by Liz Thomson
October 2, 2020This post may contain affiliate links.
I love serving pasta for dinner, so I’m always looking for new side dish ideas to serve with pasta! If you’re looking for vegetables, salads, bread, or other recipes to pair with your favorite pasta, this list will give you some delicious ideas!
What to Serve with Pasta
Sometimes it’s hard to think of a tasty side dish to serve with a bowl of pasta, but luckily there are tons of options! It’s the perfect opportunity to add a vegetable to your meal. Whether you go for roasted or cooked vegetables or a simple tossed salad, that’s an easy way to lighten up your plate.
You can also serve flatbread, a bowl of soup, or breadsticks! I like to serve pasta with a roasted vegetable and some type of bread, but the possibilities are endless!
How to Pair Pasta with a Side Dish
There’s no right or wrong way to craft your meal, but I try to follow this basic rule of thumb:
If the dish is rich, creamy, or cheesy, I try to keep the side dish light. If I’m serving ravioli lasagna, I like pairing it with a light salad or roasted asparagus.
If I’m having a lighter dish with lots of vegetables, like broccoli lemon pasta, I might serve a heavier side dish like garlic bread and a bowl of soup!
Simple side dishes can also be a great way to use up leftover ingredients. Toss a little leftover fresh mozzarella onto your salad. Top your soup with leftover breadcrumbs. Add leftover pesto to roasted patty pan squash. Turn the heel of a baguette into salad croutons. Using leftover ingredients in your side dish is a great way to reduce food waste!
Prepare Side Dishes in Advance
Some of these side dishes can be made in advance, which can come in handy if you’re making a more complicated pasta recipe. You may not want to be juggling multiple pans and skillets if you’re trying to serve dinner to a crowd, so consider picking simple side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time.
Again, there is no right or wrong way to pick a side dish to serve with pasta, but hopefully, that helps give you a little guidance. Now let’s get into some tasty pasta side dish ideas!
This baked feta cheese with tomatoes is a deliciously simple appetizer. Salty feta pairs perfectly with sweet, juicy summer tomatoes. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of herbs and you’re ready to serve this delicious dish! It's a great recipe to pair with your favorite Greek pasta dishes!
If you've been doing a low-carb diet for long, you've probably grown accustomed to eating a lot of cauliflower in ways you never would have expected to before. Some recipes that replace carbs with cauliflower work, and some don't. These Cauliflower Breadsticks definitely work and I can't wait for you to try them.
Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts is a quick and easy salad that is peppery, sweet and satisfying. Arugula is tossed with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese and finished off with a lemony, olive oil dressing.
A simple recipe for sautéed Swiss chard with garlic, onions, tomatoes and lemon. Garnished with some optional fresh parmesan cheese and easily made in a pot or skillet. It’s a low-calorie, vegetarian healthy side dish that is perfect to pair with your favorite pasta.
This Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese salad is certain to become a favorite. It is light, full of flavor and so easy to make. Ideal to serve as a side dish to a delicious plate of pasta with some crusty bread on the side to mop up the delicious juices.
The perfect simple and easy weeknight pizza recipe! This Easy Margherita Pizza Recipe is ready in under 15 minutes and is perfect for both kids and adults. The perfect combo of cheese, marinara sauce, fresh basil and homemade pesto. Serve it with your favorite pasta to create an Italian feast!
These Socca Flatbreads make a great side dish to any meal. Top with garlic butter to make a delicious garlic bread to serve with pasta or use complimentary ingredients to the pasta dish you are preparing!
The easiest and the most delicious garlic bread right here. Made with a store-bought ciabatta, it takes next to nothing time to make. Buttery, garlicky, packed with fresh herbs, this bread makes a perfect side dish to pasta, soups, and is also great for any party!