Red beans and rice are a true Cajun classic with origins in Creole cuisine. It’s a favorite both in restaurants and for home cooks, and it’s hard to find a more delicious, hearty dish anywhere.
From its origins, it’s spread to become a well-loved dish throughout the South. You might wonder, then, what to serve alongside it.
Luckily, this list is here to answer the question. We’ve gathered together some of the greatest, most delicious Cajun side dishes that will take your red beans and rice to the next level.
It only seems right and proper to pair one Southern favorite with another. Cornbread is a staple that can go so well alongside all kinds of dishes, and it’s particularly nice with red beans and rice because it eagerly soaks up that flavor packed sauce.
In fact, you might even want to make your beans on the saucier side, so you’ve got more of it to scoop up on this bread!
This recipe follows the traditional Southern practice of not putting sugar in cornbread, so the flavor might be slightly different to what you’re expecting if you’re from north of the Ohio River, but it’s delicious all the same.
Chicken wings have a special place in a lot of people’s hearts as a bar snack or side dish, and one of the great things about them is that they can be seasoned with just about anything.
Like, for example, an irresistible blend of herbs and spices to give a wonderful Cajun flavor. These wings are actually seasoned with a rub and a sauce, so you know that they’re going to bring big flavors.
It’s a fairly long list of seasonings when all’s said and done, but once you taste the finished article, you won’t be able to say it wasn’t worth it.
Hasselback potatoes are a brilliant thing in that they’re both crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.
They also look really fancy while actually not taking much more work than an ordinary baked potato!
This recipe is as simple as mixing some Cajun seasoning with some olive oil, brushing it onto the potato, and letting it bake, though of course you’re free to add whatever else you like to the mix, depending on your own taste.
A great side dish to make if you’re short on time, this quick, easy recipe is also filled with flavor and is healthy to boot!
People are sometimes weary of okra because it can be slimy if it’s not cooked well, but roasting it at a high temperature can help avoid that problem.
It also makes total sense to use Cajun seasoning with okra, given that both of them are popular in the Southern US, just like red beans and rice. For best results, you should use fresh okra, not the frozen kind.
Now, before anyone says anything, we should point something out: Creole and Cajun are not the same thing.
However, there is a lot of crossover between them owing to their long history of existing side by side, and red beans and rice itself even originated in Creole cuisine before becoming part of Cajun culture.
With that out of the way, these beans are a delicious side dish, and will even go well with red beans and rice (they’re a totally different kind of bean, after all).
The bacon provides a welcome salty, meaty flavor and the Worcestershire sauce adds a nice tangy hit.
Here’s something that you’ll have to admit is pretty original. Has anyone reading this eaten a hush puppy corn dog bite before? Probably not. But now you can, and more than that, you should.
They’re a reliable, crowd pleasing appetizer made using the andouille sausage that’s so popular in Cajun cuisine. Aside from the delicious, smoked sausage, the bites are full of seasoning and that’s before we get to the amazing dipping sauce.
You’ll be in heaven with all the amazing flavors and will absolutely be making these again.
Five Guys is famous for its tasty fries, but you’ll find it’s not actually very hard to recreate them in your own kitchen. Even better, they’re made with an air fryer, so they’re probably a lot healthier than the “official” version too.
If you don’t have one, you can use an oven instead, though. While the obvious thing to do is serve them with a burger, you’ll find that they go very nicely with red beans and rice as well.
Honestly, it’s easy to eat fries with anything, especially when they’re coated in so much of this wonderful Cajun seasoning!
First of all, because you might be wondering, it’s pronounced “mock shoe”. It’s a classic Cajun side dish that you could call a kind of corn salad. It’s full of flavor, simple to prepare, and goes perfectly with red beans and rice.
The onion, pepper, and creole seasoning are joined by butter and a healthy dose of cream to make the corn sweet and rich as well as spicy and aromatic.
Don’t be afraid of making too much, either, as it’s just as good reheated the next day.
This is a very easy side dish that will go with all kinds of things, from meat to, say, red beans and rice.
That can be quite a saucy dish, but with these vegetables, you’ll make sure that there’s still something on the dinner table that has a pleasing amount of crunch and bite to it.
Of course, the vegetables you choose to use for this recipe are up to you (or perhaps up to whatever you have in your refrigerator), but whatever you choose, they’ll be full of tasty Cajun seasoning and suitably enriched with butter. Delicious!
Crab cakes are one of those dishes that exist in so many cuisines around the world in slightly different forms, which has to prove something about how delicious they are. In any case, this is a Cajun version.
It’s actually not too different from other crab cake recipes you might have used in the past, with the exception of the seasoning which is, of course, Cajun.
If you have Cajun seasoning already then you can use that, but if not, the recipe recommends this blend, which you can make yourself.
When they’re done, these are delightfully crispy, wonderfully seasoned, and can be finished off with a squeeze of lemon (it’s seafood, after all).
Another Southern favorite, grits are pure comfort food that will warm and fill your soul. This recipe includes shrimp in with them, and could actually be a main dish if you make a large enough batch.
In smaller portions, though, it’s a great side dish. It starts with sautéing bacon so that the rest of the dish is cooked in delicious bacon grease, in addition to butter and oil. That’s serious flavor already!
The Cajun salt tops off the flavor of the shrimp and will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Last on our list is a chicken salad, which can be a lovely thing at the best of times, but this is a Cajun chicken salad. That means the chicken is seasoned with deliciously earthy Cajun spices.
As a bonus, this is a low-carb dish too! As well as the chicken, the salad features cabbage, which is fairly conventional, but also strawberries.
While this might sound unusual, the strawberries are actually a great inclusion because their sweetness contrasts well with the spices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does Cajun Mean?
Cajuns are a people, mostly of French descent, who live largely in Louisiana. When it comes to food, Cajun food is simply the food of the Cajun people.
Red beans and rice is a classic dish, and things like andouille sausage, crawfish, and shrimp are commonly eaten ingredients.
Three more ingredients, often called “the trinity” by Cajun chefs, are green bell pepper, celery, and onion. Together, these form the base of many different Cajun dishes.
It’s also a cuisine that’s famous for its herbs and spices, and Cajun spiced dishes (some authentic, some not) have found popularity in places far from Louisiana.
Do You Have To Soak Beans Overnight For Red Beans And Rice?
While it is possible to cook red beans and rice without soaking the beans beforehand, it’s definitely better if you do. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it makes them cook more quickly, thus saving you time.
The second is that the beans won’t make you so gassy if you soak them first. There are two ways you can soak them.
The simplest way is to simply put them in a bowl of water overnight, but if you don’t have the time for that, there’s a quicker way.
You can boil them for a few minutes, then let them soak for an hour before you carry on cooking them.
What Can Cajun Seasoning Be Used For?
Well, the obvious answer is that it can be used in all kinds of Cajun dishes, and of course it can. But if you’re feeling experimental, you can try it with all kinds of food.
Chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and even pasta can all benefit from a little bit of Cajun seasoning, so why not try a few things out and see how it goes?
There you have it, a list of 12 of the best Cajun side dishes to serve with red beans and rice.
Whether you have hours or minutes, and whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, there’s definitely something you’re going to love here.
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