Transform New Year Fruits Into These 12 Healthy Dishes

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Filipinos welcome the New Year with countless superstitions. Some jump at midnight to grow taller, others wear polka dots to secure wealth. But one tradition practiced by almost every household is gathering 12 round fruits at the dinner table. Why 12 and why round? The number is supposed to represent the months of the year. And the shape alludes to continuous fortune. That’s why New Year fruits are the ultimate symbols of prosperity and good luck for the next 365 days!

But once the holiday ends, you're left with quickly ripening fruits. In a couple of weeks, some of those might go bad – dark, wrinkly, and too soft for consumption. No amount of good luck might remedy that anymore! So, before you find yourself in that situation, save those fresh ingredients from waste and use them to make healthy dishes for the family. Here are 12 recipe ideas to try starting on January 1.

1. Beef and Caramelized Apple Sandwich

A beef and apple sandwich drizzled with mayonnaise on a wooden plate

Available everywhere and easy on the wallet, apples are a staple in any fruit basket. Use them to add sweetness and crunch to any salad. If you notice that the flesh has become too tender, try caramelizing them. Use your fruity filling to jazz up desserts or to complement meats. Why not combine it with corned beef and Lady's Choice Real Mayonnaise to make a sweet-savory sandwich?

2. Orange Chicken

A large black platter with orange chicken on a wooden table next to orange slices

Craving fast-food orange chicken? Instead of ordering, cook a batch yourself! Start by making fried chicken tenders. Next, combine fresh orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and red chili flakes. Simmer this mixture until thick, add the chicken, and toss to combine. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with fried rice.

3. Wagyu-Melon Katsudon

Deep-fried katsu served with shredded cabbage, cucumber slices, and a lemon wedge

Did you know that marinated melons can mimic steaks (hello, Wagyu!) or tuna fillets? Surprise, surprise! Slice the round fruit into oval-shaped pieces, then soak the flesh in soy sauce, mirin, molasses, and sake. Dredge in flour, coat with breadcrumbs, and deep-fry until golden. Serve for lunch with shredded cabbage, miso soup, and classic katsu sauce.

4. Grilled Hawaiian Burger

A burger with grilled pineapple rings, tomato slices, crispy bacon, onions, and lettuce with fries

Give your go-to burgers a tropical twist with grilled pineapple slices! Do you want an even healthier version? Swap out the beef patties for chicken or vegan options. Add staples like tomatoes, onions, cucumber rounds, and lettuce to complete the sandwich. You can even skip the bun if you’re watching your carb intake!

5. Ginger Honeydew Soup

Honeydew soup garnished with croutons and fresh herbs

Here’s a light appetizer to go with a fresh green salad! Grab the honeydew from your New Year fruit basket and make this no-cook cold soup. Combine 2 ½ cups grated honeydew melon, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1½ teaspoons grated ginger, and ½ cup plain yogurt in a blender; puree until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Top with croutons and fresh herbs.

6. Savory Pear and Ham Tart

A savory cheese and pear tart with prosciutto on a parchment paper served on a wooden board

Are you looking for a way to utilize leftover Christmas ham and Asian pears? Make a fuss-free, sweet-savory tart! You only need ready-made puff pastry for this. Roll it out and top it with ham, pear slices, and feta cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Serve with a creamy soup for a quick brunch with friends.

7. Thai Pomelo Salad

A plate of fresh Thai pomelo salad with prawns and lettuce on a decorative wooden plate

Pomelo salad is a well-loved Thai dish that pairs well with fried fish or grilled meats. Preparing it takes only a few minutes! Combine pomelo pieces, peanuts, dried shrimp, shredded coconut, fresh chilies, and torn cilantro leaves. For extra flavor, add lime juice, fish sauce, and coconut cream. Toss well and serve.

8. Rosemary and Grape Focaccia

A pan of freshly baked focaccia with grapes and herbs

Compared to other types of bread, focaccia requires minimal effort to make. Mix the dough after dinner, then leave it to rest and rise in the fridge overnight. Once ready, top the dough with seedless grapes before it goes into the oven. Sprinkle with olive oil and fresh rosemary. Enjoy the crusty bread alone or use it to soak up pasta sauce.

9. Lemon Garlic Spinach Pasta

A plate of traditional lemon and garlic pasta with shrimp, fresh parsley, and a slice of lemon

You can never go wrong with aglio olio. This olive oil-based pasta is effortless to customize. Take the recipe up a notch by adding spinach, prawns, and lemon juice. But remember: a little goes a long way when adding citrus flavors. Start with half a lemon and adjust to taste. Try this dish when you need food on the table in 15 minutes!

10. Sinigang sa Bayabas

A bowl of sinigang na bangus sa bayabas with tomatoes, okra, and kangkong

There’s no better use for guavas than in sinigang. Pro tip: don't utilize the fruit as a souring agent but treat it like a vegetable ingredient. You just need to cut the bayabas into wedges, then simmer it with your okra, radish, string beans, and bangus. Make sure to serve hot with steamed white rice and patis for dipping.

11. Seafood and Lychee Ceviche

A small serving of fresh ceviche with lychees, red onions, and red chilies

Ceviche, locally known as kilawin, features raw seafood in a sour and spicy dressing. To make it more exciting, add lychees that lend sweetness and balance out the acidity. Slice them as you would the red onions, chilies, and other components. Make sure to toss everything well and consume the dish immediately for maximum freshness!

12. Fruit Kebabs

A plate of fruit kebabs on a wooden bench ready for grilling

Kebabs are quick, kid-friendly snacks you can put together using fruits from your New Year feast. Cut them into bite-sized squares or rounds, then thread them onto barbecue sticks. Serve the fruit kebabs fresh or slightly grilled.

Make the most of your New Year's fruits with these easy and nutritious dishes. You can even get your kids to help you prep them. Start the year with less waste and more fun, fruity recipes!

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