|A Healthier Hoppin’ John|
Around the world, people will be celebrating the New Year with their own special, symbolic foods, which they believe will bring them good luck in the New Year. Here are some of the foods enjoyed around the world in celebration of the New Year. Interestingly, these traditional New Year foods also happen to be healthy!
- In Japan, soba noodles are eaten for New Year’s, the length of the noodles symbolizing long life (don’t cut them!). Sweet black beans (kuro-mame) are also eaten, symbolizing the wish for the ability to work diligently and stay well and healthy throughout the year.
|Soba Noodles Symbolize Longevity (These are Green Tea Soba Noodles)|
- In the southern United States, black-eye peas (Hoppin’ John) when served with collard greens, are believed to bring prosperity. Black-eye peas resemble coins and greens are the color and shape of money.
- In Germany, Ireland and parts of the United States, green vegetables, including cabbage, collard greens, kale and swiss chard, are associated with luck and fortune since the leaves are green and resemble folded money.
|Sauteed Rainbow Chard|
- Lentils, which are flat and round like coins, are eaten in Italy, as well as in Brazil (with rice or in soup), for good fortune in the New Year.
- Black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos) is a popular Cuban dish eaten for New Years for good luck.
|Black Beans are High in Antioxidants and Fiber|
- Pomegranates, which are associated with good luck (the round seeds resemble money and prosperity), abundance and fertility, are eaten in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries.
|Pomegranates are Beautiful and Full of Antioxidant Phytochemicals|
Although I can’t guarantee that eating any of these foods will bring you financial prosperity in the New Year, I do believe that these foods will certainly bring you good health and well being in the New Year.
Here’s a roundup of auspiciously healthy recipes for celebrating the New Year, along with a healthier recipe for Hoppin’ John.
Long Life Soba Noodle Recipes
|Cold Soba Noodles|
Black Bean and Black Eye Pea Recipes
|Turkey Black Bean Chili|
Black Bean Chili, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Turkey Black Bean Chili, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Brazilian Black Beans and Rice, Feeding Groom
Brazilian Black Bean Stew with Collard Greens, Food.com
Vegan Cuban Black Beans & Rice, The Alchemist Chef
Lentil Coin Recipes
|Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Soup|
Green Money Vegetable Recipes
|Simply Sauteed Collard Greens with Cherry Tomatoes|
|Festive Clementine Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Seeds|
Now for the Hoppin’ John recipe:
A Healthier Hoppin’ John
Traditionally, Hoppin’ John is cooked with ham hock and served with collard greens on the side. Rice is also sometimes cooked with the black eye peas. I’ve used turkey bacon to add the smoky flavor without the fat, and cooked kale, another leafy green vegetable, right into the Hoppin’ John. This is delicious served over brown rice.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 slices turkey bacon (uncured, with no antibiotics or nitrates), cut into ½” pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups cooked black eye peas (if using canned beans, rinse and drain well)
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch kale, thick stem removed, leaves thinly sliced
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add turkey bacon and cook until browned. Add onion, celery, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the black eye peas, 1 cup of chicken broth, fresh thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Add kale and remaining ½ cup of chicken broth, and mix well. Cook, covered, for another 5 minutes or until just tender.
- Serve over brown rice.
- Serves 4-6.