Wide Open Eats

30-Minute Sides for Ribs That Will Be Gone Within the Hour

When it comes to barbecue, everyone has their favorite dish. If you're from Texas, it might be a plate of brisket, while South Carolinians will likely swear by whole hog BBQ served with Carolina Gold Sauce. No matter where you're from or what your experience with BBQ is, most Americans can agree that ribs are one of the most beloved foods, unparalleled when it comes to flavor and juiciness. When enjoying such a mouthwatering, widely beloved dish, it's only fair that the sides for ribs would be just as tasty.

Ribs are one of the messiest foods at the barbecue, and you're only doing it right if your hands are covered in sauce by the end. This, along with their tender, juicy texture and rich flavor, makes eating ribs into an experience as much as a meal. To pair with this scrumptious dish, many people prefer either a tasty carb-based comfort food side like potatoes or mac n cheese. However, others go for a light, healthy side to balance out the rich flavor of ribs.

This list of sides includes a range of options to fit your preferences, from veggie-packed salads to indulgent, cheesy mac n cheese. The best part is, each side can be ready in 30 minutes or less to allow you more time to dig into those juicy, messy ribs. Here are 9 30-minutes sides for ribs that perfectly complement their rich flavor and succulent texture.

1. Apple and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

You can't have a list of sides for ribs without including coleslaw. This Southern classic is always a crowd pleaser, the perfect tangy side to enjoy between bites of sauce-smothered ribs. Plus, it's quick and easy as can be, mainly consisting of cabbage and whatever flavorings you choose for the sauce. This recipe includes apples to add a sweet crunch to the side.

Get the recipe here.

2. Dill Pickle Mac n Cheese

Mac n cheese is the side that everyone goes to first when checking out the snack table at a cookout or BBQ. It's not hard to understand why, since no one can resist a plate of cheesy carbs. This recipe switches it up by adding in dill pickles, which makes this side even more addictingly delicious. This, along with the sharp cheddar cheese and hot sauce, make this mac n cheese a flavorful, spicy version of the side you know and love. 

Get the recipe here.

3. Cheesy Boursin Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are another go-to when it comes to side dishes, and they're as easy as it gets. Although everyone has their preference for how much butter to use and whether or not to add in cheese, we can all agree that mashed potatoes are a creamy side versatile enough to accompany almost anything. This recipe has the perfect combo of creaminess and flavor, using a box of Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese to make it even easier.

Get the recipe here.

4. Mexican Corn Salad

Most BBQ sides are favored for their comforting tastiness rather than their healthiness or veggie content. This Mexican Corn Salad is perfect for balancing out your mac n cheese with a dish full of nutritional value. Plus, it's delicious! This side is made with corn, green onions, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and cotija cheese. Flavor with chili powder and lime and you have a summery, tangy salad.

Get the recipe here.

5. Collard Greens with Bacon

Nothing is more Southern than Collard Greens, especially when paired with bacon. This easy recipe is flavorful and delicious, with bacon, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add this to the pinch of brown sugar and you have the perfect side.

Get the recipe here.

6. Green Beans Almondine

For a healthy side, green beans are a great alternative to mac and cheese and mashed potatoes. This green beans recipe switches it up by adding almonds for extra crunch and flavor. Green Beans Almondine is ideal for a healthy, fresh side to your ribs, and it's the perfect way to justify another piece of cornbread.

Get the recipe here.

7. Zesty Black Bean Pasta Salad

You can't go wrong with pasta salad, full of tasty carbs and veggies but still in the category of salad. This recipe has pasta as a base, with lots of veggies like tomatoes, red onion and corn. The black beans add protein, and the hot sauce and cumin give it a flavorful kick that makes this salad the perfect side for a plate of ribs. 

Get the recipe here.

8. Cornbread Salad

Cornbread is a classic side for ribs, and cornbread salad is one of the best ways to enjoy it. This salad will blow your guests away with its colorful presentation and mix of tasty flavors. Featuring cornbread, veggies, beans, cheese and bacon, don't expect to have any leftovers of this BBQ side.

Get the recipe here.

9. Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

As much as I love classic french fries, sweet potato fries are a whole new level of deliciousness when it comes to flavor. These sweet potato fries contrast the natural sweetness with the perfect bite of spice. For flavoring, this recipe uses cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and garlic powder to make for amazingly snackable fries to pair with your ribs.

Get the recipe here.

READ MORE: Grilled Sweet Potatoes Are a BBQ Side You Can Count On