What are the most popular side dishes in Brazil? Here, there is a perfect side dish for every main dish, no matter whether the main is pork, poultry, beef, fish, seafood, or is vegetarian. There is always a compliment that adds to the experience and turns weekend dinners into delicious feasts.
1. Creme de Milho (Corn Cream)
This recipe uses corn, milk, and starch. The result is an incredibly creamy paste that can be served with a large variety of dishes. Due to it smooth taste, it is the preferred complement for fish or poultry dishes, usually with rice and a nice salad.
The base recipe is already packed with flavor, so there is no need to add other seasonings besides a pinch of salt.
2. Mandioca Frita (Deep Fried Cassava)
A few decades ago, fried cassavas were mostly found in the north and north regions of Brazil. Today, the popularity of this cassava has soared and it can be found anywhere in Brazil. You will find a serving of fried cassavas on tables in most bars in the country.
While they are a good compliment to most meals, Brazilians prefer to eat them alongside meat dishes. They are incredibly crunchy, even more than French fries, and with a hint of salt, they are simply delicious.
3. Arroz com Pequi (Rice with Souari Nut)
This is a side dish that is traditionally cooked in the central-west region of Brazil, as it the only region the souari nuts can be found. The souari nuts are a bit of an acquired taste. There aren’t many comparisons with them regarding flavor. It is an exotic fruit that can only be found in the Brazilian cerrado biome, it is also incredibly flavorsome, leaving a lovely aftertaste for hours.
It must be prepared carefully, as the pit of this fruit hides a large amount of tiny needle-like thorns, thus requiring a bit courage to eat, as the image of having thousands of those thorns stuck in your tongue isn’t very appalling.
A dish that can be found all over Brazil, farofa is made with cassava flour fried alongside onions with a generous amount of butter. They can be served together with any kind of dish.
Each region of the country has their own preferred farofa recipe. The north loves to have fried bananas in their farofas, the north prefers having it with egg, while the southern regions prefer them cooked with bacon. You have to try really hard to travel to Brazil and not have a taste of farofa, as it is found anywhere.
5. Berinjela Frita (Fried Eggplant)
This is a side dish that sometimes steals the spotlight from the main dish itself. After marinating the ripe eggplants for a couple hours, they are cut in slices, covered in flour, and then fried in a pan.
The complex taste of the eggplant is enhanced when it is fried, and it is common that during each delicious crunchy bite, you forget you are eating a fried vegetable.
This side dish was originally from Italy but has been integrated into Brazilian cuisine. It is made with corn flour and cooked until it acquires a crunchy, yet soft texture. It is usually served with pork or meat dishes and is extremely popular in the southern region of Brazil.
7. Tutu de Feijão (Tutu Beans)
A very popular dish in the southeast region of the country, this is made with cooked beans, fried, and then coarsened with manioc or cornflour.
The beans are usually fried with pieces of bacon, onion, and garlic. Before frying the beans, they are put in a blender until they are almost a liquid. They are delicious when served with rice and can be a complement to many different dishes.
8. Feijão (Beans)
When Brazilians who travel abroad for a while come back, they usually have the same demand. Where are the beans? Black beans, brown beans, purple beans, green beans… It is a hard lesson for any Brazilian traveling abroad to find out that the great variety of beans they are used to isn’t available abroad – usually only one or two types of canned, low flavored beans.
In Brazil, there are only a few meals that aren’t accompanied by classic rice and beans. Brazilian beans are cooked with garlic, onions, and a couple of bay leaves for added flavor. Not only nutritious but delicious too, beans are a staple food in Brazil.
9. Banana Frita
Incredibly popular in the north of Brazil, is a fried banana as a complement to lunch. The flavor of the banana changes a lot once it is fried, becoming incredibly strong and dominating the flavor of most meals it is served with. It is incredibly popular, especially in the Amazonas state.
10. Mayonese (Mayonnaise Salad)
This is a popular Brazilian Christmas food, but you can also find it served daily. This recipe is an incredibly flavored mix of well-seasoned cooked vegetables drenched in a whole jar of mayonnaise.
The usual recipe has potatoes, carrots, string beans, corn, peas, onions, lemon juice, peppers, basil… To be fair it is hard to think of a vegetable that would ruin this delicious, calorie-packed vegetable dish.
11. Feijão Tropeiro (Tropeiro Beans)
Another bean dish traditional in the southeastern region of Brazil, tropeiro beans is one of the few bean recipes that isn’t served with a thick broth. After being pressure cooked, the beans are fried in a pan with garlic, onions, eggs, bacon, and manioc flour. A great option for serving at barbecues too.
12. Empadão Goiano
This is a typical salty pie from the state of Goiás which can be filled in various ways. It has a standard 15 cm diameter and is commonly filled with leftover shredded chicken or pork, minas cheese, olives, corn, guariroba (plant), and tomato sauce.
While it may seem like a great snack, it is incredibly popular as a delicious side for lunch.
Caruru is a very popular food traditionally served in the northeastern region of Brazil, especially in the state of Bahia. It is a recipe based on okra, with palm oil and roasted cooked nuts, and served with meat, usually shrimp, fish or beef.
It has an incredibly strong flavor that persists in the mouth. It is also considered a ritual food used in Candomblé offerings, and greatly appreciated by some deities.
14. Purê de Abóbora (Mashed Pumpkins)
A recipe with origins in the northeastern region of Brazil but popular in both the south and the north of the country, the mashed pumpkins are prepared in a similar fashion to mash potatoes. Milk, onions, and seasoned with peppers, this recipe is a delicious complement that can be served at most meals.
15. Suflê de Frango
This originally French recipe is a very popular dish that can be found at most feast, mainly Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but also for regular meals as a light protein option.
This recipe is based on grated chicken, potatoes, and parmesan cheese. It is also popular to add corn and peas to the mixture. It is an impressive dish that is a sure hit as a complement to any Brazilian meal.
16. Salada de Cuscuz
Cuscuz is a dish that was brought to Brazil by African slaves. The original recipe, however, has changed to using corn instead of wheat. It is the most popular breakfast option in the northeastern region of Brazil.
This dish is a salad made with cuscuz, which adds a delicious crunchiness to any dish. Common ingredients are tomatoes, raisins, olives, corn, mangoes, and parsley.
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