7 Ideas for a Memorable New Years Dinner Menu

A New Year’s dinner is often a delicate balance between what’s traditionally loved and what kinds of recipe innovations can make the holiday that much brighter. Next New Year’s, try a few new takes on traditional holiday food to jazz up the party and start off your year the right way.

Cranberry Sangria

A cranberry-apple sangria (a fruity wine) can be a great play on the champagne and other alcoholic drinks that are so popular on New Year’s Eve, as well as the next day. You can add this idea to your collection of champagnes or sparkling waters to give what’s in your punch bowl a twist.

Twelve Grapes

Adding 12 grapes to the New Year’s menu is actually a tradition, but if it’s not something that you’re used to, it can be a memorable way to add meaning to the menu. The 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the year.

Kale, Collards or Other Greens

Again, using greens at New Year’s is a lesser-known tradition that helps add health value to the meal. You can add either of these as a side, or try a recipe for other types of nutrition packed leafy greens, like mustard greens or Brussels sprouts. Many of these recipes include flavoring staples like vinegar, garlic, or mustard seeds. Others like to add bacon to their greens. Any way you cook them, adding these “good luck greens” will help you boost your health on the New Year.


If you’re looking for a way to change a drab entrée, think about choices from the sea, such as scallops or salmon steaks. Wild caught salmon can be hard on the pocketbook—to curb the cost, consider making salmon cakes that use other ingredients to make the fish stretch further. Giving guests a seafood choice can make for a winning New Year’s meal menu.

Pasta Salads

Pasta salads are a great way to compliment anything else on the New Year’s menu. Making these items without mayonnaise can help you offer guests food that won’t go bad if it ends up sitting at room temperature for a few hours. Some great ingredients include roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, fresh onions, natural oils, and herbs from basil to cilantro.


Another menu addition that’s getting popular around the New Year is the ever-versatile fondue. Using classic fondue cheeses, quality meats, or tasty chocolates, you can entertain with an interactive dish that can add a lot to the event.


The fact that some consider doughnuts a New Year’s food is a little strange, but who can argue with deep-fried dough? Doughnuts are one of the essential comfort foods that, if prepared properly, will have everyone duly impressed. For a New Year’s twist, you can bake an extra item, traditionally a coin, into one of the doughnuts, for good luck to the recipient. But, if that’s the case, let your guests know in order to avoid some potential safety issues.

All of these items can really spice up a menu for a New Year’s meal that will provide good memories for years to come.