The pastrami sandwich was first introduced in Jewish kosher delis in New York City in the late 1800s by a man named Sussman Volk. Since its original debut, the pastrami sandwich has become a popular staple in delis all across the world.
The classic version of the pastrami sandwich, known as New York’s signature sandwich, consists of pastrami meat on rye bread with spicy brown mustard and a Kosher dill pickle on the side.
With the smoky flavor of the pastrami meat, you’ll want to pair your pastrami sandwich with the right side dishes. Read on to learn about the best side dishes to serve with pastrami sandwiches.
17 Side Dishes to Serve with Pastrami Sandwiches
1. Potato Salad
Potato salad is a side dish made from boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, sweet relish, mustard, and a combination of other ingredients depending on the recipe used.
It is a side dish commonly served with sandwiches that complements a pastrami sandwich perfectly. Said to have originated in Germany, potato salad has made its way to other parts of the world and remains one of the most popular side dishes served with sandwiches.
Coleslaw is a side dish made from shredded cabbage doused in a creamy salad dressing, vinaigrette, or mayonnaise. The satisfying crunchy texture of coleslaw pairs well with sandwiches, including pastrami.
If mayonnaise is used as a condiment on your pastrami sandwich, it is not recommended to serve it with a side of coleslaw prepared using mayonnaise. If you are preparing the coleslaw fresh, use a vinaigrette or other dressing when serving alongside a pastrami sandwich.
3. Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a type of pasta salad made from cooked elbow macaroni that is served cold. It is usually prepared with mayonnaise and is a popular side dish served with fried chicken, barbecue, or other lunch-style dishes, including sandwiches.
You may not want to use mayonnaise as a condiment on your pastrami sandwich if serving macaroni salad alongside it as a side dish.
4. French Fries
French fries are one of the most popular side dishes served with sandwiches, including pastrami sandwiches. Whether they are served thin and crispy, waffle-cut, or hand cut, you can’t go wrong with French fries.
When making French fries, try using Idaho potatoes or Yukon potatoes, as they are starchier and produce firmer potatoes versus other varieties.
5. Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips
Potato chips have been a long-standing staple side dish of any sandwich, and they provide the perfect salty snack pairing with a pastrami sandwich-specifically of the sour cream and onion variety.
The sour cream and onion flavored potato chips balance out the smokiness of the pastrami sandwich, and you can even place your potato chips on the sandwich between the meat and the top slice of rye for a truly delectable sandwich at lunchtime.
6. White Bean Soup with Bacon
White bean soup is made with onions, carrots, celery, a light broth, and the star of the show, bacon. For the best results, make the soup with chicken or vegetable stock.
Not only does this white bean soup live up to the promise of the classic soup and salad combination, the hot liquid and smoky bacon are just what your cold pastrami sandwich needs.
7. Chicken Noodle Soup
As pastrami sandwiches are served cold, they pair well with side dishes served hot. Chicken noodle soup is a comfort food you’ll enjoy when paired with a meaty and cold pastrami sandwich.
You may even find yourself dipping the sandwich into the hot liquid. The rye bread will soak the chicken noodle soup liquid right up.
Sauerkraut is a very common and popular side dish paired with pastrami sandwiches, especially in New York. Similar to coleslaw, you can’t beat the pickled and acidic flavor and texture of sauerkraut when paired with the smoky meat of the pastrami.
The pickled, zesty and crunchy sauerkraut is a winning contrast to the smoky and meaty pastrami sandwich.
9. Matzo Ball Soup
Matzo ball soup is a soup of Jewish cuisine made from dumplings consisting of a mixture of matzah meal, beaten eggs, water, and fat from oil, butter, or chicken fat.
Because they are served in chicken soup, they make a great pairing for pastrami sandwiches. The hot liquid and hearty soup make for great comfort food paired with the smoky meat of the pastrami sandwich.
10. Cottage Cheese
With its milky texture and creamy taste, cottage cheese is a great side dish to complement a pastrami sandwich. Low-fat varieties of cottage cheese are available as well, which are made from low-fat milk.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and a healthy alternative to potato chips, French fries, and other high-fat side dishes commonly served with pastrami sandwiches.
11. Pickled Tomatoes
As zesty, pickled vegetables go amazing with a pastrami sandwich, you’ll love making pickled tomatoes to serve as the side dish to yours.
Use cherry tomatoes or green tomatoes for the most complementary flavor. They’ll be zesty and refreshing with every bite, especially in between bites of the smoky pastrami sandwich.
12. Russian Salad
A Russian salad is a salad made with potatoes, carrots, pickles and peas, but the true star of this salad is the chili and horseradish dressing.
With chili and horseradish, this Russian salad adds a spicy kick to your Pastrami sandwich while adding vegetables to your meal, not to mention a touch of starchy potatoes.
13. Baked Beans with Bacon
Baked beans are white beans that have been cooked in boiling water until soft and then baked with sauce and sometimes bacon. They are a popular side dish for barbeque, sloppy joes, and sandwiches.
The barbeque flavor of the beans coupled with the smoky touch of bacon pairs well with the cold pastrami sandwich to make the perfect lunchtime meal.
14. Tater Tots
Made from grated potatoes and deep-fried, like other foods derived from potatoes, tater tots offer that salty, satisfying crunch when paired with a pastrami sandwich.
If you require a potato-based pairing with your pastrami sandwich, homemade tater tots baked or grilled to crispy perfection and dipped in ketchup are a great solution.
15. Israeli Salad
This delicious and light salad, made from cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and sprinkled with lemon juice and olive oil, is the refreshing salad your pastrami sandwich needs to accompany it at lunchtime.
Adding a healthy dose of vegetables with zesty lemon juice offers a nice contrast to the heavy and meaty texture of the pastrami meat.
16. French Onion Soup
Made from bread, cheese, onions, beef stock, Worcestershire and white wine, French onion soup is absolutely heavenly when served with a pastrami sandwich.
This soup is pure comfort food and full of flavor, seasoned with garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper, paying the perfect complement to the pastrami sandwich.
Borscht is a sour-tasting soup made from beetroots that is popular in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The sour flavor of the soup complements the cold, smoky meat of the pastrami sandwich.
Try borscht served with sour cream alongside your pastrami sandwich, and serve it hot or cold, depending on your preference.
Now that you know what to serve with pastrami sandwiches, you’ll have no trouble deciding what side dishes to prepare the next time you serve them for lunch.
Dishes that are starchy or zesty and crunchy are sure to be a hit the next time you prepare pastrami sandwiches for your family.