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Traditional New Year's Foods From the Garden

  • 2 min read
cooked greens

Whether you’re the type to set New Year’s resolutions or to just take it easy on the holiday, you can still enjoy some tasty traditions to start the new year. From sauerkraut and pork to collard greens and Hoppin’ John, many of us grew up eating some combination of green leafy vegetables and legumes on New Year’s Day. These foods are meant to symbolize good luck and prosperity in the new year.

Green leafy vegetables are some of the only fresh vegetables available right now. Because they’re foldable and green, they have come to symbolize money. Right now, certain green leafy vegetables are at their best. The cold weather makes them a lot sweeter and takes the bitterness out of the leaves. Depending on your zone, you might have fresh kale, collards, turnips, or mustard greens available.

rice and beans

Peas, beans, or lentils are a tradition in many places the world over, too. They might be paired with cornbread, rice, or another grain. The small pieces symbolize coins or wealth. Dried and frozen beans are still available from this year’s crop, and they’re a good source of protein in the winter months.

Our team has a split on how to eat greens. Some of us love traditional greens cooked for a long time or sauerkraut, while others prefer a fresher approach. If you don’t like a mess of greens that have been cooked for an hour with bacon, you can still enjoy this tradition. Just take a different approach to enjoy your greens.

8 Ways to Get Your Greens on New Year’s Day

  1. Kale chips. Dust with your favorite seasoning to take this crunchy snack to the next level.
  2. Sauerkraut or kimchi. Yes, these fermented foods count! Enjoy them paired with your favorite dishes.
  3. Salads. This might be the simplest way to eat green leafy vegetables, but you can still have fun with it. A massaged kale salad with feta cheese and pomegranates or dried cranberries has festive holiday colors, too!
  4. greens
    Frittata, omelet, or quiche. If all else fails, hide them in something tasty.
  5. Lightly sauteed greens. If you don’t like the flavor or texture of greens cooked for a long time, you might find they’re a lot more enjoyable when they’ve been lightly sauteed with some shallot or garlic.
  6. Smoothies. Start your new year out with a healthy dose of greens and superfoods!
  7. Soups. There are so many soups out there that use greens, and often paired with beans. These all have the extra benefit of being warm - perfect for winter!
  8. Pesto. Basil isn’t the only option here. Cilantro, spinach, mustard greens, and arugula all make tasty pesto.

You don’t have to be superstitious or set any ambitious goals to enjoy New Year’s day. A simple meal can set the mood for the upcoming year. Hopefully, these ideas will provide some inspiration for enjoying traditional New Year’s foods, even if you take a slightly non-traditional approach.

New Year's Greens

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