If you’re looking for something new to serve with dinner tonight, try these tasty Peruvian side dishes.
When considering which recipes to add to this list, I came across a website that said, “Peruvian food is a cuisine of opposites,” and I thought, “That couldn’t be more true.”
These Peruvian side dishes certainly prove it to be so.
The best Peruvian chefs know exactly how to use contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures to their advantage.
They mix spicy with sweet, creamy with crunchy, and mild flavors with robust ones.
They use a lot of spice and seasonings in their food – even in their desserts – and incorporate plenty of fresh veggies, as well.
For this list, I’ve tried to stick to recipes that are relatively simple to make but have an intense amount of that typical Peruvian flavor. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
I decided to start simple with a 20-minute Peruvian salad.
It’s a dense, filling salad that’s more akin to a shoepeg corn salad than anything you’d ever order at a restaurant.
It contains the sweetness and tartness of corn, tomatoes, and red wine vinegar, the zest of lemons, sea salt, and olives, and the fresh earthiness of onions, parsley, radishes, and mint.
There are even a few jalapenos for heat! If this salad isn’t a study in contrasts, nothing is. Oh, but don’t worry; it’s insanely delicious.
If you’re looking for a new sweet bread recipe, check out this one for anise bread, or Peruvian pan de anis.
In addition to “normal” bread ingredients like yeast, eggs, flour, and water, the bread also contains anise seed and ⅓ cup of sugar.
It’s warm, fluffy, and tastes great with a cup of black coffee or strong tea.
I can say with 100% confidence that this Peruvian potato-chicken salad doesn’t look like any salad you’ve ever seen.
If you make it correctly, it resembles flan more than anything even remotely salad-like. Even so, potato-chicken salad is precisely what it is.
It’s cool, creamy, and savory, but it’s also super spicy, thanks to the aji amarillo chili paste.
It’s a layered dish that takes a bit of time to make and get right.
If you manage it, though, there won’t be a single unimpressed person in the entire house.
It looks awesome and tastes great as well.
Although yuquitas fritas take an hour to cook, you can prepare them with four simple ingredients in 15 minutes or less.
These are the Peruvian answer to French fries. They’re crispy, crunchy, salty, and yummy.
You can make this traditional Peruvian dish in 35 minutes with fewer than 10 ingredients.
It’s starchy, meaty, and tastes like authentic street food.
(I mean that in the best possible way. Good street food is incredible and hard to find.)
The dish has a fancy, hard-to-pronounce name, but it’s really just sausage on French fries with plenty of good condiments.
6. Tacu Tacu
Upon first glancing at this recipe, you might be a little intimidated. The total cooking time seems long, and there are tons of ingredients.
However, tacu tacu isn’t difficult to make at all. If you can soak beans and saute ingredients, you’ll be able to fix it.
Tacu tacu is the Peruvian version of rice and beans. You’ll cook them and shape them into a hash brown-like patty.
Then you’ll serve that patty with a fried egg, fried plantains, and a zesty onion relish.
It’s fried food with plenty of garlic and onions — what’s not to love?!
Speaking of fried plantains, II couldn’t leave these off the list. They have delightfully crispy outsides and soft, tender insides.
They’re lightly sweet, but don’t expect them to be “American sweet.”
Just because their name is “fried sweet plantains” doesn’t mean they taste like dessert.
On the contrary, people usually serve these as a side dish with rice and beans, soups and stews, and other savory meals.
If you do want to use them as dessert, you might want to add a bit of cinnamon, sugar, or nutmeg to them before serving them.
That makes them more like pastries and less like chips.
Containing chickpeas, black beans, and mixed beans, this Peruvian side dish is aptly named. Beans aren’t all that’s in it, though.
There are also grape tomatoes, jalapeno and yellow peppers, avocado, parsley, garlic cloves, and plenty of seasonings.
It’s a beautiful salad containing greens, reds, browns, yellows, and more.
To me, all those colors make it exciting and festive, so I often bring it to cookouts and barbecues.
You can serve it right away, but I prefer to stick it in the fridge and let it cool for at least a few hours before doing so.
That gives all the flavors time to mix and mingle.
Of all the recipes on this list, this one probably does the best job of showcasing the “Peruvian cuisine of opposites” mentioned earlier.
Traditionally served as an appetizer, papa la Huancaina is a dish made with thick slices of boiled potatoes covered in Huancaina sauce.
If you’ve never had Huancaina sauce, it’s velvety smooth, cheesy, rich, and just a bit spicy. It’s so good.
Once you add the eggs, olives, lettuce, and parsley, it’s somehow salty, cheesy, bitter, fresh, and savory all at the same time.
10. Peruvian Rice
For the last dish, I’ve chosen a simple Peruvian staple – Peruvian rice.
It requires only six ingredients – rice, garlic, olive oil, water, lemon juice, and salt – and takes 35 minutes to make.
It’s a light dish with a mild taste; the garlic, salt, and lemon juice add just a hint of complexity, but the overall flavor isn’t strong or overpowering.
That’s unusual for Peruvian dishes.
However, people usually top the rice with onion relish, peppers, marinated meats, or roasted veggies, so it’s supposed to be mild and unassuming.
Even so, it’s filling, as most rice is, and has just enough flavor to make it taste delicious even if you eat it by itself.
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