The black-eyed pea is one lucky legume.
Nobody is exactly sure why, but it’s a custom, especially in the South, to eat black-eyed peas to ensure a prosperous new year. One theory is that a certain group of Jews included it in their meals for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year to symbolize fertility. In many African-American households, the peas are served with greens (to represent money) and pig (to symbolize the years of slavery, when slaves were given the poor parts of the pig to eat).
The most traditional way to serve black-eyed peas for the new year is to make Hoppin’ John, which combines the peas with rice and adds bacon, pork or other protein. Here’s how to make it. But if you want to vary up your New Year’s celebration, here are 10 unique recipes, culled from TIME’s sister magazines, to ring in the new year with an extra spoonful of luck.
- Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Escarole (Real Simple)
- Chili-Roasted Black-Eyed Peas (Southern Living)
- Black-Eyed Pea Salsa (Real Simple)
- Black-Eyed Pea Stew (Cooking Light)
- Black-Eyed Pea and Ham Dip (Southern Living)
- Shrimp and Black-Eyed Pea Salad (All You)
- Stir-Fried Rice with Black-Eyed-Peas and Shrimp (Coastal Living)
- Spiced Chicken with Black-Eyed Peas and Rice (Cooking Light)
- Chicken Soft Tacos with Black-Eyed Peas (Health)
- Spicy Turkey Sausage with Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach (Sunset)