The traditional picanha is simple and straightforward – cooked with nothing but three ingredients.
Modern varieties have been through a plethora of different changes over time.
All in all, you want a golden brown cap when it comes to the fat, as well as a bit of crispiness.
The dish is extremely popular in Brazil, but the juiciness and tenderness of the meat have made it common in other parts of the world too.
Now, knowing what to serve with picanha is a completely different story.
After all, it is just meat and can go with many things.
But then, you want to make a great impression.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Picanha?
The concept behind meat is fairly simple to understand – it is tasty but with some limits.
Whether crispy or soft, the meat can melt in your mouth – however, it can also cause nausea if you have plenty of it and you do not mix it with a side dish.
It is oily and heavy, so a big chunk of meat will most likely make you want to sit down and rest.
Finding the right side dishes is not that difficult if you understand what it goes with.
What to Serve with Picanha? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some of the most common side dishes for picanha.
1 – Brazilian Refried Beans
This side dish is just as common in Brazil, and it makes lots of sense.
It provides a wide variety of flavors when mixed with picanha.
You will experience a mix of different flavors with each bite.
These refried beans are often mixed with rice as well.
The refried beans are basically pureed, but the paste obtained is also thickened a little with flour.
You can obviously enhance this dish by mixing in all kinds of bits – for instance, bits of bacon or sausage will work well.
2 – Brazilian Potato Salad
The classic potato salad is just as good, but you need to give it a Brazilian touch for flavors to blend in like never before.
This is one of the most popular side dishes in the country.
It has a bunch of aromas, and it takes minutes to prepare.
Boil the potatoes and cut them into small pieces.
Chop some red onion and perhaps some olives.
If you want, you can also boil an egg and cut it into small pieces.
Beans and peas are also accepted.
What truly makes the difference is the dressing – it needs to be rich in mayonnaise.
3 – Mayo and Honey Chicken Salad
This is another common dish from Brazil and an excellent side dish for picanha.
Basically, you have a traditional chicken salad with a mix of sauces.
A mix of veggies will easily complement the dish.
It is also fulfilling, hence its popularity at Brazilian parties and weddings.
Shred the chicken and sprinkle some potato sticks on top of it.
Sweet raisins are also required, but the dressing makes the difference.
You can do it yourself – mayo, honey, salt, pepper, and lime juice.
In Brazil, this side dish is known as salpicao, and there are quite a few different recipes for it.
4 – Toasted Brazilian Flour
Describing this dish is a bit difficult because it basically implies toasting flour.
Once you get into this recipe, everything will make sense.
It is basically a type of bread – a unique one.
What can go better with meat? Exactly….
The recipe will bring in a toasted mix of flour that tastes both salty and smoky.
Extra flavors come from various ingredients – you can use olives, bacon, or even nuts.
The final result will be crumbly. You cannot eat it like regular bread.
Instead, you need to sprinkle it all over the dish.
5 – Balsamic Glazed Leeks
Leek works wonders with meat, but you need to cook it accordingly.
Picanha is a Brazilian dish, so you need to keep the side dish in the same cuisine for maximum efficiency.
Leeks are quite common in Brazil – part of the onion family, leeks are even more aromatic.
This recipe implies cooking leeks slowly. It takes time, indeed, but it is totally worth it.
When cooked slowly, leeks will look and feel like spaghetti.
They will be soft and long – a similar texture but a different taste.
Get some sweet balsamic glaze to top everything up.
You can sprinkle some of it on picanha as well.
6 – Fluffy Brazilian Rice
Rice works with pretty much any meaty deal, and picanha makes no exception either.
Brazilian rice does not have to originate from Brazil, but you have to cook it like Brazilians do.
The first rule is keeping proportions correct – you will need a cup of rice for every two cups of water.
Getting it fluffy and soft implies washing the rice thoroughly before cooking it.
Not only is it recommended and hygienic, but the water absorbed will also add to its texture.
The flavoring is what makes the difference – use garlic, onions, and just a bit of salt.
7 – Garlicky Collard Greens
This is another recipe from Brazilian cuisine that will work wonders with pretty much any dish out there – especially those based on meat.
Greens work well with meat because of the crunchy texture – besides, they balance the taste a little.
Besides, they are easy to make, tasty, and healthy.
The recipe is straightforward and should not take you more than 15 minutes.
Get some collard greens and slice them in thin strips.
Cook them in olive oil and throw in some crushed garlic.
Salt and pepper? Season to taste. Let them cool down for a few minutes, and they are ready to go.
Bottom line, there are lots of ideas when not sure what to serve with picanha.
Indeed, it is a meaty dish, so there are lots of classic options.
However, the recipe is Brazilian, so it pays off finding something from the same cuisine in order to balance flavors and aromas responsibly.
Most of the above-mentioned ideas should take minutes to prepare, and given the flavors and textures, they will be perfect for your meaty picanha.