The Best Side Dishes for Jambalaya

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Some dishes have it all. If you’re looking for a single recipe that combines carbs, protein, vegetables, and plenty of flavor, jambalaya is definitely your best bet. It’s a wonderful standalone dish that’s shockingly easy to prepare, making it a great way to make dinner with a minimum of fuss and mess. But what goes with jambalaya?

Unfortunately, the all-inclusive nature of jambalaya makes it difficult to pair with other dishes. You can’t exactly add a side of rice or pasta to jambalaya with a straight face. Here are some other New Orleans-approved dishes that pair very well with jambalaya, gumbo, and other cajun and creole fare.

Side Dishes for Jambalaya

1. Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple southern food that’s a total breeze to prepare. It takes just a few minutes to stir together all the ingredients. Since the total cook time is so low, you can easily make cornbread while your jambalaya simmers. It’ll be more than cool enough to eat by the time you need to serve dinner.
 
If regular cornbread is too boring, there are a few variants you can try. Hush puppies are deep fried cornbread batter, while hot water cornbread is a simple and southern twist on the classic recipe. Both options are excellent sides to pair with jambalaya.

2. Chard

This dark leafy green is incredibly healthy. and an excellent alternative to collard greens. Sautee chard in a sweet mixture of oil, brown sugar, vinegar, and onions for a unique side dish with plenty of soul. Chard has most of the same health benefits of brussels sprouts and collard greens, so you’ll get a nice serving of superfood along with your jambalaya.

3. Okra

Nothing is more southern than okra. Try sauteing chopped okra in a thin layer of bacon grease and then making a salad with a sweet oil and vinegar dressing. Add tomatoes, peppers, onion, and the bacon you cooked for a diverse blend of flavors. Alternately, deep fry it! It takes a bit of work to bread and deep fry your own okra, but it’s absolutely delicious and will have your guests coming back for more.

4. Collard Greens

More traditional than chard, collard greens are pretty quick to prepare. Simply saute them in a little bit of fat until they wilt, add some water, and let them simmer for about five minutes. A traditional dressing is usually based on sweetened vinegar, but you’re free to season your collard greens as you like.

5. Corn Maque Choux

Continuing with our theme of vegetable salads, maque choux is a fairly unique Louisiana dish that goes great with jambalaya. Saute creole vegetables in a pan, add corn, seasoning, and some broth, and then simmer until everything is tender. Drain any excess liquid and serve your maque choux as a salad! You can even add sugar, sauce, or a dash of acid to make your dish a bit more complex.

6. Simple Corn On The Cob

If you want to serve the freshest, most authentic side dish, look for some local ears of corn and simply prepare them on the grill. Corn is an absolute breeze to prepare and serves as a pleasant counterpoint to the flavors of jambalaya. Be sure to offer plenty of butter and a bit of cajun seasoning for your guests to top their corn with.

Genuine Southern Sides

If you’re still looking for ideas, try to think of what you would eat with Southern-style soul food. While mac and cheese might be a bit too starchy to serve alongside jambalaya, you can absolutely get away with coleslaw, hush puppies, potato salad, and just about anything that’s breaded and fried. These dishes might not be unique to New Orleans, but they still taste great.
 
The bottom line? If you could see yourself eating it at a barbecue, it probably goes very well with jambalaya. This includes both cajun favorites like maque choux and more general southern foods like okra and collard greens. Personally, I try to avoid pairing a rice-based dish with a starchy side, but there’s no real rule against it! This means you can also present a potato-based side (like mashed potatoes, a potato salad, or fries) or even mac and cheese. As long as it’s got plenty of flavor, it’ll go perfectly with your jambalaya.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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