What to Serve With Pasta: 21 Appetizing Side Dishes


Pasta might seem like a dish by itself, especially if you add a reach sauce on top of it. The truth is that you can have many other side dishes with your favorite pasta to enrich the overall flavor of your meal.

We gathered the best ideas to try out next to your pasta and we are sure you will find several dishes that compliment your taste and expectations.

You can have a delicious healthy Cesar salad next to your main dish, bruschetta, roasted broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, or some of the side dishes listed below, so let’s take a look and find the perfect side dish for your main course.

Best Dishes to Eat With Pasta

Choose the side dish that will compliment your pasta but make sure you consider your personal preferences and the preferences of your family and/or guests.

1. Cesar Salad

Cesar Salad

Cesar salad is maybe the most loved salad worldwide. And if you add some pesto topping on the traditional Cesar salad, it will go perfectly with any type of pasta.

This healthy salad adds a lot of more nutrients and different flavors to your meal that you will enjoy your pasta even more next to it.

2. Bruschetta


Bruschetta can come in various combinations, even if the most classic one implies toast, olive oil, tomatoes, and oregano and garlic as seasoning.

You an put everything you want on your bruschetta and you will love them next to your pasta. Mushroom bruschetta tend to be an interesting and tasty choice to pair with your pasta dish and they’re very easy to put together.

3. Roasted Broccoli


Roasted broccoli can be a side dish for many types of food from meat to pasta and potatoes.

Roast your broccoli in butter for an extra flavor, but if you want to keep it vegan you can also choose olive oil. Finish the dish up with a topping of cheddar cheese or parmesan and serve next to a warm plate of pasta!

4. Sautéed Mushrooms

mushroom substitute

Again, mushrooms are just a great mix with pasta. And if you don’t want to add them directly to your pasta, you can enjoy them on the side.

Sautéed mushrooms are very tasty and you can get them ready in just a few minutes. Use butter and garlic to enrich their flavor and you will be charmed by this mix.

5. Sausages

Italian Sausage

Sausages of any kind you might prefer, go great with vegetarian pasta recipes as they complete them with the protein of the meat and they have an interesting texture.

There is a traditional recipe for sausages in each culture and some have even a variety of them. Choose the one you like most and add it next to your pasta! You will definitely not regret it!

6. Brussels Sprouts With Bacon

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

A more fancy but just as tasty side dish to go for next time you have your pasta are Brussels sprouts and bacon.

Bake the Brussels sprouts and bacon together for 10-15 minutes, then sprinkle parmesan on top of them. Serve them warm next to your pasta and you will be hooked!

7. Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Another Italian dish that might be just as famous as pasta is the Caprese salad.

This salad mainly contains mozzarella and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. But if you feel like getting creative with the dressing, by all means do so.

Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for any pasta and you will have a complete Italian meal! 

8. Garlic Breadsticks

Garlic Breadsticks

It might seem contradictory to eat bread with pasta but garlic breadsticks really bring an interesting new texture.

These stick are harder in consistency than pasta and they have an enticing garlic taste that you will love.

Many people enjoy breadsticks on their own, as a snack, so adding them next to your favorite pasta can only bring you even more satisfaction.

9. Tomato Salad

Tomato salad

If you want to keep it as simple as possible, but still get a delicious meal, choosing to pair your pasta with a tomato salad is definitely a great option.

Cut a few tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper as well as a little olive oil.

If you prefer a more complex dressing, feel free to go for it. But such a simple salad will be great for complimenting your pasta dish and add a freshness to your meal.

10. Sautéed Asparagus

Asparagus is another vegetable that goes with plenty of dishes and pasta is no exception.

Sautee your asparagus in olive oil or butter and season it with salt, pepper as well as a bit of garlic. Don’t overcook the asparagus as you still want it to have a crunchy texture and not become too soft. 

11. Creamed Spinach

Water Spinach

Spinach is packed with so many nutrients that it would be a shame not to include it in your salad. You can boil it and make a creamy pure out of it or you can sauté it and even eat it plain.

Creamed spinach seems to be the best choice to enjoy with your pasta. Add some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. This tasty puree will be amazing with any type of pasta you might like.

12. Cauliflower and Carrot Salad

Broccoli and cauliflower salad

If you are looking for a special type of salad, how about a cauliflower and carrot combination?

You can use these vegetables raw and even add a bit of shallots for a better flavor. The shallots will mix perfectly with the sweetness of potatoes and the rather neutral taste of cauliflower.

Make a white dressing with mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and seasonings and enjoy this salad with your pasta for any meal of the day!

13. Green Beans

Green beans are just as tasty next to your pasta as asparagus is.

You can steam them, boil them or fry them with your favorite herbs, salt, pepper. We also recommend adding some butter for even more flavor.

This side dish is filling, healthy and very nutritious so you definitely have to give it a try!

14. Baked Beans

Baked beans

A great thing about baked beans is that you can cook them very fast as long as you soak them previously. You can also find them already made in many grocery stores.

Even if the texture of baked beans might seem to be a bit too heavy to pair with pasta, you will be surprised of how great these two dishes go together!

You can choose to season your baked beans with hot chili for a more spicy flavor!

15. Baked Veggies

baked potatoes

All types of baked veggies can be a healthy and delicious side dish for your pasta. So, choose the combination you want and give them from 20-30 minutes in the oven.

You can also add your baked veggies on top of your pasta, depending on the type of pasta you are making. But we recommend you enjoying them on the side so you get the best of all the flavor.

16. Cream Veggie Soup

Cream Soups 

Do you like cream veggie soups? These soups are considered a comfort food for many people and so is pasta.

So, enjoying these two comfort foods together can only be for the best of your culinary experience. Not to mention the wide nutritious range you will get from this combination!

17. Coleslaw Salad

Buttermilk Coleslaw

Coleslaw salad, just like the one you can find at the big chains of fast-food around the world, is very easy to make at home.

Finely cut 1 part carrots and mix it with 2 parts cabbage that is just as fine cut. Make a sauce of mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and lemon and mix all the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous texture.

Enjoy it cold next to your pasta and you will most likely have this combination many times in your future.

18. Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are also a popular type of comfort food and children love them just as much as adults.

They go great with pasta, especially if you would want to add some meat to complete your meal. You can make your chicken nuggets from scratch or purchase them frozen and fry or bake them at home.

19. Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings

Chicken wings and pasta are a match made in heaven. Choose any type of wings you prefer in terms of recipe and eat them warm next to your favorite pasta.

Chicken wings go great with Carbonara but also Arrabbiata pasta and even other types so you really don’t have to worry about the type of pasta you will have. 

20. Steak


If you are looking for a good meal that will keep hunger away for several hours, try pairing your favorite steak with your favorite pasta.

The juicy and tender texture of the steak will go great with pasta and you can get creative in terms of toppings. Cheese sauces work great for steaks, but spicy toppings will give you just as much of a great culinary experience.

21. Pickles

Cornichons Pickles

Pickles might not be considered a side dish for many but even if it is as simple as buying a jar of them and eating a few with your pasta, they can really make a difference.

You can find different vegetables pickles, from the classic cucumbers to carrots and even tomatoes and peppers or cauliflower. And you don’t have to prepare them at home as most grocery stores have such a product.

The salty and vinegary taste of the pickles, along with their crunchy texture, will make each bite of pasta taste that much better.

We suggest adding pickles to your pasta even if you chose another side dish from our selection as well. For instance, they go great with pasta and steak or chicken nuggets and chicken wings. 

What to Eat With Pasta Noodles?

Lo Mein Noodles

Pasta noodles don’t differ in terms of taste from other types of pasta. They are thinner and curlier in shape but ultimately, they bring the same flavor to your meal as penne or spaghetti.

So, feel free to pair your pasta noodles with any of the side dishes above and you will not regret it. Keep in mind that noodles might not go just as great with heavy side dishes such a steak. There are people that love such a combination still though.

Noodles tend to taste great with salads, chicken nuggets, chicken wings or different vegetable combinations.

Try as much as possible to mix your noodles with veggies or a sauce based on ground meat as they will taste even better and have a richer flavor!

Bread Sides for Pasta

Garlic bread

Even if many thing bread doesn’t go with pasta, there are actually exceptions that will surprise you. We mentioned in our list how delicious garlic breadsticks can be in this combination.

You can also choose other types of breadsticks besides garlic breadsticks such as herbal ones and even ones with a chili taste to them.

You might not prefer soft bread slices next to your pasta dish but crunchy and tasty breadsticks can always compliment the softness of the pasta and help you enjoy the topping on your pasta even better.

So, give them a try and you will understand just what we mean by this heavenly combo!

Final Thoughts 

When it comes to pasta, the sky is the limit. You can choose from several types of pasta that come in various shapes and sizes as well as colors.

And for the topping, there are a multitude of red sauces and white sauces that you can use to put together the perfect pasta dish for your taste.

So, pairing your pasta with a side dish will not be complicated and you can choose one or even more of the list in this guide.

Eating plain pasta can be filling enough to cover one meal, but why settle for that when you can have a true amazing culinary experience?

Give these side dishes a try and see which one is best for you and your loved ones!

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