Gumbo is a delicious and flavorful recipe popular in New Orleans, Louisiana! Here are 15 amazing side dish recipes to serve alongside your gumbo.
Gumbo is a popular stew choice that is famous in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s traditionally made with meat or shellfish, stock, a thickener, cajun seasoning, and the Creole “holy trinity”.
There are different versions of this southern staple, including seafood gumbo, sausage gumbo, and chicken gumbo. Whichever way you decide to make it, it’s vital to have some delicious sides to serve alongside it! I’ve compiled some of the best side dish ideas for gumbo to give you a perfect combination of flavors.
You can use Mardi Gras as a good reason to make this dish, or you can just make it for dinner to enjoy some traditional southern cuisine. Either way, gumbo is always a great idea.
FAQs about Gumbo
The Creole “Holy Trinity” in Creole cooking is the three vegetables that form the base for most of the regional dishes! It is made by sautéing celery, bell peppers, and onions together. Typically green bell peppers are used!
A roux is a very important part of gumbo that forms the base of the recipe! It is made by 2 parts oil with 3 parts flour. The ingredients are combined in the bottom of a large pan and cooked on medium heat for 30-45 minutes until the paste is a deep brown color.
The final result is called a dark roux, and is then used to color and thicken the gumbo!
Gumbo can be looked at as either a soup or a stew depending on the recipe. Some recipes call for a thinner, brothier base in which case the gumbo is similar to a soup. Some recipes call for a thicker liquid base, which makes the gumbo similar to a stew.
Gumbo is a very flavorful dish and there are quite a few spices used in this recipe. Every recipe will call for something different, but some common additions are cajun seasoning, thyme, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, and sometimes even fire roasted tomatoes to get that smoky flavor.
Each family has their own recipe for gumbo, and if you ask anyone in New Orleans, they’ll tell you that their family’s recipe is the best (similar to Italians and their pasta sauce). Here are a few different variations of Gumbo Recipes
- Some recipes call for chicken and sausage in their okra, but others, like The Gumbo Shop’s Seafood Okra Gumbo, can be made with seafood like crab or shrimp. This recipe also calls for okra, the standard thickening agent.
- If a recipe does not call for okra as a second thickener (after the roux), then it will likely call for filé powder, like this Classic Cajun Gumbo recipe!
- If you want a Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe you can easily replace the meat and seafood with other vegetables such as cauliflower.
What is the Difference Between Jambalaya and Gumbo?
Jambalaya and Gumbo are both recipes that are popular in the state of Louisiana in the United States of America (Ps… Planning a trip to New Orleans soon? Here are the 8 Best Foods to Eat in New Orleans!).
Gumbo is a stew-like dish made with protein (andouille sausage, shrimp, etc). It is thickened by a roux as well as (typically) either okra or filé. Rice is served as an ingredient in gumbo, but it isn’t cooked in the pot. Instead, it is added after the gumbo has finished cooking.
Jambalaya, on the other hand, features rice as its main ingredient. It usually contains andouille sausage and can also include shrimp, chicken, ham, or other forms of protein. There is no thickening agent in Jambalaya; instead the rice cooks with the protein, spices, and vegetables (and sometimes tomatoes) for a delicious final product.
What to Eat with Gumbo
There are so many delicious side dishes that can be served alongside gumbo! Read this list for inspiration and popular choices, and then scroll below for specific recipes to try:
- White Rice, Brown Rice, or Dirty Rice
- Cheese Bread
- French Bread
- Vegetables like Okra or Green Beans
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Hush Puppies
- Cajun fries
- Fresh Salad
- Potato Salad
- Hot Sauce (though this is fiercely debated)
- Crab Cakes
- Dessert like Bread pudding
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Instant Pot White Rice
Instant Pot Brown Rice
This delicious Iron Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread (from 24 Bite) is a great addition to any meal and works especially well with soups, stews and beans.
Cheesy Grits Fritters
Crispy, snackable Cheesy Grits Fritters (from Babaganosh)! These bite-sized fried appetizers are crispy on the outside, soft and cheesy on the inside, and so irresistible and perfect for dipping into the easy, 2-minute Cajun marinara sauce.
Roasted Cajun Okra
Cajun Roasted Okra (from Babaganosh) is quick and easy to make, has lots of flavor, and is super healthy. Okra is a great vegetable to add to your rotation. I’ll show you how to make roasted okra that is not slimy.
Cheddar Hush Puppies
The perfect combination of textures and flavors, these jalapeno cheddar hush puppies (from Tao of Spice) are a great starter or side dish to serve alongside your next Cajun dinner. Naturally vegetarian.
Southern Style Biscuits
Want to make homemade biscuits but don’t have time? Or is it too hot to turn on the oven? Then you MUST try these easy homemade air fryer biscuits (from Cook Eat Live Love). From start to finish you can have hot, fluffy biscuits made with self-rising flour ready to eat in about 15 minutes.
Red Beans and Rice
Celebrate Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or any day with this easy vegan red beans and rice instant pot recipe (from Cook Eat Live Love). An easy way to cook up beans packed full of flavor with delicious, hearty authentic New Orleans ingredients and spices!! It tastes so great and is such an easy vegan dinner to make, that I’m sure you will be eating more beans and rice throughout the year.
Cajun Oyster Crackers
Whether you use them to top a soup, as croutons for a salad or just for snacking, this Cajun Oyster Crackers recipe (from Savory Experiments) is EASY to make! Only 3 ingredients!
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.
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.
Smothered Potatoes (from Recipes From A Pantry) are a very versatile Southern side dish that goes with just about any Southern meal. Made entirely from pantry staples with minimal prep and effort in less than 25 minutes, this is well loved by the family potato side dish.
Whatever delicious side dish (or dishes!) you decide to make, enjoy this Louisiana classic recipe! You will always enjoy this unforgettable meal!