When it comes to grilling, bratwurst is a fan favorite. This delicious sausage is a staple at cookouts and tailgate parties across the United States. But no bratwurst meal is complete without some delicious side dishes to complement it. In this article, we will explore some classic and creative side dishes that pair well with bratwurst. We’ll also discuss some vegetarian and vegan options, as well as some beverage pairings to round out your meal.
What is Bratwurst?
Bratwurst is a German sausage that is typically made with pork but can also be made with veal or beef. It is usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices, and is traditionally grilled or pan-fried. The texture is slightly coarser than other sausages, which makes it ideal for grilling. The crispy exterior and juicy interior of a perfectly grilled bratwurst are hard to beat.
However, to truly elevate your bratwurst game, it’s important to have some delicious side dishes to serve alongside it. Not only do side dishes provide a contrast in texture and flavor, but they also help to balance out the richness of the sausage. So, whether you’re hosting a cookout or just grilling up some bratwurst for dinner, make sure to consider some of these side dish options.
Classic Side Dishes for Bratwurst
Sauerkraut is a classic German side dish that pairs perfectly with bratwurst. It’s made from fermented cabbage that has been salted and left to sit for several days. The result is a tangy and slightly sour side dish that helps to cut through the richness of the sausage. Sauerkraut is also high in vitamin C and other nutrients, making it a healthy addition to your meal.
To prepare sauerkraut, simply drain the liquid from a can or jar and heat it up on the stove. You can also add some diced onions, apples, or bacon for extra flavor.
2. German Potato Salad
German potato salad is a warm and comforting side dish that is a staple at Oktoberfest celebrations. It’s made with boiled potatoes, bacon, onions, and a vinegar-based dressing. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors makes it the perfect complement to bratwurst.
To make German potato salad, start by boiling some potatoes until they are tender. While the potatoes are cooking, fry some bacon and onions in a pan. Once the potatoes are done, drain them and add them to the pan with the bacon and onions. Then, whisk together some vinegar, sugar, and mustard to make the dressing. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss everything together.
Coleslaw is a refreshing and crunchy side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. It’s made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing. The acidity in the dressing helps to balance out the richness of the sausage.
To make coleslaw, start by shredding some cabbage and carrots. Then, whisk together some mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and mustard to make the dressing. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrots and mix everything together. You can also add some raisins or diced apples for extra flavor.
4. Baked Beans
Baked beans are a classic American side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. They are sweet and savory, with a thick and hearty texture that helps to balance out the sausage.
To make baked beans, start by soaking some dry navy beans overnight. Then, rinse the beans and add them to a pot with some water. Add in some diced onions, bacon, molasses, brown sugar, and ketchup. Let the beans simmer for a few hours until they are soft and tender. The result is a sweet and savory side dish that is perfect for serving with bratwurst.
5. Pretzels and Mustard
Pretzels and mustard are a classic snack in Germany, and they make a great side dish for bratwurst. The saltiness of the pretzels and the tanginess of the mustard help to balance out the richness of the sausage.
To serve pretzels and mustard with bratwurst, simply warm up some soft pretzels in the oven and serve them with your favorite mustard.
Creative Side Dishes for Bratwurst
While classic side dishes like sauerkraut and potato salad are delicious, sometimes it’s fun to switch things up and try something new. Here are some creative side dishes that pair well with bratwurst.
1. Grilled Vegetables
Grilled vegetables are a healthy and delicious side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. Try grilling some zucchini, bell peppers, and onions for a colorful and flavorful side dish. Drizzle them with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper before grilling.
2. Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a comforting and indulgent side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. The creamy and cheesy pasta helps to balance out the richness of the sausage. To make macaroni and cheese, simply cook some elbow macaroni and mix it with a cheesy sauce made from butter, flour, milk, and shredded cheese.
3. Avocado and Tomato Salad
Avocado and tomato salad is a fresh and healthy side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. Simply dice up some avocado and tomato and toss them with some olive oil, lime juice, and cilantro.
4. Grilled Pineapple
Grilled pineapple is a sweet and tangy side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. The sweetness of the pineapple helps to balance out the saltiness of the sausage. To make grilled pineapple, simply slice up a pineapple and grill it for a few minutes on each side.
5. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are a healthy and delicious side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. They are sweet and savory, with a crispy texture that complements the sausage. To make sweet potato fries, simply slice up some sweet potatoes and bake them in the oven with some olive oil and spices.
Vegetarian and Vegan Side Dishes for Bratwurst
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you don’t have to miss out on the fun of bratwurst cookouts. Here are some vegetarian and vegan side dishes that pair well with bratwurst.
1. Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled portobello mushrooms are a meaty and flavorful side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. The umami flavor of the mushrooms helps to balance out the richness of the sausage. To make grilled portobello mushrooms, simply brush them with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper before grilling.
2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels sprouts are a healthy and delicious side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. They are crispy and flavorful, with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that complements the sausage. To make roasted Brussels sprouts, simply toss them with some olive oil and season them with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven.
3. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa salad is a healthy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. Cook some quinoa and mix it with your favorite vegetables and herbs. Try adding some diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and parsley for a fresh and flavorful salad.
4. Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled corn on the cob is a classic summer side dish that pairs well with bratwurst. The sweetness of the corn helps to balance out the saltiness of the sausage. To make grilled corn on the cob, simply brush the corn with some olive oil and grill it for a few minutes on each side.
5. Vegan Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a classic side dish for bratwurst, but traditional coleslaw is often made with mayonnaise, making it unsuitable for vegans. However, you can make a delicious and creamy vegan coleslaw using ingredients like vegan mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and agave nectar. Add in some shredded cabbage, carrots, and green onions for a fresh and crunchy side dish.
Beverage Pairings for Bratwurst and Side Dishes
No meal is complete without a refreshing beverage to wash it down. Bratwurst and its side dishes pair well with a variety of beverages, including beer, wine, lemonade, iced tea, and water. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect beverage to go with your bratwurst and side dishes.
Beer is a classic beverage pairing for bratwurst. The malty and hoppy flavors of beer complement the richness and saltiness of the sausage. Try pairing a light lager or pilsner with your bratwurst and sauerkraut for a refreshing and satisfying combination. If you prefer a darker beer, try a porter or stout with your grilled vegetables or macaroni and cheese.
Wine is another beverage that pairs well with bratwurst and side dishes. A light and fruity red wine like pinot noir or Beaujolais go well with bratwurst and sauerkraut. A dry rosé or white wine like a sauvignon blanc or riesling pairs well with grilled vegetables and sweet potato fries.
Lemonade is a refreshing and summery beverage that pairs well with bratwurst and side dishes. The tart and sweet flavors of lemonade help to balance out the richness of the sausage. Try making your own fresh-squeezed lemonade or adding some fresh berries for a fruity twist.
4. Iced Tea
Iced tea is a classic beverage pairing for outdoor cookouts and picnics. The cool and refreshing flavors of iced tea pair well with the richness of bratwurst and side dishes. Try making your own iced tea using black tea or herbal tea, and adding some fresh lemon or mint for a refreshing twist.
Water may seem like a simple choice, but it’s always a good idea to have plenty of water on hand when enjoying a rich and hearty meal like bratwurst and side dishes. Water helps to keep you hydrated and refreshed, and it pairs well with any type of food.
Bratwurst is a delicious and versatile sausage that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Classic side dishes like sauerkraut and potato salad are always a hit, but it’s also fun to get creative and try some new and interesting side dishes. Whether you’re a meat-eater or a vegetarian, there are plenty of side dishes that pair well with bratwurst. So fire up the grill and get ready for a delicious and satisfying meal!