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Perfect Pairings: 8 BEST Side Dishes to Serve with Pernil

Pernil is a typical dish in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

It’s well-known for its delicious taste and flavor and because it is made with pork skin rather than just pork meat.

Unlike Chicharrón (fried pig skin), pernil is cooked slowly at low temperatures to let the fat and connective tissue melt away and keep it moist and tender.

The flavor of Pernil is unlike any other pork dish.

It has a unique taste thanks to the combination of garlic, oregano, and lime juice rubbed into the skin before it is roasted in an oven or cooked over low heat for at least five hours.

Pernil may not be served alone; it’s typically accompanied by rice and beans or red beans – making these dishes the perfect complement to one another.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best side dishes to serve with pernil.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Pernil?

why consider serving side dishes for pernil

Pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican dish for Christmas, Easter, and other holidays.

Although it can be served as a dish, some people like to serve side dishes with the pork shoulder.

Side dishes are not necessary – but they are highly recommended.

This is because pernil can sometimes need some extra flavor or moisture on top of what is already there.

In terms of texture, pernil can be somewhat dry if eaten on its own.

Side dishes help add some moisture and flavor to the pernil, which balances out the dish as a whole.

When it comes to side dishes, the goal is usually to complement pernil.

This means that you want to pick a side dish that has similar flavors and textures as pernil.

There are many different types of meats – like chicken, pork, beef, etc.

Side dishes come in all shapes and sizes too.

You can serve vegetables or starches – but sometimes both.

It is generally best to pick one starch and one vegetable.

Another reason to consider side dishes for pernil is that people may not like eating them independently.

Side dishes add an extra layer of flavor and some actual substance to the dish.

It can also be a good way for people who don’t prefer pernil to try some – knowing that they have something else with it.

What to Serve with Pernil? 8 BEST Side Dishes

what to serve with pernil best side dishes

So what should you serve with your pernil? Here are some ideas:

1 – Roasted Spaghetti Squash

roasted spaghetti squash

Here it is the most delicious way to eat spaghetti.

This dish is a twist on classic spaghetti and meatball — we’re swapping that pasta for low-carb spaghetti squash.

This recipe blends tender pasta-like strands with savory tomato sauce, hearty ground beef, and buttery garlic bread.

This dish is perfect for serving at dinner parties with meatballs or pernil, especially when trying to keep the carbs down.

It is simple to make but tastes great.

The combination of spaghetti squash and tomato sauce packs a ton of flavor into one delicious bowl of food.

2 – Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar Cheese

garlic mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese

There is a reason why potatoes are so common as side dishes at dinner parties – they go perfectly with the meat.

These garlic mashed potatoes, for example, are loaded up with cheddar cheese and cream.

The result? Creamy, cheesy goodness that makes for a tasty combination of sweet and savory.

If you like mashed potatoes (and cheese), then you will love this dish.

Garlic mashed potatoes go well with several dishes – but it works especially well with pernil.

The meat, in particular, goes extremely well with the garlic and cheddar flavors.

This is a simple side dish to make which combines elements of sweetness and savory.

The result is a rich, creamy texture that will go perfectly with your pernil or chicken.

3 – Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Parsnips

roasted rainbow carrots and parsnips

These roasted rainbow carrots and parsnips are so flavorful — they’re packed with garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, and more.

Regular carrots are delicious, but these rainbow carrots (and parsnips) take it to the next level.

They’re not only bright in color; they’re also intensely flavorful.

Roasted vegetables are an easy side dish to serve with your pernil – depending on what you have cooking in your oven.

The vegetables are easy to prepare and will go nicely with the crispy meat.

4 – Parmesan Asparagus Spears

parmesan asparagus spears

Asparagus is a great vegetable to serve as a side dish for pernil because it’s so simple.

Just pick up some fresh asparagus and toss the spears in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then roast it in the oven for a few minutes. Voila!

Simple asparagus is one of those recipes that adds a nice touch of flavor to any meal.

If you prefer something simple, then this dish will do the trick.

It’s made up of just three ingredients: asparagus, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

There’s not much to it – toss your asparagus spears in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then roast them in the oven for a few minutes.

If you are serving this with pernil, then remember that crispy meat goes nicely with tender veggies.

5 – Bacon and Greens

bacon and greens

If you have a non-vegetarian at the table, you might want to consider serving something meaty with your veggies.

This dish is made up of bacon and greens – packed with flavor.

It’s easy-going green with this recipe: take a bunch of kale or escarole (or both), cut into ribbons, and sautee them with some crumbled bacon.

The result is a dish that packs in tons of flavor while also being pretty healthy.

You can also add in some garlic for even more flavor.

6 – Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

garlic mashed cauliflower

Cauliflower is another good side dish for pernil because it can go sweet or savory.

This recipe calls for cauliflower steamed, blended with garlic, milk, butter, and parmesan cheese.

The result? A rich, savory side dish that tastes delicious.

This is another simple recipe for pernil – but it adds a ton of flavor.

Cauliflower is simmered in milk and garlic before being pureed and mixed with parmesan cheese.

Once it’s finished, you have a rich, creamy side dish that tastes great with the meat.

7 – Fried Plantains

fried plantains

Fried plantains are a great side dish, especially if you have any non-vegetarians at the table.

This recipe calls for some oil and spices to be rubbed onto the plantain before being fried in a skillet.

It’s a simple process, but it adds a ton of flavor to an amazing side dish.

Plantains are a little different than your typical banana.

They require a little more work to prepare them for cooking: you’ll need to peel the skin and cut them into slices before frying them in oil.

All of that work is worth it.

The result is a super delicious plantain that goes well with meat and veggies.

8 – Cuban Rice and Black Beans

cuban rice and black beans

This recipe for Cuban rice, black beans, and plantains is packed with flavor — it’s the perfect side dish to serve with pernil.

This dish has some sweet flavors but also a little bit of spice. It’s not boring.

Cuban rice is bursting with flavor. It’s made up of white rice, spices, onion, garlic, and tomato.

The result is a super flavorful side dish that will be sure to impress your dinner guests.

You can add beans to just about anything.

In this dish, it’s mixed with cilantro and garlic before being added to rice and tomatoes.


Pernil may be a tough cut of meat, but it sure tastes great.

Serve it with some of these side dishes, and you will have an amazing meal.

If you’re looking to serve something else, be sure to check out some of the other side dishes we have listed on this blog.

We hope you enjoyed these recipes and ideas for side dishes.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Like and share if you found this helpful. Have a great day.

what to serve with pernil

What to Serve with Pernil? 8 BEST Side Dishes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar Cheese
  • Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Parsnips
  • Parmesan Asparagus Spears
  • Bacon and Greens
  • Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
  • Fried Plantains
  • Cuban Rice and Black Beans


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  • Organize all required ingredients and prepare a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less!
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