Ribs are always worth cooking, even if you never get as much meat as bones. Imagine the juicy, tender ribs with plenty of BBQ sauce to dip in. It’s a true feast for your taste buds.
Whether smoked, grilled, or baked in the oven, spare or baby back ribs, they are the kind of food that makes you drool. Pairing them with the right side dishes will round out your plate and balance the rich, tangy, sweet, and fatty flavors of ribs.
In this article, we give you a list of some of the best side dishes for ribs. Pick your favorite and impress your guests.
13 Best Side Dishes for Ribs
1. Mac and Cheese
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite – mac and cheese. This popular cheesy pasta pairs well with rich, fatty foods like BBQ ribs. The rich flavors of mac and cheese work well with the smokiness of the ribs.
Not to mention how good the reddish-brown BBQ rib looks with the yellowish side dish.
2. Black Bean & Mango Salad
This vibrant salad is not only a feast for the eyes, but for your taste buds as well, especially when combined with rich and juicy ribs. The salad is made of canned black beans, crisp bell peppers, mangoes, fresh cilantro, mild scallions, and dressings made with olive oil and lime juice.
It’s low in calories and fat, gluten-free, tasty, and healthy. You can make it in a matter of minutes, so it’s perfect when you need a quick and easy side dish for your ribs.
3. Herbed Potato Salad
Ribs work with any potato salad, but this herbed version is a nice change from the standard salads. The secret is in the dressing.
It’s a lighter version than the potato salad with mayo dressing since the dressing for this salad is made of shallot, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Herbs that boost the salad flavor include fresh tarragon, parsley, and dill. The tangy dressing and the herbs cut through the richness of the ribs.
4. Baked Beans
This is one of the most popular side dishes for ribs that complements its strong flavor. Cook up thick, rich, and saucy baked beans in your crockpot by starting a day in advance, so they can simmer and soak overnight.
The following day, cook them in your slow cooker with ingredients like onion, ketchup, and Dijon mustard. Finally, serve them along your juicy, BBQ ribs.
5. French Green Bean Salad
If you’re looking for a flavorful, green side dish to complement your ribs, look no more. Green beans make the perfect salad with a shallot and mustard vinaigrette.
To make this salad, cook your green beans until crisp-tender, drain, and add to the vinaigrette. Once they are well coated, sprinkle with some parsley. Serve warm. This is one of the ultimate and healthy vegetable sides for ribs that should accompany your meal.
6. Italian Pasta Salad
This classic vegan and vegetarian pasta salad is an amazing addition to your rich BBQ ribs. It’s made with flavorful, fresh vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, artichoke hearts, onion, tomato, avocado, and black olives, so it’s not only delicious, but nutritious as well.
It uses bottled Italian salad dressing, so you can prepare it in a few minutes. However, it’s best served cold, so you may want to leave it in the fridge for a few hours before serving next to your ribs.
7. Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes may not be as popular as red ones, but they make a great side dish for ribs. Slices of green tomatoes are coated in cornmeal before frying, resulting in crispy, delicious fried tomato slices that are no longer sour or firm.
Have you ever heard about this Mediterranean potato dip? Well, Scordalia is a tasty dip made of blanched russet potatoes, raw garlic, almonds, spices, bread, and oil. Greeks enjoy it as a meze dip.
It’s unlike anything you’ve ever tried and apparently it pairs well with ribs. You can use it as a side dish for ribs or as a dip.
9. Corn Fritters
You can use corn to make these mouth-watering fritters. They are crisp on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside.
Corn fritters are a great side dish for your BBQ ribs as they will soak up all the extra sauce on your plate. Also great as a side dish for brisket.
10. Corn and Tomato Coleslaw
Your rich and savory ribs will be easier to eat with this light coleslaw made with green cabbage, sweet cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, sour tart, and a dressing made of mustard, garlic, and lime juice. If you want a spicier version, add some Jalapeno.
This summary coleslaw is the ideal refreshing side dish for your BBQ ribs.
11. Hush Puppies
These wonderful, deep-fried balls of deep-fried cornmeal dough make a fantastic side dish for ribs. They are made with cornmeal and flour, and a variety of seasonings. You can add onion powder, chopped green onions, or grated onion for extra flavor.
For a spicier version, add hot sauce or cayenne pepper. You’ll get crunchy hush puppies that are heavenly moist on the inside.
12. Rainbow Slaw
If you’re looking for a fresh-tasting rib side dish, you may want to try the rainbow slaw. It’s made with shredded carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, purple cabbage, snow peas, and carrots, drizzled with a sweet and sour dressing.
The amazing dressing requires olive oil, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame oil.
This rib side dish is inexpensive, quick, and easy to prepare, so it’s perfect if you’re in a rush.
13. Fried Pickles
Even though fried pickles are delicious on their own, they are even better when combined with BBQ ribs. These crisp, deep-fried dill pickle slices make a fun side dish for your ribs.
Who doesn’t love juicy, melt-in-your-mouth, and fall-off-the-bone ribs? This rich, tasty main dish is even better when served with some of the side dishes mentioned above.
The next time you cook ribs, pick your favorite ribs side dish from our list and you’ll enjoy your ribs on a whole new level. Knowing what side dishes go good with ribs is the key to unlocking your meals full potential.