What to Serve With Italian Meatballs?

What to Serve With Italian Meatballs
Image by Delish

Do you have an Italian meatball recipe you’re excited about but are unsure what to serve with Italian meatballs?

Or perhaps you simply like the idea of serving pasta with your Italian meatballs, but you can’t decide between spaghetti or some other type of noodle? 

Either way, this Italian meatball recipe, and side recipe guide will help you make the right decision.

Decision on what to serve with Italian meatballs based on whatever they might be paired with.

1. Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad recipe is a fun way to get your daily serving of veggies. First, steam or boil your broccoli, then toss it into a bowl and add some apple cider vinegar. Add raisins and sunflower seeds for sweetness and fiber.

For extra protein, sprinkle in some crumbled feta cheese or chicken. Serve as a side dish when seeking what to serve with Italian meatballs. This recipe is an easy way to get three vegetables into one meal!

2. Ratatouille

A hearty vegetable stew, often of summer vegetables, that is typically served as a side dish. Ratatouille can also be used as a pasta sauce or pizza topping. 

It’s usually made with eggplant and bell peppers, but you can replace these with other vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms if you like.

It’s best eaten when it has cooled slightly, and you let it sit for an hour before serving. A dollop of basil pesto or hummus really complements its flavors.

3. Glazed Carrots

Carrots are a great side dish to go alongside meatballs because they pair well with savory dishes. To make glazed carrots, simply combine equal parts butter and honey in a pot, then toss in sliced carrots and simmer until tender. 

Finally, add salt and pepper for taste. In place of carrots, you can use parsnips or even sweet potatoes.

Anything that can be cooked quickly after being thrown into butter and honey will taste great on your plate. Try this if you’re looking for What to serve with Italian meatballs.

4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These tasty little cabbages are super-easy to make and pair perfectly with some of your favorite fall ingredients. Before roasting, coat them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar. 

Serve alongside leaner cuts of beef or pork for a healthy alternative that’ll keep you full well after dinnertime.

With fewer calories per pound than other green vegetables like broccoli or spinach, brussels sprouts help fill you up without fattening you up.

This is especially great news if you’re trying to lose weight. They’re also loaded with fiber and vitamins C and K. One cup delivers more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

5. Caesar Salad

Do you know what to serve with Italian meatballs? A side of dressing-laden greens. This salad is a classic, but it’s also frequently heavy on fatty ingredients like egg yolks and anchovies. 

Instead of going that route, whip up a fat-free version by simply tossing shredded romaine lettuce in olive oil and lemon juice. The natural flavor of the lemons will really shine through. 

Note: The traditional Caesar salad uses grated Parmesan cheese as its main flavoring agent. You could even make Caesar dressing by stirring grated Parmesan into homemade mayonnaise or low-fat plain yogurt mixed with fresh garlic and salt and pepper.

6. Mashed Potatoes

A classic choice, and for a good reason. Rich and creamy mashed potatoes pair well with rich, hearty meatballs.

A simple recipe is all you need here. Feel free to jazz it up using your favorite herbs or spices (we’re partial to rosemary). 

Make sure not to overdo it—go light on butter and cream, so you don’t overwhelm your dish with fat. If desired, add a little olive oil for added health benefits. Serve these creamy spuds alongside your homemade marinara sauce for one tasty meal!

7. Sauteed Zucchini

This is an easy way to add veggies (and flavor) to a traditional meal. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise into quarter-moons, toss them in oil and seasoning, and put them in a hot pan for about 5 minutes on each side. 

It’s that simple! Zucchini can be found all year long, so it’s great as a side dish or starter. You can even slice these before freezing; just freeze them raw on a sheet pan until hard.

Then transfer your slices to airtight containers or bags, and you’ll have pre-sliced vegetables on hand at all times.

8. Corn on the Cob

If you’re like most Americans, you might have thought about what to serve with Italian meatballs. Corn on the cob is a summertime treat.

But in certain parts of Europe, corn on the cob is eaten year-round, making for a delicious pairing with ground beef

Try adding sweet kernels to your next batch of Italian meatballs. Serve them alongside a simple green salad and some crusty bread for dipping.

The sweetness will cut through fatty flavors, leaving your palate refreshed rather than weighed down by heavy foods. 

If corn isn’t available in your area, opt for yellow peppers or jalapenos instead. They’ll provide an equally tasty (and unexpected) contrast. Remember, The more colors you get at dinnertime, the better!

9. Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus is not just for appetizers. Try serving it as a side dish or even eat it in place of bread during your next meal! Roasted asparagus is an incredibly versatile sweet, snappy, and irresistible dish. 

The key to making great asparagus is roasting it over high heat. When you roast vegetables over high heat, they caramelize, which brings out their natural sweetness.

You can also use roasted asparagus to make a delicious salad. This is done by adding fresh mozzarella cheese and dried cranberries.

To make this, steam asparagus until bright green but tender, about five minutes. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roast at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until starting to brown. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

It pairs perfectly with hearty dishes like slow-cooked beef stews or lasagna. If you’re looking for what it serves with Italian meatballs, try pairing roasted asparagus with a steak or salmon filet. The sweetness of both will complement each other beautifully!

10. Cauliflower Rice

The first and most important thing you need to know about cauliflower rice is that it’s not just for low-carb dieters. It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy to make, regardless of your daily carb intake. 

Served in place of starchy sides like white rice and potatoes, cauliflower rice gives you an opportunity for some tasty creativity. Try it as a bed for fish or chicken instead of steamed veggies, or eat it raw in salads. 

By all means, try it as a crunchy snack on its own; if you’re looking to drop a few pounds fast—it’s your go-to replacement.

11. Fried Cabbage With Bacon

Frying cabbage wedges at home is pretty simple, but it’s also time-consuming, as you have to allow each side enough time to crisp.

The easiest way to get crispy fried cabbage is by frying it in bacon fat. It doesn’t get any better than that, my friends! 

This recipe takes less than 20 minutes total, which makes it a great choice for an easy weeknight meal or when you want to impress your guests.

Simply fry some bacon, then use its fat (plus some olive oil) and cook some chopped cabbage wedges in a pan on medium-high heat until they are nicely browned on both sides and crisp.

12. Sauteed Broccoli

Despite broccoli’s reputation as healthy food, traditional preparation methods (such as boiling) may diminish its nutritional benefits.

When you’re looking for what to serve with Italian meatballs, try your favorite veggies, try braising them.

It’s a method similar to steaming but requires less water, helping retain nutrients. To braise broccoli, spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add coarsely chopped fresh or frozen broccoli and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

13. No-rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a staple of Italian-American cooking, but you don’t need pasta or rice to fill them. Try these stuffed peppers as an alternative.

The filling is made with chopped veggies and ground turkey, so they’re hearty enough to be a full meal on their own. 

To make things easy, pick up some freshly cooked brown rice from your local grocery store. Any leftover filling will be kept in an airtight container in your fridge for two days. Use it for wraps or breakfast scrambles. 

Another tasty option: Cook extra stuffing and freeze it for future meals (it can be thawed in just 10 minutes). Experiment with different flavors: Don’t feel locked into traditional ingredients when it comes to making stuffed peppers.

14. Udon

If you’re feeling adventurous or are already an udon fan, it can be fun to mix it up and try something new. The thick texture of noodles makes them ideal for absorbing other flavors—even those without broth, like teriyaki.

Here’s an easy recipe for what to serve with Italian meatballs. It is sure to please: Teriyaki Chicken and Udon Stir-fry. 

Creating this udon recipe requires two key components —the sauce and chicken. To make your own sauce, simply combine soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic powder, and ginger in a small bowl; set aside until ready to use.

For your chicken, marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and salt for at least 30 minutes before cooking (this will help tenderize your chicken). Then cook on high heat in a skillet until cooked through.

15. Spinach Salad

Spinach is a quick sauté away from adding some serious texture and flavor to any meal. If you have a bag of baby spinach lying around, give it a quick rinse, then heat olive oil in your skillet over medium-high heat.

Add half a chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Throw in your spinach, season with salt and pepper, and toss until wilted. Add feta cheese crumbles when serving for more rich flavor. 

Don’t forget bread: Now that you know how easy it is to make simple changes (spinach salad) for healthier sides (bread), there’s no reason not to implement these strategies on Meatball Monday.

16. Sauteed Green Beans

Green beans are naturally sweet and pair wonderfully with garlic and olive oil. If you’re throwing together a quick weeknight meal for your family, why not try making a simple side dish of sauteed green beans?

It takes about 5 minutes to cook them up (check out our recipe here). You can make your own pesto from scratch in less than 15 minutes.

17. Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro and lime give the rice a fresh twist and pair especially well with Italian food. If you’ve never tried it, mix half a bunch of cilantro in with your rice as it cooks; if you have some fresh lime juice on hand, squeeze that in too. 

The rice is great as a side for any meal, but you can also use it as stuffing for tacos or burritos. Your guests will love experimenting with new flavors.

Here’s another tip: don’t be afraid to take advantage of leftovers from meals throughout the week. We recommend saving up all sorts of healthy sides, like corn on the cob or leftover grilled chicken breasts, so that you can use them in other dishes later on.

18. Egg Noodles

Sure, you can go with spaghetti and garlic bread. There’s a way better option for what to serve with Italian meatballs: egg noodles.

Egg noodles are made from eggs, salt, and water (and some other stuff), but they have a taste that makes them perfect for anything you’re serving alongside them—Italian or otherwise. 

And since they’re slightly more toothsome than spaghetti, they can stand up to any sauce you make. They also absorb liquids like a champ, so if your gravy ends up being runnier than you would have liked, just cook those suckers for longer, and it’ll help thicken it right up again.

19. Yellow Squash and Zucchini Casserole

This easy and tasty side dish pairs well with many different meals. It’s especially good paired with a rich sauce because it is lighter than potatoes or rice, which are more commonly served as side dishes for pasta.

You can’t really make a mistake when making it since you can add whatever cheese you have on hand. Still, I highly recommend using mozzarella and Parmesan since they both melt nicely and give the casserole a delicious flavor. It would be best to use fresh vegetables, but frozen vegetables work just fine.

20. Garlic Bread

You can never go wrong with garlic bread as an accompaniment to any sauce. Homemade is usually best, but store-bought will do in a pinch.

Lightly butter each slice and sprinkle on some garlic powder before popping it into your preheated oven. Let bake until lightly browned and crisp—about 5 minutes—before serving alongside your favorite spaghetti recipe.

21. Red Roasted Potatoes

Cut into chunks and roasted in a hot oven, Potatoes are great served alongside any type of meal. Although they take longer than boiling potatoes, they have lots of flavors.

I like to drizzle my spuds with olive oil and sprinkle them with fresh rosemary from my garden before popping them into the oven.

Just remember that because you’re cooking at high temperatures (425°), it will shorten their overall cook time by about 10 minutes.

After about 20 minutes, test for doneness by piercing one of them; if it goes through easily, then you’re good to go. If not, return it for a few more minutes and test it again.

And don’t forget that potatoes do release water as they cook, so be sure to drain off any liquid before serving.

22. Buttered Noodles

Give your guests a little extra butter and love by serving these buttered noodles, which go perfectly alongside all sorts of meals.

This recipe can be thrown together in under 20 minutes. This means it’s perfect for those evenings when you need dinner on the table quickly. 

Simply cook up some angel hair pasta, toss it in a pot with butter, sautéed garlic, and chives, then top it off with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve alongside your favorite meatball (like our fresh-made marinara meatballs), and you have a delicious meal that will please your family.

23. Spaghetti Bolognese

A classic spaghetti bolognese doesn’t need much but garnishes it with a little Parmesan cheese or fresh basil if you’re feeling fancy. It’s also great served over polenta, farro, or cauliflower rice (as in our Bolognese Bake). 

In addition, if you want some greens in there, try sautéing a handful of baby spinach in olive oil before throwing it on top of your spaghetti. Spaghetti bolognese would be another awesome touch for what to serve with Italian meatballs.


Italian meatballs are a staple at any Italian restaurant. They are also something that many Italian-American families have in their recipe boxes. 

Although spaghetti and meatballs may seem like the most obvious choice when it comes to serving up these tasty bites, there’s no reason you can’t step outside the box and serve them with some of your favorite side dishes to create the ultimate meal experience!

What to serve with Italian meatballs is numerous, and they’re delicious! I like to serve them on pasta, with roasted vegetables, in soup, or with polenta, but there’s a lot more you can do with them too!

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