In many cultures around the world, special ingredients or dishes are known as bearers of good luck for the coming year. Some rituals are straight-forward: In Spain, for example, tradition says to eat twelve grapes at midnight, one for each month, for good luck in the upcoming year. Elsewhere, the luck comes from cooking with a certain ingredient on the first of the year: lentils in Italy, pickled herring in Poland and Germany, long noodles in China and Japan, roast pork in Cuba and other Latin American countries, pomegranates in Turkey, and black-eyed peas here in the United States. To start your year off right, choose one recipe from this collection of dishes featuring lucky ingredients, or serve an entire charmed feast to ring in the new year with good food and fortune.
In Japanese homes on the first day of the year, the dish to eat is ozoni, a good luck soup composed of pink-rimmed fish cake, daikon, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms floating in a rich dashi (kelp and bonito broth) along with mochi, chewy rice cakes, which are oven-toasted until they resemble fire-licked marshmallows.
Get the recipe for Japanese New Year’s Soup »
Packed full of glowing winter produce—sweet roasted beets, tart pomegranate seeds—this lentil salad makes a colorful addition to the winter table. Pair it with chicken, beef, lamb, or fish, or serve it as a vegetarian main; it’s hearty enough to stand on its own.
Get the recipe for Lentil Salad with Beets and Pomegranate »
In Japan, China, and many other Asian countries, tradition calls for eating long noodles, which signify longevity, on New Year’s Day. In this simple noodle dish, crisp wasabi stalks add texture, while the tender, chewy leaves are a complex substitute for bitter greens.
Get the recipe for Soba Noodles with Wasabi and Shiitake Mushrooms »
In Poland and Germany, herring is considered a bearer of good fortune. In this recipe, salt-cured herring becomes a lavish centerpiece when layered with apples and a sour cream-mayonnaise dressing.
This soup of black-eyed peas and rice, traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day in the American South, makes good use of leftover holiday ham scraps.
A neutral base of lentil salad lets the pleasant sharpness of the
Bleu d’Auvergne cheese, which is aged in sweet wine at La Fromagerie du Comtat, take center stage in this salad. Get the recipe for French Lentil Salad with Blue Cheese »
This hearty pork roast, rubbed with coriander, thyme, and allspice, gets a shot of brightness from a vinegary herb bagna cauda.
Get the recipe for Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Parsley Bagna Cauda »
A miso marinade doubles as a dressing for a flavorful salad composed of watercress, scallions, and soba noodles.
Get the recipe for Soba Noodle Salad with Miso and Grilled Prawns »
This light, Lebanese lentil salad is flavored with lemon juice, cumin, allspice, and parsley.
Chile-spiked black-eyed peas dressed with fresh lime juice make a bright side dish.
Soba Salad with Marinated Cucumber and Ponzu
Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo)
Pork shoulder is soaked overnight in a citrusy mojo marinade in this Cuban recipe.
Get the recipe for Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo) »