canned pickle recipe. The pickling liquid for these grapes includes red wine, vinegar, and common pickling spices like coriander, mustard seeds and hot pepper; it also contains warm spices like cinnamon and star anise along with brown sugar. These flavor-packed grapes are unique and delicious on an antipasto, pickle or cheese tray. —Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North Carolina

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Tuscan Grapes and SausagesTaste of Home

Tuscan Grapes and Sausages

This recipe is one of my go-tos when entertaining. It's simple, elegant and you can entertain your guests instead of spending the entire time in the kitchen. It is always a crowd pleaser and everyone always asks for the recipe. The whole pieces of garlic in this dish become so sweet, a lovely complement to the sweet grapes and spicy sausage. I serve this over rustic hand-mashed red potatoes. —Melissa Zienter, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Delicious grilled sea bream fish with rosemary, lemon and peppercorns on wooden background. Culinary healthy cooking.; Shutterstock ID 577296571; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHVictoria43/Shutterstock

Whole Fish

Whole fish is often served on New Year’s Day; the head and tail are included so the year is lucky from start to finish. Further, their shiny scales are reminiscent of coins, a promise of wealth in the new year.

Get our recipe for Baked Whole Salmon

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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