Gumbo is a classic go-to meal in Louisiana. In fact, eating gumbo is like getting a taste of New Orleans in a bowl.
This Creole dish is loaded with meat, vegetables, and a ton of bold flavors. Most recipes include some combination of onions, bell peppers, celery, okra, shrimp, sausage, and chicken. And of course, plenty of seasoning to get that famous Cajun flavor!
Now, if you’re wondering what side dishes go well with this exquisite soup, we’re here to help. Traditionally, gumbo is often served with steamed white rice. Which makes an excellent combo. But don’t let that stop you from exploring other options!
Here are 10 incredible side dishes that will turn a tasty bowl of gumbo into an unforgettable meal.
It’s probably the most traditional thing served with gumbo, and for good reason. There is just quite nothing like a chewy and hearty starch to go with the thick and savory stew that is gumbo. Just imagine that savory thick sauce coating each grain of steaming rice. Just the thought of it makes my mouth drool.
But what type of rice goes best with gumbo? To be honest, there really is no right or wrong answer here. So let your taste buds lead the way!
If you want to go the traditional route, opt for long-grain white or brown rice. Some prefer basmati, wild, and arborio rice, especially if your gumbo has okra in it.
Others enjoy a side of dirty rice – white rice mixed with bacon bits, peppers, celery, onion, and flavored with cayenne and black pepper.
Just like gumbo, cornbread is a staple in Southern cuisine. This sweet and crumbly pastry gives a wonderful contrast to the richness of gumbo. It also serves as a sponge that soaks up all that decadent soup!
3. Hush Puppies
These deep-fried balls are soft, sweet, chewy, and go really well with gumbo. Just like cornbread, its sweetness balances out the gumbo’s savory flavors.
Want to make these sweet balls a little more exciting? Give it a subtle hint of spice by infusing it with some chili.
4. Cheese Bread
We’ve already established that bread tastes great with gumbo. But you know what else does? Cheese, and tons of it. Just imagine dunking that cheesy, buttery, and tender bread into a bowl of hot gumbo! Perfection.
5. Potato Salad
When it comes to sides, potatoes are always a great idea. With gumbo, my go-to option is almost always potato salad. This creamy and tangy dish adds a nice contrast to your gumbo. In fact, some even put a spoonful in their stew!
Coleslaw is another creamy, refreshing side that contrasts perfectly with a spicy gumbo soup.
Plus, it’s super easy to make. To prepare: combine 1 medium head of cabbage (shredded), 1 carrot (thinly sliced), 1/4 onion (chopped), 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of white sugar.
Chill in the refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. You’ll never go back to pre-made coleslaw again! But of course, if you’d like a shortcut, you can always buy packaged coleslaw. Then just add the onion and dressing and you’re good to go.
Okra is another Southern classic that goes well with just about anything. And if you’re a true Southern, you’re going to coat it in batter and deep fry it. These little fried okra “poppers” are bite-sized bliss.
7. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is sweet, juicy, and incredibly simple to prepare. Just boil those bad boys and they’re ready to go.
Or, if you’ve got some time, grill it for a few minutes to give it a beautiful char and smoky flavor. Slather it with lots of butter and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning for maximum flavor.
8. Fresh Salad
A simple green salad provides a refreshing contrast to gumbo soup. You can dress it up with anything you like: tomatoes, bacon, shredded cheese, celery, avocado and your choice of dressing.
Or you can make an Italian salad with iceberg lettuce, Boscoli, artichoke hearts, tomato and topped with a bit of red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Of course, don’t forget to add some crunchy French bread on the side. Yum!
If you’re a sweet tooth like me, you can’t end a meal without dessert. Bread pudding is a great treat to round out your Cajun feast. It’s got wonderful Southern flavors and textures best eaten after a hearty meal of gumbo.
Some say beignets are a lot similar to hush puppies, which is exactly why they go so well with gumbo! These light and pillowy squares are perfectly sweet and delightful. Dunk them in a bowl of honey or syrup or a hot cup of coffee and they taste just like heaven.
Another classic Southern dessert is sweet potato pie. It’s light and sweet, perfect to round out such a hearty meal.
Lemon pie is another excellent option. It has nice citrus flavors that work as a wonderful palate cleanser.
Apart from side dishes, beverages also contribute to the success of your meal. So don’t just serve your guests plain water or soda – kick things up a notch and pair your gumbo with a nice bottle of wine!
If you’re making a spicy gumbo, a sweet red or white wine is a good choice. If it’s a rich gumbo, on the other hand, a bottle of dry white wine is the way to go. For seafood gumbo, a bottle of Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc works best.