Getting bored with your usual weeknight meals? It’s time to spice up your dinner and get a taste of the tropics with these Caribbean side dishes!
Caribbean cuisine is a melting pot of different cuisines from all over the world – African, Indian, Creole, Latin American, Asian, European – you name it!
It’s a combination of every unique flavor and ingredient you can think of.
So if you’re looking for ways to add a fun and exciting twist to your dinner, Caribbean sides are the way to go.
From rice and beans to sweet potatoes and plantains, these 15 dishes will take you on a gastronomic trip without leaving the comfort of your home.
1. Caribbean Rice
Carribean rice is flavored with coconut milk, allspice, cayenne, garlic cloves, and pineapple juice.
Can you imagine the combination of warming spices and tropical flavors in one dish? What a treat!
Sweet, creamy, and satisfying, this dish is the ultimate comfort food! Bell peppers also add a pop of color, making it not only delicious but also stunning to look at.
2. Yucca Fries
Want a fun twist on the classic French fries? Yucca fries it is.
Yucca, also known as cassava, is a starchy root vegetable popularly used in Latin dishes.
It’s like a cross between potatoes and sweet potatoes. It’s tender and a bit chewy, and creamy and mildly sweet.
These yucca fries are just as good as regular fries, but have a sweeter and nuttier flavor! They’re crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and delectable all over.
3. Caribbean Coleslaw
Creamy coleslaw minus all the mayo – this Carribean side dish is light, refreshing, and perfect with any entrée.
Caribbean coleslaw is not just cabbage and carrots. It comes with ripe mangoes, hot jalapenos, and sweet honey, too!
Together, these ingredients make one dynamic dish full of complementing flavors and contrasting textures.
4. Cuban Black Beans
Cuban black beans are a staple in Caribbean home cooking. They’re made with black beans, rice, veggies, spices, and a sauce called “sofrito.”
This dish is usually described as “mucho sabor,” which means “lots of flavors.” I’m not surprised!
The best part? It’s super easy to prepare. Just 20 minutes, and these beans are ready to be devoured.
5. Spicy Caribbean Sausages
Chicken sausages with red onion, sweet potato, and mangoes, seasoned with jerk spices, and roasted to perfection? That’s the stuff!
This dish is loaded not just with flavor, but with color, too! What more can you ask for?
6. Dominican Rice with Noodles
Also known as “arroz con fideos,” this traditional Dominican dish is made with rice and vermicelli flavored with chicken or vegetable broth.
It’s a simple dish with subtle flavors, and it’s great with meats and rich entrees.
Since it’s double the carbs, it’s very hearty, too! Perfect if you need to serve a crowd of hungry folks.
7. Barbadian Pickled Cucumber
This Barbadian side dish combines the cucumbers, peppers, lime juice, and onion.
One bite gives you wonderful contrasts of temperature and flavor – hot and cold, and sweet and tangy. It will definitely blow your taste buds away!
Light, refreshing, and zesty, this Barbadian pickled cucumber pairs beautifully with heavy savory dishes.
8. Saltfish Fritters
If you’re looking for something truly unique, look no further. Saltfish fritters may be a simple deep-fried dish, but boy, are the flavors sensational.
Why? Because we’re not using any regular fish here. Instead, we’re using dry salted saltfish, which is cod that’s dried and salted for preservation.
True, it takes a while to prepare, since you have to soak the fish in water for days to get rid of the saltiness. But the wait is worth it.
Think of it as the fish version of a prosciutto. It takes a while to cure the meat, but the flavor is delicious.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic – bread crumbs, potatoes, onions, pepper, and shallots.
9. Trinidad Callaloo
This traditional soup from Trinidad is made with spinach, carrots, okra, pumpkin, and fresh herbs cooked in coconut milk.
It may be all-veggie, but it’s definitely drool-worthy.
The pumpkin and carrots add sweetness to the dish, while the milk makes it incredibly creamy.
The herbs and seasonings provide heartwarming flavors, making one stunning side dish.
Serve callaloo with rice or dumplings for the ultimate Carribean feast.
10. Fried Green Plantains
Tostones are unripe plantains that are fried, smashed, and fried again. They’re crispy, salty, savory, and addictive.
Don’t be surprised if you snack on these treats all night long!
To be clear, green plantains don’t taste like unripe bananas. They taste more like potatoes when cooked, so expect a smashed potato-esque dish here.
The popular Carribean snack is also very easy to prepare. You just basically toss the plantains with salt and fry!
11. Jamaican Roasted Breadfruit
Breadfruit is a popular Jamaican fruit that’s actually more of a starch than a fruit. It’s usually roasted and eaten as a side dish.
You can also fry it, but roasting is much healthier, and the flavor and texture are just the same.
So, what does breadfruit taste like? Well, it’s a lot like a potato – crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
Roasting it releases its sweetness, making it more flavorful.
Conkies is a popular dish in Barbados. It’s made with cornmeal, grated pumpkin, sweet potatoes, coconut, flour, sugar, raisins, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. WOW!
The mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. It’s sweet, tender, and absolutely amazing.
It can be served either as a dessert or a side dish to fish cakes or fried fish. You can eat it for breakfast, too!
13. Diri Djon Djon
Diri djon djon is a Haitian delicacy made with rice and black mushroom, and it is pure heaven.
What makes this dish extra special is the djon djon, or black mushroom. It has such a strong flavor that you only need to add a little spice to the dish.
It’s also rare, thus expensive, and is often served during special occasions.
If you’re making it for the first time, this recipe is for you. Since you’ll be using an Instant Pot, you’ll be done in just 20 minutes!
Mangu is a classic Dominican breakfast made with plantains, eggs, fried cheese, salami, and onions sauteed in vinegar.
The five elements make one hearty, meaty, and satisfying dish. It’s the perfect way to start your day.
15. Cuban Potato Balls
Papas Rellenas are balls of mashed potatoes filled with ground beef, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep fried until golden crisp.
It’s Carribean comfort food at its best!
They’re wonderfully crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. That beefy center also adds a wonderful surprise. My, my. I can eat this forever.
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