Easy gumbo serving ideas, from Louisiana crab cakes to Cajun potato salad, and golden cornbread to Creole okra. Discover what to serve with gumbo today.
Gumbo is the iconic state dish of Louisiana, and for a good reason. Just one bite of the hardy, spice stew can make you feel like you’re looking out onto Bourbon Street.
Of course, as delicious as gumbo is, it usually doesn’t constitute a full meal, which means that you need the perfect cajun side to go alongside it.
We’ve assembled this list of gumbo side dishes so that next time you cook a big pot of that liquid gold, you’ll have plenty of options.
Cajun Potato Salad
Cajun potato salad is a twist on the original Southern classic, adding the Cajun ‘Holy Trinity’ (bell peppers, onions, and celery) to give the creamy egg and potato mixture an extra kick.
To boot, it’s an easy side. Just cube three pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, boil them and mix them with the aforementioned holy trinity, some hard-boiled eggs, and seasonings like mustard, parsley, and a Cajun seasoning mix.
In just half an hour, you’ll have a savory potato salad that’ll add a kick of spice alongside your gumbo.
There’s nothing like a loaf of toasty, buttery cornbread alongside a steaming bowl of gumbo on a cold winter’s night.
In addition to its sweet-and-savory mix, cornbread can be dipped or crumbled into your gumbo, giving you a small meal with each spoonful!
This cornbread is extra easy. It ditches the classic (but elusive) buttermilk ingredient and instead uses a mix of milk, baking soda, sugar, cornmeal, and eggs to make a slice of heaven in under an hour.
Even better, you can make the mixture in a cast-iron skillet, reducing the need for complicated cleanup.
Okra is a classic fixture of Louisianan cooking. If it’s not already in your gumbo as a thickener (or even if it already is), try using it as the basis of this vegetarian side dish.
Simply sautee some onions, garlic, green bell peppers, and tomatoes, add seasonings, toss in some frozen okra, then simmer it in tomato juice for fifteen minutes. As if by magic, you’ve made what’s essentially Cajun succotash!
This Creole okra dish makes a perfect companion to gumbo, offering a fruity, chewy, spicy complement to the surf-and-turf flavors of the stew.
Louisiana Green Salad
Want a Cajun-inspired salad that doesn’t use Cajun seasonings? Try this incredible Louisiana green salad, whose decadently sweet flavors are the perfect contrast with the spicy delights of a pot of gumbo.
To make this recipe, you’ll want to soak cranberries in port wine overnight to infuse them with extra sweetness. After you finish, mix the cranberries with toasted almonds, lettuce, and a vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, Tabasco sauce, cinnamon, and honey.
The result is a salad with the perfect mixture of kick and sweetness, which pairs perfectly with gumbo.
Louisiana Crab Cakes
Go for these Louisiana Crab Cakes if you want your gumbo side to pack a meatier punch. With a combo of crab and shrimp, these cakes are perfect as a companion to a gumbo that’s mostly meat–or they’re suitable for a pescatarian gumbo lover.
To make these crab cakes, you’ll saute vegetables, including onions and green bell peppers, and then simmer them in heavy cream. Then, you’ll mix them with crabmeat and ground shrimp, which you can use as a binding agent instead of crackers or breadcrumbs. After that, you’ll bread the cakes in cornmeal and fry them in oil until they’re perfectly crisp.
Serving gumbo over cajun rice is a no-brainer–especially since gumbo’s sibling, jambalaya, is essentially the same dish with rice mixed in.
To make this rice, saute onions and peppers, add a broth of your choosing and some seasonings, add uncooked rice, and wait thirty minutes or so. In the end, you’ll have a steaming pot of spicy, savory Cajun rice.
What makes this dish shine as an add-on to gumbo is that it offers relief from gumbo’s heat while still bringing a kick of flavor to the meal.
The following side on our list is a Cajun twist on an American classic and one of the more versatile side options available to you. To make Cajun fries, all you need are some sliced russet potatoes, some frying oil (like vegetable, canola, or peanut), cajun seasoning, and a medium of your choice.
Cajun seasoning is simple enough, consisting of onion powder, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, and oregano. Once you’ve sliced and rinsed your potatoes and added the seasonings, you have options for cooking them. If you’re a veteran deep fryer, you can go with the oven, but it’s also an option to use an air fryer or cook them in the oven.
At the end of the day, the important thing is that you dip the fries in the gumbo when you eat them for a full blast of Cajun flavor.
Louisiana Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is a sweet Southern dessert dish that goes perfectly alongside gumbo, giving a flavor like French Toast to complement your stew’s spicy kick and meaty richness.
To make bread pudding, you’ll be mixing eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, spooning it over bread, then baking it. Once the pudding is out of the oven, top it with a divine banana-rum sauce, whose intoxicating sweetness will cool your mouth down in between bites of gumbo.
Shrimp remoulade combines a classic Cajun-European sauce with sweet, delicate shrimp. If you’re a seafood lover, this is a perfect complement to the shrimp or meat in your gumbo.
To make shrimp remoulade, you’ll make a mixture of lemon juice, mayonnaise, and spices. Then, you’ll boil some shrimp and toss them in the sauce, and voila! You’ve created a creamy shrimp dish in under thirty minutes.
To serve shrimp remoulade as a side, just dish up the shrimp on a plate with some arugula alongside a heaping bowl of gumbo.
The hushpuppy, a ball of fried cornmeal dough that’s like a cousin to cornbread, is perhaps the southern side to rule them all. Besides being a sweet and savory side that can include other flavors, like the fiery kick of jalapeño peppers, hushpuppies are relatively easy to make.
To make these Southern hushpuppies, simply mix buttermilk, sugar, baking powder, cornmeal, butter, and spices, then dip the dough into frying oil. Remove after a few minutes, and you’ll have a sweet, crispy side that can either swim in your gumbo or sit alongside it.
Creole Tomato Salad
Another entry on the salad front, this Creole tomato salad gives you a blast of fresh, fantastic flavor to complement the heat of the gumbo.
It requires a basic vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic, added to onions, tomatoes, chives, and mint. Although it’s not as involved as other sides on this list, this salad brings an entirely different–and nutritious–flavor to your plate.