40+ EASY Sides for Pasta (What to Serve with Pasta)

Wondering what the best sides for pasta are? I’ve got you covered with this handy guide.

If someone asks “What’s for dinner tonight” and you answer “Pasta,” in my book, you’re instantly upgraded to 🌟superstar🌟 status. Just like my Nana Lamancuso and her insanely delicious Sunday Gravy recipe (which I now make on the regular).

The most popular pasta recipes on my blog include this Butternut Squash Pasta with Goat Cheese, Squid Ink Pasta, and Easy Lemon Pasta. But no matter which type of pasta you’re serving, you’re guaranteed to find a perfect side dish here.

Flavorful Pasta + Amazing Side Dish = PERFECTION!

When serving pasta for dinner, there are 4 essentials:

  1. An amazing sauce – I love this easy marinara sauce, sun dried tomato pesto or vodka sauce.
  2. Napkins. Lots of napkins. Especially if slurpy spaghetti is involved.
  3. Wine. Here are 7 bottles that pair perfectly with pasta.
  4. And, of course, some really stellar side dishes.

From classics such garlic bread and bruschetta, to healthier options such as sauteed spinach and grilled peppers, there are so many options.

So, let’s dig in!

Keep reading to discover 40+ of the best side dishes to serve with pasta!

The BEST Pasta Side Dishes

Overhead shot of arugula salad next to shaved parmesan.
This Arugula Salad recipe with red wine vinaigrette is my go-to green salad. The arugula has a peppery bite to it which pairs wonderfully with the acid in the vinaigrette. It’s the perfect salad for pairing with rich dishes.
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Toasty, buttery, herby, covered in a dusting of salty parmesan cheese, piping hot and fresh out of the oven—our homemade garlic bread recipe is everything you’re craving right now, and then some.
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Overhead shot of cherry tomato salad in grey bowl.
This Cherry Tomato Salad with Roasted Lemons is the perfect side dish. Sweet tomatoes combine with a tangy vinaigrette and delicious roasted lemons. 
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Sauteed spinach in white bowl.
Add a healthy boost of nutrients to your dinner with this easy Sauteed Spinach. Baby spinach is added to a skillet along with garlic and olive oil, then sauteed gently to create a simple side dish that pairs with any meal!
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This bruschetta is easy to make with fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette over top of a French baguette. Bruschetta comes together quickly and easily!
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Prepared radicchio salad in grey bowl with serving utensils.
This delicious Radicchio Salad is dressed in a creamy lemon-vinaigrette and tossed with buttery calvestrano olives, tasty breadcrumbs and nutty parmesan cheese. And, a special tip ensures that your radicchio won't be bitter!
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Fennel salad with chickpeas in white bowl.
This Fennel and Chickpea Salad is tossed in a light citrus vinaigrette & topped with parmesan. It’s the perfect make-ahead salad for potlucks or lunches.
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Italian stuffed artichokes are filled with crunchy breadcrumbs, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and lots of Parmesan cheese for an easy app!
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Shaved brussels sprouts salad in large bowl with serving spoon.
This Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Mustard and Parmesan is tossed in a light red wine vinaigrette and makes a delicious, crunchy side dish.
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This simple Italian salad is the only side salad recipe you need. It fits perfectly with any pasta dish and finds good company alongside a whole roasted chicken or delicate fish dinner.
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Eggplant parmesan stacked on plate and topped with basil leaves.
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan is the vegetarian version of a classic Italian dish. Crispy breaded eggplant is quickly cooked in the air fryer before being topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella. It’s crispy, cheesy, and delicious over pasta or rice!
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Overhead close up of bowl of kale caesar salad in white bowl with serving spoon.
This Kale Caesar Salad is topped with crispy homemade croutons and parmesan cheese. Massaging the creamy garlic dressing into the kale makes it extra tender and delicious.
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This flavor-packed Italian Chopped Salad will win over everyone around the table! Hearty meats, crisp vegetables, tons of cheese and a zesty Italian dressing combine to form a highly addictive salad!
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We are finally in the home stretch of Super Bowl food sharing. So from now until Friday, I have some recipes that you can throw together in a matter of
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Peppers with grill marks scattered on counter.
Learn how to make perfectly tender and blistered Grilled Peppers at home! It’s one of the best and easiest side dishes you can add to burrito bowls, fajitas, or pair with grilled meats.
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These authentic Italian meatballs are so juicy and flavorful, smothered in a rich and delicious homemade pasta sauce. This is a recipe passed down from my Italian grandmother with a few tweaks here and there to make it EVEN better! This is truly the only recipe you’ll EVER need for both meatballs an…
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Overhead close up of mushroom parmesan on baking sheet topped with basil leaves.
Mushroom Parmesan with Garlicky Breadcrumbs is a must-try for Meatless Monday. Portobello mushrooms are stuffed with marinara and mozzarella cheese before being roasted in the oven with grape tomatoes. Top each mushroom with a scoop of garlicky breadcrumbs for an exceptional crunch!
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Caesar salad is a staple on restaurant menus across the country, but we’ve yet to find one as perfectly blended as this one – crisp romaine is tossed with creamy dressing, crunchy croutons and premium Parmesan. All hail Caesar!
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Overhead shot of peach caprese salad on grey plate next to wooden cutting board.
This fresh and tangy Peach Caprese Salad features sweet peaches, creamy burrata cheese, and juicy tomatoes. A perfect blend of summery flavors, this simple yet delicious salad is the ideal late summer side dish!
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Shirazi salad centered in frame with serving spoon.
This simple Shirazi Salad recipe features fresh cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and crisp red onion. Dressed with plenty of fresh herbs and tossed with a tangy dressing made with lime juice and olive oil. Every bite is bursting with refreshing flavors!
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This EASY sauteed zucchini recipe takes just 10 minutes! A simple technique for how to saute zucchini with butter and garlic makes it turn out perfect every time.
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Serving spoon in bowl of tomato cucumber salad.
This Tomato Cucumber Salad features fresh cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and crisp red onion. Dressed in a tangy homemade red wine vinaigrette, every bite is bursting with refreshing Mediterranean flavors!
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Baked crostini on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Crostini are easy to make at home using just 3-ingredients – bread, olive oil and salt. This simple crostini recipe is the perfect appetizer for parties. You can make them ahead of time and serve them with a variety of toppings.
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Platter of grilled broccolini
This grilled broccolini is topped with a tangy apple cider vinaigrette and marcona almonds for a delicious crunch. It’s a perfect side dish for autumnal menus or Thanksgiving. 
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Overhead shot of serving tray of toasted ravioli with bowl of marinara sauce.
Just when you thought ravioli couldn’t get any better! Have you tried Toasted Ravioli? Coated in a cheesy, breadcrumb mixture and then cooked until crispy and delicious! Serve this yummy appetizer with marinara sauce or alfredo sauce and enjoy! 
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Sausage bites arranged on grey plate with small bowl of mustard sauce.
Sausage Bites are simmered in white wine & served with a creamy, spicy mustard dipping sauce. They’re a delicious party appetizer that cooks up quick.
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Grana padano wrapped in prosciutto and topped with fig jam.
These bites of Prosciutto Wrapped Grana Padano with Fig Preserves are the perfect party snack. This easy to make, no-bake finger food comes together in under 10-minutes.
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Over head shot of cooked brussels sprouts in grey bowl with spoon.
Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts cook up crispy and delicious with minimal oil with the help of your air fryer! Dressed simply with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. You'll love these!
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Overhead shot of small bowl of tapenade on grey plate with crostini scattered about.
This easy Olive Tapenade recipe comes together in just 10 minutes in your food processor or blender. It's amazing as an appetizer for parties, served as part of a charcuterie board, or used as a sandwich spread.
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Baked goat cheese in brown dish surrounded by marinara sauce and topped with various colored halved cherry tomatoes.
This baked goat cheese appetizer is super simple to throw together at the last minute with just 3 ingredients! Chevre is baked in marinara sauce until hot and bubbly – Perfect for spreading on crostini.
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Spears of asparagus cooked sous vide topped with parmesan shavings.
How to cook perfect asparagus sous vide. Bright green, perfectly cooked spears. With three options for flavoring – garlic, parmesan or lemon.
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Pesto Farro Salad in bowl topped with radishes and pecans.
This Pesto Farro Salad is hearty & delicious. Farro is tossed with pecan pesto, parmesan & arugula, then topped even more pecans for a great crunch.
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Roasted brussel sprouts in bowl drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with cranberries.
These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction & Cranberries make a simple and elegant side dish that both kids and adults love!
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Baked artichoke hearts in baking dish after cooking.
These Stuffed Artichoke Hearts take all the work out of actually stuffing an artichoke. Canned artichoke hearts are arranged in a dish and topped with a “stuffing” of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic.
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Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes
Instant Pot Artichokes are quick and easy to make with the help of your electric pressure cooker. Plus, this recipe gives them SO much flavor!
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Overhead shot of cooked sunchokes in bowl.
Sunchokes are a knobby root vegetable that can be prepared in more ways than you can imagine! In this recipe, you’ll learn how to roast them with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. It’s an easy side dish you can pair with anything.
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Bowl of shaved fennel and celery salad topped with toasted pine nuts and parmesan
This Shaved Fennel and Celery Salad comes together quickly and has such a delicious light lemon vinaigrette and wonderful crunch. It’s the perfect side salad for rich and hearty dishes like pasta or braised short ribs.  
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How to Make Ahead and Store

Many of these pasta side dish recipes can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or even in the freezer. Simply check the individual recipes for full storing instructions and details on how to make ahead. 

Favorite Pasta Recipes:

More Side Dish Recipes:

Did you Make Any of These Pasta Side Dishes?

Please leave a comment and rating below, if you loved this round up of sides for pasta. Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? For more great Platings & Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on PinterestTikTokFacebookYouTube and Twitter.

Collage of the best side dishes for pasta.

40+ EASY Sides for Pasta

Over 35+ EASY side dishes for pasta – including vegetable side dishes, salads, bread and more. One of my favorite recipes is this simple Arugula Salad.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot (finely minced)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted, for topping)
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan (for topping)

Instructions

  • Combine the shallot, oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a small mason jar and shake to emulsify.
  • In a large bowl, toss the arugula with enough of the vinaigrette to just coat the leaves.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper and top with toasted pine nuts and parmesan.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 181mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1.1mg

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