What to Serve With Pasta?

What to Serve With Pasta?
Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov

Pasta and Italian food go hand in hand, serve them together, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic meal.

Pasta is the epitome of comfort food, but what’s even better than good pasta? Good pasta with great side dishes, so what to serve with pasta? 

Pasta is a portion of fantastic comfort food, but if you want your meal to be complete. It’s important to serve it with the right side dishes.

Here are our favorite ways to go with pasta and what to serve with pasta. With this list, you’ll be able to please everyone at the table, even picky eaters!

1. Caesar Salad

What to serve with pasta? The classic Caesar salad is the perfect dish to serve as a side to pasta. It’s refreshing, crunchy, and packs a punch of protein-rich anchovies. 

Traditionally prepared by tossing romaine lettuce with bacon, garlic, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Some variations include additions such as tomatoes or croutons. 

If you’re looking for something different but equally delicious, try creating an edible bouquet of rosette shapes for a more elegant presentation. All you need are baguette slices dipped in batter and pan-fried in butter!

2. Pesto Garlic Bread

Next, we have garlic bread with a flavorful herb twist on what to serve with pasta. It makes sense to combine pesto and garlic bread. In this way, they are both traditional components of Italian cuisine.

The rich, brilliant green pesto wonderfully brings out the buttery, garlicky bread flavor. It’s a winning combo that will subtly improve your food.

This pesto garlic bread is perfect if you need an appetizer that doubles as a main dish. Start by preheating the oven to 425°F. Spread two tablespoons of fresh or jarred basil leaves and three cloves of garlic onto slices of French bread.

Drizzle on one cup of olive oil and spread it over the bread. Sprinkle each salt and pepper on half a teaspoon, then drizzle some olive oil on top for good measure. Lay the bread out in a baking pan, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for five minutes 

3. Mozzarella Caprese Salad

An Italian classic, Mozzarella Caprese Salad is a fresh and delicious dish. Its origins are unclear, but it may be a riff on panzanella salad. Or that it is the tomato version of Caprese.

The ingredients are simple: ripe tomatoes sliced into rounds and tossed in balsamic vinegar mixed with salt and pepper. Also, fresh mozzarella slices (cut into thin strips), basil leaves (chopped), and lots of olive oil. 

And the salad is best made at the last minute so that the flavors have time to meld together. As the mozzarella melts, this salad is perfect for y served as an appetizer before dinner or as a light meal. Alongside some crusty bread and maybe some roast potatoes on the side.

4. Italian Chopped Salad

The purpose of this salad’s initial creation was as an antipasto, not a side dish. Having said that, it would be excellent with pasta if you are wondering what to serve with pasta. There are several components that promise strong, new flavors.

Even though there are so many components on the plate, this dish doesn’t take long to whip out. This salad will come to life in a matter of minutes, with some time spent with a knife and a cutting board.

Bring this if you’re going to a potluck where you know there will be pasta! It’s ideal for serving big gatherings or alongside several main courses.

The Italian Chopped Salad is a simple dish made up of fresh vegetables, olive oil, and lemon juice. The ingredients are tossed together before being served alongside your favorite pasta for a delicious meal!

5. Italian Green Salad

This dish may be the easiest of those on the list. But don’t be deceived by it. You’ll keep returning for another taste because of the flavors hidden beneath the surface. 

The perfect leaves are essential for this salad to shine. Standard iceberg lettuce is not very flavorful or nutritious. For a hearty salad, choose butter lettuce or spinach instead. 

This is a terrific method to start introducing salads to your children if they aren’t too keen on the notion. It is quick, flavorful, and requires very little effort to prepare.

6. Cheesy Garlic Bread

Dolce & Gabbana is known for its stunning Sicilian landscapes and family-style home cooking. We can’t wait to explore the iconic Amalfi Coast.

What to serve with pasta? Our cheesy garlic bread recipe is a perfect side dish for pasta. As it combines a blend of aged cheeses and fresh herbs.

7. Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

The fusion of sweet and salty is celebrated in our first side dish and what to serve with pasta. Even though it’s really quick and simple to prepare, this Jamaican steamed cabbage is oozing with flavor. To put this side together, you only need six ingredients.

When preparing a side dish, that is fantastic. Because you don’t want to take too much focus away from your main meal!

This hot and sweet side dish would go perfectly with a pasta meal from the summer. Once you’ve finished eating, if there are any leftovers, keep them and later re-fry them with some protein.

8. Roasted Red Pepper Antipasto Salad and Crostini

When it comes to cooking pasta, the possibilities are endless. In fact, at Cookpad, there are over 600 pasta recipes!

A few of our favorites include this amazing Roasted Red Pepper Antipasto Salad and Crostini and Fresh-Fennel and Linguine with Anchovy Sauce. What do you like to serve your pasta dishes with?

9. Smothered Green Beans

Smothered green beans are a fantastic side dish that goes well with any kind of pasta dish. This recipe is what to serve with pasta.

The beans offer more than just color and flavor they pack in valuable vitamins as well. To make this dish, simply saute onion and garlic together. Then add some salt, pepper, green beans, and water.

10. Cucumber Tomato Salad

This easy salad is a healthy mix of vegetables that goes great alongside pasta. It’s so easy; you don’t even need a recipe! Simply dice the cucumber and tomato and toss in a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano.

The salad can be served at room temperature or chilled. This dish is light and refreshing on its own or as an accompaniment to soup for lunch or dinner.

11. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios and Pecorino

Eating a big bowl of pasta may be delicious, but it can also leave you feeling tired and lethargic. So why not serve some Brussels sprouts alongside your sauce? This dish is perfect for vegetarians, meat eaters, and people looking for a low-carb side dish.

You can make this by sautéing shallots in olive oil and then tossing them with shaved Brussels sprouts. Add some pistachios and Pecorino cheese, and this veggie pasta salad becomes even more flavorful.

12. Marinated Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a good and easy side dish that can be marinated, cut into small pieces, and served. Add salt, black pepper, garlic powder, basil leaves, oil, and red wine vinegar.

 Bring everything together in a container with a lid or plastic wrap. Let the tomatoes marinate for at least four hours before serving.

13. Watermelon Feta Basil Salad

You might be familiar with the combination of tomatoes and basil. But did you know that you can also serve watermelon and feta as a refreshing pasta salad? Yes, this is indeed possible and quite tasty.

 All you need for this recipe is fresh fettuccine pasta, chopped watermelon (diced), and crumbled feta cheese. And you have what to serve with pasta! 

14. Tossed Green Salad

You might think of a tossed green salad as just the typical lettuce, tomatoes, and a few cucumber slices. But what you put on top is where it really becomes an art.

My favorites are thinly sliced red onion, crumbled goat cheese, Kalamata olives, basil leaves, and thin rings of red pepper.

The flavor combinations are endless! You can also go a little fancier and add cherry tomatoes halved through the middle. Grape or peach-size pearls of avocado or halved figs that have been brushed with balsamic vinegar.

15. Air Fryer Mushrooms

This is a quick and easy way to cook mushrooms! Mushrooms are known for their meaty texture, so when they’re cooked in an air fryer, it creates a wonderfully rich flavor.

And we know what you’re thinking but isn’t the air fryer for frying? The answer is yes, but not always. With this method, the mushrooms have been lightly coated in olive oil and then sprinkled with oregano, thyme, and a little salt before cooking.

 So instead of heating up that big ol’ pan of oil, we only need about 1 tablespoon. It will also give your food much more flavor. Since you’re cooking over heat rather than in oil as deep frying does. 

16. Avocado Orange Salad

Give your pasta dish some creamy goodness by topping it off with this easy-to-make salad. The ingredient list is really small, and the health benefits are astronomical.

Avocados provide a healthy dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, plus plenty of vitamin C for immunity.

Meanwhile, oranges offer a good dose of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Toss these ingredients together with salt, pepper, and some balsamic vinegar, and voila! A side dish with all the nutrients your body needs to fight off common colds while boosting energy levels.

17. Sauteed Arugula with Red Bell Peppers

Sauteed Arugula is an Italian side dish that compliments the pasta well. Add some chopped red bell peppers for a mix of sweet and spicy flavors.

Combine olive oil, finely chopped onion, and cloves of minced garlic in a pot. Saute over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent.

Then add about one pound of arugula and saute for 5 minutes or until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste, then you have what to serve with pasta.

18. Roasted Beets

Grab your favorite beet (don’t worry about the size!) and toss it in some oil before rubbing it down with garlic and salt. Add fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, and rosemary any combo will work.

If you have time on your hands, add a tablespoon of brown sugar (which helps break down the vegetable) or balsamic vinegar. Before cooking them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

19. Marinated Tomato Salad

Try this delicious tomato salad recipe the next time you cook pasta. The vinegar, oregano, and basil complement the sweetness of tomatoes while giving them a tangy flavor.

You can serve it warm or cold, and it can be a hearty side dish by adding chickpeas or sliced red onion.

To make what to serve with pasta, combine fresh plum tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. , Also 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or minced), freshly chopped basil leaves,  dried oregaleavesve. And red wine vinegar in a large bowl. 

Stir well and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Before serving, either chilled or warm over hot cooked pasta noodles.

20. Mediterranean Kale Salad

Kale is a great vegetable because it offers so many health benefits, like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Kale is a superfood, so it only makes sense that it goes great with pasta too! This recipe is perfect for you if you’re trying to incorporate more raw food into your diet.

You can easily put together this dish in just minutes. Combine ingredients like chopped kale leaves, cannellini beans, grape tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.

Add olive oil and lemon juice (or white wine vinegar) for flavor and toss the mixture until everything is evenly coated. 

I’ve topped the salad off with crumbled feta cheese. But feel free to use another cheese like parmesan or ricotta if you prefer. This is what to serve with pasta in your next dish

21. Festive Winter Salad

Perfect for the winter, this salad is tasty and filling. The hearty combination of veggies and beans provides essential protein and fiber.

While the addition of citrus, cranberries, and red pepper makes it extra tasty. Topped off with a homemade light honey dressing, this salad will keep you full all day long!

To make what to serve with pasta, orange bell pepper (sliced), can cannellini beans (rinsed), carrot (diced). Also, stalks celery (diced), green onions (sliced), chopped romaine lettuce, feta cheese in oil, honey ground black pepper, lemon juice Zest from one large lemon olive oil. Mix together the first six ingredients until well combined.

22. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

One of my favorite side dishes to make for Italian meals is roasted cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes taste much better after roasting because the flavor is concentrated.

All you need to do is drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle salt and herbs on top, and bake them slowly. Be careful when baking them in a hot oven because it could caramelize them too much.

If you’re cooking for a big crowd, this recipe is fantastic. Many cherry tomatoes may be baked at once, and they don’t require a lot of manual labor.

23. Vegan Sweet Potato and Lima Bean Salad

The sweet potato and lima bean salad is a hearty dish for cold months. The white beans, or butter beans as they are also called. Provide a creaminess that pairs well with the tang of the vinegar dressing.

 Adding chopped pecans provides an extra crunchy texture and boosts the nutritional content of this dish. Add heart-healthy fats and important nutrients like protein, vitamin E, B vitamins (folate), iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

24. Caprese Salad

This traditional salad is always a good choice. As it highlights the ingredients that pasta typically lacks: vegetables and protein.

The dish has many variations, but the essential ingredients are tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil.

Cut an early summer tomato into thin slices, and arrange them on a plate next to thin strips of fresh mozzarella cheese.

That has been marinated in olive oil, sea, salt, and pepper. Garnish with torn basil leaves. And Serve while tomatoes are still at their peak of ripeness. So they retain some firmness even after being dressed in olive oil.

25. Sauteed Zucchini with Herbed Parmesan

Next time you’re cooking pasta, try adding in some nutritious vegetables if you are wondering what to serve with pasta.

This side dish is a great way to turn a boring dinner into something exciting! Here’s what you’ll need: 2-3 zucchini sliced thin, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil, salt, and pepper to taste parmesan cheese (optional)

First, chop the zucchini up and place it in a large pan over medium heat. Once the zucchini starts getting soft and transparent, add the olive oil and basil to top it.

 Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to low-medium. Let it cook for about 5 minutes before removing it from heat.

26. Roasted Broccolini Salad with Crispy White Beans

Roasted Broccolini Salad is a savory and filling side dish that can be served warm or at room temperature. This recipe pairs lightly roasted broccoli tossed in an herb vinaigrette. And topped with crispy white beans for a hearty pasta side dish.

27. Avocado Fries

What to serve with pasta is fried avocado; yes, you did read that correctly. These crispy yet soft avocado fries combine the greatest qualities of two of the world’s favorite foods. They are also very tasty.

These fries just require five ingredients, including the spice mixture. You can experiment with the kinds of spices you use in the batter, by the way, if you like! I strongly advise air frying these if you can.

Although baking also works, air frying gives them a nice crisp without using much oil. Serve with your preferred yummy dipping sauce. Cut the avocado in half, lengthwise. 

Then remove the pit and scoop out the flesh of each avocado. Slice it into thin strips, and brush the strips of avocado in olive oil or garlic-infused olive oil. Sprinkle on some sea salt, and put them on a baking sheet. 

28. Zucchini Fries

One of the most popular summer side dishes is zucchini fries. It’s a healthy alternative to regular french fries and can be seasoned in various ways.

For zucchini fries, simply cut the zucchini into fry-sized pieces and toss them in cornmeal or flour. (Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you prefer) and bake at 425°F for 20 minutes.

29. Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Pasta is the perfect vehicle for all sorts of toppings, from meat, vegetables, and cheeses to sauces. But pasta also has endless vegetable possibilities if you want a more plant-based meal. One easy way to make your pasta meal more exciting is by topping it off with a delicious side dish.

Raw zucchini noodles are an excellent option for those looking for a low-carb alternative to traditional pasta. With plenty of sauce on top, these cold noodles can satisfy even the most dedicated noodle fanatic. 

We don’t recommend eating your salad plain if that’s what you’re craving. But adding some fresh ingredients can go a long way in sprucing up your dish.

30. Focaccia Genovese

Many Italian grandmothers’ tables feature this beloved traditional Italian side dish. A delicious bread known as focaccia Genovese is thin, crispy, and studded with green olives. This bread will go perfectly with pasta dishes that are saucy or soupy.

Enjoy the crunchy saltiness of this bread as you dip it at your leisure with your main course. If you’ve never made focaccia before, don’t panic; it’s one of the simplest bread to make. In fact, involve the kids in the dough-kneading process for some enjoyable family time.

A wood-fired oven is required for this particular recipe. However a gas oven can also be used, but it’s not recommended due to the baking time. This focaccia has a crispy crust and airy crumb, perfect for dipping in any type of sauce.

31. Creamy Vegan Coleslaw

This coleslaw can be made vegan by substituting mayonnaise for a vegan alternative. And dairy-free cheese for the dairy-or even just skipping them altogether. 

Full of cabbage, celery, shredded carrots, green onion, and apples for a little sweet crunch. This is perfect as an accompaniment to something like chicken sausage patties. Or burgers or as a low-carb side dish that isn’t drenched in carbs.

32. Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

This recipe is a quick and easy one and also what to serve with pasta. Start by getting your bacon out and cutting it into bite-sized pieces.

Rinse your green beans and trim the ends off of them. Then, get the green butter’s bottom melted in a skillet or pot on medium heat. Once it’s heated up, add in your beans and cook for about six minutes until they are crisp-tender, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice to taste. You can garnish with chopped parsley before serving if you have some lying around!

33. Air Fryer Crack Green Beans

Here is a super easy side dish to make while you are cooking your pasta! The Air Fryer Crack Green Beans take less than 10 minutes and taste delicious! I promise. You won’t regret making these green beans.

 They are so worth it and taste like something you would get at a restaurant. These will be the perfect compliment to your dinner tonight!

Here are a few reasons why you should give this recipe a try:

  • It takes just 10 minutes.
  • You can eat as much as you want
  • They taste amazing
  • Who doesn’t love green beans?
  • You can adjust the seasoning in this recipe based on what you’re serving it with.
  • So if you’re eating it with pasta, add more salt or parmesan cheese for extra flavor. 
  • This is the perfect side dish for any dinner table, especially if there’s someone who doesn’t like mushrooms or broccoli that much.

34. Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

Sauteeing mushrooms and onions take just a few minutes, and the garlic adds an incredible depth of flavor. Cook the mushrooms until they release their water, about five minutes. Then add the onions for a few more minutes until they turn translucent. 

Add your garlic and a little salt to taste before you add in your pasta. If you want to take this dish up a notch, add some red pepper flakes or Parmesan cheese after the mushrooms are cooked. Your meal is done!

35. Burrata Salad

Burrata cheese is delicious on its own, but also it’s what to serve with pasta. It’s a tasty variety of mozzarella cheese that has been filled with stracciatella, another creamy cheese. Something this delicious requires a touch of freshness.

The salad enters the picture here. The salad surrounding the burrata helps bring it back to earth by bursting with color and taste.

Give each visitor their own burrata ball if you want to go all out. Serve a large salad bowl in the center of the table and let guests help themselves.

36. Roasted Asparagus Caesar Salad

It doesn’t get much better than a classic Caesar salad. With shredded Parmesan, crispy Romaine lettuce, and creamy dressing, it’s hard to turn down a Caesar salad.

If you’re really craving that pasta but don’t want to overload on carbs. Try topping your pasta dish with this yummy roasted Asparagus Caesar Salad.

Roasting the asparagus gives it a great crunchy texture. And the added Parmesan cheese makes for the perfect flavor twist!

37. Crusty Rosemary Olive Bread

This recipe for Crusty Rosemary Olive Bread is so simple. I’ve been making it for years because of its versatility.

You can use the dough as an easy pizza crust and make a pot pie out of it. Or just slather on some cheese and tomato sauce and enjoy it as a tasty breadstick. 

It’s also great if you need something fast to go with your soup. And who doesn’t? There’s nothing more comforting than soup on a cold day.

38. Caprese Flatbread

Pizza is typically the go-to side dish for pasta. But there are plenty of other options that pack some serious flavor. Pizza dough is a thin crust spread out in a round shape.

 It’s then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Next, a hefty amount of thick tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes is spread on top. Topped with fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes cut into thin rounds.

Finally, the whole thing gets brushed lightly with more olive oil and put under the broiler until browned and bubbly. Let it cool slightly before slicing it into wedges.

39. Sautéing Garlic And Butter

Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then toss in the sliced mushrooms. Let them sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Next, add a handful of white wine (or chicken broth) and simmer until it evaporates. 

Add some fresh basil leaves at the very end, taste test, and adjust seasoning as needed. And there you have what to serve with pasta! 


Now that you know how to get the perfect pasta dish and what to serve with pasta. Be sure you know how to serve it! Lucky for you, we have tasty options to choose from. 

Most of these recipes can be made ahead of time and put into a warmer before serving. What’s your favorite side dish to serve with pasta?

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