45 Delicious Sides To Serve With Pasta

Pasta, the ultimate culinary chameleon, offers endless possibilities for creativity. However, finding the perfect accompaniment can be as challenging as deciding on a primary course.

To alleviate this dilemma, I’ve compiled a list of mouth-watering side dishes that will complement your pasta recipes, taking you from bland to grand in no time. From comforting classics to innovative creations, this collection promises to satisfy even the most discerning palates.

Jamaican Steamed Cabbage


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With just six essential ingredients, crafting this accompaniment is an effortless endeavour. This concise ingredient list ensures the focus remains on your main course, rather than being overshadowed by the complexity of additional components.

The harmonious balance of spicy and sweet flavours in this side dish makes it an ideal match for a summer pasta dish, allowing the two to complement each other perfectly.

Smothered Green Beans


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A humble yet satisfying side dish that pairs wonderfully with hearty winter pasta dishes is this recipe for smothered green beans. As its name suggests, it’s all about the rich, earthy flavors that infuse the beans with a deep and savory taste. The key to this dish is the creamy garlic sauce that coats the beans, imbuing them with an intense flavor profile that will leave you wanting more.

Cucumber Tomato Salad


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Imagine a refreshing and flavorful accompaniment to elevate your next pasta night. A harmonious blend of crisp cucumber slices, succulent tomato chunks, and a medley of textures that will leave everyone craving more. This deceptively simple salad is the perfect side dish to complement your pesto pasta, bursting with juicy freshness that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Serve it alongside your main course and enjoy a stress-free dinner experience.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios and Pecorino


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Elevate your dining experience with a sophisticated side dish reminiscent of Italian cuisine’s finest establishments. A trifecta of flavors and textures combines seamlessly in a harmonious union of pistachios, pecorino cheese, and thinly sliced Brussels sprouts. This delectable trio is surprisingly straightforward to recreate at home, allowing you to bring a touch of la dolce vita to your own dinner table with ease.

Marinated Tomatoes


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In just a few minutes, you can whip up a refreshing and zesty salad that showcases the vibrant flavors of juicy tomatoes. The sweetness of each bite is a perfect balance to the cold and tangy texture. This dish is particularly well-suited as a accompaniment to a summery pasta dish, such as one infused with basil pesto. When paired together, the tomato and basil combine in an Italian-inspired flavor experience that’s sure to delight.

Watermelon Feta Basil Salad


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A culinary masterpiece is born when the creaminess of feta and the freshness of watermelon unite. The subtle saltiness of the feta cheese cleverly counterbalances the natural sweetness of the watermelon, resulting in a harmonious balance of flavors. Meanwhile, the delicate hint of basil adds a burst of vibrancy that will leave you craving another taste experience.

Tossed Green Salad


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A humble tossed green salad gets its magic from the quality of its components rather than intricate preparation techniques. At its core, it’s a harmonious blend of leafy greens and pungent red onion notes. For an authentically Italian twist, rely on rich olive oil and a judicious sprinkle of salt to elevate this straightforward salad into a truly delightful culinary experience. The nuanced depth the oil brings to the dish is nothing short of transformative, rendering even the most basic greens irresistibly flavorful.

Air Fryer Mushrooms


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Celebrating the earthy goodness of mushrooms doesn’t have to be a complex affair. In fact, with an air fryer and mere minutes of hands-on time, you can create a deliciously simple dish that’s sure to become a new favorite. Initially, I was hesitant about using my air fryer for mushrooms, but one try and I’m hooked – the results are nothing short of astonishing. With just a drizzle of oil and soy sauce, these ‘shrooms take on a perfectly roasted quality that’s nothing short of magical.

Avocado Orange Salad


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While unconventional pairings are often overlooked, the union of avocado and orange is a match made in culinary heaven. The rich, velvety texture of avocado perfectly complements the tangy sweetness of orange, resulting in a harmonious flavor profile that’s both refreshing and satisfying.

Sauteed Arugula with Red Bell Peppers


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Packed with nutrients, arugula and bell peppers form a dynamic duo that’s just as flavorful as it is nutritious. When sautéed, the arugula’s robust flavor is unleashed, while the bell peppers’ sweet undertones are revealed. The harmonious combination of green and red hues evokes the iconic Italian flag, adding a touch of cultural flair to this tasty pairing.

Roasted Beets


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The humble roasted beet is a testament to the power of simplicity in cooking. With just three ingredients required, these tender roots are deceptively easy to prepare and yet boast an impressive depth of flavor. While some may overlook this straightforward recipe, it’s truly a crowd-pleaser, especially when served alongside a hearty pork chop.

Marinated Tomato Salad


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The vibrant flavors of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes are showcased in this delectable marinated tomato salad, where the creamy mozzarella adds an indulgent touch. As a bonus, this side dish is both authentically Italian and surprisingly healthy, making it a perfect addition to any meal.

Mediterranean Kale Salad


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When discussing healthy side dishes for pasta, kale stands out as an exceptional choice. Boasting an impressive array of antioxidants and fiber, this leafy green superfood significantly boosts the nutritional value of your dinner. The addition of olives and feta to this salad infuses it with a vibrant Mediterranean flair.

Festive Winter Salad


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When preparing pasta for a holiday celebration this winter, consider serving a festive winter salad as a side dish. This delectable creation requires only 15 minutes to assemble and showcases a harmonious blend of red and green hues. The sweet and tangy combination of pomegranate and crispy pear complements the creamy ricotta and fresh leafy greens, resulting in a delightful symphony of textures and flavors that will elevate your holiday gathering.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


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When it comes to accompanying Italian cuisine, I’m a big fan of roasted cherry tomatoes – they’re a staple side dish in my kitchen. What sets them apart from their fresh counterparts is the concentrated flavor that results from the roasting process. This enhanced flavor profile is achieved by simply drizzling the tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkling on some salt and herbs, then letting them cook at a low temperature over a period of time.

Air Fryer Cauliflower


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Indulge in a guilt-free side dish that’s as quick as it is delicious! This healthy option boasts a crispy texture and mouthwatering flavor, making it surprisingly reminiscent of takeout – but with a fraction of the calories. The best part? You can simply set your air fryer to work its magic and let it do all the hard work for you, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Vegan Sweet Potato, Lima Bean Salad


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Combining sweet potato, arugula, bell peppers, and red onion may seem like an unusual combination, but trust us – it’s a match made in heaven! The harmonious blend of flavors and textures makes for a side salad that is not only nutritious but also incredibly appetizing. When paired with your main pasta dish, the variety of sensations in each bite is sure to leave you wanting more.

Caprese Salad


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The Caprese salad is a timeless Italian classic, elevated by the smoky flavors that come from grilling cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls. The subtle char adds a depth of sweetness to each bite, making it an excellent accompaniment to a variety of dishes – including grilled steak.

Sauteed Zucchini with Herbed Parmesan


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One refreshing side dish that’s sure to brighten up any meal is a vibrant, flavorful treat that shines during warmer months. Not only does it add a splash of color to the table, but it’s also an incredibly nutritious option. What’s more, this delightful dish requires remarkably little hands-on effort – simply grab your knife and pan to bring its sunny charm to life.

Roasted Broccolini Salad with Crispy White Beans


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Winter’s bounty is celebrated in the final dish of this healthy section, where earthy flavors meld together in perfect harmony. This robust side can stand alone as a main event or complement a hearty pasta dish beautifully. At its core are the rich notes of roasted broccolini, elevated by the crunch of walnuts and creamy white beans. The subtle tang of tahini adds depth to each bite, making every morsel a delightful discovery.

Best Sides for Pasta

The essence of a great pasta side dish lies in its simplicity and depth of flavor. While it may not require an extensive amount of time or effort, the end result should be nothing short of remarkable. The following dishes exemplify this principle, offering a perfect balance between ease of preparation and mouth-watering taste. With that said, let’s dive into the world of delectable pasta accompaniments.

Avocado Fries


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Tender yet crispy, avocado fries bring together the best qualities of two beloved culinary delights. While it may seem unusual at first, this innovative snack requires just five essential components – including a specially crafted spice blend.

Zucchini Fries


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In the realm of unconventional fries, zucchini stands out as an exceptional alternative due to its delectable flavor profile and satisfying texture. When seasoned, it absorbs flavors remarkably well, yielding a crispy exterior that’s hard to resist. Among my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini fries is with a rich aioli, as the complementary flavors create a harmonious union.

Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts


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These earthy, sweet Brussels sprouts have a delightful char on the outside, making them an ideal canvas for culinary creativity. You won’t need to venture far to gather the necessary ingredients – they’re likely hiding in your pantry, waiting to be rediscovered. The versatility of these sprouts is unparalleled, allowing you to pair them with a rich spaghetti carbonara topped with crispy bacon or a hearty bolognese sauce smothered in melted parmesan cheese. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination!

Focaccia Genovese


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A culinary staple in Genoa, Focaccia Genovese is a delightfully thin and crispy bread that’s elevated by the addition of savory green olives. Its versatility makes it an ideal pairing for saucy or soupy pasta dishes, allowing you to dip and savor the crunchy saltiness it brings to your meal at your own leisure.

Creamy Vegan Coleslaw


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This vegan coleslaw is a game-changer for dinner tables everywhere, regardless of dietary preference. Its light and refreshing texture, achieved by skipping traditional mayonnaise, is surprisingly packed with flavor. A perfect harmony of creamy, tangy, and crunchy elements makes it impossible to resist taking another bite.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


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When you combine the smoky richness of bacon with the crisp, vibrant taste of green beans, something truly special happens. This recipe’s harmony of contrasting flavors is a testament to the power of unexpected pairings. The subtle bitterness of the beans provides a perfect counterpoint to the savory, umami notes of the bacon, creating a delightful sensory experience.

Air Fryer Crack Green Beans


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The allure of these green beans lies not only in their lack of bundling, but also in the addition of crispy bacon – a winning combination for me. If you’re fortunate enough to own an air fryer, I highly recommend giving this side dish a try. Its success isn’t limited to air-frying, however; it will also thrive in the oven if that’s your preferred cooking method. And why stop there? Take it to the next level by topping with shaved parmesan cheese of the highest caliber.

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions


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The harmonious union of mushrooms and onions is a culinary delight. As they’re cooked together in a sizzling pan, the natural sweetness of the onion perfectly complements the earthy richness of the mushroom. This flavorful combination elevates even the most humble of meals – such as winter pasta – to new heights, transforming it into a truly satisfying dining experience.

Burrata Salad


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Burrata cheese is a culinary gem that deserves to be savored on its own. The creamy stracciatella-filled mozzarella offers an incredible taste experience. However, when paired with a vibrant and revitalizing salad, the combination becomes truly magical. The freshness of the greens and other ingredients expertly balances out the richness of the burrata, creating a harmonious union that’s sure to please even the most discerning palates. And if you’d like, consider serving this delightful duo alongside your favorite grilled or pan-seared dishes for a well-rounded meal.

Roasted Asparagus Caesar Salad


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Innovating upon the traditional Caesar salad, we’ve replaced the typical romaine or cos lettuce with asparagus, injecting a fresh and vibrant twist into this classic dish. The result is a more substantial side offering that’s perfect for warm weather gatherings. By substituting crisp asparagus for the usual leafy greens, we’re adding a delightful layer of texture to each bite, making this modern Caesar salad a true showstopper.

Crusty Rosemary Olive Bread


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Pasta dishes rely on their accompaniments for completion, and bread plays a crucial role in soaking up savory sauces. Here, I propose an aromatic and olive-studded rosemary bread as the perfect complement to any pasta meal. Its fragrant allure is sure to draw a crowd, making it the life of the party at your next gathering.

Caprese Flatbread


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For a refreshing summer lunch, look no further than this vibrant Caprese flatbread. At its core lies a trifecta of flavors – the sweetness of tomatoes, the subtlety of basil, and the creaminess of mozzarella. These three ingredients are expertly combined to create a dish that’s as visually appealing as it is delicious.

Italian Sides for Pasta

When it comes to pairing pasta with a complementary side dish, Italy provides the perfect inspiration. As the birthplace of pasta, it’s no surprise that many iconic Italian sides are designed to accompany a plate of spaghetti or fettuccine. Whether you’re looking for a classic combination or something new and exciting, there are countless options to choose from.

Roasted Garlic and Herb Focaccia


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At the top of our list of effortless pasta accompaniments lies a timeless favorite: focaccia. What sets this Italian classic apart from other options is its incredible adaptability. This rendition showcases roasted garlic and herbs, but feel free to get creative by adding your own selection of vegetables.

Caesar Salad


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This Caesar salad recipe takes inspiration from its classic roots, expertly combining three fundamental components: crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, and a luscious creamy dressing. I firmly believe that the true star of this recipe is the savory garlic croutons, crafted using day-old bread to produce delightfully crispy morsels bursting with an intense, rich garlic flavor that elevates the dish to new heights.

Pesto Garlic Bread


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Combining two beloved Italian staples – garlic bread and pesto – yields a flavorful fusion that is sure to tantalize taste buds. The aromatic richness of the pesto perfectly complements the savory, buttery essence of the garlic bread, resulting in a harmonious blend that showcases the best qualities of each component.

Mozzarella Caprese Salad


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A Caprese salad at its finest boasts chunky textures, bold flavors, and a depth of taste that leaves a lasting impression. This particular rendition exemplifies excellence, harmoniously balancing luscious mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, tangy balsamic glaze, and the freshness of basil. It’s a culinary cornerstone that effortlessly pairs with any pasta dish you’d like to serve alongside.

Italian Chopped Salad


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This salad recipe was created as an antipasto, but it pairs just as well with a pasta dish. Its bold and fresh flavors make it an excellent choice for serving alongside a variety of main courses. Whether you’re attending a potluck where pasta is on the menu or looking for a versatile side dish to accompany multiple meals, this salad is sure to impress.

Italian Green Salad with Homemade Dressing


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When you take a bite, the depth of flavor will leave you craving more. The secret to this salad’s success lies in selecting the perfect leaves. While traditional iceberg lettuce lacks pizzazz and nutrients, opting instead for spinach or butter lettuce yields a far more satisfying experience.

Cheesy Garlic Bread


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There’s something undeniably appealing about a well-crafted garlic bread, don’t you think? The key to its irresistible charm lies in the harmonious union of cheese and garlic. As the flavors meld together, each bite becomes a masterclass in balance – rich, savory, and utterly satisfying. But let’s not overlook the crowning glory: that sublime crunch that develops when the bread is allowed to bake to a golden perfection. It’s as if every morsel has been transformed into a textural and auditory delight, beckoning you to take another bite.

Roasted Red Pepper Antipasto Salad and Crostini


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There’s a reason raw bell peppers are often associated with summertime – their natural sweetness and crunchy texture make them a refreshing addition to many dishes. However, when you roast them, they undergo a transformative change. The heat brings out a smoky depth that’s surprisingly well-suited to the colder months. In fact, I’m particularly fond of roasted red pepper antipasto, which allows the star of the show – the single, majestic pepper – to truly shine. This simple yet elegant dish is all about embracing the unique flavor profile of these roasted peppers.

Marinated Italian Fresh Green Bean Salad


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In our culinary journey’s grand finale, we’re treated to a vibrant green bean salad that exudes an unmistakable Italian flair. The harmonious blend of red, white, and green hues is reminiscent of Italy’s iconic flag, cleverly woven throughout the dish. A delightful surprise awaits with each bite, courtesy of the crunchy slivered almonds. At the same time, the succulent tomatoes burst forth with a refreshing zest that leaves you yearning for another delicious taste.

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