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Recipes for a happy new year

46 Recipes
Recipe: Crisp-skinned salmon with lentils, bacon and dandelion greens
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Symbolic foods may lead to good fortune.

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Superstition has it that the first day of a new year is symbolic of how the rest of the year will play out. If you sleep late, you’ll do that throughout the year. If you are productive, happy and polite, you will be so for the rest of the year. In the same vein, what you eat on the first day of the year may determine what and how you will eat all year — and may also have a hand in what life may bring your way.

Some foods are said to symbolize abundance and good fortune: black-eyed peas because they are so plentiful; greens because they are the color of money; lentils because they are coin-shaped; cornbread because it is the color of gold; and fish because they swim in schools and their scales look like coins. Pork is said to represent progress because pigs move forward when they eat. Round cakes represent coming full circle and often have a trinket baked in them; whoever gets the trinket will have good luck. Long noodles represent longevity. Round fruits, especially those with lots of seeds such as pomegranates, symbolize fertility and abundance.

In the South they eat Hoppin’ John, collard greens and cornbread in keeping with the saying, “peas for pennies, green for dollars and cornbread for gold.” In Germany and Eastern Europe they eat pork and sauerkraut. In the Philippines they eat 12 round fruits, one for each month of the year. In Spain they eat one grape for each stroke of midnight. In Scandinavia they eat herring. Throughout Asia they eat long noodles, being careful not to break the noodles because that would be bad luck; in Japan it’s udon and ramen, while in China it’s lo mein.

In deciding what to eat come New Year’s Day, you may want to keep these ingredients in mind. Here are 46 recipes that include one or more of these symbols of good fortune.

Jonathan Gold's Hoppin' John

Time2 hours 20 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Little Beast's black-eyed pea hummus

Time1 hour
YieldsMakes 3 ½ cups

Black-eyed peas with leeks and chard

Time2 hours 30 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Sukuma Wiki (Sautéed Collard Greens)

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Salad of beet greens with walnuts

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Red Beans and Greens

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 4 to 6

kuku sabzi (Persian greens frittata)

Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 10

Pork belly and greens hot pot

Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Rau Muong With Mam Tom (Charred Water Spinach With Shrimp Paste, Pork Belly and Garlic)

Time15 minutes
YieldsServes 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

Garlic-Crusted Cornbread

Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 8

Zynodoa's bruleed cast iron cornbread

Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 12

Foolproof Pulled Pork

Time14 hours, largely unattended
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Badmaash Goan Pork Curry

TimeAbout 4 hours plus marinating time
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Pork tenderloin with Concord grape sauce

Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Thai Pork and Basil With Rice Noodles

Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Mak Kimchi

Time2 hours 30 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 quarts

Beijing-style pork and cabbage dumplings

Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsMakes enough for 3 dozen dumplings, about 6 servings

Lentils with kale and butternut squash

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Crisp-skinned salmon with lentils, bacon and dandelion greens

Time1 hour 35 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

“Blackened” Snapper with Crunchy Pickle Salad

Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 8.

Spaghetti with bottarga and fried egg

Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Cacio e pepe

Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Cheung sau jai mien (Longevity noodles)

Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Pho Gà Nhanh (Quick Chicken Pho)

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 2

Spicy Chili Crisp Noodles

Time10 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Sesame Cold Noodles With Crab and Crunchy Vegetables

Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Pistachio Pesto Ramen

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4

Pomegranate and Citrus Salad

Time15 minutes
YieldsServes 12

Winter roast pork with basil pomegranate sauce

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Southern Buttermilk Tea Cakes

Time30 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling
YieldsMakes 3 dozen

New Year's cake (nian gao)

Time2 hours
YieldsMakes about 72 slices

Norwegian orange cake

Time1 hour 15 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 16

Rosca de reyes (Kings cake)

Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 24 (Makes 2 cakes)

Cranberry orange cornmeal cake

Time1 hour 40 minutes
YieldsServes 18

Doughnut Holes

Time30 minutes
YieldsMakes about 20

Momed’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 10