Perfect Gumbo Pairings For You

Gumbo, a flavorful and comforting stew from Louisiana, can be paired with a variety of side dishes, beverages, and even desserts to create a comprehensive and satisfying meal.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo. Credit: canva

Side Dishes

Steamed white rice is a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with gumbo. The mild flavor and fluffy texture of the rice allow it to soak up the rich gumbo flavors, making each bite even more satisfying.

Cornbread is another great side dish for gumbo, offering a slightly sweet contrast to the savory stew. Other popular side dishes include potato salad, coleslaw, fried okra, hush puppies, and green beans.


When it comes to beverages, both wine and beer are popular choices. If your gumbo has a lot of Andouille (the smoky, spicy sausage) or chili heat, a pale ale is a good option.

A doppelbock can stand up to the weight of the dish, providing a contrast to the spicy gumbo with its slightly sweet maltiness.

For wine, a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir can be paired with chicken and sausage gumbo, while a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc works best with seafood gumbo.


While not traditionally served with gumbo, desserts can provide a sweet ending to the meal. Classic Southern desserts like pecan pie, bread pudding, or beignets can complement the rich and hearty flavors of gumbo.

In conclusion, the perfect gumbo pairing depends on personal preference and the specific type of gumbo being served. Whether it’s a simple side of rice, a glass of wine, or a sweet dessert, there are many ways to enhance the gumbo dining experience.

gumbo cornbread
Shrimp Gumbo with Cornbread. Credit: canva

What Bread Goes With Gumbo?

Here are some of the best breads to serve with gumbo:


Cornbread is considered a classic side dish to serve with gumbo. As a staple of Southern cuisine, its sweet and crumbly texture provides a nice contrast to the rich and savory flavors of the gumbo.

People specifically recommend trying spiced up versions like jalapeño cheddar cornbread to complement the gumbo even more.

Cheese bread

Cheese bread is another excellent pairing with gumbo, as the search results note that the richness of the cheese complements the thick gumbo sauce well.

In particular, people suggest a soft French bread loaf topped with lots of cheese that can soak up the gumbo broth.


Flaky, buttery biscuits are called out as going perfectly with gumbo, especially sausage gumbo. Their texture stands up well to the hearty soup.

Air fryer biscuits are noted as an easy way to make a small batch to serve alongside the gumbo.

French bread

A simple French baguette is noted to pair nicely with the spices and flavors of the gumbo without overpowering it. People recommend a crispy-crusted French loaf.

In summary, classic Southern breads like cornbread, cheese bread, and biscuits are most commonly recommended, along with a crispy French loaf. Their textures and flavors tend to stand up well to and soak up the rich gumbo.

gumbo with rice
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Rice. Credit: canva

What Food Goes With Gumbo?

Gumbo is a hearty Louisiana stew typically made with a protein like chicken, sausage, or seafood, along with vegetables like okra, bell peppers, onions, and celery. It has a rich, deeply flavored broth that is perfect for sopping up with bread or rice.

When serving gumbo, you’ll want side dishes that complement the robust cajun flavors without overpowering them.

Starchy Sides

Some type of starch is an essential for serving with gumbo. The two most classic choices are white rice and cornbread. Long grain white rice is traditional, as its mild flavor soaks up the gumbo broth wonderfully.

Be sure to season the rice with salt and butter or cajun spices. Cornbread is another excellent option – its sweet, crumbly texture contrasts nicely with the savory gumbo. Other ideas include cheesy bread, biscuits, hushpuppies, or even pasta.

Vegetable Dishes

Fresh vegetable sides help balance out the heartiness of gumbo. Choices like potato salad, coleslaw, a green salad, or roasted vegetables are all great options.

You can give these dishes extra cajun flair by adding spices like cayenne, paprika, garlic, or onion. Sauteed greens like collard greens, kale, or spinach make tasty veggie sides too.


Potatoes pair especially well with gumbo. Fried potato dishes like french fries, sweet potato fries, or even tater tots have an irresistible crunch that plays off the stew’s richness.

Mashed potatoes or baked potatoes are comforting choices too. Or mix things up with potato pancakes or homemade potato chips. Just be sure to season the potatoes boldly to stand up to the gumbo’s deep flavors.

Additional Touches

Don’t forget little extras that can round out the meal. Add crunch with fried okra, fried pickles, or hushpuppies. Bring additional protein to the table with shrimp cocktail or crab cakes.

Warm, gooey garlic bread can sop up any remaining broth too. And don’t forget beverages – ice cold beer, sweet tea, and lemonade all make fine pairings.

With so many possibilities, you’re bound to discover your own perfect combination of sides to serve with gumbo. The keys are complementing flavors and textures – pick dishes with enough character to hold their own against the iconic Louisiana stew. Just be ready for requests for second helpings!

Shrimp Gumbo. Credit: canva

The Story of Gumbo Potato Salad: A Taste of Louisiana

Gumbo potato salad is a beloved side dish in Louisiana, commonly served alongside a piping hot bowl of seafood gumbo. Its creamy texture and tangy flavor act as the perfect cooling complement to the rich, spicy stew.

So how did this combination come about, and what makes gumbo potato salad special?

Origins from Cajun Country

While the exact origins are unknown, gumbo potato salad likely emerged in Cajun Country, specifically Lafayette and the surrounding areas. Cajuns traditionally serve potato salad with gumbo, either placing a scoop directly in the bowl or offering it as a side.

As one Reddit commenter explained, “Any restaurant in Cajun country knows full well….they must offer potato salad on the menu. If you don’t offer potato salad… can expect lots of complaints.” The creamy spuds soak up the rich flavors of the gumbo perfectly.

Over time, a specific style of potato salad developed to match the heartiness of gumbo. Unlike chunky deli-style potato salads, gumbo potato salad is smooth, almost mashed, with a strong hit of mustard. Hard boiled eggs are another common addition.

According to Cajun chef and cookbook author Marcelle Bienvenu, “This ‘gumbo’ potato salad, unlike the more common and chunkier Southern Style Potato Salad, has no eggs or pickles and is mostly mashed. It’s perfect for eating with gumbo, whether you scoop it right into the gumbo bowl, or serve it on the side.”

Quintessential Ingredients

So what goes into gumbo potato salad? While recipes vary, a few key ingredients make it stand out:

  • Potatoes: Yukon Gold or red potatoes are preferred for their creamy, firm texture that holds its shape. Russets tend to get too mushy.
  • Mustard: Creole, whole grain, or spicy mustard packs a tangy punch.
  • Eggs (optional): Hard boiled eggs lend protein and richness. Some chop the egg whites and mash the yolks into the dressing.
  • Relish or pickles (optional): A spoonful of relish or chopped dill pickles balances out the creaminess.
  • Onion and celery (optional): Finely minced aromatics add a savory depth.
  • Mayonnaise and sour cream: Binds it all together into an ultra-rich, cooling side.

From there, cooks customize to taste with Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, parsley and other embellishments. The smooth texture allows the potato salad to melt right into a bowl of piping hot gumbo.

Turkey Gumbo. Credit: canva

An Iconic Combo Here to Stay

Gumbo and potato salad have become an iconic pairing and time-honored tradition in Southern Louisiana cooking. And while some may see it as unconventional, most fans can’t imagine one without the other.

According to Cajun chef Ryan Trahan, “Sooner or later Southerners all come home, not to die, but to eat gumbo.” And potato salad, as it turns out.

Vegetables in Gumbo

There are many variations of gumbo, including traditional meat and seafood versions as well as vegetarian and vegan options. The vegetables used can differ depending on the type of gumbo.

Traditional Gumbo

The traditional New Orleans-style gumbo often contains the “holy trinity” of vegetables – onion, celery, and bell pepper. These form the base along with a dark roux made from oil or butter and flour.

Beyond the trinity, other common vegetables include okra, garlic, parsley, green onions, and sometimes tomatoes. Hot peppers may also be used to add spice and heat. The vegetables complement ingredients like chicken, sausage, or shrimp.

Vegetarian and Vegan Gumbo

For vegetarian or vegan versions, the variety and quantity of vegetables is increased to provide substance in place of the meat.

In addition to the classic trinity, heartier vegetables like mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, corn, lima beans, and string beans are often added.

Canned beans like red beans, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans boost the protein content.

Soy-based meat substitutes can also be used.

Tomatoes and tomato paste lend sweetness and texture while ingredients like liquid smoke, soy sauce, Creole seasoning, and spices infuse the complexity and smokiness typically provided by meat.

Fresh okra. Credit: canva

Key Vegetables

In summary, while specific vegetables can vary, the most essential ones across gumbo recipes include:

  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Okra
  • Garlic

For vegetarian/vegan versions, tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, corn, beans, and soy-based proteins are also important additions. Ultimately creativity is welcome when improvising a gumbo, as long as the dark nutty roux provides the base.

The array of vegetables, the spicy and complex seasonings, and the rich roux make gumbo a beloved Louisiana comfort food. Vegetarians need not miss out on this iconic regional dish.

With a flavorful stock and the right mix of vegetables, beans, soy products, and spices, you can capture the essence of gumbo without the meat or seafood.

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