Corned beef is salt-cured beef that can be found in commercial grocery stores and supermarkets. It is usually paired with cabbage, making it an iconic duo.
Considered the best celebratory dish during Saint Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage actually goes way back in American-Irish history as Irish immigrants in New York City discovered the similarities in the flavor of their beloved bacon and corned beef. Viola! The dynamic combo was born.
When you’re in a creative mood and want to experiment in the kitchen, you can actually replace cabbage with other side dishes such as potato cheese gratin, roasted potatoes, honey glazed carrots, dinner rolls, green beans, sauerkraut, and avocado dip.
What Goes with Corned Beef Besides Cabbage?
Choosing cabbage is a no-brainer but, as a cook, it’s important you know how to be innovative in the kitchen. There are a lot of other alternatives to cabbage you can use without losing the Saint Patrick’s Day flair and still making corned beef the star of your meal.
Here is a list of 7 great dishes to serve with corned beef and how to prepare them:
Potato Cheese Gratin
Add a French twist to your corned beef by using this side dish composed of tender, delectable potatoes and creamy cheese sauce. You can even mix and match different cheese varieties according to your preferences.
When cooking the potatoes, use a medium-sized casserole dish, layer the potatoes together with onions, and season using classic salt and pepper. In making the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan and whisk salt, flour, milk, and cheese until creamy. Add the sauce on top of the potatoes and you’re done!
Remember to add milk gradually while stirring the flour, salt, and butter to avoid having lumps in the cheese sauce. You can even add a salad and some bread on the side for an addictive combination.
Don’t have the time to make gratin? Easy, just roast those potatoes. This combination is perfect all year round, definitely not just for Saint Patrick’s Day.
After slicing the potatoes into even chunks, toss it in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder for a subtle but scrumptious undertone, and salt. Then, roast for about 45 minutes until golden. If you’re in an optimistic mood, you can even add some chopped rosemary to add a herbal taste to the dish.
Sprinkle some fresh parsley and a little bit of salt and pepper on top of your roasted potatoes and it’ll be an excellent companion to your corned beef.
If you are rushed for time mashed potatoes will serve a big crowd.
Honey Glazed Carrots
Carrots are often already paired with corned beef and cabbage, making it also a common trio. This is why you should try boosting your regular carrots and glaze them with honey to bring out that sweetness carrots already have.
To create the honey glaze, simply boil the carrots tender first for 5 to 6 minutes, drain the water, and mix in honey, butter, and lemon juice until the glaze is liquid enough and the carrots are fully coated. You can add some salt and pepper for seasoning and parsley to garnish.
It’s preferable to use regular carrots that are cut into chunks than packaged peeled carrots. But, hey, both work just fine so you don’t have to worry.
If you want a hearty pair for your corned beef, go for fresh, fluffy soft dinner rolls. Create, knead, and shape the dough using sugar, flour, yeast, warm milk, water, salt, and butter before baking. Make sure they’re a golden brown color before taking them out of the oven.
You can even make dinner rolls in advance if you want to save time. Just shape the dough into rolls and refrigerate them overnight. Remember to defrost at room temperature, proof for about 30 minutes, and bake as you normally would.
For more flavor, you can brush the rolls with melted butter, try sprinkling with herbs such as rosemary, sage, or thyme, or you can garnish them with flaky sea salt for a unique twist.
Packed with a great nutritional profile for when you need a healthy companion to balance out your corned beef, green beans are your ideal side dish.
You can try sautéeing it with garlic, onion, water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chili flakes. You could also just simply blanche it when you prefer it simple and easy. Just add some lemon juice and butter and you’d be good to go.
Another recipe is boiling green beans mixed with a tapenade (puréed or chopped capers, anchovies, and olives), a mustard vinaigrette or crème fraîche dressing. Really, there’s a million ways to prepare green beans and they are easy to serve to a big group.
Literally translating to sour vegetables, you can enjoy corned beef with sauerkraut if you want to achieve a slightly tangy, sour, peppery, and sweet flavorful combo to your meal. It’s perfect for winters when you just want to chill.
Sauerkraut is basically cabbage but with a twist: it is finely sliced, salt-cured, and fermented. You can even use the sauerkraut liquid as a drink.
An added bonus is that it can last you for months, so when you feel like cooking up corned beef, use some of that refrigerated sauerkraut as a side dish. You can also find them canned or stored in a bag in your supermarkets if you don’t want to create it yourself.
Ridiculously easy to make and also a crowd-favorite dip to almost anything, you can never go wrong with partnering corned beef with an avocado dip. It has so many uses, so after you’re done with corned beef, try it with other dishes!
You can make an avocado dip in 2 minutes tops. All you need is to mash some avocados, add in some salt, garlic powder, plain Greek yogurt, and a little lime juice then you’re done. Pair it with corned beef and bon appétit!
If you want a more versatile mixture, mash avocados with garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, lime juice, parsley, jalapeño, and pistachios—yes you’ve read that right!
What Beverage Goes Well With Corned Beef?
The correct answer is: wine. Corned beef paired with any of the side dishes above is best eaten with a fruity and acidic red wine such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc. If you prefer white wine, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, and Gewurztraminer would work for you.