The best way to have your beef short ribs is to cook them until tender in a flavorful and savory sauce. That may take a while to achieve, especially if you’re using a slow cooker, but the rich flavors and pull-apart meat make it all worth it. But does that make the meal complete?
Hardly anyone eats short ribs on their own; instead, they usually pair with simple side dishes. Classic choices include mashed or creamy sides, carbs such as pasta and bread, and roasted veggies. You can find 13 side dishes for short ribs in this article.
Leading the list of classic side dishes for short ribs is, of course, mashed potatoes. Indeed, if you look into short ribs recipes, many recommend serving the meat and gravy over a bed of creamy, buttery potatoes. That may be because the starch does a great job absorbing and dispersing the rich flavors, making them more enjoyable to eat.
If you want a healthier, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, try serving your short ribs with mashed cauliflower. It’s also soft, creamy, and fluffy. As for the flavors, you can transform cauliflower’s bland taste by incorporating your blend of herbs and spices. But even without your personal touch, it’s already flavorful as sour cream, garlic, parmesan, salt, and black pepper are already added to the puree.
This recipe takes three types of root crops – Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, and rutabaga – and mashes them together to create a unique blend of flavors. Like the usual mashed root crop dish, it’s fluffy, soft, and creamy, but the overall taste profile is nothing like anything else. You get sweet, nutty, buttery, earthy, and more; plus, the horseradish breadcrumbs have a unique crunch and taste.
Did you know celery root – also known as celeriac – can be used to make an excellent mashed potato alternative? This low-carb treat has distinct celery flavors but with traces of onion and garlic. You can flavor it with herbs, too, but that’s optional, especially since you’ll be topping this with flavorful and savory short ribs and gravy.
If the triple mash recipe weren’t enough for you, surely this one would be! After all, you can combine and mash as many root crops as you want and decide the proportions. You can even include carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets, and other veggies you wouldn’t have thought of mashing! It’s a simple way to transform and bring new flavors to your short ribs meal.
If you want a unique side dish for your short ribs, try making creamed onions! You’ll be using pearl onions, which are small and usually white, hence the name. This incredible dish contains rich and savory flavors, with some sweetness cutting through it all. The onions are tender and impressive, and the white sauce is like a creamy blanket covering them.
You can also turn to Italian classics, like risotto, for soft, smooth, and creamy flavors that go well with your savory short ribs. Risotto takes only 45 minutes to make; if you follow this recipe, it’s effortless. It’s also full of flavors from butter, wine, cheese, and other ingredients. However, they are subtle and simple, complementing and not going against the ribs’ fantastic sauce.
Another Italian dish recommended for short ribs is polenta. It’s creamy, smooth, and comforting, with a distinct corn flavor as it is made mainly of yellow cornmeal. Like the other side dishes, it’s also great for sopping up the ribs’ rich sauce and flavors. It takes only 10 minutes to make, and make sure to serve it hot so it doesn’t harden as you eat.
Make buttered noodles if you’re not a fan of creamy, smooth flavors and want a firmer shape yet simple flavors. They’re great beside or underneath short ribs and gravy – take your pick. Besides butter, other flavorings in this dish are parmesan cheese, oregano, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. They all come together in a balanced yet subtle way.
Short ribs are fantastic with classic garlic bread, but why not improve the flavor depth of your meal? With this stuffed garlic bread recipe, the creamy, cheesy, buttery, and garlicky flavors of this classic treat are even more pronounced. That’s because instead of just spreading them on top, you’ll be stuffing the bread with it, so every bite explodes with these tastes.
If you want to maintain the rich flavors of the short ribs and not add or remove anything, then go for plain-flavored bread. For instance, this artisan bread is simple enough, so it doesn’t contrast or retract the taste of the short ribs. But its soft, fluffy, and light textures are excellent for absorbing the incredible sauce, which is the main point of serving bread with such dishes.
So far, most of the recipes above have been soft, smooth, and creamy. If you want some crisp textures, serve your ribs with roasted asparagus. As promised, it has some crunchiness, but the interior is tender enough for you to enjoy. The flavors are also simple and fresh, derived from veggies, salt, black pepper, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil.
Another crisp vegetable side dish you may consider is roasted broccoli. Like the asparagus, the center is soft, but the outside is crunchy and browned. The flavors are also similar because of the parmesan cheese, but this one has more tang and sweetness because of the added balsamic vinegar. Roasting the vegetables also caramelizes the flavors, making them slightly sweeter and, hence, more flavorful.