Jambalaya is a delicious and flavorful recipe popular in New Orleans, Louisiana! Here are 15 amazing side dish recipes to serve alongside your jambalaya.
Jambalaya is a rice dish that is popular in Southern Louisiana! Its origins most likely stem from Jollof rice, a dish popular in West Africa. Jollof can be made using any ingredients that you have on hand, but the two main ingredients that must be included are rice and tomatoes. The same is true for this dish! An alternate theory for Jambalaya’s origin is that it is derived from Spanish Paella.
Jambalaya is a great way to experience the food and culture of Louisiana, especially if you’re looking for insight into cajun dishes. Make this traditional southern dish as a main course or as a great side to serve with a cajun or creole meal!
There are many ways to customize jambalaya according to taste preferences, cultural impact, and familial traditions. However, most recipes for jambalaya more or less contain similar ingredients:
Andouille Sausage: Get andouille sausage if you like spicy. If you don’t like spicy, you can choose another sausage!
Rice: Long Grain white rice is a good choice, but you can also use Basmati or Jasmine rice
Chicken: Chicken breast or thighs are both great.
Celery + Onions: These along with the bell peppers make up the Holy Trinity
Bell peppers: Green Bell Pepper and red bell pepper
Gumbo and Jambalaya are both very popular dishes that are served in Louisiana, USA (particularly New Orleans)! Though the dishes have similar elements, there are a lot of differences between the dishes.
The main ingredient in Jambalaya is rice! It is also usually cooked with andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, crawfish, ham, or other protein. The rice is mixed with spices, vegetables, sometimes tomatoes, and the desired protein for a delicious meal!
Gumbo is similar to a soup or stew. It’s usually made with a protein or meat, like shrimp, chicken or sausage. The stew is thickened by a roux (made with flour and butter) as well as okra or a filé. Gumbo is not cooked with rice, but it is usually served in a bowl with rice after the gumbo has finished cooking.
I do not recommend freezing jambalaya, as frozen rice does not thaw the best. If you want to try freezing it, you can put it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw before warming.
You can season your jambalaya to your spicy preference. If you love spicy food, you can add cayenne pepper, a lot of cajun seasoning, and spicy sausage. If you do not want a spicy jambalaya, cut down on these ingredients or omit them altogether.
Difference Between Creole and Cajun Versions
Different groups of people make jambalaya in different ways. Creole cooks will make this dish using tomatoes, forming a “red jambalaya” or a “creole jambalaya”. Cajun jambalaya does not include tomatoes.
Favorite Jambalaya Recipes
There are so many ways to make jambalaya, including classic, familial recipes as well as recipes that add a special twist. Check out some of the best jambalaya recipes:
- You can never go wrong with a classic recipe! My favorite classic Jambalaya is this recipe by Cafe Delights.
- For a quicker, hands-off recipe, you may want to try cooking the rice a different way. Check out this Instant Pot Jambalaya Recipe!
- If you want a healthier version of a classic jambalaya, try this Brown Rice Jambalaya recipe.
- No meat? No problem. Here is a vegan adaptation of your favorite creole recipe.
Expert Tips for Making Jambalaya
- You can add bacon to this dish and saute the vegetables in bacon grease for some extra flavor
- Add green onions as a topping
What to Serve with Jambalaya
Here are some ideas for the best side dishes to prepare when making this New Orleans classic at home:
- Greens & vegetables: Collard greens, Swiss chard (sautéed chard), green beans, sweet potatoes, corn maque choux, sweet corn, black beans
- Salads: Green salad, cucumber tomato salad, caesar salad
- Bread: Hush puppies, cheddar biscuits, corn bread
- Sauces: Hot sauce
Side Dish Recipe Ideas
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Green Goddess Salad
Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks (from iFoodReal) are topped with a simple cheese herb mixture and ready in 30 minutes. This simple snack or side dish is big on flavor, low calorie, and ready to be enjoyed plain or with your favorite dip!
Cajun Shrimp Cocktail
This Cajun shrimp cocktail (from Lauren from Scratch) is delicious like the original, with a zesty twist. Plump and juicy shrimp are coated with Cajun spices and roasted, then dunked into a tangy homemade Cajun cocktail sauce.
Easy Drop Biscuits
You must try this super easy drop biscuit recipe (from Dizzy, Busy and Hungry) for mouth-watering biscuits made with no yeast or butter, and with no rolling or cutting required. Just mix up a few basic ingredients, drop on a baking sheet or muffin tin, and enjoy in less than 20 minutes!
Sweet Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter
This honey and buttermilk cornbread recipe (from FoodWorthFeed) is baked in a cast iron skillet and served with sweet and salty whipped honey butter! It’s our all time favorite cornbread recipe – perfect for sharing at cookouts, potlucks, holidays and family parties.
Creole Green Beans
Creole Green Beans (from Flavor Mosaic) are savory and spicy and delicious with bacon, onions, tomatoes, chilies, and cajun seasoning and make a perfect Cajun Side Dish for Mardi Gras or any time.
Cajun Honey Jalapeno Slaw
Cajun Honey Jalapeño Slaw (from Flavor Mosaic) is a light and refreshing vinegar-based cole slaw, with no mayonnaise, but sweetened with honey, and spiced with cajun seasoning, worcestershire, and hot sauce. Makes a great side dish for a barbecue, picnic, or pot luck.
Jalapeno Cheddar Sourdough
Jalapeño cheddar sourdough (from The Flavor Bells) is something you have to try if you are searching for a cheese-based sourdough recipe. It is spicy, tangy, cheesy, and perfectly savory bread for all occasions. The pickled jalapeños give it spice and tang. And how can you go wrong with cheddar in bread!
This easy recipe for pickled shrimp (from Coley Cooks) is paired with crispy fried green tomatoes and creamy remoulade for a delicious, Southern inspired summer appetizer that everyone will love!
Roasted Pepper Salad
Impress your taste buds with this Roasted Pepper Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (from Vegan Huggs). It’s a fresh, colorful dish, bursting with sweet & smoky flavors.
Maque Choux (from Flavor Mosaic) is a creamy, spicy Cajun side dish made of corn, onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, heavy cream, and Cajun spices.
Smothered Green Beans
You can quickly whip up this comforting side of easy Smothered Green Beans (from Budget Delicious) for dinner tonight and any holiday meal in less than 25 minutes.
How To Make Smoked Brats
Smoked brats (from The Typical Mom) are a delicious lunch or dinner idea you can make in your pellet or electric smoker this week! If you haven’t tried smoking bratwurst in a Traeger yet, try this!
Grilled Corn on the Cob in Foil
This grilled corn on the cob in foil (from Easy and Delish) has no husk and is topped with jalapeno-lime aioli and Parmesan cheese. It is quick and easy to make and so delicious, ideal to serve in barbecue cookouts and more! Plus, find out how to grill corn easily!
Zesty Louisiana Creole Coleslaw
When it comes to coleslaw, hands down, Louisiana takes home the medal. This creole coleslaw (from Laura Fuentes) adds the perfect crunch to your pulled pork recipes or as an epic festive side.
Black Eyed Peas
This black eyed peas recipe (from Christina’s Cucina) is a great start to the new year, as it’s supposed to bring good luck! Not only do we need every type of luck more than ever before, but it’s the easiest recipe ever, and tasty, too!
Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
These Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts (from Cooktoria) are really tender and tasty. This easy recipe takes a few simple ingredients and creates a mouthwatering side dish you’ll be excited to serve.
Oven Roasted Okra
If you’re tired of making the same old vegetables, add this oven roasted okra (from A Sweet Alternative) to your repertoire of easy vegetable side dishes. This baked okra is simple yet full of flavor and so delicious. It’s a great dairy-free, paleo, vegan, and gluten-free side dish to add to the rotation. It’s perfect for busy weeknights but impressive and tasty enough to serve to dinner party guests.