If you have a craving for dirty rice and ground beef, it’s not enough to just grab the ingredients and make it.
You’ve got to make sure you have the proper sides to complete the experience.
There are plenty of side dishes out there that can fill in the gaps when it comes to additional nutrition and flavor, and here are 15 ideas to get you started!
What Goes with Dirty Rice and Ground Beef?
If you are looking for a side dish that goes with dirty rice and ground beef, then you should try something like collard greens, mashed potatoes, fried okra, macaroni salad, and cornbread.
Dirty rice and ground beef is an awesome meal, but it needs some help from the side dish to really hit its full potential.
And if you’re like me, you don’t want to just settle for breadsticks or a salad.
No, I want a side that’s going to make this meal not only more delicious, but more interesting as well.
1. Baked beans
The most obvious answer is baked beans.
This traditional side dish echoes the earthy flavors of dirty rice while providing a soft contrast to the crisp, pan-fried surface of dirty rice.
In addition, the added protein in baked beans can help make your meal more filling without increasing your calorie intake too much.
If you’re looking for something different, consider cornbread.
This fluffy, buttery side dish can give your dinner a sweet touch while adding more starch and carbohydrates to your meal—which will help keep you satisfied longer.
3. Mac n Cheese
This one’s a no-brainer.
You can use the recipe from your mom or grandma, or you can take it up a notch by experimenting with fancy cheeses (try gruyere or gorgonzola!) or adding in some yummy veggies.
Whatever you do, don’t skip this important step: Let the mac sit for at least five minutes before serving.
This ensures that the cheese sauce doesn’t run all over the plate when you scoop up the noodles!
We know what you’re thinking—sweet potato casserole is more of a dessert than a side dish, but hear us out:
The combination of sweet potatoes, marshmallows, pecans, and brown sugar makes for an irresistible complement to dirty rice and ground beef.
Try making it with some cinnamon sprinkled on top, then finish off your meal by putting it in the oven at 350 degrees until bubbly!
5. Green Beans with Bacon (or Fried Okra)
This is a classic side dish, and you can’t go wrong with either option.
If you want to go with green beans, which are more traditional, make sure you get plenty of bacon.
If you want to try something new and different, but still classic Southern fare, give fried okra a shot.
Just make sure your oil is nice and hot before you add the okra—otherwise they’ll get soggy and gross!
Broccoli with cheese sauce is another side dish that goes amazingly well with dirty rice and ground beef.
This one is all about flavor—the cheese sauce combines wonderfully with the rice and beef, and broccoli itself has a really unique flavor that makes it great to eat on its own.
7. Green Salad (with Garlic Bread)
Green salad is the perfect complement to your meal.
The smoothness of the lettuce will counterbalance the texture of your dirty rice and ground beef, while the dressing adds a new level of flavor that you’ll love.
Top it off with some garlic bread, and you’ve got a complete meal that’s sure to fill you up!
Plantains are like bananas’ starchy cousins.
That’s why they have a similar flavor, but they’re not as sweet as bananas—which makes them a terrific accompaniment to savory main dishes like dirty rice and ground beef.
You can find plantains at many grocery stores.
- To prepare them for cooking, cut off both ends and then slice the skin lengthwise to remove it in strips.
- Then slice the plantains into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal and fry them in vegetable oil until they’re golden brown on each side (about three minutes per side).
- Sprinkle with salt and serve hot!
What could be more comforting than mashed potatoes?
If you’re short on time, you can buy instant mashed potato flakes from the store and mix according to the instructions on the box.
To make it healthier, swap out some of the water (or milk/cream) for mashed cauliflower—it adds nutrients while keeping that super-creamy consistency.
And don’t forget to top it all off with some gravy!
So easy to make!
- Just cut off the ends of your sprouts, then halve or quarter them lengthwise, depending on how large they are.
- Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste, spread them out on a baking sheet, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.
- You can also add some chopped garlic or drizzle with balsamic vinegar halfway through the cooking process if you’re extra fancy.
Not only is asparagus simple to roast, but it can also give any dish a bit of a gourmet feel.
- To make roasted asparagus spears, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse your asparagus off and dry it, then cut off any woody ends (the bottom parts).
- Place the asparagus in a baking dish with about half an inch of water in the bottom.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, then let it roast for about 12 minutes (until the stalks start to turn golden brown).
12. Roasted carrots
If you have a little more time on your hands and are willing to put together a dressing to drizzle on top of your roasted carrots before serving, these little guys will be the stars of the show.
- To make roasted carrots, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel six carrots, then toss them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (and optionally some dried herbs like rosemary or thyme).
- Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet and roast them for 20-30 minutes (stirring once halfway through), until they are tender on the inside with crispy edges.
Coleslaw is often served with dirty rice on top of ground beef, which is a great choice if you’re looking for a classic side.
But if you’re looking for something bolder, coleslaw can be a great base to really spice things up.
Make your coleslaw with a twist: try adding raisins or slivered almonds, or make an Asian-inspired dressing by adding soy sauce, sesame oil, and lemon juice for an unexpected kick.
Going for a sweet dish?
Try adding pineapple instead of cabbage and carrots as your base—it will really bring out the sweetness in your dirty rice and ground beef main course, and it’s always fun to see people’s faces when they realize they are eating pineapple salad!
14. Potato Salad
Another perfect side for dirty rice and ground beef is potato salad.
The secret to a good recipe is all in the potatoes.
Make sure you choose one with a waxy texture; it will hold up perfectly when boiled.
Then dice them into small cubes and toss them in a bowl with lots of mayonnaise, dijon mustard, celery, eggs, pickles, and sweet onions!
15. French Fries
If you’re in a hurry, it might seem like the best thing to do is buy a bag of frozen fries and throw them in the oven.
But if you have time to do it right, you need to get the right kind of oil.
I prefer canola oil, but really any kind will do in a pinch.
- Then you need to preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put the fries in an oven-safe baking dish with the oil and a little bit of salt.
- Put your hands on either side of the dish and move it back and forth over your head while chanting “oh yes oh yes” repeatedly until it feels right (you’ll know when).
- Turn up the heat until it’s just right—not too hot, not too cold—and bake for about 25 minutes or until crisp on top.
- Make sure to rotate occasionally if your oven has hot spots!
15 Sides for Dirty Rice and Ground Beef
- Baked beans
- Mac n Cheese
- Sweet potato casserole
- Green beans with bacon (or fried okra)
- Broccoli with cheese sauce
- Green salad (with garlic bread)
- Fried plantains
- Mashed potatoes with gravy
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Roasted asparagus spears
- Roasted carrots
- Potato Salad
- French Fries
- Pick your favorite side dish from this list to serve with your meal.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to eat in no time!