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Bringing Good Fortune to Your Table: Mediterranean New Year’s Recipes

What is New Year’s?

New Year’s is a joyous and festive occasion celebrated around the world to mark the beginning of a new year. It is a time for reflection, gratitude, and making plans for the year ahead. Different cultures have unique ways of ringing in the New Year, often involving special traditions, rituals, and, of course, food. Many believe that the foods we eat on New Year’s Day can bring good luck, prosperity, and fortune for the coming year. In Mediterranean and Latin countries, certain ingredients and dishes have become synonymous with New Year’s celebrations, as they are believed to symbolize good fortune and abundance. Let’s explore some delicious Mediterranean recipes that can bring luck and prosperity to your table for the New Year.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating that emphasizes the consumption of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats. It is inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain.

At the core of the Mediterranean Diet is the abundant use of olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. This diet also includes lean proteins like fish and poultry, while red meat consumption is limited. The Mediterranean Diet is known for its health-promoting benefits, as it has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and chronic illnesses.

One key aspect of the Mediterranean Diet is its emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are consumed in large quantities and provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread are preferred over refined grains.

In summary, the Mediterranean Diet encourages a diverse and balanced approach to eating, centered around plant-based foods, healthy fats like olive oil, and moderate portions of lean proteins. By following this dietary pattern, individuals can support their overall health and well-being.

Traditional Mediterranean Foods for Good Fortune


The Mediterranean region is famous not only for its stunning landscapes and ancient history but also for its rich culinary traditions. Mediterranean cuisine is rooted in the use of fresh, wholesome ingredients and is known for its ability to bring good fortune to the table. From black-eyed peas to leafy greens, this article explores some of the traditional Mediterranean foods and recipes believed to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year.

1. Black-Eyed Peas: The United States and African diaspora communities have a long-standing tradition of consuming black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. In Mediterranean countries, black-eyed peas are often used to make delicious salads or cooked with flavorful spices like black pepper and garlic.

2. Leafy Greens: Collard greens, turnip greens, and other leafy greens are considered to symbolize money and prosperity in many cultures. They are commonly enjoyed as a side dish or incorporated into dishes like lentil soups or sautéed with olive oil and garlic.

3. Lentil Dishes: Lentils are another auspicious food in Mediterranean countries, symbolizing luck and prosperity due to their coin-like appearance. Lentils are often cooked with sausages or combined with other ingredients to create delicious and healthy dishes.

4. Grapes at Midnight: In many Mediterranean and Latin countries, it is a tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve, symbolizing good luck for each month of the upcoming year. This custom is believed to have originated in Spain and has become a popular ritual in various cultures.

5. Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits are considered lucky fruits in Mediterranean traditions. Their vibrant color and refreshing taste are believed to bring good fortune and abundance in the new year.

By incorporating these traditional Mediterranean foods into your New Year’s dinner menu, you can not only enjoy delicious recipes but also bring good luck and prosperity to your table.

Pickled Herring

Pickled Herring: A Traditional Food for New Year’s Luck

Pickled herring holds a deep-rooted history and cultural significance as a traditional food for bringing luck and prosperity in the New Year. This culinary practice has its origins in the Hanseatic League, a medieval trading alliance that dominated commerce in Northern Europe. Pickled herring was a staple for merchants in this league, and its economic prosperity relied heavily on the trade of this prized fish.

Over time, the tradition of pickled herring spread throughout Scandinavian, Dutch, Nordic, Polish, Baltic, and Jewish cuisines. Each culture developed its own unique variations and preparations, but the underlying symbolism remained the same – eating pickled herring was believed to bring abundance and financial success.

The migratory patterns of herring further contributed to its significance. Herring are known for their unpredictable abundance, making their catch highly sought after. By consuming pickled herring at the New Year, people expressed their hopes for a prosperous year ahead, one abundant with success and economic stability.

Today, pickled herring continues to be enjoyed as a New Year’s delicacy in many households, both as a way to honor tradition and to savor its distinct flavors. It serves as a reminder of the historical and cultural significance of this fish in the quest for luck and economic prosperity.

Leafy Greens

Incorporating leafy greens into your New Year’s dinner not only adds a burst of freshness and flavor to your table, but it also carries significant cultural and symbolic meaning in Mediterranean and Southern food traditions. Leafy greens, such as collard greens, turnip greens, and chard, are often featured in New Year’s menus as they symbolize wealth, prosperity, and good fortune.

In Mediterranean countries, leafy greens are believed to bring abundance and prosperity to the dinner table. They are also associated with warding off evil spirits, ensuring a positive and prosperous start to the new year. These traditions date back centuries and have been passed down through generations.

To incorporate these symbolic and nutritious leafy greens into your New Year’s meal, try a delicious recipe like Skillet Stuffed Cabbage. This hearty dish features vibrant green cabbage leaves stuffed with a flavorful mix of meat, rice, and spices. It is a perfect centerpiece for your New Year’s dinner, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

Another recipe idea is Mustard Greens and Chard with Lemon Vinaigrette. This refreshing side dish combines the bold flavors of mustard greens and chard with a tangy lemon vinaigrette, creating a delightful balance of taste and texture. It is a great way to incorporate leafy greens into your dinner and embrace the symbolism of prosperity.

For a unique twist, consider making Mushroom and Arugula Salad Pizza. This recipe combines the freshness of arugula, a peppery leafy green, with earthy mushrooms and savory cheese on a crispy crust. It is a delicious and innovative way to showcase leafy greens while celebrating the abundance and wealth that the new year brings.

Incorporating leafy greens into your New Year’s dinner not only adds depth and flavor to your menu, but it also pays homage to cultural traditions and symbolizes the hope for a prosperous and fortunate year ahead. So, embrace the tradition and good fortune by including these vibrant and nutritious leafy greens in your New Year’s feast.

Black-Eyed Peas and Lentils

Black-eyed peas and lentils are not only delicious, but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic value in Mediterranean New Year’s recipes. Incorporating these foods into your dinner table can bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

Black-eyed peas are often enjoyed in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in dishes like Hoppin’ John. These legumes are considered lucky and symbolize abundance. Their round shape resembles coins, and it’s believed that eating them on New Year’s Day will attract wealth and good luck. They are often paired with pork sausage, which symbolizes progress and forward movement.

Lentils, on the other hand, are a staple in Mediterranean cooking and are associated with good fortune and prosperity. Their small, round shape resembles coins and is believed to represent wealth. Lentil dishes are commonly enjoyed as part of New Year’s meals in Mediterranean countries. They can be prepared in various ways, such as lentils with sausages or lentil soups, providing a hearty and nutritious addition to your dinner menu.

Incorporating black-eyed peas and lentils into your Mediterranean New Year’s recipes not only adds depth and flavor to your dishes but also embraces the traditions of good fortune and prosperity. So, as midnight approaches, make sure to include these lucky foods on your dinner table and welcome the new year with a delicious and auspicious feast.

Pork Sausage

Pork sausage holds significant importance in New Year’s traditions as it is considered a good luck food in many cultures. It symbolizes progress and financial prosperity, making it an ideal addition to your New Year’s dinner menu.

In various traditions, pork sausage is believed to bring good fortune and forward movement in life. Its shape, resembling a link or a circle, represents continuity and abundance. By including pork sausage in your celebratory meal, you are inviting progress and prosperity into the coming year.

There are several delicious ways to incorporate pork sausage into your New Year’s dinner menu. One popular dish is lentils with sausages, where the lentils symbolize wealth and the sausage denotes progress. This hearty and flavorful combination not only satisfies your taste buds but also reinforces the belief in attracting good fortune.

Another option is to prepare a savory black-eyed pea salad with chunks of cooked pork sausage. The peas provide abundance and luck, while the sausage adds a savory element to the dish. This combination is not only delicious but also brings positive energy to your table.

So, as you plan your New Year’s dinner, consider incorporating pork sausage into your menu for good luck, progress, and financial prosperity. By embracing this tradition, you are setting the stage for a fortuitous and prosperous year ahead.

Olive Oil and Black Pepper

In Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil and black pepper play a significant role in enhancing the flavors of dishes. These common ingredients are often used together in various recipes, adding depth and richness to the overall taste.

Olive oil, a staple in Mediterranean cooking, is not only a healthy choice but also adds a silky texture and a distinct fruity flavor to dishes. Its versatility allows it to be used as a base for marinades, dressings, and sautéing ingredients. The high-quality extra virgin olive oil, in particular, is known for its rich, buttery taste, making it a popular choice for drizzling over salads or bread.

Alongside olive oil, black pepper is a classic spice that adds a subtle kick to dishes. Its bold and pungent flavor enhances the overall taste of a meal, highlighting the other ingredients used. Whether freshly ground or used in its powdered form, black pepper adds warmth and depth, making it a perfect accompaniment to various Mediterranean dishes.

When used together, olive oil and black pepper create a flavorful combination that brings out the best in Mediterranean cuisine. Whether in marinades, roasted vegetables, or pasta dishes, these ingredients add an extra layer of taste and make your dining experience extra enjoyable. So, embrace the magic of olive oil and black pepper, and elevate your Mediterranean recipes to new heights.

Cornbread and Golden Nuggets

Cornbread has deep-rooted significance in New Year’s traditions, particularly in the southern United States. This beloved dish symbolizes luck and wealth for the coming year. The golden color of cornbread represents gold and prosperity, while the incorporation of corn kernels resembles golden nuggets, further enhancing its symbolism.

During New Year’s celebrations, various cornbread recipes can be enjoyed to bring good fortune to the table. Buttermilk Cornbread offers a classic and tangy twist, whereas Cheesy Cornbread adds a savory touch with melted cheese throughout. For those with a sweet tooth, Cinnamon Buttermilk Cornbread provides a delightful blend of warmth and sweetness that perfectly complements the festive atmosphere.

By incorporating cornbread into your New Year’s menu, you not only add a delicious side dish but also invite luck and wealth into your home. Embrace this southern tradition and enjoy the comforting flavors and symbolism of cornbread and golden nuggets as you welcome the new year with open arms.

Recipes to Attract Good Fortune in the New Year


The start of a new year is often filled with hopes and wishes for good fortune. Across the Mediterranean region, there are traditional recipes and food customs believed to attract luck and prosperity in the coming year. From black-eyed peas to leafy greens and citrus fruits, these dishes not only satisfy our taste buds but are also considered auspicious. In this article, we will explore some delicious Mediterranean New Year’s recipes that are believed to bring good fortune to our tables.

I. Black-Eyed Peas: The Lucky Legumes

Black-eyed peas, a staple in many Mediterranean countries, are often associated with good luck and fortune. They are believed to resemble coins and are thought to bring prosperity in the new year. One popular way to enjoy black-eyed peas is in a delicious and hearty Black-Eyed Pea Salad. Packed with vibrant flavors from ingredients like olive oil, black pepper, and fresh herbs, this salad is a refreshing and auspicious way to start the year.

II. Leafy Greens: The Greens for Dollars

Leafy greens like collard greens and turnip greens are commonly enjoyed on New Year’s Day in the Mediterranean. Their vibrant green color is reminiscent of money, symbolizing wealth and abundance. Cooked with flavorful ingredients like garlic, onions, and pork sausage, these greens make a delicious and nutritious side dish. Pair them with lentils and sausages for a hearty and filling main course that promises good fortune.

III. Citrus Fruits: Lucky Fruits for a Refreshing Start

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and tangerines are considered lucky fruits in Mediterranean cultures. Their vibrant colors and sweet-tangy flavors are believed to bring joy, good health, and prosperity in the new year. Enjoy citrus fruits as a refreshing snack or create a citrus-based dessert, like a zesty lemon tart, to end your New Year’s dinner on a sweet and auspicious note.

IV. Grapes: The Symbol of Abundance

In Mediterranean countries, it is a common tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for each month of the coming year. As the clock strikes twelve, people gather with their loved ones and enjoy the juicy grape clusters, symbolizing abundance and prosperity. This simple yet meaningful ritual is a delightful way to welcome the new year and attract good fortune.


As we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new, incorporating these Mediterranean New Year’s recipes into our celebrations can bring a sense of tradition and hope for good fortune. Whether it’s the black-eyed peas, leafy greens, citrus fruits, or grapes, these recipes offer a delicious and meaningful way to attract prosperity to our tables. So, gather your loved ones, prepare these auspicious dishes, and may the new year bring abundance, joy, and good luck to all.

Hoppin’ John Salad with Pickled Herring, Black-Eyed Peas, and Bacon Bits

Introducing the Hoppin’ John Salad with Pickled Herring, Black-Eyed Peas, and Bacon Bits – a delightful twist on the traditional Southern dish that incorporates elements of luck and flavor. This Mediterranean recipe combines the beloved Hoppin’ John with the rich and tangy taste of pickled herring, creating a salad that is not only delicious but also believed to bring good fortune in the new year.

The key ingredients in this salad are black-eyed peas, pickled herring, and bacon bits. Black-eyed peas are often associated with luck and prosperity, while pickled herring is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune. And let’s not forget about the bacon bits, which add a smoky and savory touch to the ensemble.

By incorporating these lucky foods into your New Year’s meal, you are embracing the traditions and customs that have been passed down through generations. This salad not only brings together diverse flavors and textures but also symbolizes the hope for abundance and prosperity in the upcoming year.

So, as you gather around the dinner table to welcome the new year, make sure to include the Hoppin’ John Salad with Pickled Herring, Black-Eyed Peas, and Bacon Bits. Not only will it tantalize your taste buds, but it will also bring good luck and fortune to your table. Cheers to a prosperous and fortunate year ahead!

Roasted Collard Greens with Olive Oil and Garlic Seasoning

Roasted Collard Greens with Olive Oil and Garlic Seasoning is a delightful dish that brings both flavor and symbolism to your New Year’s table. Collard greens have long been considered a traditional New Year’s food, symbolizing wealth and prosperity due to their resemblance to paper cash. By incorporating this leafy green into your meal, you are inviting good fortune for the upcoming year.

To make this dish, start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Wash and trim the collard greens, removing any tough stems. Cut the greens into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they’re evenly coated in olive oil. Place the collard greens on a baking sheet and generously season with garlic seasoning, salt, and pepper. Toss to ensure all the greens are evenly coated.

Roasting the collard greens allows them to become slightly crispy and brings out their natural flavors. The combination of the olive oil and garlic seasoning adds a delicious twist to this classic dish. The result is a flavorful and healthy side that perfectly complements your New Year’s dinner.

As you savor each bite of the Roasted Collard Greens with Olive Oil and Garlic Seasoning, remember the symbolism behind this dish. Through this simple yet flavorful recipe, you are embracing the tradition of enjoying auspicious foods that bring prosperity and good luck for the year ahead.

Turnip Greens with Caramelized Onions and Bacon Bits

Turnip Greens with Caramelized Onions and Bacon Bits is a traditional New Year’s dish that brings good fortune and delicious flavors to your table. This recipe combines the earthy taste of turnip greens, the sweetness of caramelized onions, and the savory crunch of bacon bits, creating a lucky and mouthwatering meal.

To make this dish, start by washing and trimming the turnip greens. Remove any tough stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set it aside.

In the same skillet, add thinly sliced onions and cook them slowly over low heat until they caramelize, turning golden brown and sweet. This process might take around 20 minutes, but the result is worth it! Caramelized onions add a depth of flavor to the dish, enhancing the natural taste of turnip greens.

Once the onions are caramelized, add the torn turnip greens to the skillet. Stir well to combine, allowing the greens to wilt slightly. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the greens are tender but still vibrant green.

To finish off the dish, crumble the reserved crispy bacon over the top. The smoky and salty flavor of the bacon complements the sweetness of the caramelized onions, creating a perfect balance of taste.

With each bite of Turnip Greens with Caramelized Onions and Bacon Bits, you’ll not only enjoy a delicious combination of flavors but also invite luck and prosperity to your New Year’s dinner table. This dish is a true celebration of the bountiful and auspicious ingredients that Mediterranean cuisine has to offer.

Lentil Soup with Pork Sausage and Black Pepper

Lentil Soup with Pork Sausage and Black Pepper is a classic Mediterranean dish that is traditionally enjoyed during Italian New Year’s celebrations. This hearty soup not only brings good fortune to your table but also delights your taste buds with its rich flavors.

To prepare this delicious soup, start by rinsing and draining one cup of green lentils. In a large pot, heat some olive oil and sauté finely chopped onions and minced garlic until they become fragrant. Next, add sliced pork sausage, allowing it to cook until browned and cooked through.

Once the sausage is cooked, add the rinsed lentils to the pot along with chicken or vegetable broth, water, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

As the soup simmers, the flavors meld together, producing a savory and comforting dish. The combination of lentils, pork sausage, and black pepper creates a depth of flavors that is hard to resist. Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some freshly chopped parsley for added freshness.

To add a personal touch to this traditional recipe, you can experiment with additional ingredients such as diced carrots or celery. You can also garnish the soup with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt or a squeeze of lemon juice for a tangy twist.

Celebrate the New Year with a bowl of Lentil Soup with Pork Sausage and Black Pepper, and bring good luck and deliciousness to your dinner table. Buon Appetito!

Serving Ideas for a Prosperous New Year’s Dinner Party

Looking for creative serving ideas to make your New Year’s dinner party a prosperous and memorable event? Look no further! Incorporating traditional lucky foods and visually appealing presentation can bring good fortune to your table.

Start by creating a beautiful charcuterie board featuring slices of pickled herring, a symbol of good luck in many cultures. Pair this with an assortment of leafy greens, such as collard greens or turnip greens, which represent wealth and prosperity.

For the main course, serve a delicious lentil dish with sausages cooked in olive oil and black pepper. Lentils are considered lucky because of their resemblance to coins, while pork sausage brings abundance and good fortune. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the lentils for a healthy and flavorful touch.

To add an element of elegance to your dinner table, incorporate the colors green and gold. Serve the lentils in gold-rimmed bowls and garnish with fresh mint leaves for a pop of green.

For dessert, offer a selection of citrus fruits, another symbol of luck and prosperity in many cultures. You can also serve an indulgent ice cream topped with golden nuggets, symbolizing wealth and good fortune.

Remember, the key to a prosperous New Year’s dinner party is to combine traditional lucky foods with visually appealing presentation. By incorporating pickled herring, leafy greens, black-eyed peas, lentils, pork sausage, olive oil, and black pepper into your menu, you’ll create a feast that brings both good luck and delicious flavors to your table.


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