Whenever we talk about food, no matter which country we belong to, the same taste buds and variety of food is decided as per our tongue talk. The salad recipe is the best as per the healthy and co-dish options but what to eat with pasta besides salad?

Take your taste level to the climax vibe of flavor and texture within every bite that would even make your stress fall.


1. What is a Side Dish and Why Pasta Needs it?

Pasta is one of that dishes that everyone can eat without saying no to it. But do you need any side dish if you have a bowl of pasta? Let’s see some side dishes that enhance your appetite with pasta.

1.1 Pasta Dishes

Who doesn’t like Pasta? Pasta is easy bursting of carbs and your efforts to be a go-to-meal choice. Italian food is considered a famous Italian dish when discussing foreign fast food.

Sometimes more than pasta alone is needed, and we prefer SIDE DISH or CO-DISH to motivate your hunger and craving mood to get chill by having options.

This Italian culture says that pasta should not be preferred alone and that is why it has become a kind of an interesting and rated custom.


Crunchy Sides Balance Chewy Pasta

Michael Casciello - Featured
Michael Casciello

When you’re trying to find the perfect side dishes for your pasta meal, it’s important to consider the texture and flavor of the pairings. While the flavor of your pasta can change depending on the sauce and protein you choose to include, most pasta dishes typically have a chewy texture.

Pairing a side dish that adds some crunch to the meal typically goes over well. Things like a salad and some hearty bread with a crusty exterior complement nicely with pasta. Roasted vegetables like green beans or broccoli also go well because of their crispy texture and bright color.

The slightly more tricky part here is how to pair according to flavor. If you’re making a classic spaghetti dish for dinner, going with a side of bread and a salad topped with a rich balsamic dressing is never the wrong move.

But what about seafood pasta or another pasta that uses white sauce as the base?

Since the flavor profile of that sauce is a bit milder when compared to a rich tomato sauce, something cheesy like roasted Parmesan asparagus or stuffed eggplant Parmesan does a great job of accentuating the flavors of the pasta.

Fortunately, pasta goes well with so many different side dishes, so feel free to experiment around and find out what works for your taste.

Michael Casciello, Founder & CEO, Food Fire + Knives

2. Why Salad is Being Replaced?

2.1 Salad Recipe

To add up some variety and a friend to your side pasta dish, we often prefer salad. Salad has been considered just not a side dish but it is a full meal option so, it cannot be outcast completely. Salad is one such recipe that you can prepare with any ingredients in your own way.

But why limit yourself when there are myriads of co-dish options that cannot be remembered and guessed instantly? And that is why, we are here to help to make you stop being confused about what to order or what to cook besides pasta.

3. What to Eat with Pasta besides Salad?

You must be getting very confused that what to eat other than a delicious salad with creamy dressing and creamy pasta, but now no worries, you will get easy solutions here.

You do not need to do extra guesswork and research. We have tried to help you out by compiling a list of some of our favorite sides that you could easily choose as a replacement for salad.

So here are 26 delicious side dishes that you should try definitely.

4. Delicious Flavor Side Dishes:-

4.1 French Fries

French Fries
Image source- Suzy Hazelwood/pexels.com

Here in this chef world, you can find many modern and advanced versions of fries but let me tell you that no other fries version can defeat our basic and classic dish ‘French fries’.

French fries marinara sauce are a very tasty and common choice as a side dish, but they also make a great accompaniment to the tomato sauce on your yummy pasta. You can have either simple salted French fries with tomato sauce or spicy peri-peri French fries with tomato sauce.

Fried Potatoes with a golden crispy exterior will make your mouth water and will make your main pasta dish even more delicious.

4.2 Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread
Image source- Rahul Sapra/pexels.com

I bet, most of us are fascinated by the garlic and bread combo because it is another level comfort dish and its yum craving could be fulfilled with the main pasta dish.

We often prefer to serve garlic bread, as a snack recipe but this is Italian garlic bread but, garlic bread would go well with your favorite Italian dishes too because of its ambiguous nature. Even, you can prepare garlic bread in the oven as per your garlic and spices consistency. There is no reason to get missed out.

Grill Veggies with Feta for Balance

Dr Ben Carvosso - Featured
Dr Ben Carvosso

Pasta and salad work, but other sides can make equally good pairings. When choosing the right side for pasta, it’s important to balance the carbs. Your meal is already carb-heavy, and loading on more carbs can bring on that feeling of a ‘food coma.’

My favorite accompaniment is a simple side of grilled vegetables. Veggies are great, and more variety is even better. A mix of zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and cauliflower makes for a great base. Lightly grilled veggies keep the crunch that balances out the softer texture of pasta.

I always recommend serving similarly sized portions, which encourages the eater to reduce their carb intake and increase their veggie intake.

If you’re serving pasta without protein, try topping the veggies with a generous crumbling of feta. Feta is a lower-fat cheese but is a healthy source of protein and calcium.

Dr Ben Carvosso, Owner, MP Nutrition

4.3 Bruschetta

Image source- Skyler Ewing/pexels.com

The thick grilled garlic bread with drizzled olive oil might come up with a topping of fresh tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and your favorite herbs are usually seen as an appetizer but you can have it as an elegant side dish.

Bruschetta is considered generally a summer recipe because of the availability of juicy fresh tomatoes and red bell peppers which pour life into the dish.

This pasta-bruschetta combo is going to be a crowd-pleasing party app that would turn out the food environment terrific.

4.4 Breadsticks

Image source- Ana Palade/pexels.com

Breadstick is a very popular snack food that is prepared in many different ways and recent popular form is Italian grissini.

But usually, these are made from staple ingredients like sesame, wheat flour, and butter used to prepare the biscuits or cookies.

The easiness of the recipe makes it convenient to be a part of the list of side dishes for pasta. The simple and chewy breadsticks are utterly addictive to your hunger and craving.

4.5 Dragon Potato

Dragon Potato
Image source- PRABHASROY/iStockphoto.com

Potato is an essential root vegetable that can be used in most of the recipes in the whole chef world because potato dishes would guarantee you taste and affordability.

The popular spicy, tangy, and saucy DRAGON POTATO recipe is a must to try and cannot be missed out at any cost. The corn flour-coated fried potato fingers tossed out with onions and capsicums while sprinkling black pepper, at last, will make your day.

Go for it with your pasta dish without having second thoughts.

Mix Cooked Sides for Flavorful Diversity

Rosie Carr RD - Featured
Rosie Carr RD

I love mixing up my pasta sides with some cooked dishes as alternatives to traditional salads. Here are three of my favorites: Roasted vegetables: Toss together a mix of roasted vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes.

Drizzle with olive oil, herbs, and a squeeze of lemon for added flavor. Sautéed greens: Sauté nutrient-rich greens like spinach, kale (cavolo nero is my personal favorite), or Swiss chard with a dash of lime juice and chili, and season with salt and pepper.

Grilled or roasted asparagus: Asparagus is a delicious and versatile option. Simply toss it with olive oil (or butter), salt, and pepper before grilling or roasting until tender and slightly charred.

Rosie Carr RD, Head of Health Coaching – Registered Dietitian, Second Nature

4.6 Roasted Sweet Potato

Roasted Sweet Potato
Image source- Mateusz Dach/pexels.com

A brownish-crunchy roasted sweet potato is the perfect dish to accompany your pasta because of its savory and warming vibe after being tossed up with cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.

It can be one of the favorite side dish options that would amaze your tongue and stomach through its simple but wild taste.

Your pasta would definitely want to befriend this recipe. Try out this amazing combo!

4.7 Veg & Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets
Image source- jianwei zhu/pexels.com

Nuggets can be preferred as a delicious and desired snack or side dish for your pasta. If it is veg nuggets then choose the pulses you are into including soya beans as a homemade recipe but if it is chicken nuggets then go for the chicken marinating process.

If you want to order then order whichever veg or non-veg nuggets but try to consider them as appetizers because these taste good till their warmth remains.

Nuggets options could go well with your pasta because the crunchy nuggets and creamy cheese pasta combo would not be defeated.

4.8 Meatballs

Image source- Huzaifa Bukhari/pexels.com

Meatballs are usually made up of ground beef or ground pork and even with just ground beef which is mixed into the mixture of eggs and breadcrumbs to bind the balls together without being fell apart.

These meatballs are going to compete with your other pasta dinner and spaghetti dinner while coordinating as being the most together spaghetti dinner and pasta dinner and party apps together spaghetti dinner.

Enjoy your veg pasta and non-veg meatballs combo ever without getting late.

4.9 Pizza

Image source- Andre saddi/pexels.com

Whenever we do not come up with a decision about what should be ordered then we usually go for PIZZA because of its unlimited varieties and unlimited tastes. So, Even if it’s about a co-dish option or a solo option, pizza would always be in the race to even win. You can have:-

  • Cheese pizza
  • Meat pizza
  • Onion capsicum pizza
  • Pepperoni pizza
  • Margherita pizza
  • BBQ pizza
  • Hawaiin pizza……..and so on.

OMGGG, where to stop with the vehicle of varieties?

Yes, there are so many options within the pizza itself but if you want to go for a light choice with pasta then you can choose small bread pizza.

Burger is referred to as a relative of pizza because of its order-combination so, try not to make burger option be left out.

4.10 Grilled Sandwiches

Grilled Sandwiches
Image source- Rajesh TP/pexels.com

Most of the people like sandwiches. You can prepare these at your home by yourself as per your favorite salad ingredients like cucumber, onions, cherry tomatoes, lattice, etc. with the desired chutney, and spices.

This love was started in England and now has been spread all over the world with various modifications differing from country to country.

Pasta + sandwiches = Heaven feel, isn’t it?

( The Indian modification is potato paneer sandwiches whose recipe is also very easy. Boil and mash the sweet potatoes together, mix it with the grated paneer and desired spices, and spread over the bread, just use a sandwich maker and you are good to go.)

4.11 Casserole

Image source- Rachel Claire/pexels.com

Your pasta would be happy if it befriends unique and the best co-dish option. So, that is why, Casserole raised its hand to prove its undefeated taste and look.

Literally, casserole is the best among the best because it has been carved out with many delicious flavors and mouth-watering varieties like:-

  • Ham casserole
  • Spinach casserole
  • Grits casserole
  • Tater tot casserole
  • Turkey casserole……….and so on.

From slow-cooked stews to quick casserole, you can dive into any variety to complete the pasta meal. It is a baked meal of pieces of meat or fish or other proteins having chopped veggies that would enhance its look.

Casserole dish is still unknown for few people so, let’s make everyone go beyond their existing knowledge.

4.12 Cheese Paneer Balls

Cheese Paneer (Indian Cottage) Balls
Image source- Obi Onyeador/pexels.com

Cheese paneer balls are referred an Indian starter having paneer, cheese, onions, whole roasted peppers, roasted broccoli,, roasted carrots, fresh tomatoes, spices, salt pepper fresh herbs, and sometimes a boiled mashed potato to bind everything properly. You can have roasted whole whole or whole green beans or bean or beans or a whole green beans or bean, or beans also salt pepper remove cheese if want a light touch with the PASTA vibe.

The crunchy exterior and creamy interior will definitely do magic upon you to fall for it.

Yeah, the heading is paneer cheese balls but you can modify it to make cottage balls red onion,, potato & red onion balls, and pulses, an a beans & corn balls.

Do not miss the taste you want to add up to your pasta meal.

4.13 Pork Cutlets

Pork Cutlets
Image source- Valeria Boltneva/pexels.com

This dish is inspired by French cuisine and is prepared from beef. In Japan, pork is so common and personal favorite for most of the people, and where a dish named katsu is made which is basically a deep-fried cutlets recipe.

It is cooked at a slow pace until it is no longer pink from inside. Then it is coated with a mixture of corn flour, breadcrumbs, spices, and eggs for getting them to be fried.

So, if you are into non-veg stuff then order it or go with the homemade recipe to pair it with your PASTA meal.

4.14 Pesto Chips

If you have tried these, hopefully, you would have liked them but if you are a new acquaintance then go for it because of its ‘pesto’ special sauce that originated in Italy which is made from especially basil leaves with garlic, olive oil, salt and parmesan (Italian cheese) which is mixed to the French fries recipes and see what magic happens.

You will definitely like it as a co-partner to your PASTA meal. Chips are an evergreen food trend and here it is, a new different variety is waiting for you to join.

4.15 Paneer 65

Paneer 65
Image source- ajaykampani/iStockphoto.com

We all like to have paneer in various ways and this used to be a very common dish in Chennai canteen and now, the whole world is getting fascinated.

The paneer pieces are marinated and coated with the salty corn flour batter and the paneer pieces are left to be deep fried until crispiness comes up. Later, these pieces are tossed in a spicy manner with spices, a garlic touch, and lemon juice. And here you are done.

You should order it from a good-rated restaurant to get a better taste. Go ahead, your PASTA is waiting for its partner to enjoy.

4.16 Crispy Mushroom

Crispy Mushroom
Image source- Big Cat Corp – Stock Services/iStockphoto.com

The crispy mushroom recipe is referred to as a common recipe and is sometimes modified to make crispy mushroom 65 as per the process done in paneer 65. It is really a good combination of mushrooms, red pepper, spring onions, and green capsicum.

It is to be included with the main pasta dish because of its healthy vibe with earthy flavor to enhance the meal feel.

4.17 Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots
Image source- lauraag/iStockphoto.com

We would want to go for such a side dish that is suitable to have with pasta dishes and it would be good if we try out the light options.

That is why, we have come up with an Italian dish named GARLIC KNOTS that is so delicious because of the use of special parmesan cheese which makes it extra soft and fluffy. The herb butter touch with garlic powder and pepper sprinkling would make it more desirable even as a solo fellow.

Caprese Bruschetta and Vegetable Variety

Renato Fernandes - Featured
Renato Fernandes

Caprese Bruschetta makes for a delightful alternative. This classic toasted bread, adorned with a mix of mozzarella cheese, red onion, and basil, is a star in its own right.

Drizzled with a dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, it melds beautifully with the tomato components to create an Italian-style side. It’s a flavor-packed addition that can complement a spaghetti meal in about 20 minutes.

Vegetable sides are another great option. For instance, grilled asparagus brings a smoky twist to its naturally crisp, earthy flavor. It’s a straightforward yet effective accompaniment to hearty spaghetti dishes, especially in summertime.

Steamed Brussels sprouts are another easy and fitting vegetable side. Alternatively, roasted broccoli with lemon offers a tender texture with just the right amount of zest to let the mild broccoli flavor stand out. With these choices, deciding what to pair with spaghetti becomes effortless.

Renato Fernandes, Clinical Nutritionist, Saude Pulso

4.18 Sauteed Squash with Corn, Tomato & Onions

Sauteed Squash With Veggies
Image source- epantha/iStockphoto.com

This creamy pasta is already a side dish in summer and would be a perfect co-partner to your favorite pasta without any doubt.

The veggies are sauteed in olive oil and the butter on a low flame to cook them smoothly and softly. The yellow squash, red onion, leafy greens roasted green beans, and roasted bell peppers roasted broccoli, and corn are the best parts which are sauteed with olive oil and chopped on minced garlic, roasted garlic, and cherry tomatoes for a colorful and easy side dish.

This is a kind of sauteed salad and it can easily be prepared at home quickly when you are not in the mood to order from outside and still want an elegant side dish.

4.19 Fish Fingers

Fish Fingers
Image source-Key Notez/pexels.com

The crunchy crispy fish fingers with a creamy flavor and texture of fresh mozzarella inside are excellent options for snacks and appetizer recipes.

You won’t be able to deny having its presence in your delicious meal because even your favorite PASTA needs a yummy different buddy.

Fish fingers are popular in foreign countries even, these are the most common snack recipe there. It takes patience to be cooked.

But click your mind with the idea of fish fingers so that, your hunger could be pampered.

4.20 Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

The sweet-savory recipe of Jamaican steamed cabbage is so quick and easy carrying a bursting of flavors that could be your PASTA’s friend.

It is a light dish of just 6 ingredients so that, you do not have to divert your attention from the main pasta dish.

You can have it later too with the addition of some proteins if the leftover situation happens.

4.21 Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts
Image source- VeselovaElena/iStockphoto.com

Brussels sprouts are very much crunchy vegetables by themselves due to the crunchy texture, flavor and texture because of shaved Brussels. You can prepare it with your own combination of spices, fresh herbs, sharp cheese, fresh mozzarella and veggies to provide it the look and taste however you want in a side dish for your PASTA.

But, as classic Italian side dish is an Italian side dish, the Italian bread is prepared with shaved Brussels, pistachios, fresh herbs bell peppers, cherry tomatoes whole, roasted green beans, and pecorino cheese.

The all ingredients are lovable for the whole Italian kitchen and that is why, a sophisticated satisfaction is being served there daily.

Try out to prepare dish pairs perfectly.

4.22 Avocado Fries

Avocado Fries
Image source- bhofack2/iStockphoto.com

Does the avocado fries dish seem new? I bet not, because some of us must have known about this crispy texture recipe which needs not have so many ingredients.

The crisp-baked avocados are coated in your spices mix seasoning and garlic crust touch that would make your fries even more desirable by the hunger mouse of any stomach.

If you have bored with the common French fries, then, these avocado fries are the perfect accompaniment to your PASTA meal.

4.23 Rosemary Olive Bread

Rosemary Olive Bread
Image source- JulijaDmitrijeva/iStockphoto.com

Your PASTA needs a bread dip companionship which would be fulfilled by the most fragrant rosemary speckled all over the bread with olive oil pieces.

Just serve your guests a classic Italian side dish with saucy pasta and see the joy coming on their faces.

4.24 Zuchhini Fries

Zucchini Fries
Image source- Nadezhda_Nesterova/iStockphoto.com

If you want to try some light and healthy options for a side dish then, surely try out the healthy and tasty zucchini fries. Zucchini is considered a gluten-free and protein-rich substitute that you can go for it without having second thoughts.

Zucchini fries might be at the top of the generation of unexpected fries because of their beautiful texture and taste.

The new taste would not disappoint you.

4.25 Veg Kebabs

Kebabs dish is a very good option not because of its various varieties but due to its ever-healthy presence. You will not find any unhealthy kebab option ever.

These are made from a variety of protein sources like beans, pulses, and grains.

Veg Kebabs
Image source- Debashis Kumar/iStockphoto.com

Here are some specific examples of those:

  • Hara bhara kebab ( humble pouring of the taste of spinach)
  • Vegetable kebab ( your favorite veggies are going to be a part of this)
  • Paneer tikka kebab ( fried or grilled paneer magic)
  • Soya chunks kebab ( A full protein plate)
  • Mushroom kebab ( mouth-watering with good-looking mushrooms’ participation)
  • Khumbh ke kebab ( mushroom and oats combo with spices vibe)
  • Pulses’ kebab ( popular ones are moong daal and chana daal kebab)

OMG, this option will make you crazy because no one wants to lose a healthy and incredibly tasty name combination ever.

Do not miss these kebabs to be included in your meal as one of the pasta dishes.

4.26 Roasted Veggies

One more healthy and quick recipe is waiting for you. You can just go for roasted veggies to have a light-touch feel with a saucy PASTA meal.

It can be considered a good option for vegan people who are just celebrating their cheat day with a healthy vibe. Wait is over, go and grab it.

Yes, we talked about 26 side dishes but we can’t forget the sweets and juice options.

And I think many of us need something to drink with a meal, what can be a better option than lemon juice to replace the boring salad anyway?

We can select healthy and interesting juice options that will go well with our other pasta dishes and that’s why some selections are being mentioned here: Carrot pineapple, Apple juice, Citrus juice, Celery juice, Veggies juice, Kiwi Fresca juice, etc.

Their recipes are so easy that you can even prepare them at home without much effort.

But since we are talking about side dishes, we keep the sub-side option of juices and prefer desserts or sweets.

4.27. Sweet Tooth Options

Whether we like to eat more sweet or less sweet, we all have a greed for beverages that we can not rid of easily and we should not because the right type of sweets always uplifts your mood.

It is totally up to you what type of sweets you are into and even that could be the perfect companion for main pasta dish but to help you get choose quick options.

Image source- Donald Tong/pexels.com

Here we are with a few common but special ones:

  • Cupcakes and jar cakes (Perfect pace companion for your pasta meal)
  • Pastry ( It can be a starter or a dessert, you choose)
  • Baked healthy oats cookies (Especially oats and dry fruits cookies will calm your appetizer and provide positive energy.)
  • Brownies and waffles

The list of desserts seems pretty longer which also includes muffins, puddings, cakes, mousse, pies, etc.

If you do not want to go for spicy, marinated vegetables, and textured side dishes as per the heading of our focus, then, you can follow up with these desserts and juice options.

Elevating Pasta with Unexpected Flavors

Mandy Monahan
Mandy Monahan

When it comes to complementing pasta dishes, I like to take a unique approach by incorporating unexpected ingredients that add a twist to traditional flavors.

For example, one of my favorite side dishes is a creamy avocado and mango salad, dressed with a zesty lime vinaigrette.

The combination of creamy avocado, sweet mango, and tangy lime perfectly complements the richness of pasta dishes, creating a refreshing and tropical-inspired accompaniment.

By thinking outside the box and experimenting with unconventional flavor pairings, you can elevate your pasta meal to new heights.

Mandy Monahan, Operations Manager, Nitrouswhip


Being sticking to our side dishes to make your neighbors fall for your delicious meal, the vehicle cannot be stopped. As we have seen that there are many side dish options leading to befriending your PASTA meal which can perfectly be preferred as healthy and interesting.

Whatever options are discussed here, they can be preferred not only at home but also at the dinner table or lunch. Try to try these out to wind up your whole mood and make your stomach talks calm.

Good luck with seeing new co-partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 Why pasta needs a side dish?

Whenever we go to a restaurant, you must have noticed that pasta is never served alone. Its companion has been always serve garlic bread or toast bread.

Gradually, salad becomes a priority because of being a healthy and good-looking option. So, yes, maybe pasta did not ask for a companion but it has become a tradition to make pasta night serve it with a side dish.

Q2 What options should be referred to as side dishes of pasta?

Salad is the evergreen option as a side dish beside pasta dishes and its presence cannot be denied because of its interesting and number of varieties.

But, other than salad, there are quite possible choices you can make:

  • Bruschetta, French fries, Zucchini and avocado fries, pizza, garlic bread, chicken and veg nuggets, roasted veggies, casserole, etc.

You can have as many as options that are mentioned in the article.

Q3 Can these side dishes’ recipes be homemade?

Yes, some of the recipes are very easy to cook at home which include roasted veggies, roasted bell peppers, roasted green beans, roasted garlic, bread, sweet potatoes, baked cookies, grilled sandwiches, veg kebabs, and so on.

You can also go for fruit and veggie juices to include in your side dish pair list.

Q4 Which is the best option, veg or non-veg to have with pasta?

It does depend totally upon you because both veg and non-veg recipes are here to entertain your stomach while being a co-partner to your next pasta night or meal.

Veg side dish options: Pizza, sandwiches, fries, garlic bread, paneer, goat cheese balls, etc.

Non-veg side dish recipes and options: Pizza, meatballs, chicken nuggets, casserole, Kebabs, etc.

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

Last Updated on by Saket Kumar


(Reviewed by)

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