Can’t decide on what to serve with jambalaya? We’ve put together the 10 perfect jambalaya sides to help complete your meal.
Creole or Cajun style, this jambalaya is inspired by a combination of West African, French, and Spanish rice dishes. A favorite in New Orleans, this Southern Louisiana dish is adored by many across the globe.
Rice forms the foundation of this meal, and it usually includes smoked sausage, such as andouille. Broth and vegetables such as onion, celery, bell peppers, and tomatoes most often complete this delicious dish.
Other meats, such as chicken, crawfish, and shrimp, can also be used with chili and garlic for added flavor. The result is a spicy, morish taste sensation.
What to Serve with Jambalaya
Because jambalaya includes rice, meat, and vegetables, it makes for a somewhat hearty meal on its own.
When looking for the perfect side dish, you’ll want to stick to light and refreshing options. Adding traditional Creole or Cajun sides is a safe bet. And subtle flavors would compliment the spiciness of the meal.
Our list of 10 drool-worthy sides will help you find the perfect accompaniment to elevate your southern-style meal experience.
1. Cajun Corn Maque Choux
This crunchy corn-based dish will take those sweet and hot flavors up a level.
Corn, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and Cajun spices form part of this dish’s bold flavor. These juicy veggies are then caramelized in bacon fat, adding robust sweet and salty tones.
Use fresh corn for the best possible results. And a combination of green and red bell peppers to give the dish more color.
2. Baked Creole Zucchini
A sweet and cheesy side dish, this is a great partner to jambalaya. And it will bring balance to the otherwise spicy meal.
While it’s made with heavy cream and Panko breadcrumbs, the zucchini itself is a light, soft vegetable. Spiced with Creole seasoning and topped with breadcrumbs and cheese, this side will add a tangy crunch to the meal.
Mozzarella, cheddar, and jack cheese make the best combination cheese topping for this pairing. You can also substitute the zucchini with yellow squash for a more traditional dish.
3. Deep-fried Okra
Okra is another staple vegetable in southern cooking. And, just like zucchini, it brings a crisp and refreshing element to the spicy and rich jambalaya.
Here the natural okra flavor is encased in a tasty, deep-fried batter. Simply dip bite-sized pieces of okra into buttermilk. Then cover them in a cornflour mixture, including smoked paprika and garlic powder.
If you’d like to add some heat to this side, you can include cayenne pepper in the cornflour mixture. It’s best to use fresh okra in this instance. Frozen okra will be too soft to hold its shape when fried.
4. Green Salad
A cool, crisp green salad is the perfect accompaniment to almost any stew or casserole. The fresh ingredients pair well with the heavy, starch-laden jambalaya. And it’s a quick, easy, budget-friendly option.
Combine your favorite raw leafy greens with cucumber and tomatoes for a basic salad. Or level up your salad by adding avocado, goat cheese, grated carrot, and almond flakes.
A mix of baby romaine, oak leaf, and red lettuce will add layers of flavor and color to the salad.
5. Fried Collard Greens
These nutritious leafy green vegetables are not particularly appetizing when raw but taste amazing when fried. This is a subtle dish, perfectly paired with the heavy richness of the rice and smoked andouille in the jambalaya.
Simply fry onions and bacon bits in oil until they start to brown. Then add fresh collard greens with some water and a little sugar. Cook until the greens are tender.
After rinsing, soak your collard greens in cold water with a teaspoon of salt before cooking. This will remove their earthy natural taste and help them maintain their color when cooked.
6. Creamed Spinach
In keeping with the theme of delicate and nutritious greens, our next recommended jambalaya pairing is creamed spinach. There’s nothing better than a creamy side dish to counteract the spiciness of Cajun and Creole flavors.
All you need to do is fry onions and garlic in a pot with melted butter and little flour. Then add milk to the pot along with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper to taste. Wilt your spinach in a separate pan with some butter and stir into the creamy sauce when done.
Use fresh baby spinach for the best results. Top this side with parmesan cheese when serving.
7. Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled corn is synonymous with the tastes and smells of summer and barbecues. That’s why it’s the perfect companion to the smokey flavors present in jambalaya.
You can grill your corn on an indoor or outdoor grill. I like to remove the leaves and cut the lengths of corn in half for easy plating and handling.
Brush your corn with a mixture of melted butter and olive oil, and place on a hot grill or grill pan. Turn them frequently, making sure to brown the corn on each side.
When cooked, slather in butter and sprinkle with salt and Cajun spices for an added burst of flavor and serve.
8. Sweet Potato Corn Bread
This is another tasty side, bringing two pillars of southern-style cooking together in one dish. Sweet potato cornbread is a sweet-tasting bread and is the ideal partner for any spicy stew or similar meal.
This surprisingly healthy bread contains a cornmeal mixture, sweet potatoes, eggs, and sour cream. Sugar, butter, and pumpkin pie spice are added to the batter before baking in a hot, buttered skillet.
Words cannot describe the warm and welcome smell of this divine bread as it bakes. Your sweet potato cornbread is best served warm or at room temperature.
9. Fried Green Tomatoes
A crisp and tangy side pairs well with a smokey, spicy, and rich rice dish. Enter fried green tomatoes. A delightful, classic southern side dish to compliment your comforting jambalaya creation.
All you’ll need are some firm, green, un-ripened tomatoes cut into ⅓ to ½ inch slices. Each slice is coated in a blend of flour and Cajun spice and then dipped into a buttermilk and eggs mixture.
Before frying, they’re coated in a combination of cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and black pepper. They’re best served hot with a remoulade sauce. Yum.
10. New Orleans-Style String Beans
This side makes for a cool, crunchy, and light accompaniment to jambalaya’s hearty, rich, and spicy characteristics. And it’s a simple dish to make, requiring very little time.
Simply fry parboiled string beans and whole garlic cloves with honey, oil, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. When done, place them in a serving dish and drizzle them with the sauce from the pan.
Allow the beans to cool before serving. Your friends and family will be so impressed. They’ll be begging you for the recipe.