Cornmeal patties, or arepas, are a delight.
Plus, they’re versatile, perfect for any time of the day, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.
However, you wouldn’t like to fill yourself up with just cornmeal patties, would you? This is where side dishes come in.
Whether you love eating arepas as a snack or an entrée, you may often wonder what to serve with arepas.
If so, you’re going to love this post.
Below, we’ve mentioned 7 of the best side dishes that you can pair with your little patties of heaven.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Arepas?
What was once only savored as a part of Colombian cuisine, arepas have become a favorite in several countries across the globe.
They are basically made of just corn, salt and water.
Of course, there are other variations of arepas, such as cheese arepas, sweetened arepas, and more.
But the star ingredient remains corn/maize.
As far as taste goes, arepas taste similar to tortillas but with a hint of sweetness.
They are crunchy and crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.
However, since it’s rather boring to have arepas alone, serving them with side dishes is a great idea.
Serving side dishes with arepas can add more flavors to your meal and make it more complete.
What to Serve with Arepas? 7 Best Side Dishes
Arepas are versatile, so you have a variety of choices when it comes to side dishes.
We’ve picked the 7 best side dishes that you can serve with arepas:
1 – Bandeja Paisa
As you already know, arepas are a Colombian dish.
Hence, pairing it with another popular Colombian meal sounds about right.
For the uninitiated, Bandeja Paisa is simply a variety of foods served on a frisbee-sized plate.
It consists of avocado, rice, minced meat, two types of Colombian sausages, fried pork rind, chorizo, fried egg and of course, arepa.
Considering the number of ingredients, you can make out that Bandeja Paisa is an extremely filling and heavy dish.
Hence, it’s best eaten on special occasions or on days when you’re extra hungry.
Arepa makes an important part of Bandeja Paisa.
It blends beautifully with other components on the plate and helps in rounding out the meal.
2 – Corn and Pulled Pork
Arepas go well with corn and pulled pork. It’s a great combination for dinner.
Moreover, you can easily whip up this side dish in under 20 minutes, provided you use make-ahead oven-roasted pulled pork from your freezer.
Depending on the flavor of your pulled pork, this side dish can take your meal to the next level.
Sweet-and-spicy Asian pulled pork will go well with the slightly sweetened taste of arepas.
On the other hand, the spicy pulled pork recipe will add a kick to your meal.
So, depending on your preferences, you can make your pulled pork the way you want it.
Just add it on top of an arepa and toss in some corn too.
3 – Tamales
Tamale is a Mexican dish made from maize flour that is steamed in a banana leaf or corn husk.
Usually, it includes fillings made of meat, veggies, chilies, cheese, herbs, and fruits.
If you don’t know how to make one, you can check out this easy recipe here.
Similar to arepas, tamale has a subtle corn taste.
Hence, there is no question why tamales wouldn’t go with arepas.
Depending on what stuffing you use in your tamales, you can add a whole lot of flavors to your entire meal.
4 – Chicken Avocado Salad
Generally, people like stuffing their arepas with different kinds of fillings to have as sandwiches.
You have a variety of choices if you wish to do the same.
Chicken avocado salad, in particular, tastes exceptional when you stuff them inside arepas.
Plus, they are super quick and easy to make too.
There’s no special recipe for this – make your chicken avocado salad the way you usually do.
Then, cut your arepa cakes in half, fill them with your salad, and voila.
5 – Garlicky Shrimp
Here is another mouth-watering side dish that you can serve alongside arepas.
Or, you can use this as a filling to stuff your arepa patties.
For making this side dish, you’ll need some basic ingredients like garlic, tomatoes, pepper, lime juice, cilantro, and of course, shrimp.
First, cook pepper and garlic in hot oil for about a minute.
Then, stir in the shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Make sure to keep stirring. Once the shrimp is cooked or turns pink, add tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro.
Mix all the ingredients, and there you have it. The garlicky and slightly-tangy flavor of this side dish will have you coming back time and again.
6 – Carnitas and Sweet Potato
Carnitas are simply braised pork, usually served with cilantro, diced onion, Guacamole, beans, salsa, and tortillas.
For this recipe, all you have to do is cook some carnitas mixed with sweet potatoes.
You can add your favorite herbs and seasonings for that extra boost of flavor.
Since both this side dish and arepas are fried, adding a dash of lime juice can help offset the greasiness of your meal.
7 – Guasacaca Sauce
Quite an interesting name, right? And you may instantly think of Guacamole, but guasacaca is nothing like it.
Guasacaca (pronounced wasakaka) is an incredibly delicious sauce popularly used in Venezuelan cuisine.
It is healthy too – since it’s made of a variety of green veggies with a kick of heat.
Perhaps you’re planning to have arepas for breakfast or as a snack.
Dip them in a bowl of freshly made guasacaca sauce to refresh your taste buds with a burst of flavors.
Now that we’ve come to the end of our post, we hope you have found your preferred side dish to enjoy with arepas.
Arepas are usually fried, baked or grilled. Hence, they tend to be oily.
So, you might want to serve some light side dishes on days when you aren’t so hungry.
However, if you prefer something heavy and flavorful, you can get as creative as you want as arepas go well with several side dishes, including meat, salads, dips, and more.