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Top 15 Must-Try African Side Dishes

Top 15 Must-Try African Side Dishes

Whether you want to sample the dishes that you had on safari or try a dish you’ve never had, why not get inspired with these African side dishes? 
Africa is a massive continent with many different cultures, so it’s no surprise that the cuisine is just as diverse. 
From spicy curries to tangy stews, there’s something that will suit every palate and vibe. 
So, if you want to widen your culinary horizon, I have prepared recipes for 15 African side dishes that will thrill your taste buds. 
So, let’s get started!
African side dishes are some of the most flavor-packed and exciting dishes you’ll ever try.
They often include a variety of spices, which can range from mild to fiery hot.
Basil, ginger, cumin, and chili pepper are just a few spices commonly used in African cooking.
This combination of spices gives African dishes their unique flavor and zest.
In addition to being flavorful, African side dishes are usually very hearty and filling.
They often include starchy staples such as rice, cassava, plantains, and a variety of vegetables.
So, if you want dishes that are new and exciting, check out these African side dishes.
And be sure to check out #14 on this list, as it is bound to please the most demanding taste buds.

One pot, 30 minutes, and you’re done?
Sign me up!
This Ethiopian Cabbage is not only vegan and gluten-free but also comes together in a snap.
The key ingredient is turmeric, which gives the dish a beautiful yellow color and a modest bitterness that balances the sweetness of the roasted vegetables.
I like to mix pantry staples like sweet potatoes, carrots, and onion, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Serve with some vegan yogurt or cashew cream for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Felfla (or Hmiss) is a traditional Algerian dip made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and various spices.
It is typically served with Algerian flatbread and is a popular starter for any occasion.
The sweetness of the roasted peppers pairs beautifully with the tartness of the tomatoes, and the spices add a delicious depth of flavor.
I highly recommend trying hmiss the next time you are looking for a new and exciting dip recipe.
It’s a side dish bursting with intense flavors and alluring aromas.

Eba is a Nigerian staple made from cassava flour and water.
It is one of the Nigerian Swallows, a group of dishes that includes fufu and amala.
Eba is traditionally eaten with the hands and can be served with various soups and stews.
While it is commonly associated with the Igbo people of Nigeria, eba is eaten across the country.
In fact, there are different types of eba, each with its unique flavor and texture.
Whether you’re looking for a simple meal or a tasty way to try something different, eba is worth a try.

Couscous is one of my favorite dishes to make.
It’s nourishing, filling, and so appetizing.
This dish is packed with roasted vegetables, chickpeas, and almonds.
I enjoy it for a wholesome lunch or as a side with fish or chicken for a luscious dinner.
The great part about couscous is that it’s so versatile.
You can even put in any vegetables you like or have on hand.
I typically roast up whatever vegetables I have in the fridge.
Then, I add chickpeas, almonds, and various spices to give it that Moroccan zing.
This dish is excellent for days when you want something palate-pleasing but doesn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

South African Yellow Rice is a superb way to add color and flavor to plain rice.
The rice is flavored with turmeric, cumin, and mustard seed, giving it a warm, fragrant flavor.
In addition to being a classic side dish for bobotie, South African yellow rice also pairs well with curries, stews, and grilled meats.
Try adding raisins, almonds, or green peas to make the dish even more flavorful.
For a spicier version, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Jollof Rice is a classic West African dish loved by the whole family.
It is an all-around side dish that can be spiced up or cooked in a yummy tomato and pepper purée.
The best thing about jollof rice is that it is effortless to make, and you can add different vegetables to the dish, such as carrots, green beans, and peas.
It can be served with chicken, fish, or beef, and it can be made with brown rice or white rice.
No matter how you make it, jollof rice is sure to please everyone at the table.

Ethiopia is a country with a rich and complex history, and its cuisine reflects this diversity.
One of Ethiopian cuisine’s most popular side dishes is Gomen, also known as Ye’abesha Gomen.
This dish is traditionally made with kale or collard greens, flavored with garlic, ginger, and berbere. 
This spice blend typically includes chili peppers, paprika, fenugreek, and cloves.
Gomen is usually served alongside injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread. 
Still, you can also enjoy its leafy goodness on its own.
If you’re looking for a fantastic way to relish your greens, Gomen is worth a try!

Kachumbari is a sublime tomato and onion salad popular in Kenya, Tanzania, and other East African countries.
The dish is straightforward and can be eaten as a side dish or as an appetizer for the main meal.
Kachumbari is also commonly used as a condiment for East African pilau rice.
The salad has fresh tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers and is usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
The dish is refreshing, delectable, and a great addition to any meal.

Ethiopia is a land of rich history and culture, and its cuisine is no exception.
One of the most popular Ethiopian dishes is injera, a flatbread made from fermented teff flour.
Injera is traditionally served with a variety of side dishes, known as wat in Ethiopia.
This spiced Ethiopian chickpea dish is one of my favorite wat recipes.
The prominent flavor comes from berbere, a traditional Ethiopian spice blend.
It also contains a few other spices to give it plenty of depth and flavor.
If you want a more authentic experience, try this dish with some injera!

Adding variety to your mealtime routine doesn’t have to be complicated.
With just a few components, you can take your everyday potatoes and turn them into mouth watering that will please the whole family.
Moroccan Roasted Potatoes are a perfect example of how a few simple seasonings can transform an ordinary dish into something extraordinary.
Tossed with olive oil, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and other spices, these potatoes are full of zing.
So, the next time you are looking for a way to spice up your meals, try Moroccan Roasted Potatoes.
They are sure to become a new family favorite.

Zaalouk is a flavorful eggplant appetizer that is popular in Morocco.
The dish is made with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and various spices.
It can be served as a dip or side dish, and it is often used as a spread for bread.
The key to making a great-tasting zaalouk is to use fresh ingredients and to roast the eggplant until it is soft.
This will help highlight the natural sweetness of the eggplant and to create a smooth, creamy texture.
When making zaalouk, be sure to taste the dish as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
The finished dish should be tangy, slightly spicy, and full of flavor.
Whether you serve it as an appetizer or side dish, zaalouk is sure to please even the most finicky eaters.

Mealie Bread is a traditional South African cornbread that is sure to delight any cornbread fan. 
The bread gets its sweetness from the corn kernels as well as from the addition of sugar, and it has a moist and dense texture that makes it superb for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee.
This bread is also traditionally made with mealie meal, which is a type of coarsely ground corn flour.
The mealie meal gives the bread a slightly gritty texture, but it also helps to soak up the sweetness of the corn kernels.
Whether you enjoy it plain or with butter, this Mealie Bread is sure to satisfy your cravings for something sweet and enjoyable.

Carrot salad is one of those understated side dishes that often gets overshadowed by more flashy ingredients.
But don’t be fooled; this Moroccan-inspired salad is packed with flavor and color, and it’s a stellar accompaniment to any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean meal.
The crucial component of this dish is the dressing—a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses that’s spiced up with cumin and smoked paprika.
The dressing brings out the sweetness of the carrots while also giving them a bit of a kick.
And if you’re looking for even more flavor, try adding a handful of chopped fresh parsley or mint.

14. Fufu

A bowl of fufu is like a blank canvas waiting to be filled with flavor.
Whether you’re serving it with a hearty stew or a light soup, fufu is the perfect way to complete a satisfying meal.
And because it’s made from cassava root and green plantains, it’s also tasty and nourishing.
So, if you’re looking for a piquant way to add some excitement to your dinner table, look no further than fufu!

I love hummus.
I could eat it every day.
But even I get bored of the same old thing after a while.
That’s why I was thrilled when I found this recipe for macadamia nut hummus.
It’s a refreshing twist on the traditional dish that is perfect for anyone who loves nuts.
The creaminess of the macadamia nuts gives the hummus a richness that is unmatched by any other nut.

The bottom line

Africa is a huge continent, and every country there has its own cuisine. 

These are just a fraction of what Africa has to offer in lip-smacking side dishes that you can try.
So, next time you’re looking for something novel to add to your table, be sure to give one of these recipes a go in the kitchen.

BEST African Side Dishes: From Felfla To Fufu

BEST African Side Dishes: From Felfla To Fufu

Whether you want to sample the dishes that you had on safari or try a dish you’ve never had, why not get inspired with these African side dishes?


  • Ethiopian Cabbage
  • Felfla
  • Nigerian Eba
  • Moroccan Couscous With Roasted Vegetables Chickpeas & Almonds
  • South African Yellow Rice
  • Nigerian Jollof Rice
  • Ethiopian Collard Greens
  • Kachumbari (East African Tomato & Onion Salad)
  • Spiced Ethiopian Chickpeas
  • Moroccan Roasted Potatoes
  • Zaalouk
  • South African Mealie Bread
  • Moroccan Carrot Salad
  • Fufu
  • South African Hummus


  1. Skim through our African Side Dishes list.
  2. Select the recipe you’re looking for.
  3. Prep the ingredients as instructed.
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