This article was updated on 28/7/23 for clarity and to improve readability.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your oxtails, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 36 of the most popular side dishes for oxtails.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best side dishes for oxtails are garlic rolls, polenta, and buttered noodles. You can also try some South African traditional sides like boereboontjies, sultana rice, and chakalaka. For a healthier choice, you may serve a salad or vegetables like squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Great flavor pairings for oxtails
Oxtails have a rich, beefy flavor and are tender and silkier than short ribs when cooked right.
Oxtails pair well with:
- Spicy flavors – oxtails’ meaty, savory flavor can easily stand up to spice and heat. Try incorporating spices like chili peppers, black peppers, and paprika as a rub, marinade, or straight into your oxtail dish.
- Tangy flavors – bright, tangy flavors help offset the richness of your oxtails. Ingredients like vinegar, tomato, and lemons will give you that zingy bite.
- Sweet – it may seem odd, but sweet ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, and honey can add a subtle depth to your oxtail dish. They also complement the oxtails’ natural beefy flavor.
Oxtails already have your protein covered, so a carb-loaded side is a must to complete the meal.
A slice of crusty bread or polenta is great if you’re making an oxtail stew.
Want something elegant? You can’t go wrong with risotto – be prepared for an arm workout, though!
Cheesy garlic skillet rolls
There’s something about the combination of warm, soft rolls, garlic, and cheese that I can’t resist.
They’ll turn your oxtail stew into absolute comfort food.
This recipe is better with mozzarella cheese, but you can also use any good-melting cheese you have on hand.
Serve these rolls alongside some sticky oxtail in red wine sauce or even dip them into the pineapple-mango sauce of jerked oxtail.
Polenta with roasted vegetables
Polenta is a porridge made from cornmeal that’ll elevate your braised oxtail to the next level. It has a rich, creamy consistency that’ll soak up every drop of flavor from your oxtail’s delicious stew.
This Italian classic is tasty as is, but Neighbor Food Blog goes the extra mile and tops it with colorful roasted summer veggies for the ultimate side dish featuring a mash-up of seasons.
Butternut squash risotto with sage
Risotto seems like one of those oh-so-fancy dishes in a restaurant, but it’s not!
It can just grace your table any day of the week as a delicious side dish alongside your oxtail stew. Just remember to stir the rice occasionally as it cooks to achieve the perfect creamy consistency.
I know oxtail dishes are already decadent, but a little portion of this equally flavorsome side dish will make your meal even better.
Buttered noodles with herbs
Everyone’s childhood favorite buttered pasta gets a tasty makeover with this recipe. The addition of garlic and fresh herbs may seem simple, but they’re all you need to elevate this pasta dish into something restaurant-worthy.
Connoisserurs Veg uses a mixture of fresh parsley, chives, and thyme, but you can keep it classic with basil and oregano. Red pepper flakes are not herbs, but I also like adding them for a bit of heat.
Enjoy these tasty butter noodles alongside your ox stew for the ultimate comfort meal.
Vegetables and salads
Skip the starchy sides and go with a veggie dish or a salad if you want more vitamins and minerals with your oxtail dish.
Simple steamed veggies will do the trick nicely, but you can also take it a step further with a creamy but low-carb mashed cauliflower.
Steamed broccoli sounds boring and basic. But you know what? You can make it taste 10x better.
Taste and Tell uses a simple blend of garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper to bring a zesty kick to these florets — the perfect contrast to a dish as a flavorful and decadent as oxtail.
But why stop there? You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat or even toasted almonds for extra crunch.
Oxtail stew and mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven, but what if you’re watching your calorie intake? Swap the spuds for mashed cauliflower instead!
It’s just as creamy and luscious as the real deal, but you can eat it without any guilt! And if you want it to be extra rich and creamy to pair your braised oxtail, simply add a little grated parmesan cheese.
Beetroot and orange salad
An orange-dressed beet salad that can be prepped up ahead of time? It’s not too good to be true because this salad is the real deal!
You can also have fun and change the recipe each time you prepare it by switching the ingredients – parsley to cilantro or spinach and oranges to avocado.
So vibrant and delicious!
Cheesy bacon brussels sprouts
You probably weren’t a fan of brussels sprouts when growing up. They’re like they’re the outcasts of the vegetable world, but this recipe will absolutely convert sprout-hating children and adults, too.
After all, who wouldn’t fall in love with these vegetables drizzled with cream, smothered in gooey cheese, and topped with crispy bacon?
Roasted to perfection, these brussels sprouts are perfect for serving alongside your glazed oxtails.
Oxtails are a popular protein in Africa, so it’s no surprise they go well with classic African dishes.
I especially love oxtails with a heaping serving of sultana rice, but you can also try boereboonotjies or chakalaka if you want a healthier meal.
Do you know how yellow rice gets its vivid yellow color? Turmeric!
This sultana yellow rice is a South African side dish that’s a great accompaniment to an oxtail entree. Aside from turmeric, the golden (literally) ingredient is the sultanas, which gives this rice dish pops of sweet, juicy goodness.
All That Jas also adds a pinch of curry powder for added warmth and earthy twist.
When served at a weekend dinner with oxtail stew, your whole family will be begging for more!
Boereboontjies is another traditional side dish in South Africa that’s pronounced as boo-ra bwoyn-keys. They’re also known as “farmer’s beans” and consists of mixed green beans, potatoes, and onions mashed up with butter and pepper.
Its name may be challenging to say, but the steps to make it are super easy. Make it more interesting by adding your favorite ingredients like cheese and bacon bits.
Garnish with parsley or rosemary, then serve it beside your oven-baked oxtail. Yum!
Oxtails aren’t just for soups and stews anymore. They can also be barbecued.
And if you have celebrations, gatherings, or simply an outdoor dinner, chakalaka is a must-have! It’s a vegetable relish, typically made from onion, tomatoes, and beans with crushed chiles.
Check out this recipe from Gypsy Plate that sounds like a dance move – cha-cha-ka-laka!
Kachumbari is an East African salad reminiscent of everyone’s favorite pico de gallo.
It features tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and bird’s eye chili soaked in lemon juice.
This salad may be simple, but it boasts a bright, tangy flavor – the perfect palate cleanser for your rich, beefy oxtails.
Pro-tip: this salad is better after a couple hours of rest in the fridge.
What To Serve With Oxtails – 36 Side Dishes
- 1 portion cheesy garlic skillet rolls
- 1 portion beetroot and orange salad
- 1 portion chakalaka
- 1 portion mashed cauliflower
- 1 portion butternut squash risotto with sage
- 1 portion boereboontjies … and more
- Prepare your oxtails according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Sides include: cheesy garlic skillet rolls, polenta with roasted vegetables, butternut squash risotto with sage, buttered noodles with herbs, steamed broccoli, mashed cauliflower, beetroot and orange salad, cheesy bacon brussels sprouts, yellow rice, boereboontjies, chakalaka, and kachumbari.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.