Delicious meats, pasta, sandwiches and other main courses tend to be the cornerstones of our culinary occurrences. However, a thoughtfully paired side dish often enhances an entrée and makes it complete.
The same goes for churrasco, or Brazilian barbeque, where tender cuts of meat are flame grilled to perfection and served directly to your table on an all-you-can-eat basis. Just like American BBQ and coleslaw are attached at the hip, an authentic Brazilian side dish is the perfect complement to the churrasco dining experience.
If you’re considering taking in churrasco soon, this beginner’s guide will introduce you to some of the more popular Brazilian side dishes out there so you can navigate the menu with confidence.
Popular Brazilian Side Dishes
Pão de Queijo
In many cultures, dinner typically comes with some sort of carbohydrate to couple with the main course. Churrasco is no different! Pão de queijo, which translates to “bread of cheese,” is an oven-baked roll that’s usually made from cassava flour and eggs and blended with fine cheeses. In addition to pairing with a juicy sirloin, or “picanha,” pão de queijo is also a common snack or breakfast food in Brazil.
When savory meats are on the menu, farofa is sure to follow. The golden-colored cassava, or yuca, flour mixture is toasted and served with a wide variety of additional spices. Farofa can be eaten on its own or as a mixture with other dishes, like rice and beans. It’s also commonly sprinkled on grilled meats and fish as a flavor booster.
Although polenta traditionally hails from Italy, Italian immigrants brought the fare to certain regions of Brazil years ago, which helped the cornmeal dish become a churrasco staple side. The dish can be eaten as a porridge or as a baked, fried or grilled loaf. At Boi Na Braza, we serve our polenta crispy as an ideal complement to your churrasco fare.
Balance out your savory with a little sweet. Breaded banana is exactly what it sounds like – banana slices are coated in milk, tossed in bread crumbs and lightly fried to make a crunchy, golden treat to go with a tasty dinner. For even more decadence, the bananas can be drizzled in caramel or another sweet and salty topping.
No matter the country, sauces are an integral part of the BBQ experience. One of the most popular sauces served with churrasco is chimichurri, an uncooked sauce originating in Argentina and Uruguay that combines different spices in a red wine vinegar and olive oil mixture. Other common sauces served on the side include horseradish, malagueta pepper hot sauce, mint sauce and mint jelly.
A traditional Brazilian dish, feijoada is a bean stew that combines many different flavors. It commonly includes different cuts of meat, like sausage, short ribs and pork, and is served with fluffy rice and farofa. Although feijoada can be considered a side dish, it’s more often thought of as its own meal, given the wealth of hearty ingredients used in each batch.
Hearts of Palm
It’s rare to find fresh hearts of palm in the States because the primary ingredient – the ripe, inner section of certain palm trees – spoils quickly. However, canned hearts of palm are commonly used in the U.S. to create a myriad of unique Brazilian side dishes, including salads, dips and “crab” cakes, where the bits of “crab” are actually finely chopped hearts of palm. They can even be grilled and served as “palmito fresco asado.”
Enjoy an Authentic Churrasco Experience at Boi Na Braza
If you’re salivating picturing these flavorful, authentic side dishes adorning a variety of charcoal-grilled cuts of meat, make plans to take in a true churrasco fine dining experience at Boi Na Braza, located at Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas. Bring a small group or just the family. Call (469) 208-7977 today to make reservations, or visit our website to view our menu and reserve a table online.