My first French Dip sandwich was unforgettable.
The soft, gorgeous, yeasty roll with a slight sweetness, the thinly sliced tender beef folded inside in satiny layers, melted provolone cheese, and then, the Au Jus.
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Savory and salty, brimming with juices from the meat and fat.
Sounds good, right?
Want to make delicious drool-worthy food for your family and friends that they’ll never forget?
Then read on!
Today we’re here to help with some side dishes to go with the ultimate comfort sandwich, the French Dip.
A mouth-watering French Dip is warm, savory, flavorful, and perfect on a fall or winter’s day.
They’re easy to make for a get together with friends and a crowd-pleaser, but unique enough to make your guests feel welcomed and your family feel loved.
How to get it right?
Using a slow-cooker or an Instant Pot is the easiest way to get the most tender meat.
Start with a good quality chuck roast or brisket like you would use for a pot roast and brown the meat evenly on all sides to get the rich flavor going for your au jus.
Here’s a tip:
Saute your onions, garlic, and spices in the same pan, so your flavors meld, and you release those aromatics.
Don’t waste a bit of those browned bits from the meat. Get them all into the pot, and you’ll end up with a delicious jus.
Imagine how amazing your house will smell as your guests arrive!
If you’re bold, you can always add some extras the same way you would for roast beef sandwich toppings.
In case you were wondering, here’s how you make a French Dip Sandwich.
So what goes with French Dip sandwiches?
You’ll want to impress everyone with side dishes that go beyond the traditional thick-cut fries and mayonnaise-based coleslaw.
We can show you!
We’ll give you ideas for unexpected ingredients, harmonious flavors, and exciting textures to surprise and delight your guests.
Best Side Dishes for French Dip Sandwiches: Our One-of-a-Kind List
Whether you’re serving your family or friends, young or old, these winning sides will make them think you’re a creative genius in the kitchen.
No need to wait any longer!
Let’s get into the best side dishes for French Dip sandwiches.
1. Classic Slaw Rebooted
Here’s a fresh new twist on a long-time favorite.
Coleslaw is a great textural counterpoint to the French Dip since it provides welcome freshness and crunch to this plate.
Today’s culinary adventurers want exciting flavor combinations, and they’re not afraid of combining new ingredients.
So why not try a sweet and spicy vinegar-based slaw?
Our version uses peach nectar for the sweetness, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a variety of chilies, peppers, and some hot sauce to pack a punch and balance it out.
Try it with green, red, or Napa cabbage, or mix it up and combine all three.
2. Spicy Onion Rings
While we’re bringing the heat, we recommend giving some spicy beer-battered onion rings a try.
It’s an often underthought answer to what goes with french Dip sandwiches, but it’s simple and delicious!
This recipe couldn’t be more straightforward, combining batter with your favorite beer, cumin, red chili flakes, cinnamon, and paprika.
Experiment with different beers like a lager, ale, wheat beer, or stout to see what you like best.
These will give you both crunch and spice, adding flavor and texture.
3. Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries
We all love a good sweet and salty combo, right?
Traditionally the French Dip has been paired with thick-cut steak fries.
Why not mix it up and try something related, but completely different?
You can use a julienne peeler or a spiralizer to make sweet potato shoestring fries. The thin shoestring fries provide a crunchy contrast to the softness of the French Dip.
You’ll love the slight sweetness of the sweet potatoes with the salty jus, and won’t be able to resist Dipping.
Get yourself over to The Simple Veganista for more of these healthy snack options.
4. Kale Salad With Crunchy Mix-ins
Everyone everywhere is crazy about Kale. Its meteoric rise launched it from years of obscurity to its current place as the nation’s favorite green.
There’s a good reason:
This fresh salad brings loads of flavor and crunchy textures, with crisp apples, chewy cranberries, and toasted pecans.
Kale has become popular because of its health benefits, but thankfully it’s also delicious.
Bonus tip: It’s not only great with the French Dip, but this salad also travels well, so it’s a perfect choice to bring to your next potluck.
5. Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw
Who needs cabbage when you have broccoli?
This slaw is made from broccoli stalks shredded into matchsticks. It also incorporates shredded carrots and super thinly sliced onions.
Speed it up:
Use a food processor with a shredding blade to make quick work of the prep.
It might be interesting to make two versions, a fresh one and a bagged produce one.
If you can find broccoli slaw and shredded carrots, you can do a taste test comparing the bagged ingredients to fresh ones and see if it’s worth the effort to shred your own.
This slaw will stand up to any dressing, and you can make it ahead and let it marinate in the refrigerator where the delicious flavors will only get better.
Another brilliant make-ahead hack for your busy day!
6. Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad
You had me at “Salt and Vinegar”.
This tangy potato salad uses vinegar in addition to water to cook the potatoes.
Why didn’t I think of that?
Use a higher percentage of vinegar during the cooking for a more intense vinegar flavor.
There are a couple of little splurges that can elevate this potato salad even further.
Use fresh dill instead of dried and get one of those salt mills and grind your own pink Himalayan salt.
You won’t believe how much better it will be.
Plant a little potted herb garden at home to clip fresh herbs on demand.
You’ll be glad to have them at the ready and skip a trip to the store.
7. Jicama Apple Slaw
An apple and a potato had a baby and named it Jicama.
If you’ve never tried this vegetable, now you understand what it tastes like.
This crunchy slaw delivers a punch of brightness thanks to the lime juice-based dressing and lime zest.
This version uses a green apple, but you might want to try a Fuji or other variety and see which you prefer.
If you’re feeling adventurous or naughty:
You could even tuck this slaw inside your french Dip sandwich for an explosion of crunch. I promise I won’t tell.
PaleoMG has a whole host of meal ideas available to match the Paleo diet.
8. Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad
Here’s another lesser-known but utterly fabulous vegetable, Fennel.
Roasting the Fennel sweetens it and mellows out its slight licorice flavor.
Add toasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries to the greens of your choice, and you’re ready to roll.
This version uses chicory greens, but you can substitute spinach or Kale, and it will still taste fantastic.
The dressing with tarragon, thyme, nutmeg, and maple syrup provides a gorgeous melding of flavors and has me salivating just thinking about it.
This salad is just right for the cooler weather of fall and winter, and great sandwich sidekick.
9. Homemade Potato Chips
If you’ve never made potato chips at home before, you’re in for a treat.
The key to success is getting them thin and uniform. Use a food processor with a slicing blade, or a mandoline to achieve the right proportions.
You can also use a vegetable peeler or metal cheese slicer in a pinch.
Another pro tip:
Soak the sliced potatoes in salted ice water for 30 minutes and dry them thoroughly before frying.
Regular salt is fine for this step. You could also soak them in vinegar to create salt and vinegar chips.
Yes, I’m obsessed with those.
I recommend using the best salt you can find to dress these since you’ll really taste the difference. Pink Himalayan is my fave.
Once you try this at home, you’ll never open another bag of chips as long as you live.
10. Celery, Apple, and Fennel Slaw
Crunch, crunch, crunch!
These flavors are each so different, but deliciously complementary.
The pungent and slightly salty flavor of the celery, the sweet and bright apple, and the crisp Fennel with a hint of licorice all go together beautifully.
I’d add some very thinly sliced red onions or shallots to punch this up even further.
The oil and vinegar dressing with fresh tarragon and lemon juice gives this an herbal and citrusy brightness that you’re sure to love.
11. Crunchy Pickled Salad
Pickles are a traditional accompaniment that would be great with any sandwich, but look, an entire salad!
Crisp vegetables abound in this pickled salad, flavored with vinegar and dill.
This version uses Persian cucumbers, but if you can’t find those, use English cucumbers.
Avoid regular cucumbers for this salad, since they are covered in wax, can have big seeds, and are prone to bitterness.
This refreshing salad is a perfect foil for the warm, soft, French Dip with its dreamy melted cheese.
Tori Avey is an inspiration to so many cooks, and I am another fan of hers. Check out her blog for more top recipes.
12. Brazilian Onion Salad
Have you lost your mind?
The trick that makes this work is the sweet Vidalia Onion. They’re really so sweet and mild you could eat one like an apple.
These seasonal onions are only available from April to September, so if you see them, snap them up and give this idea a try.
This salad couldn’t be more straightforward, just Vidalia onions, scallions, and tomatoes, dressed in an oil and vinegar dressing with salt and pepper.
You could layer these ingredients on the greens of your choice and see what works best.
If you like French onion soup, think of the combo play of onions and your French dip sandwich!
13. Detox Chopped Salad
This chopped salad is as beautiful and colorful as confetti.
For health, they say to “eat the rainbow,” and this salad delivers.
Cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, parsley, celery, almonds, sunflower seeds, and raisins make this colorful salad a winner.
It’s always a bonus when you can have nutritious and delicious at the same time, right?
A dressing with ginger and honey brings it all together, and you’ll feel virtuous for making such a healthy choice. Good job!
14. Jicama Fries
If you want a lower-carb alternative to regular french fries, give these Jicama fries a whirl.
They’re lighter on the starch than either regular or sweet potatoes, with a delightfully crunchy texture.
Soft or Crunchy?
If you like your fries a little softer, you can parboil the Jicama, drain, and pat it dry before baking.
This version uses onion and garlic powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper to season the fries.
I’d probably skip the turmeric because it stains everything it touches.
You could experiment with chopped garlic, your favorite fresh herbs, or both. I like rosemary, thyme, and tarragon.
These are also baked instead of fried, so you can feel good about that. Make sure they’re not crowded on the baking sheet.
If they’re too close to their neighbors, they’ll steam, and you want them to bake to a crispy golden brown.
Eating Bird Food makes healthy eating and delicious meals a breeze for even the most novice of cooks.
15. Deep-fried Green Beans
Ready for one last french fry alternative? These beans have some of the satisfying starch we love but are an actual green vegetable.
These use the same basic beer batter as the onion rings and incorporate onion and garlic powder along with salt and pepper.
You could mix in some pureed garlic and/or pureed ginger into the batter for extra interest. Both would be good flavors with the French Dip.
The green beans will cook quickly, about 3-4 minutes per batch. The perfect recipe to feed your band of little monkeys.
French Dip Pairing Guidelines
Taste always comes first when picking a side dish. Ask yourself, will this taste good with my main course?
If you like the tastes together, then think of the texture.
The French Dip is a warm, soft sandwich with tender meat, melted cheese, and that savory jus.
Keep in mind:
Choose sides that are crunchy, chewy, or crisp. We have lots of hearty greens that bring complementary crunch to these plates.
There are also chewy and crispy mix-ins and a wide variety of different textures to provide a counterpoint.
Think about flavor profiles too. Foods can be sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami, and you want pairings that make for an exciting combo.
The French Dip is salty and umami.
That’s why we chose flavors such as sour vinegar, bitter lime zest, and sweet maple syrup in our dressings.
Think about the combinations that excite you and push the limits of your imagination!
I’d recommend trying a beer sampler of five or six beers with these combos. Serve them cold but not icy.
You’ll be able to taste their flavors much better if they’re not super cold.
Serve the samples in small glasses, presented in a row, so that everyone can try them all.
It’s entertaining for your guests to taste and compare favorites with friends. Mix it up with craft brews of every variety.
It adds another dimension to the meal!
You could do the same with a flight of red wines.
You could even start with rose wine, followed by a light red like a chianti, a medium-bodied Merlot, and cap the flight off with a weighty Zinfandel.
Just have fun and experiment!
The Final Word
Whether it’s a casual get-together or a formal dinner party, every cook wants to create memorable dishes that will have their guests raving.
Entertaining at home is a lot of fun, but figuring out what to serve takes time and creativity.
Today we’ve given you fifteen ideas for what goes with French Dip sandwiches.
We’ve incorporated a wide variety of salads and veggies that are sure to delight friends and family alike.
We’ve focused on unexpected ingredients, interesting flavors, and exciting textures to complement the French Dip.
These sides are easy to prepare and will give you some room to experiment.
Every cook wants to be a creative genius in the kitchen. We’re here to give you a little help.