What Goes With Dirty Rice? A Favorite Louisiana Dish

If you’ve never eaten dirty rice before, then you’re in for a treat. This dish is a favorite in Louisiana and has been enjoyed by locals for years. But what should we prepare to eat with this dish?

Here are what goes with dirty rice:

  • Beef brisket
  • Side salad
  • Cajun-style blackened red snapper
  • Baked beans
  • Fried Chicken
  • And many more.

This dish is incredibly versatile and there are endless possibilities. In this post, we will show you how to make the dish as well as what to eat with them.

What is Dirty Rice?

dirty rice
Cajun Dirty Rice. Credit: canva

Dirty rice, also known as Cajun rice or rice dressing, is a traditional Cajun dish that is made with white long-grain rice, chicken livers, and pork sausage.

It gets its name from the fact that it’s “dirty” from being cooked with small pieces of pork, beef or chicken, green bell pepper, celery, and onion, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper.[

The History of Dirty Rice

Dirty rice has been around for years and was created in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a popular dish that is used to celebrate Mardi Gras and other holidays throughout the year.

How would you describe dirty rice?

Dirty rice is a spicy and meaty rice dish that may become your favorite rice dish of all time.

Dirty rice is a popular side dish in many parts of the world, but with all that meaty rich flavors added to it, it’s hard not to eat it as a main meal.

The flavor of dirty rice is fairly easy to describe. Let’s start with the name, dirty rice. It is a dish that has meat in it and it doesn’t look very pretty when you see all of those meats mixed into your white rice (that may be why they call it “dirty”).

The meats that are used in dirty rice give it a smoky, spicy flavor and the rice is cooked with vegetables like bell pepper and onion so it has a slight sweetness to it.

Dirty rice is usually served with sauce on the side, which can be either gravy or hot sauce.

Why do they call it dirty rice?

Dirty rice gets its name from the fact that it’s “dirty” from being cooked with small pieces of pork, beef or chicken, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper.

This dish is a favorite in Louisiana with explosion of flavor. It has been enjoyed by locals for years.

What’s the difference between rice and dirty rice?

The difference between rice and dirty rice is that, while rice is just plain white rice, dirty rice has meat in it. It doesn’t look very pretty when you see all of those meats mixed into your white rice.

What’s the difference between dirty rice and jambalaya?

The difference between dirty rice and jambalaya is that dirty rice doesn’t have any seafood in it. Jambalaya usually has shrimp, crawfish, or crab meat in it.

What Goes with Dirty Rice?

There are a variety of things that can go along with dirty rice. Some local favorites include:

Beef Brisket 

This is an excellent option as it pairs nicely and adds flavor to the dish. It’s also easy to make!

Chicken

As we mentioned above, you have a lot of options when it comes to chicken. Try cooking the rice with different types of chicken breasts and see which you like best!

The most popular ones for this is chicken thighs or chicken wings.

Cajun-style Blackened Red Snapper

dirty rice blackened red snapper
Cajun-style Blackened Red Snapper & Dirty Rice. Credit: canva

This is one of our favorite dishes to go with dirty rice. The blackened seasoning gives the fish a nice flavor and it’s healthy and light.

Beans

Another great option is beans, especially if you have a few leftovers from another meal or dinner.

Side Salad

A side salad would be an excellent addition for dirty rice as well. Add some lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and other veggies to your side salad.

Baked Potato

A baked potato is a great option and it can be made in the oven or microwave depending on what you have and how much time you have!

Slaw

Another thing that goes well with dirty rice is coleslaw. Slaw may be a classic side dish for southern food, but it pairs nicely and adds flavor to the dish as well!

Steamed Veggies

If you’re not a fan of coleslaw or baked potatoes, try adding some steamed veggies as your side dish.  This is an excellent option!

Fried Chicken

Another great thing to go along with dirty rice is fried chicken. It’s quick and easy to make in the kitchen and it pairs perfectly with this dish!

Classic Southern She-Crab Soup

This soup is a delicious option to go with your dirty rice. It’s easy to make and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores!  

You can also add crab meat if you’d like, but it will increase the cost of making this dish significantly.  

Gumbo

dirty rice gumbo
Chicken Gumbo & Dirty Rice. Credit: canva

Gumbo is another classic southern food that pairs nicely with dirty rice. It is a stew-like soup and some people prefer it over jambalaya because you get more of the meat flavor, as opposed to tasting like seafood!

Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies are a popular southern side dish that is made with cornmeal, buttermilk, and flour. They’re delicious and perfect for dipping in your dirty rice!

For extra flavor, toss the hot puppies in some Cajun seasoning before serving. 

Okra

If you’re looking for a vegetable to go with your dirty rice, okra is an excellent option. It’s also easy to cook and has a nice flavor that goes well with the spiciness of the dish!

Cajun Beans

Cajun beans is another traditional side dish for Louisiana food. It’s made with kidney and black beans, sausage or ham hocks, tomatoes, green peppers and onions.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya is an excellent option to go along with dirty rice as well! You can add shrimp or crawfish (or both) if you’d like, or just keep it simple with chicken.

Gravy

And, of course, we can’t forget the gravy! Gravy is a popular sauce to serve with dirty rice and it goes well with the smoky and spicy flavors in the dish.

Hot Sauce

If you’re looking for something a little bit spicier, then hot sauce is a great option. It adds heat and flavor to the dish and can be customized to your liking!

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a classic side dish that goes well with almost any kind of Louisiana food. It’s easy to make, just add some butter and salt!

dirty rice salad
Salad & Dirty Rice. Credit: canva

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad is a great option for dessert or as a side dish. It’s light and refreshing, and it goes well with the spiciness of dirty rice!

 Fried Apples

Fried apples are a delicious dessert or side dish with sweet flavor that you can serve with your dirty rice. It’s easy to make, just peel some apples and fry them in butter!

How to Make Dirty Rice?

Cajun One-Pot Dirty Rice Recipe

This is a favorite recipe of classic New Orleans-style Dirty rice. The dish only need simple ingredients. You can serve it as a stand-alone, as an entree, or even as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground sausage (ground pork sausage)
  • 4-5 C cooked rice, prepared with chicken broth
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 3/4 C green bell pepper (green pepper), diced
  • 3/4 C yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 C celery, diced
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 1 Tbsp bacon grease or cooking oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or you can also use pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper)

Instructions

  1. In a pan large enough to hold the meat, heat up some bacon grease or cooking oil. Brown the ground beef and sausage in the skillet.
  2. Add vegetables and spices to the skillet when the meat begins to brown.
  3. To the pan, add onion and pepper. Stir in garlic and herbs/spices, except parsley, as soon as the meat is thoroughly browned. Season with salt, and combine well once more. Flour should be added at this time.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broth, bay leaves, and rice. Remove any browned bits from the pan using a spoon. Allow cooking for 5-8 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Fold in rice and parsley. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve.

Blackened Chicken with Dirty Rice Recipe

This recipe for blackened chicken with rice is a Louisiana-inspired dish made from a trinity of veggies, spices, and chicken. This recipe makes dirty rice from scratch. 

Ingredients

Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onion
  • ⅓ cup chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (you can also use Basmati rice or Brown rice)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 ounces chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Chicken:

  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth Avocado-Butter Lettuce Salad

Instructions:

Prepare the rice:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through thyme); sauté with wooden spoon for 4 minutes.
  2. Add rice, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.
  3. Add 2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  5. Add livers; sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  6. Stir in green onions. Using slotted spoon, transfer liver mixture and hot pepper sauce to rice; fluff with a fork.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°.

Prepare the chicken:

  1. Combine cumin and the next 5 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon red pepper); rub evenly over chicken.
  2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  3. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken; place pan in the oven.
  4. Bake at 400° for 6 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan.
  5. Add broth to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 minutes). Spoon sauce over chicken; serve with rice.

Tips

Tips for serving dirty rice:

  • Dirty rice can be served as a stand-alone dish, or as an entree with blackened chicken or shrimp.
  • If you want to make the dirty rice into more of the main course, add some chopped chicken livers and green onions.
  • You can also mix in some avocado for extra creaminess and amazing flavors.
  • Serve the dirty rice with a simple side salad for a complete meal.

Tips for storing and freezing leftover Cajun dirty rice

  • Once the dirty rice has cooled, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • If you want to freeze the dirty rice, place it in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to two months.
  • When you’re ready to eat the frozen rice, thaw it in the fridge overnight or microwave it on defrost setting.

FAQs

Is dirty rice bad for you?

No, delicious meal is not bad for you. It’s actually a pretty healthy meal!

Is Cajun rice the same as dirty rice?

Dirty rice is frequently referred to as Cajun Rice in Louisiana and other parts of the South due to the dish’s history with the Acadian immigrants of Louisiana.

How long is dirty rice good in the fridge?

Dirty rice will last three to four days in the fridge. It can also be frozen if you want leftover Cajun dirty rice for later!

Does dirty rice have MSG in it?

No, there is no MSG in dirty rice. However, some premade versions of the dish may have added ingredients that contain MSG.

How do you heat up dirty rice?

You can heat up dirty rice in the microwave or on the stove. If microwaving, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for two to three minutes. If cooking on the stove, place it in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until heated through.