Lentils and Ham New Year Traditions

Happy New Year! Lentils and Ham is the perfect recipe to ring in the New Year. Not only is this dish satisfying and delicious, it’s made with several lucky foods too. Lentils and Ham is a great way to use up any or all of that leftover Christmas ham. Now if I was in Canada visiting my friend Cindy, I’m sure we’d partake in enjoying a meal of cottage roll:)

lentils and ham

Six Lucky Foods

When the last of the party guests have finally gone home and your left with a headache and a mess. Why not take a few ibuprofen and prepare a “lucky” meal to enjoy on New Years Day. You can increase your luck and good fortune with any or all of these six lucky foods. Grapes, Cooked Greens, Legumes, Pork, Fish and Noodles and Grains are all considered “lucky” Start your New Year off right and  have a Happy New Year!!

lentils and ham

lentils and ham


In Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru it’s custom to consume 12 grapes at midnight. The goal is to eat 12 grapes before the last stroke of midnight. 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the year.

Cooked Greens

Cooked greens including cabbage, collards, kale and chard are consumed on New Years for a very simple reason, their green leaves look like folded money, thus symbolic of good fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar mixture, Germans eat sauerkraut (cabbage) and in Southern United States collards are the greens of choice.


Legumes include beans, peas and lentils. Legumes are symbolic of money/coins. A very lucky dish could include pork, legumes and greens. In the Southern US, its traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. Hoppin’ John is made with pork, beans and greens.


Pork is symbolic of progress, wealth and prosperity. Roast duckling is served in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungry and Austria. Pigs Feet are eaten in Sweden and Roast Pork or Sausages are preferred by Germans.


Fish is believed to be lucky because their scales resemble coins and fish swim in schools which symbolize abundance. Pickled herring is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany. (A ritual my hubby partakes in every year) Dried salt cod is also eaten in many countries.

Noodles and Grains

Noodles are symbolic of long life and grains like rice and quinoa stand for abundance. Long noodles are to be slurped up whole, without breaking the noodle for added luck.

Lentils and Ham

Make a Lucky Meal to Start Off the New Year!
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  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth or water
  • 1 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 6 ounces smoked cooked ham, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk stalk celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • In a large saucepan, bring beef broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the lentils. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add the smoked ham, potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.
  • Serve with collard greens.
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