jambalaya sides

What To Serve With Jambalaya?

When you go through preparing jambalaya, you certainly know that it deserves a side dish to be remembered. It is not always easy to decide what goes with jambalaya, but it is worth taking the time to do it. Do not ruin your favorite dish with the wrong choice anymore.

Here we will discuss the best side dishes for jambalaya and how they can make your meal better at any given moment.

What Is Jambalaya?

Jambalaya is a Creole dish with French, West African, and Spanish influences. It consists mainly of rice, meat, and vegetables. For the most part, the meat is a sausage of sorts, usually andouille, along with pork, chicken, shrimp, or crawfish.

When it comes to vegetables, you prepare them in a way called the “holy trinity,” which contains onion, celery, and green bell pepper. You also cook these in a sofrito style.

Sometimes other vegetables can be added, including okra, tomatoes, chilis, and garlic. Unlike other rice dishes, jambalaya is cooked all together until the rice is ready. The cooking can take a long time and must be under low heat.

There are two ways to prepare jambalaya that differ only by the presence of tomatoes. In Creole jambalaya, the meat is added with the trinity, then the sausage, followed by the tomatoes, and lastly the rice.

In Cajun jambalaya, there are no tomatoes, and the meat is browned in a cast-iron skillet giving it a distinct brown color unique to this dish.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of Jambalaya with meat (244 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 395 calories
  • 167 g water
  • 33.6 g protein
  • 19.4 g fat
  • 21.1 g carbohydrate
  • 1.71 g fiber
  • 2.29 g sugar
  • 58.6 mg calcium
  • 2.73 mg iron
  • 46.4 mg magnesium
  • 332 mg phosphorus
  • 588 mg potassium
  • 925 mg sodium
  • 34.9 µg selenium
  • 15.6 mg vitamin C
  • 102 mg choline
  • 19.5 µg vitamin A
  • 142 mg cholesterol

As you can see, jambalaya is high in protein and nutrients. However, it can also be a high-fat and high carbohydrate meal. You can choose a leaner protein, like shrimp, fish, or chicken, and cook your meal at home to reduce the fat and sodium content as well.

Best Side Dishes for Jambalaya

Below are some options for side dishes that you can eat with jambalaya at any time!

#1. Jalapeno Cornbread

Jambalaya is a Southern delicacy that packs a lot of spice, so serving something slightly sweet and spicy can be a very good idea. This recipe is easy to make, and you can add or switch some ingredients easily.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 1 tablespoons jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your jalapeno cornbread:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter.
  4. Slowly whisk in the liquid ingredients onto your dry mix. Whisk everything until there are no clumps.
  5. Add the jalapenos and cumin. Continue to mix well.
  6. Let the combined ingredients sit for a few minutes. Transfer your mix onto a greased baking dish.
  7. Bake your cornbread for at least 30 minutes, but do a toothpick test before you decide to finish the baking process. 
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature next to your jambalaya.  

#2. Sauteed Collard Greens

Collard greens are another Southern delicacy, so it makes sense that they may make a good pair with jambalaya. You can pretty much add anything you like to this dish, such as almonds, cranberries, or garlic.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of collard greens
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your sauteed collard greens:

  1. You should start your cooking process by washing your collard greens and cutting off the stems.
  2. Add your collard greens to a pot with boiling water. Cook them for about 15 minutes, and drain them.
  3. In a large skillet, heat your butter. Once melted and bubbly, add the garlic.
  4. Transfer the collard greens to the skillet. Add the cumin, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook everything for about 5 minutes or until the collard greens soften.
  6. Serve warm next to your jambalaya.

#3. Baked Okra

You cannot go wrong with okra, especially when it comes to a Creole or Cajun meal. This recipe is easy to make and results in a perfect side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb okra
  • 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your baked okra: 

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to about 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the okra and set it aside to dry on a paper towel. If necessary, pat it dry.
  3. Trim the stems, and cut them into small pieces. Spread the okra on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil on top of your okra. Sprinkle the paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bake your okra for about 10 to 15 minutes. In the end, it should be tender and brown.
  6. Serve hot next to or on top of your jambalaya.

#4. Fresh Corn Salad

Since jambalaya is a very complete and filling meal, a fresh corn salad can be the right choice for breaking through all the flavors. You can pretty much add any vegetable and seasoning that you can think of, making this recipe your own.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your fresh corn salad: 

  1. Begin by cooking your corn and then draining it. If you are using canned corn, drain it and set it aside in a large bowl.
  2. In that large bowl, combine the corn, red onion, bell pepper, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or longer.
  4. Serve cold on the side of your jambalaya.

#5. Sauteed Chard with White Beans

Swiss chard is another Southern delicacy that is often in various recipes. This one is easy to make, and the white beans complement it well.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of Swiss chard
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white beans
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your sauteed chard with white beans:

  1. Add the olive oil to a skillet. When warm, add the garlic and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
  2. Toss in the Swiss chard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cook for at least 5 minutes, or until the chard softens.
  3. Drain your white beans, and add them to the skillet as well. Mix everything well for a few minutes, just enough to warm up your beans but not dry them.
  4. Season with oregano and taste.
  5. Serve warm next to your jambalaya plate.

#6. Cucumber and Tomato Salad

When you are sure that your jambalaya is sufficiently filling and heavy, a fresh dish may be the right way to go. This cucumber and tomato salad is then the side dish you need! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your cucumber and tomato salad:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
  2. Wash and slice the cucumbers to the size you want. Chop your cherry tomatoes along with the red onion.
  3. Place all your vegetables in a large bowl. Add the dressing ingredients slowly, while mixing well.
  4. Refrigerate covered for at least an hour or as long as desired.
  5. Serve cold in a bowl next to your jambalaya.

#7. Cheesy Biscuits  

Just like cornbread, biscuits are a must in Southern cuisines. In this case, you can make these ahead of time, or while you prepare your jambalaya without any problems.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your cheesy biscuits:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the butter, cheese, garlic, and oregano. Mix in the milk, and whisk everything slowly until there are no crumbs.
  4. On a baking sheet, add your dough and divide it into a biscuit shape.
  5. Bake your biscuits for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  6. Serve warm to accompany your jambalaya.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Jambalaya Sides?

Jambalaya is not an easy dish to prepare. This meal takes preparation, time, and patience. However, the result is worth it, and you certainly want to serve the right side dish with it.

If you are preparing Creole jambalaya, your dish will be a little denser with tomatoes in it. One option to serve with this meal is the fresh corn salad, as it can cut through the flavors perfectly. You can also choose the baked okra with your Creole jambalaya and compliment the tomatoes well. 

On the other hand, when preparing Cajun jambalaya, the focus is on the meat. In this case, you can serve the jalapeno cornbread on the side and not affect the flavors of your dish. Another good option would be the sauteed collard greens that are delicate and soft.

Finally, your meal can be a great feast on its own, but if you want to switch things up, there are more dishes to consider. You could serve it with the sauteed chard with green beans and cheesy biscuits together. For a lighter meal, consider the cucumber and tomato salad cold on the side.

Conclusion

Because jambalaya is truly a decadent meal that requires time and attention, you do not want to mess it up by serving the wrong side dish. All of these options are easy to make and truly delicious.

Choose one or two and make sure they are the flavor profile you want for the kind of jambalaya you will be making!

See more: Difference between gumbo and jambalaya

*image by robeo123/depositphotos

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