Larb is the national dish of Laos and has been widely adopted in other countries with large Lao communities.
Based on meat and a bunch of other ingredients – often rice and a papaya salad, this dish may include both raw or cooked meat.
In western communities, the meat is cooked – many people in Laos cook it these days for safety considerations too.
Not sure what to serve with larb? As confusing as it may seem, this dish can take a few good sides that will impress your guests – here is what you need to know before making a decision.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Larb?
In theory, larb has pretty much everything you may need from a meal. It has meat, rice, veggies, and salad.
You do not always need to come up with a side dish, unless you are expecting some guests and you want to provide more options.
At the same time, plain larb could be dull if you have it on a regular basis, so a few side dishes will add to its richness – obviously, given the larb ingredients, these side dishes must be carefully picked.
What to Serve with Larb? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some of your best choices when not sure what to serve with larb.
1. Creamy Cheese Casserole
Cheese is probably the main thing missing from larb, so bring it in, and your guests will appreciate the combo.
Cheese casserole is a bit crispy on top – everyone will love that part – and soft on the inside.
It is the type of side dish that will disappear straight away, so make more than what you need.
Put the cheese casserole out and allow your guests to help themselves.
There is a mix of textures, yet the combo may feel a bit oily and heavy.
2. Tangy Cherry Salad
This is the type of dish you are more likely to get in a fancy restaurant – after all, do fruit and meat actually work?
In this case, they do. It depends on what kind of meat you use for larb – pork is ideal when mixed with cherries.
The cherry salad is normally enhanced with sweet vinaigrette, so the whole dish will get a sweet profile.
With all these, it is light and will make the larb feel easier on your stomach.
The salad will perfectly complement the larb, but you will also get a nice mix of textures to surprise your guests.
3. Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese work well with pretty much everything – in fact, this combo is so good that it is very likely to steal the show.
While larb is the main player on the table, most of your guests will fight over the macaroni and cheese.
Just like larb, macaroni and cheese might feel a bit heavy, but its delicious aroma can easily complement the meat and salad in larb.
There is also a mix of textures because macaroni will have a bit of crunchiness, not to mention the cheese on top.
4. Roasted Green Beans
If the bit of salad in larb is not enough for you, how about some roasted green beans nearby?
You can never go wrong with green beans – plus, this dish will take five to 10 minutes to prepare, so it is great when in a rush.
Green beans will go soft, yet they can still maintain a bit of crispiness on the inside.
Now, green beans may also be a bit dull, so you would have to enhance them with the right flavors.
Garlic is excellent for larb, so crushed garlic in the roasting process will work wonders.
Finally, as larb is a bit heavy, green beans will make it feel lighter.
5. Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
There are lots of variations when interested in preparing mashed cauliflower, but the garlicky one seems to be the best choice.
Garlic will give larb a completely different hit – even if you skip the mashed cauliflower and throw some crushed garlic on top of larb, you will notice a different approach.
While you already have a bit of rice to help with larb, the truth is mashed cauliflower adds a little softness.
Moreover, it has a completely different taste when compared to classic mashed potatoes – definitely a complementary side dish for your larb.
6. Baked Polenta with Tomatoes
It takes about 10 minutes to prepare polenta and just as much to bake it once it cools down, so this type of side dish will take a while to prepare.
However, the unique flavor of polenta will take your larb to a completely different level.
It represents that soft side dish whose flavor has always been missing from the larb.
The texture is ideal for a side dish, but the taste is what makes it unique.
Besides, topping baked polenta with fresh tomatoes will make the larb feel lighter and more refreshing.
7. Couscous Fruit Salad
This side dish will feel a bit unusual for the larb, but you will be surprised.
After all, you already have rice in larb, so there is no need for couscous.
However, couscous has a slightly different flavor, and it is just as fulfilling – obviously, you do not have to exaggerate.
A fruit salad mixed with larb is also unusual, but it depends on what you use.
Stick to dried fruits, and you will give your larb a sophisticated taste.
Furthermore, fruits are chewy and crispy at the same time, so they will also add to the texture of your meal.
Bottom line, this type of side dish will impress with its unusual profile.
As a short final conclusion, figuring out what to serve with larb is definitely a challenge, especially if you are not used to this dish.
While you can definitely serve it alone, it pays off by enhancing it with one thing or another.
The above-mentioned dishes will add to the taste, flavor, and texture – quite a few choices that will make larb feel lighter and more enjoyable.
Besides, they will not require too much time in the kitchen either.