Jambalaya is a dish that’s commonly served in Louisiana, and it typically consists of rice, vegetables, meat, and spices. Its name comes from the French word jambon, meaning ham, which comes from the Latin word Jambo, or leg.
The recipe was originally a way to use leftovers, as was typical in early French cuisine. Originally it was mostly just rice and ham, but some recipes included tomatoes and bell peppers. It’s since evolved into a more balanced meal, with other ingredients like shrimp added to it.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite side dishes for jambalaya in the article below!
What to Serve with Jambalaya?
Zucchini is a summer squash that can be baked, roasted and grilled, or sliced into slabs for dipping in batter and frying. While it’s not a traditional ingredient in jambalaya, it’s frequently included in Cajun cooking. Grilled zucchini makes an excellent side dish with jambalaya; slice the zucchini lengthwise and then grill until the grill marks appear. Brush the zucchini with butter while grilling.
Slice zucchini into coins and fry them. Use a deep-fryer if you have one, but you can also fry the coins in a skillet; add oil to the pan, heat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, add the zucchini coins, and fry until golden brown on both sides. Season the slices with salt and pepper immediately after frying them.
Slice zucchini into rounds and roast it in the oven with other vegetables for a more substantial vegetable side dish for your jambalaya, or with garlic for a simple garlic roasted zucchini side dish.
A simple salad made from mixed greens makes a good side dish for jambalaya. Use iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or baby spinach as your base, and then add your favorite salad toppings, such as roasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese, or dried cranberries. Spend a morning making a big batch of the dressing and keep it on hand to dress the salads throughout the week. For example, you can use a honey-mustard vinaigrette for one batch and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette for another.
3. Cajun Sausage and Rice
Cajun sausage, also called andouille, is a spicy smoked pork sausage used in Creole cooking. Add a slice or two to a bowl of steaming-hot jambalaya to satisfy your need for meat. Cook the sausage first, according to package directions. Remove the cooked sausage from the pan and add uncooked rice to the sausage drippings. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat to low, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed. Stir in cooked sausage, chopped tomatoes, and chopped green onions before serving this side dish with jambalaya.
Cornbread makes an ideal accompaniment for Cajun-style jambalaya because of its slightly sweet taste and its ability to soak up some of the broth from your bowl of spicy stew. Jiffy corn muffin mix is an easy option when you want to whip up a batch of cornbread quickly, but you can use any recipe for cornbread that you like—even if that happens to be your grandmother’s secret recipe! Cornbread tastes great when served warm with butter, but it can also be cut into wedges or cubes and served at room temperature.
5. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a classic side dish for jambalaya. It’s sweet, juicy and easy to prepare. Try serving it with butter and salt, or go for something more adventurous with cilantro-lime compound butter. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, grab out the microwave. But, if you prefer to cook in the oven or on the stove, no problem.
6. Seasoned White Rice
If you’re looking for a starch side dish to serve with your jambalaya, white rice is always an option. There are plenty of ways to jazz up white rice so it will complement your jambalaya without competing with it: Try adding some garlic, herbs, lemon juice and black pepper for a zesty flavor; add some tomato paste and parsley for a Mediterranean flair; or spice things up by infusing your white rice with some saffron while cooking it.
7. Creamed Corn Recipe
This classic southern side has all of the sweet and savory flavors of creamed corn but with a hint of spice. It’s the perfect mix of smooth and crunchy—and is sure to be a hit whether you’re cooking for friends or family.
8. Cheddar Biscuits
There are few things that make us happier than biscuits fresh out of the oven—especially when they’re loaded with cheddar cheese! And while they’re great on their own, they’re especially delicious when dipped in jambalaya sauce. The warm butter mixed with the spices from the jambalaya makes for an irresistible combination!
9. Creamy Cucumber
Creamy cucumber is a refreshing side dish that goes well with any meal, especially jambalaya. It’s easy to make and only takes a few minutes of your time. All you need to do is cut up some cucumbers into small pieces and place them in a bowl with sour cream or plain yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh chopped dill (if desired). You can also add sliced radishes for an extra crunch!
10. Corn Maque Choux
Corn Maque Choux is another great side dish for Jambalaya. Corn Maque Choux is made by frying corn kernels in bacon fat until they’re browned and then adding onions, bell peppers (red or green), celery, tomatoes (whole or diced), garlic cloves minced; salt and pepper to taste. Then pour in heavy cream while stirring. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and turn off the stove. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.
11. Rainbow Fruit Salad
This side dish is best paired with milder jambalaya recipes. The sweetness of the fruits complements the subtler flavors in the main dish. It also adds a bit of color and texture to the meal and provides essential vitamins and nutrients that are missing from jambalaya’s starchy ingredients. To make this salad, combine fruits of all colors: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, bananas, oranges, apples, etc. Mix them together in a bowl and serve!
12. Savory Crepes
Savory crepes are another good option for those who like their jambalaya on the milder side. Instead of using fruit for extra flavor and vitamins, consider adding more vegetables to your plate with savory crepes filled with spinach or broccoli. You can also fill them with cheese for something even richer than they already are.
13. Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins
This is a classic pairing that’s always sure to please. To create the best muffins, we recommend using stone ground cornmeal; it gives these little cakes a bold, hearty texture and a gorgeous color. Our recipe calls for buttermilk (which you can make at home by combining milk and vinegar), which gives the muffins a wonderful tang that really complements the spiciness of the jambalaya. It’s great for dunking in both the broth and the rice!
14. Cheddar Sage Cornbread
Speaking of cornbread, if you’re looking for something with a little more heft and a little more substance, try our cheddar sage cornbread. Made without flour or baking powder, this bread is chewy, dense, and packed with flavor from the melted cheese and fresh herbs. It’s great alongside any meat-based dish because it pairs just as well with savory flavors as it does with sweet ones—and of course, it goes perfectly with jambalaya!
15. Roasted Jicama
This crunchy vegetable is less starchy than potatoes, but still hearty enough to fill up guests. Roasting it in the oven with olive oil and your favorite spices brings out its natural sweetness while offering a satisfying crispness. Be sure to cut the jicama into small pieces before roasting, so that it’s easy for guests to scoop up alongside their servings of jambalaya.
16. Creamed Spinach
If you want something rich and decadent, creamed spinach is an excellent choice. You can make a batch with frozen spinach if you’re short on time, or blend up some fresh leaves with half-and-half and butter for an ultra-rich version that will melt in your mouth. The best part about this dish is that it only gets better when reheated.
17. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli salad is a versatile side dish that pairs well with any kind of jambalaya. Broccoli, raisins, onions, and bacon make up the main ingredients. The dressing is made with mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. It’s easy to put together and you can make it ahead of time. You can also leave out the bacon if you want to keep it vegetarian.
18. Instant Pot Collard Greens
In an Instant Pot, you can cook collard greens in just 20 minutes. You don’t have to simmer them on the stovetop for hours or use meat like traditional recipes call for. This recipe uses chicken broth and liquid smoke to create the smoky flavor collards are known for without ham hocks or bacon.
With this list, you’ll be able to decide which best side dishes for jambalaya. Be sure to take into consideration what ingredients are in the jambalaya itself—the savory flavors from these vibrant, spicy dishes will add an extra kick of flavor to your meal, and since they’re all crowd-pleasers, you won’t have to worry about anyone leaving the table unsatisfied.