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9 Traditional New Year’s Day Foods to Make for Good Luck

All over the world, people eat different foods on New Year's Day to bring good luck in the coming months. Read on to learn more about these fun traditional New Year's Day foods.

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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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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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Parmesan Herbed NoodlesTaste of Home

Parmesan Herbed Noodles

Looking for a quick, tasty side dish that goes well with all kinds of meats? Try my recipe for tender noodles. For a colorful variation, sometimes I add slightly cooked red and green peppers and a quarter cup of peas. —Denise Elder, Hanover, Ontario Elder

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Slow-Cooked Thai Drunken NoodlesTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Thai Drunken Noodles

I really love pad kee mao and was inspired to try my recipe in the slow cooker on a really busy day. It came out tasting great! I was so happy to have it ready to go when we got home. You can easily substitute chicken, turkey or beef for pork. —Lori McLain, Denton, Texas

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Ceylon Chicken Curry Noodle Soup

Ceylon Chicken Curry Noodle Soup

This comforting chicken curry noodle soup is a take on a soup I ate during childhood. It is loaded with ingredients to boost your immune system and can easily be made vegan or vegetarian. —Sarita Gelner, Chesterfield, Missouri

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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. Try our Pork Loin with Strawberry-Rhubarb Chutney, which is pictured above, in the coming year.

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Kalua PorkTaste of Home

Kalua Pork

Planning a luau-themed party? This Kalua pork is the perfect main dish for your get-together. It’s a no-fuss crowd-pleaser meal and it’s easy to clean up! A Hawaiian friend shared this recipe with me while I was stationed in Pearl Harbor several years ago. —Becky Friedman, Hammond, Louisiana

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Dry Rub Grilled Pork Chops Over Cannellini Greens  Exps Rc20 250640 B07 14 4b 13

Dry-Rub Grilled Pork Chops over Cannellini Greens

My family was not a huge fan of pork until I tried this pork chops and green beans recipe. Feel free to incorporate your favorite herbs into the dry rub. You can use the rub on boneless skinless chicken breast or other meats, too. —Michael Cirlincione, Stockton, New Jersey

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Slow-Cooked Peachy SpareribsTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Peachy Spareribs

Canned peaches make a delightful addition to my flavorful sparerib sauce. Served over rice, the sweet-tangy ribs make a sensational meal any time of the year.—Jeanne Brino, Woodbury, Minnesota

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Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

My roasted pork tenderloin is stuffed with two of our favorite ingredients: walnuts and apples. This comforting entree is my family’s most requested pork dish. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois

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Lentils and spoon in a wooden bowl close up on an old table.SMarina/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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Pressure-Cooker Greek-Style Lentil SoupTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Greek-Style Lentil Soup

This is a nice warming soup on a chilly day. Lentils are so good for you, too! —Mary Smith, Columbia, Missouri

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Lentil LoafTaste of Home

Lentil Loaf

This lentil loaf is so flavorful, you won’t miss the meat. And it’s packed with fiber and nutrients. —Tracy Fleming, Phoenix, Arizona

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Wild Rice and Lentil SaladTaste of Home

Wild Rice and Lentil Salad

This healthy, protein-packed salad is a perfect main dish for the vegetarians who grace your holiday table—or as a side in smaller portions. My family loves it for the flavors, and my friends love it because I offer them a healthy alternative to meat. —Mary Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina

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Tomato-Garlic Lentil BowlsTaste of Home

Tomato-Garlic Lentil Bowls

An Ethiopian recipe inspired this feel-good dinner that’s tangy, creamy and packed with hearty comfort. —Rachael Cushing, Portland, Oregon

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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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Kale Caesar SaladTaste of Home

Kale Caesar Salad

I love Caesar salad recipes, so I created this kale Caesar salad. It’s perfect paired with chicken or steak for a light weeknight meal. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Rice with Collard Greens RelishTaste of Home

Rice with Collard Greens Relish

This is a staple in my country of origin, Zimbabwe. It is served with sadza; a cornmeal-based stiff porridge that is used like rice or potatoes in other cultures. —Loveness Murinda, Upland, California

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Four-Berry Spinach SaladTaste of Home

Four-Berry Spinach Salad

Nature’s candy abounds in the berry-filled salad. Its slightly tart dressing contrasts deliciously with sweet in-season fruit. —Betty Lise Anderson, Gahanna, Ohio

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Herbed Tuna and White Bean SaladTaste of Home

Herbed Tuna and White Bean Salad

This is a quick and delicious salad that can be made special for guests—or yourself—by grilling fresh tuna steaks instead of using canned. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida

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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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Rose Water Rice PuddingThe musical "Waitress"

Rose Water Rice Pudding

Rose water rice pudding is a popular Middle Eastern treat. Pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios add a simple yet elegant touch to this floral Lebanese specialty. —Michael & Mathil Chebat, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, Lake Ridge, Virginia

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Orange Pomegranate Salmon

Orange Pomegranate Salmon

A colorful, festive salmon dish makes an impressive addition to your holiday table—and it is as delicious as it is beautiful. What will no one guess? How easy it is to cook. I serve this with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for a showstopping meal that is wonderful for special occasions. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

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Pomegranate Guacamole with Feta CheeseTaste of Home

Pomegranate Guacamole with Feta Cheese

Want to add a little festive flair to your dip? Try this pomegranate guacamole. Since the cheese is so briny, we recommend cutting back on the amount of salt you use, or opting for reduced-sodium tortilla chips. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Blood Orange Caprese SaladTaste of Home

Blood Orange Caprese Salad

A colorful twist on the classic caprese salad of mozzarella, basil and tomato, this one uses blood oranges in place of the tomato and is flavored with pomegranate instead of basil.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Vallery Lomas for Taste of Home

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! Learn how to make the gorgeous Sock It to Me cake pictured above.

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Pennsylvania Dutch Potato DoughnutsTaste of Home

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Doughnuts

My relatives have been making these tasty doughnuts for years. The potatoes keep them moist, and the glaze provides just the right amount of sweetness. —Marlene Reichart, Leesport, Pennsylvania

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Surprise Monkey Bread Exps Thmbrds19 39720 C10 11 3b 5

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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Taco Meatball RingTaste of Home

Taco Meatball Ring

While it looks complicated, this attractive meatball-filled ring is really very easy to assemble. My family loves tacos, and we find that the crescent roll dough is a nice change from the usual tortilla shells or chips. There are never any leftovers when I serve this at a meal or as a party appetizer!
—Brenda Johnson, Davison, Michigan

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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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Black grape bunches Grenache variety in the foregroundSerjunco/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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Black Grape & Rhubarb JamTaste of Home

Black Grape & Rhubarb Jam

Black grapes happen to be a favorite food of mine, so I combined them with rhubarb from the garden to create this sweet-tart jam. The crystallized ginger and spices add wonderful flavor. The soft-set texture and the bits of the grape skin also make this recipe a little different from other jams.—Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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Spicy Pickled GrapesTaste of Home

Spicy Pickled Grapes

I love sweet and spicy flavors, so I created these pickled grapes. They are excellent as an appetizer, a sneaky addition to salads or a topper in your favorite Bloody Mary. —Carla Hinkle, Memphis, Tennessee

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Taste of Home

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! Pictured above is our recipe for Black-Eyed Peas & Ham.

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Pressure-Cooker Black-Eyed Peas with HamTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Black-Eyed Peas with Ham

Here’s a regional favorite I grew to love after moving to the South, pressure-cooker black-eyed peas. You’ll never want to eat canned black-eyed peas again! Serve the dish as a side with grilled chicken, or make it your main course and round out the meal with greens and cornbread. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, NC

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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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Black-Eyed Pea Sausage StewTaste of Home

Black-Eyed Pea Sausage Stew

I’ve always wanted to try black-eyed peas, and I happened to have smoked sausage on hand one night, so I invented this full-flavored stew. It’s the perfect way to heat up a cold night without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I usually double the seasonings because we like our food spicier.

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Black-Eyed Peas with BaconTaste of Home

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon

A real Southern favorite, black-eyed peas are traditionally served on New Year’s Day to bring good luck. The bacon and thyme in my mom’s recipe make them extra special. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana

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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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