When it comes to Red Beans and Rice, there’s nothing better in the South. It’s a hearty, filling dish that is always served with starch, like rice. What makes Red Beans and Rice so special is what you put on the side. While plain white rice is good and should never be cut out of your diet, mix things up by adding one of these 22 delicious side dishes!
What Are Red Beans and Rice?
Red beans and rice is a Louisiana Creole dish made with red kidney beans and rice. It is served in many different ways, some of which include adding sausage or ham hocks to the dish or serving it with cracklins (fried pork skins).
The dish originated from the African slaves who were brought to Louisiana by European settlers. The slaves would use their own spices and vegetables to create this unique dish. Red beans were used because they were cheap and nutritious. They also had a long shelf life so they could be stored for a long time without spoiling.
Red beans and rice is traditionally served on Mondays because it was believed that eating red beans on Monday would bring good luck throughout the week. This tradition carried over into American culture even after slavery ended as it became a tradition for many homes to serve red beans on Mondays as well.
Red beans and rice is also popular dish that is served at many special occasions such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The dish is often served in the meatless Monday dishes. Red beans and rice is sometimes cooked with other ingredients such as pork cracklins or chicken livers. It has even been cooked with a side of okra to make it taste even more like Cajun cuisine.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Red Beans and Rice?
Red beans and rice is a traditional Southern dish that’s made with red kidney beans, rice, vegetables and seasonings. If you’re hosting guests for dinner, consider serving side dishes with this hearty dish.
Here are some reasons why:
1. It provides a balance of nutrients
The main ingredients in red beans and rice are protein-rich beans and carbs-filled rice. Serving side dishes with the main meal helps create a balanced meal by providing other types of nutrients.
2. It provides variety
Not everyone likes the same foods; some people prefer salads while others prefer fried foods. By serving different types of foods at the same meal, you give your guests options so they can eat what they like without feeling restricted.
3. It adds color to your meal presentation
Red beans and rice may look dull on their own but when served with colorful side dishes such as broccoli or cornbread, it will make your meal more visually appealing than eating only one type of food on its own would do!
What to Serve with Red Beans and Rice? 22 BEST Side Dishes
1. Creamy Mashed Potatoes
The best way to improve on these creamy mashed potatoes is to add some chopped green onions or scallions and use half-and-half instead of milk (or cream). It’s also important not to overprocess the potatoes so that they have some texture. If you like, you can add some cheese — cheddar, Parmesan or Gruyere — for an extra layer of flavor.
2. Classic Coleslaw
This slaw is made with traditional ingredients like mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar, but it’s missing one key element: cabbage! You can use shredded green or red cabbage instead of grated carrots if you prefer; just make sure it’s finely shredded so it will mix easily into the dressing. The result is a tangy but sweet slaw that goes well with barbecued meats and burgers as well as red beans and rice!
3. Cajun Cornbread
This is the best cornbread I’ve ever had, and it’s so easy to make! Just mix up the batter and pour it into a baking dish. Then bake until golden brown and you’ll have delicious cornbread that goes well with red beans and rice.
4. Sweet Potato Casserole
This is a great dish to take the place of traditional sweet potato casserole. It’s made with sweet potatoes, coconut milk and spices. The best part about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to stress about last minute prep work. This would also be a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
5. Beet, Avocado and Quinoa Salad
This salad is so good! The beets add a nice sweetness to the dish and the quinoa adds texture. The lime juice and cilantro give the salad a tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet beets. This is another one of those recipes that can be made ahead of time, which makes meal prepping so much easier!
6. Mardi Gras Slaw
This slaw is amazing on its own, but if you want something more filling, serve it with some red beans and rice (or gumbo). This slaw is super easy to make – just chop up some cabbage and carrots, add some dressing and toss together!
7. Baked Cornbread
Baked cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to red beans and rice because it has a similar texture. The cakey center makes it stand up to the hearty beans, while the crumbly top melts in your mouth. Just be sure not to serve it right away or the butter in the cornbread will soak into the beans instead of topping them.
8. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is another great choice to serve alongside red beans and rice. This recipe uses cheddar cheese, which gives the dish a sharp, tangy flavor. Serve this macaroni and cheese with an array of different meats or as a vegetarian main course.
9. Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing
This is a quick and easy recipe that you can make ahead of time. It’s made with cornbread crumbs, which are sprinkled over the top of the dish right before baking.
10. Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
This simple dish is a great option for those looking to add more vegetables to their diet. The roasted broccoli brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable, while the garlic parmesan topping adds just enough flavor to make it stand out.
11. Pickled Okra Recipe
Okra is often overlooked as a side dish because people don’t know what to do with it. This recipe takes okra and turns it into something that’s both healthy and delicious. This pickled okra recipe will bring out the best in your favorite southern staple.
12. Five-Minute Seasoned Skillet Green Beans
If you want something green for your meal, these seasoned skillet green beans are great! They’re cooked with onion and garlic for lots of flavor, then seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. You can serve these with anything from pork chops to chicken thighs.
13. Buttery Smashed Potatoes with Chives and Bacon
A different kind of potato dish, these potatoes are mashed into a buttery pulp and then smashed back together for a rustic look. The chives and bacon add a nice flavor boost to the potatoes, which can be eaten by themselves or with other dishes.
14. Candied Carrots
Cinnamon-sugar carrots are a treat that goes well with any type of meat. They’re also great as a dessert! These carrots can be made ahead of time, making them perfect for holiday dinners when you’re busy cooking other things in the kitchen.
15. Classic Deviled Eggs
Eggs can be used in many different dishes. One of the most popular types is deviled eggs. These are made by mashing hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise, mustard and other ingredients to create a creamy mixture that is then stuffed back into the egg shell before serving.
16. Corn on the Cob, tin foil cooking method
Corn on the cob is one of the most popular side dishes for red beans and rice. The corn can be cooked in many different ways, but one of the easiest methods is to wrap each ear in tin foil and place them on a grill or campfire so they can be cooked over indirect heat until they are tender. This method allows you to enjoy your meal without having to worry about burning or overcooking your food.
17. Creamy Cucumber Salad
If you need a refreshing side dish, this creamy cucumber salad is perfect! It’s made with cucumbers, radishes, mint leaves, dill weed and sour cream dressing — it’s so good!
18. Bourbon Brown Sugar Pulled Pork Sliders with Sweet and Tangy Slaw
This is a great one-dish meal that you can serve for your next party or family gathering. The slaw is made with cabbage, carrots and mayonnaise, which makes it sweet and tangy at the same time.
19. Fresh Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce
The combination of sweet and savory flavors in this recipe make it the perfect accompaniment to red beans and rice. You can also use this sauce on grilled fish or chicken.
20. Sautéed Squash Casserole with Ritz Crackers and Cheese
These casseroles are made from a variety of ingredients, including squash, cheese, bread crumbs and butter. The preparation process is simple and doesn’t require much time. After the casserole has been baked for about 20 minutes, it should be ready to serve.
21. Fried Squash Fritters with Spicy Remoulade Sauce
The remoulade sauce used in this recipe is a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce that can also be used as an accompaniment to fried fish or as a dipping sauce for seafood selections like fried oysters or shrimp tempura.
22. Crispy Southern-Style Onion Rings (From Scratch!)
These onion rings are perfect for a meal like red beans and rice. They’re seasoned with cayenne pepper and other spices, so they’re not only delicious but also spicy!
No matter the occasion, red beans and rice will always fit in. It’s the ultimate crowd pleaser, so if you want to please a bunch of people with one dish, this is the way to go. These 22 side dishes offer just about any flavor profile you can imagine. We encourage you to read through the above list and pick one that most appeals to your taste buds.