Italian New Year Tradition: Lentils and Pork Sausage

Italian New Year Tradition: Lentils and Pork Sausage

An Italian lentils and pork meal that is celebrated on New Years Eve. I cannot sufficiently explain how flavorsome this recipe is! Although it is a ritual meal celebrated for good fortune and abundance  this tasty recipe can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

In our home the Italian New Year Tradition of lentils and pork sausage takes center stage on New Years Eve! And rightly so because if you have not tried lentils and pork then do give it a go. These are basic affordable foods and in this combination there is hardly anything else you would rather be eating.  I cannot sufficiently explain how flavorsome this recipe is!!

We always celebrate Christmas with gammon and dessert and once the New Year rolls round my husbands food interest peaks at the discussion of lentils. Well, at any food discussion really (yes it’s an actual discussion). Italians love talking about food, seeing food, eating food, and having lengthily discussion about what to cook and how to cook it. It’s a real thing.

We’ve been doing this for so many years now and when I say this I mean the whole lentils and pork ritual. Most cultures have their own rituals and traditions that they follow at different religious or festive seasons throughout the year and this is theirs.


Preparation is not always in the cards for me when cooking but when it is the whole process becomes not only easier but also more of an enjoyable process and a lot more fun! Get the ingredients ready, wash and clean the lentils. I use regular lentils and it’s always better to clean them because you are sure to find some of them that can be taken out. You will notice that when you wash lentils there’s always the extra bits of dust and dirt just slightly floating on top so give it a few rinse and another rinse. And once more. Rinse 🙂 !Seriously though it needs a thorough job.


Once you have the veggies ready and the stock you pretty much ready to get everything into the pot and get it cooking so lets do that!

Heat the oil and start by cooking the garlic and onion before before adding the carrots, celery and lentils. That’s how easy it is!


You can add the stock or water all at once although I prefer to add it gradually because this allows me some control on not getting the lentils over cooked.


According to the Italian ritual – eating lentils (“lenticchi” in Italian) on New Years Eve must be eaten with sausage and in particular pork sausage (at least for us) because of the fat that the pork brings to the plate. The pork and fat carries a meaning of abundance and prosperity and the lentils represent coins so obviously that’s for good fortune and money!


Not this, this is pork sausage.  Regular South African pork sausage.

Italian traditional new years eve lentils and sausage



Cotechino however is a large Italian sausage which Italians use when making lentils and sausage.

Okay but what is it really in comparison to our regular pork sausage?…………

Personally we don’t use cotechino for 2 reasons:

  1. you may find it in some shops here I have no idea because I have not really seen it in our regular stores and if you committed to finding it you can always find it in an Italian wholesale.  Even then I hardly think that they would import it because of it’s lack of popularity I’m sure.
  2. we don’t like it because if you think pork sausage is fatty just try eating cotechino

Cotechino is really the foot of the pig that they clean/empty by removing the bones etc and they refill it with pork meat like the rind and the back fat and I don’t remember what else but it results in a much more fattier sausage than a regular pork sausage. Fortunately although this recipe is authentic to my husband he too steers away from cotechino to my delight because I am not much of a meat person to start with and then it has to be fatty, that’s not welcome. Anyhoo……

Favorite part of this Italian and Lentils recipe for me is the lentils.  They bring a wonderfully wholesome and very delicious flavor with great texture to the plate! Once served, you can drizzle a little olive oil if you like but honestly speaking they really don’t need any. You can also toss on some parmigiana if you like the cheese over but after the indulgences of Xmas and the sausage I enjoy this recipe as is.

Italian traditional new years eve lentils and sausage


I hope that you have enjoyed this post?!  If you have not yet tried this recipe then I would definitely suggest giving it a try. If not for the rituals then for the taste of a dish that is so full of FLAVOR!!



TIP for this recipe?  Add the stock/water gradually and have lentils and sausage any time of the year but especially on New Years Eve!


If you make this recipe, be sure to tag your photo #ANOSMICKITCHEN 

Italian New Years Tradition: Lentils and Pork Sausage

This lentil and pork sausage is an easy Italian dish that
Course lunch
Cuisine Italian
Keyword food blogger, Italian recipes, lentils, pork sausage, sausage, tradiional
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 500 grams lentils
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp barbecue spice
  • 1 tsp steak spice


  • Clean and rinse the lentils getting any dirt out and rinse/strain a couple of times.
  • Prepare all the veggies: peel and chop the carrots, dice the onion, garlic and celery.
  • Heat a large enough pan and add the oil. Cook the onions, add garlic, carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and half of the stock. The remainder of the stock can be added gradually as you let the food simmer.
  • Add the fresh bay leaves and thyme. Cover the pan or pot with a lid at an angle to release the air.
  • Add stock/water or a combination of both. The point is to cook the lentils and veggies on simmer and make sure the water is not too low. Keep adding liquid until done. They are done when the lentils are tender but not mushy.
  • Buon Appetito!
    Full YouTube Video available.


Italian lentils and sausage

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