Those barbecue pork ribs could stand alone but we shouldn’t allow them to be so lonely on the table. We’ve come up with a list of what vegetables go well with ribs. These vegetable sides will surely compliment the flavor of the ribs and make the meal a little bit guilt-free.
Have you ever wondered why bone-in dishes taste better? Bones are packed with flavor and that’s why they’re typically used to make stock and not the actual meat itself. Most of the essence is in the bone and that’s where the umami comes from. Aided by the flavor of the fat and the meat, bone-in items just make meals extra delicious. This is probably why ribs are so tasty.
Ribs, pork ribs to be more specific, is a crowd favorite most especially in barbecues because it’s packed with so much flavor and meat. When ribs are seasoned and cooked very well, they’re very much enjoyable in barbecues. They’re fun to eat yet not frustrating to finish. We prefer barbecued pork ribs to sweep out chicken meat from its bones any day.
In the United States, there are 4 common ways to prepare pork ribs: Baby Back, St. Louis style, Spareribs, and Country style. All four have different spice blends to it and means of cooking but they all taste great. To complete this excellent rib meal, we’ve carefully thought of vegetable sides that work alongside this special entree.
Table of Contents
1. Collard Greens
Collard greens are bitter when eaten raw. However, when heat is introduced to it, it has a slight earthiness to it. Collard greens are often sauteed and served in southern-style meals. With barbecue pork ribs, we like slow-cooking collard greens in onion, garlic, and creole seasoning. It sounds strong on the flavor profile but we love how this blend works for the vegetables and together with barbecue pork ribs. The flavor of the greens counters the richness of the pork ribs.
Potatoes are commonly used as a vegetable side for most meals. With barbecue pork ribs, we like serving it with a classic American potato salad. This kind of potato salad is strong on the mayonnaise with some medium-boiled eggs added to it, some light mustard, a lot of bacon bits, and some freshly sliced onions. The overall flavor of the classic potato salad fills you up with the pork ribs during the meal. The flavor compliments the overall aura of the pork ribs.
With corn and pork ribs, we like leaving things simple. The corn should be sweet and it should be lightly boiled in salted water. Cook it for 10-12 minutes then leave it out to cook. Before serving, drop a tablespoon of butter on top and spread the butter. If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, you can dust some cayenne and paprika powder on top. This adds spice to the corn and it tastes so well with the pork ribs.
You might already know why cabbage is on the list. If you’re thinking coleslaw, you’re definitely right. Is there even a barbecue meal without coleslaw in it? Coleslaw is made out of the cabbage and in our case, we like mixing green cabbage with red for aesthetic purposes. The light creaminess of the coleslaw definitely cuts through the richness of the barbecued ribs. It balances the flavors and it’s just such a classic combination of flavors.
A fresh salad of jicama with beans, corn kernels, apple slices and spices makes a great side with barbecued pork ribs. This kind of salad certainly adds freshness to the pork ribs meal. The spiciness of the dressing adds a different kind of flavor profile to this barbecued pork ribs meal.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another southern-style side dish staple. With pork ribs, we like serving our sweet potatoes roasted with a lot of herbs and garlic. Sweet potatoes are obviously sweeter compared to regular potatoes and it’s a different kind of starchy flavor added to the meal. If you have a little bit more time to prepare, making mashed sweet potatoes with cheese works as well. The cheesiness pairs with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes so well and who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?
It’s not typical to pair an American-style caprese salad with pork ribs but it works. If you have cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, you can easily turn it into a salad with fresh mozzarella and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil and basil. This simple yet striking salad totally compliments the strong flavor of the barbecued pork ribs.
8. Green Beans
Green beans are perfect with almost anything. With barbecued pork ribs, we like mixing three kinds of beans and turning them into a salad with olive oil, a little bit of mustard, some vinegar, and a lot of herbs. Green beans can be steamed together with pinto beans and red beans. This kind of salad is a little bit heavy but it tastes absolutely fresh and delicious with a stronger tasting main like barbecue pork ribs.
One of the best side dishes that goes very well with pork ribs is mac ‘n cheese. Mac ‘n cheese is obviously rich and creamy. However, pork ribs are also rich in a totally different way. If you still want to pair your mac ‘n cheese with the pork ribs, why not add a little bit of broccoli to the mac ‘n cheese to make it less indulgent. Broccoli mac ‘n cheese isn’t uncommon and it’s actually very delicious.
Okra tots go so well with pork ribs. Of course other forms of okra are good with ribs like sauteed okra with tomatoes and onion or baked okra. However, we love the texture and flavor of the okra tots because of the cornmeal breading. Okra tots are easy to pop in your mouth while busy finishing off some pork meat off the ribs.