Want to start the new year off on a auspicious foot? These foods are traditionally lucky to eat for New Year’s Day Dinner.
I have lived in the southern part of the United States for nearly all of my life, but it wasn’t until the last several years that we started enjoying a traditional New Year’s dinner together as a family. We love traditions, food history, and cooking from scratch, so this meal seemed natural for us to incorporate into our New Year’s Day routine.
(We also started a short family hike on New Year’s day that I’m really hoping to continue too!)
Whether or not these foods actually bring you luck isn’t exactly the point. It’s just fun to have that tether to the past, and to celebrate the start of something new– especially with foods as delicious as these.
Traditional New Year Dinner Ideas
These are southern lucky foods, but you can also find traditional New Year’s dinner ideas from other cultures too, like grapes (Spain), tamales (Mexico), marzipan pigs (Germany), long noodles (Japan), pomegranates (Greece), herring (Poland), and King Cake (all over the world).
In the U.S. south, traditional New Year’s Day foods represent prosperity and good fortune:
- greens represent green money
- black eyed peas (and other beans) represent coins and wealth
- pork represents good fortune
- cornbread represents gold
We make each of these dishes (they pair perfectly!), but of course, you can choose how many with which you want to start the year. I’ve included recipes for cornbread, skillet garlic greens (quick and easy to make with spinach or swiss chard), and collard greens (my FAV, made so much easier and faster in the Instant Pot).
I didn’t include recipes for bacon, because, it’s bacon. You got this.
After the individual recipes, I have also included recipes for dishes which use the various components together. The Potlikker Gumbo is DELICIOUS, and would be a great way to bring everything together for one super-fortuitous New Year’s Day dinner.
(My family recipe for fried chicken is included too in case anyone wants to skip the pork and enjoy an alternative southern main that pairs well with greens and black-eyed peas).
Happy New Year’s Day! I hope 2023 is a great year for you, full of good fortune and prosperity!
New Year’s Day Recipes
We enjoy this cornbread year-round. It’s so tender and delicious, gluten-free, and only dirties one bowl. Highly recommend using a cast iron skillet!
Collard greens are so tasty, not to mention, so good for you too. Making them in the Instant Pot cuts down a lot of the cooking time, without sacrificing flavor or texture.
We can never make enough greens because everyone always devours them! These make a great weeknight side dish, just don’t skimp on the garlic.
If you prefer a tasty appetizer with greens, these wontons are fried to perfection. Stuffed with tender collards and cream cheese, they’re easy to please for everyone.
This recipe from Grits and Pinecones is the general method we use to make our black eyed peas– dried peas soaked overnight, then simmered on the stove in a flavorful stock complete with ham bones.
Complete Dishes ::
Pork chops pan fried to perfection, served with a savory gravy. This is another perfect pairing with greens, cornbread, and beans.
All the fortune in one easy bowl! Just add some beans to keep the odds in your favor.
Not a fan of pork? Keep the cornbread, greens, and beans, and make a batch of pan fried chicken tenders. This is my family recipe, made simpler and easier in a shallow pan.
Do you have a traditional dish or meal you eat on New Year’s Day? I’d love to hear about it!
If you use these recipes to celebrate, tag me @thispilgrimlife so I can see and celebrate with you.
Happy New Year’s!