Jambalaya is one of those dishes that almost provides a full meal in itself. It has meat and rich spices plus rice and veggies and whatever else you may have in there.
It’s a hearty dish but it still needs some sort of side to accompany it, even if it’s something light and simple.
Choosing your side dish for the main dish can sometimes be challenging because you have to choose flavors that will compliment and not take away from your main dish.
You also don’t want to end up with clashing flavors that simply don’t pair well with the main dish either.
What goes well with jambalaya? There really are a lot of different options that can work incredibly well as a side dish for jambalaya. You can always change up your meats, just serve dessert, or choose a light side that compliments that rich and spicy flavor of jambalaya.
In this guide, we will share with you our 13 perfect side dish recommendations for jambalaya.
Each of these dishes makes the perfect pairing so that when you make jambalaya you have a complete and flavorful meal that you simply can’t get enough of!
Stick with us to learn the 13 perfect side dishes for jambalaya and more!
13 Perfectly Paired Side Dishes for Jambalaya
There are those who are content to simply serve jambalaya as the complete meal but then there are those who feel as though some sort of side and complimentary addition is necessary.
If you’re in the first group, maybe we can change your mind. If you’re in the second group, you’ve come to the best place to find great side ideas!
Jambalaya certainly can be served alone. However, we think what you will find is that if you add a complimentary side or even a dessert, it really rounds out the flavor of those hearty spices.
It’s such a rich meal and you might just be surprised at how a well-placed side really pulls that out of it.
Jambalaya has a large mix of things in it. You get rice as your base and then you fill that with rich spices, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, chicken, sausage, crawfish, and more. It creates a full and flavorful dish.
But check out these 13 side options and consider trying them for the perfect pair!
Cornbread is our first recommendation! Nothing pairs better with a hearty, spicy dish like this than some homemade cornbread. In fact, if you’re enjoying this Creole dish like it’s meant to be had, cornbread is probably a given here.
Cornbread has just the perfect amount of corn flavor, mixed with corn and it can even be made to either be sweet or savory for your own preferences.
We recommend sweet when pairing with jambalaya because it really brings out the flavors of jambalaya but might also help your palette with the spicy nature of jambalaya.
This is the perfect pair, no holds barred!
2. Corn or Corn on the Cob
Another great option is corn, particularly corn on the cob. Again, corn is a staple food in Creole so pairing good corn on the cob with your jambalaya will round out your meal to perfection.
Corn on the cob can be made several different ways and even buttered or seasoned to your liking.
The light but savory flavor of corn will really compliment the rich and spicy flavors of jambalaya. If you use corn on the cob, then you have a crunchy side to serve with your not so crunchy main dish!
3. Green Salad
A salad is a great pair with just about any meal and it will work nicely with your jambalaya as well. The key here is you don’t want to overdo your salad so you don’t overwhelm your senses with too many different flavors.
Keep it simple with a nice, green salad and a lightly flavored dressing. You can use greens and even onion and cucumber, maybe some sunflower seeds to really bring your meal home.
With the spicy flavors of jambalaya, this cold salad will be absolutely delicious.
Look for dressing that is creamy, rather than zesty or tart for the best flavor combination.
4. Fried Okra
Some people add okra to their jambalaya but it’s really not intended to be in the dish originally. However, some fried okra makes the perfect side to jambalaya.
Jambalaya is a southern dish and so is fried okra, so it makes sense to pair the two.
Fried okra has a light flavor and is crunchy so pairing it with jambalaya really rounds out the meal nicely.
5. Cheddar Biscuits
You know what jambalaya never has? Cheese! Whip up some cheddar biscuits that include delicious garlic and cheddar in the recipe and you will have the perfect creation to enjoy next to your jambalaya.
Cheddar biscuits are a simple addition and the cheddar flavor will compliment your spicy jambalaya dish quite nicely.
6. Hush Puppies
You might notice a theme here with many of these sides that adds either crunchy or corn to the flavors and some of them add both.
Hush puppies bring both crunchy and corn as another Southern side that is awesome when paired with jambalaya.
That spicy goodness of jambalaya and the sweet corn in hush puppies give you a small and simple side that again rounds out the dish without adding too much extra to it.
7. Cucumber and Tomato Salad
This one might be a bit more challenging to pull off because you need to get your flavors just right. Cucumber and tomato salad typically is mixed with vinegar, which might make it too much for jambalaya.
However, if you use a light apple cider vinaigrette or something not quite as tart, it can make a great side. You don’t need much, just cucumbers, tomatoes, maybe some onions and a small amount of dressing.
Add a touch of salt and pepper and you have a light side that is refreshing in combination with the spicy and savory jambalaya on your plate.
8. Grilled Oyster
We know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t grilled oysters be another main dish? It doesn’t have to be! Grilled oysters will be sweet, buttery, and maybe a touch briny so your savory and spicy jambalaya will pair perfectly together with them.
We recommend grilled oysters, maybe even with some remoulade sauce to accompany them. You will find they complement the jambalaya nicely like this.
9. Collard Greens
Collard greens, or even chard, are another combination that works well with jambalaya. Remember that your side dish is meant to compliment your main dish here so you want to keep the flavors either light or complimentary.
Collards greens and chard are both subtle and mild as far as flavor goes, which is why they work well to pair with jambalaya. You can sauté them and you have a healthy, nutrition-packed side that really helps to balance out the meal overall.
Keep it simple and just sauté your collard greens or chard in a little bit of oil and vinegar and toss in some brown sugar with it. You can even add some onions if you like. It’s just the right amount of flavor for a jambalaya pairing.
10. Corn Maque Choux
Yep, that’s right! Corn again! We already know from our several other recommendations that corn pairs very well with jambalaya. It gives something crunchy and sweet that is also lightly flavored.
Corn Maque Choux is made with corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Your jambalaya already has tomatoes and bell peppers most likely but these will be served in a fresh creation dish so they are crisp and crunchy.
This Louisiana dish is perfect for jambalaya.
11. Fruit Salad
Focus less on bread and veggies and try a nice fruit salad instead. The fruit will be sweet and light, combined with the spicy and savory flavors of jambalaya. It might even feel like a dessert!
We recommend fruits like berries, bananas, kiwi, and mangoes to really round out the flavors.
12. Fried Zucchini
Much like fried okra, fried zucchini is a nice addition as well.
Zucchini has a very light flavor and the breading and frying process gives you a light but tasty and crisp side addition that will help to compliment the flavors of jambalaya and round out the spicy dish as well.
We typically wouldn’t recommend another carb on the side since jambalaya has rice in it. However, a quick side dish of potatoes can really perfect your jambalaya.
You don’t want your potatoes to be too hearty so stick to something simple like mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, or even some cheesy scalloped potatoes for the win.
What Meat Goes with Jambalaya?
Jambalaya typically has several types of meat inside of the dish. Traditionally, jambalaya contains shrimp, sausage, chicken, and crawfish. These are perfect in jambalaya.
If you want a little more or want some meat on the side, you can try some ham or some scallops and they would work quite well.
What Dessert Goes with Jambalaya?
You can make a lot of different desserts that really work nicely with jambalaya. After the savory spice of the dish, you want something perfectly sweet to end the meal with! Here are a few options to consider.
- Fruit pie (blackberry, blueberry, apple, or peach are perfect)
- Pecan pie
- Brownies or brownie cake
- Carrot cake
- Bread pudding
- King’s cake
- Praline Pecan cake or cookies
- Bourbon vanilla ice cream
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