A traditional shrimp boil comes with a few sides included, like corn and potatoes boiled alongside the andouille sausage and shrimp. As delicious of a meal as a shrimp boil is, it’s good to have a break from the classic spicy seasoning. Try some of these tasty sides at your next shrimp boil for some guest-pleasing options.
Baked beans might be a common choice for barbeques, but they’re also an excellent option for a shrimp boil. A spoonful of hearty but sweet baked beans goes well with the salty and spicy boil. Plus, you don’t have to make beans out of a can. Slow cooking dry beans allows you to customize the flavor to your preference.
Not only is cole slaw a tasty choice, but the sidedish also provides a great textural difference. A crunchy combination of cabbage and some sort of dressing, usually something creamy like mayonnaise. Asian slaw with vinegar and sesame oil is a lighter option. There are lots of ways creative ways to serve slaw.
Even at a shrimp boil, people need to eat their greens. Collard greens are a tasty way to do it. In the south, these greens are slow-cooked along with meat, usually some type of pork, for a long time. This method results in super tender greens with an almost smokey taste. For a meat-free option, collard greens can be quickly cooked in a pan and seasoned with citrus juice.
Cornbread is a staple of many tables, and everyone has their take on the bread. Some people add cheddar to the top or diced chiles to the batter for a kick. Any way you make it, cornbread is one of the most popular sides served at shrimp boils. The savory but sweet taste helps it fit with everything else being served.
Dirty rice contains the culinary holy trinity of Louisana cooking: bell pepper, onion, and celery. The vegetables are sauteed and mixed with cooked rice, ground beef, and sausage. Served on its own or stuffed into pepper, this is a treasured side of the Bayou State and would be a great addition to shrimp boil. Add fresh herbs to dirty rice to enhance the flavor of this dish.
One of the fastest and easiest sides to make, fried cabbage, hails from the south. Another perk of fried cabbage is that it can be prepared as a one-pot meal. Bacon should be cooked until crispy, and then onion and cabbage should be added to the same pot. Many recipes call for a bit of sugar which helps with caramelization. This tasty dish fits right in with the flavors of a shrimp boil.
Fried Green Tomatoes
A fried option a little healthier than most, fried green tomatoes are an excellent snack for the table. They are made with unripe tomatoes coated with breadcrumbs and then baked or fried. This fried dish is often an end-of-the-summer treat when tomatoes that haven’t ripened are harvested. Since the unripe tomatoes are mildly tangy, they make for a pleasantly sour side at a shrimp boil.
For a southern-style shrimp boil, fried okra makes a great addition. Even people unfamiliar with okra will enjoy this preparation. This vegetable is a favorite in the south, but without proper care can become slightly slimy when cooked. Frying okra is a great way to prevent this! Try introducing this southern favorite to your table with this fried option.
Green beans are an excellent vegetable option with a mild flavor that pleases most palates. There are many ways to enjoy this versatile bean. They can be stir-fried or sauteed, served plain, or with toppings like garlic and crunchy almonds. Green beans are a vegetable-focused side perfect for a shrimp boil, no matter how they’re cooked.
While the shrimp boil, grill up some vegetables to serve as a side. Fresh vegetables seared on the grill is a great way to add more color to the table. Red bell peppers, sweet yellow onions, and purple eggplant are all excellent options. Serving vegetables is a nice break from the rest of the buttery shrimp boil.
A southern table would be incomplete without hushpuppies, especially when a shrimp boil is the main course. Hushpuppies are essentially fried cornbread balls, though recipes with baked varieties are also available. Seasoned with salt and something to dip them in, hushpuppies make a great shareable snack. Consider adding diced jalapenos for a spicy take on the dish.
Mac and Cheese
A classic comfort food with a long history in the American South, mac and cheese is a great side dish for most meals. Southern mac and cheese starts with a roux, a creamy sauce with origins in French cuisine, but it can be recreated with lighter ingredients. Regardless of how it’s prepared, mac and cheese is a hit at the dinner table and will be at your shrimp boil too.
Red Beans and Rice
A staple of any Louisiana gathering, red beans and rice fits in perfectly at a shrimp boil, especially when cooking Cajun-style. The smokey, rich taste of the beans, slow-cooked with andouille sausage and a plethora of spices, is a longstanding favorite. White rice served on the side soaks up all the bean juices, and hopefully, some from the shrimp boil too.
A variety of salads make a great addition to any shrimp boil. Summer salads are delicious choices for vibrant contrast to savory seafood. With salads, there are just tons of options, but some of the favorites include:
- Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Corn Salad
- Potato Salads (warm and cold varieties)
- Tomato & Feta Salad
- Watermelon Salad
Best Shrimp Boil Sides
When it comes to shrimp boil sides, you’ll have your pick of choices. Whether you’re looking at traditionally southern shrimp boils or aiming for the New England style, these meals are coastal classics. No matter the variety, these are the best shrimp boil sides to serve with your next seafood meal!