Gumbo is one of the most popular types of stew out there – extremely famous in the USA and especially in Louisiana.
The stew is well seasoned – probably the most significant aspect.
It is tasty and brings in a mix of flavors that will fulfill your meal.
You have loads of vegetables, plenty of meat and a wide variety of aromas.
Recipes vary widely, but expect to find bell peppers, onion, chicken, sausage, celery, and others.
As if all these were not enough, there are a ton of flavors hitting you from all directions.
Now, knowing what to serve with gumbo is a completely different story.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Gumbo?
Generally speaking, such a heavy stew will not necessarily need a side dish.
You can eat it alone with no problems at all.
There are plenty of flavors and lots of different ingredients.
But then, you want to go the extra mile if you are expecting some guests.
You want to impress, so a side dish will add a bit of extra to the meal.
On the same note, while gumbo may seem a bit heavy, a light side dish can neutralize it a little – just make sure the combo is not nauseous, and you have a winner.
What to Serve with Gumbo? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are a few classic options that will make gumbo even better.
1 – Soft and Plain White Rice
This side dish may seem a bit boring, but it actually works wonders with gumbo.
It is the most common side dish for gumbo and for some obvious reasons.
It is hearty and can successfully embrace the flavors in gumbo.
What is the perfect type of rice for gumbo then? It makes no difference at all.
Your personal preference dictates.
Long grain white rice is more popular because it is plain.
But you can also go for brown rice or perhaps basmati.
2 – Crumbly Pastry Cornbread
Cornbread is a staple in all kinds of cuisines and especially in the southern states.
When mixed with gumbo, it will neutralize some of the oils in it.
It will make the meal more enjoyable because it is less nauseous.
The crumbly pastry is slightly sweet and brings in an original contrast.
Gumbo is rich, while the plain is bread.
Mix them up, and you have a hearty mix of everything.
Working like a sponge, the cornbread takes over the decadent soup.
For better results, make it yourself, rather than buy it from a grocery store.
3 – Chewy Hush Puppies
When preparing hush puppies, make sure you plan for way more than what you need.
Chances are you will eat lots of them while in the kitchen and waiting for others to cook.
These are basically some soft, chewy, and slightly sweet balls.
They are deep fried and work with all kinds of dips and foods – salads, desserts, and, of course, the classic gumbo.
Just like cornbread, these hush puppies balance the savory flavors in gumbo with their extra sweetness.
You can take things further by infusing them with all sorts of spices and condiments – for example, they are great with chili.
4 – Soft Cheesy Bread
At this point, it is pretty clear that most types of bread will work well with gumbo due to the spongy profile and hearty aroma.
This side dish takes things even further – if there is one thing missing from gumbo, that is the oily cheesy flavor.
Lots of cheese will seriously complement your gumbo. However, you need to mix it in by the book.
Avoid cheese in the actual gumbo.
Instead, get some cheese on bread, bake, or microwave for a minute or two and enjoy the mix.
5 – Cheesy Potato Salad with Onions
Potatoes are probably the most popular options out there when it comes to side dishes.
The same goes for gumbo – a potato salad will seriously enhance your stew.
There are more recipes for the classic potato salad, but there is only one rule in this combo – keep it simple.
Chop the potatoes after boiling them, chop some red onions too and maybe some olives.
Mix everything together and mash some of the potatoes to make it feel like a thick dressing.
Garnish with a leaf, add some chili or paprika on top, and you are ready to go.
6 – Salty Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob goes with anything, and gumbo makes no exception either.
Normally, the corn is boiled, but you can also get it done in the microwave.
In fact, the microwave is even better because it traps the flavors in, so the corn is tastier.
Once the corn is done, it pays off grilling it for a minute or so – those grill lines look amazing.
Finally, add a bit of salt in your hand and rub each corn on the cob in it.
Indeed, this is not the most convenient side dish to eat, but the taste will compensate for the mess.
7 – Fresh Avocado and Bacon Salad
How about getting even more flavors in? A salad can be a light and soft addition to your gumbo, but you need to pick ingredients carefully.
For instance, avocado and bacon work wonders together.
Mix them up with some tomatoes, a bit of grated mozzarella, and celery.
Everything should be chopped into small pieces and well mixed.
Garnish with a few leaves, too – whether you have iceberg lettuce or spinach leaves.
The dressing is a matter of personal preferences – do not add too much of it, though.
In conclusion, not knowing what to serve with gumbo is not the end of the world.
Despite the multitude of ingredients in a traditional gumbo, there is still room for improvement.
You can find a wide variety of side dishes for this stew – some of them basic, like bread, and others more sophisticated.
The general idea is to mix it up with something you and your family will actually appreciate and enjoy.
With the stew being quite heavy, there is one rule to remember – keep the side dish light.