What goes with Pasta
Category Pairs With
Fruits Tomatoes
Vegetables Spinach, bell peppers
Spices/Herbs Basil, garlic
Proteins Chicken, shrimp
Breads & Grains Garlic bread, baguette
Drinks Red wine, water

When it comes to serving pasta, it’s important to have the perfect side dishes to complement and enhance the flavours of the main dish. From traditional pasta recipes to creative twists, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for sauces, toppings, sides, salads, or accompaniments, this guide will provide you with a variety of ideas for what goes with pasta.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pasta dishes can be enhanced with flavourful toppings like sauces, sautéed vegetables, cooked meats, and grated cheese.
  • Pasta salads offer a refreshing and nutritious option, combining cooked pasta with fresh vegetables, herbs, and dressings.
  • Flavorful pasta sides, such as roasted vegetables, garlic bread, and stuffed mushrooms, can add depth to your meal.
  • For an authentic Italian pairing, consider serving classic accompaniments like bruschetta, garlic knots, or Caprese salad.
  • Healthy and light sides, including sautéed spinach, lemon parmesan asparagus, and kale Caesar salad, provide a balanced option.

Easy and Delicious Pasta Toppings

When it comes to making your pasta dishes even more mouth-watering, adding delicious and flavorful toppings can take them to the next level. Whether you are a fan of classic tomato sauce, a creamy Alfredo sauce, or a zesty pesto sauce, there are endless options to choose from. These toppings not only add an extra burst of flavor to your pasta but also enhance its texture, making each bite a delightful experience.

One popular pasta topping is sautéed vegetables. These can include bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or even spinach. Sautéing them in olive oil with a touch of garlic and herbs brings out their natural flavors and adds a delightful crunch to your pasta. If you’re looking to add a protein boost, cooked meats like grilled chicken, crispy bacon, or savory sausage can be great options.

Another way to elevate your pasta dish is by sprinkling grated cheese on top. Whether it’s Parmesan, mozzarella, or a blend of different cheeses, this adds a creamy and cheesy goodness to your pasta. You can also experiment with different herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano, or red pepper flakes, to create a personalized flavor profile that suits your taste buds.

Topping Description
Sautéed Vegetables Bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Cooked Meats Grilled chicken, crispy bacon, or savory sausage provide a protein boost.
Grated Cheese Parmesan, mozzarella, or a blend of different cheeses add a creamy and cheesy goodness.

With these easy and delicious pasta toppings, you can transform a simple pasta dish into a flavorful and satisfying meal. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or entertaining guests, these toppings offer endless opportunities for creativity and enjoyment. So go ahead and experiment with different combinations to discover your favorite pasta topping!

Pasta toppings

Fresh and Vibrant Pasta Salads

Pasta salads are a refreshing and nutritious option to serve alongside your main pasta dish. They provide a lighter alternative while still offering a burst of flavors and textures. Whether you’re hosting a summer gathering or simply looking for a quick and easy meal, these pasta salads are sure to impress.

Caprese Pasta Salad

One popular option is the Caprese pasta salad, inspired by the classic Italian Caprese salad. It combines cooked pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Drizzled with a balsamic glaze and a touch of olive oil, this salad is both vibrant and savory. The combination of ripe tomatoes, creamy cheese, and aromatic basil creates a harmonious blend of flavors that perfectly complements the pasta.

Greek Pasta Salad

If you’re craving something with a Mediterranean twist, the Greek pasta salad is an excellent choice. It features cooked pasta tossed with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, red onions, and crumbled feta cheese. The dressing is a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, adding a tangy and zesty flavor to the salad. This vibrant and colorful dish is not only delicious but also packed with fresh ingredients.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

For those who enjoy a variety of flavors, the Mediterranean pasta salad is a must-try. It combines cooked pasta with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and a medley of olives. The dressing is a blend of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, which enhances the flavors of the ingredients. This salad is the perfect balance of tangy, salty, and savory, creating a delightful culinary experience.

Pasta salad

Whether you’re a fan of classic combinations or prefer more adventurous flavors, these pasta salads offer a tantalizing array of options. They can be enjoyed as a light lunch, a side dish, or even as a main course. So, the next time you’re planning a pasta meal, consider adding a fresh and vibrant pasta salad to complete the dining experience.

Flavorful Pasta Sides

When enjoying a delicious pasta dish, it’s important to have the perfect accompaniments to elevate the flavors and complete the meal. From roasted vegetables to indulgent bread and cheese combinations, there are a variety of flavorful pasta sides to choose from. These delicious additions will not only complement your pasta but also satisfy your taste buds. Get ready to enhance your pasta experience with these mouthwatering options.

Sautéed Roasted Vegetables

Adding roasted vegetables to your pasta dish is a great way to incorporate more flavor and nutrition. Green beans, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are excellent choices that bring a delicious crunch and vibrant taste to your meal. Simply toss them with olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they’re tender and golden. The roasted vegetables will provide a delightful contrast to the soft and savory pasta.

Garlic Bread and Cheesy Delights

For those who appreciate the combination of bread and cheese, garlic bread and cheesy sides are the perfect companions to pasta. Indulge yourself with a warm and crispy garlic bread, brushed with garlic-infused butter and topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, you can create a cheese platter with a selection of cheeses like Parmesan, mozzarella, and burrata. The rich and creamy flavors of the cheese perfectly complement the pasta, creating a delightful symphony of tastes.

Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful side dish, stuffed mushrooms are an excellent choice. Portobello or cremini mushrooms can be filled with a variety of delicious fillings, such as herbed breadcrumbs, cheese, or even a mixture of sautéed vegetables. Roasted to perfection, these stuffed mushrooms provide a delightful earthiness and texture that pairs beautifully with pasta. It’s a great option for those looking to add a touch of gourmet to their pasta meal.

Pasta Side Description
Sautéed Roasted Vegetables Roasted green beans, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts provide a delicious crunch and vibrant flavors to your pasta dish.
Garlic Bread and Cheesy Delights Indulge in warm and crispy garlic bread or create a cheese platter with a selection of cheeses like Parmesan, mozzarella, and burrata.
Stuffed Mushrooms Portobello or cremini mushrooms filled with delicious fillings like herbed breadcrumbs, cheese, or sautéed vegetables provide a unique and flavorful side dish.

Whether you choose to roast some vegetables, indulge in cheesy delights, or savor stuffed mushrooms, these flavorful pasta sides will take your meal to the next level. Experiment with different combinations and flavors to find your perfect match. Bon appétit!

Pasta sides

Classic Italian Pairings

When it comes to enjoying a plate of pasta, the right pairings can take your meal to a whole new level. Classic Italian accompaniments are the perfect way to enhance the flavors of your pasta dish and create an authentic dining experience. From garlic knots to fresh salads, these traditional pairings will transport you to the streets of Italy.


No Italian meal is complete without a serving of bruschetta. This simple yet flavorful appetizer features toasted bread topped with a mixture of fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil. The tangy tomatoes and aromatic herbs provide a burst of flavor that perfectly complements the richness of pasta. The combination of crunchy bread and juicy tomatoes creates a delightful contrast in texture, making it an ideal pairing for any pasta dish.

Garlic Knots

Garlic knots are a popular side dish in Italian cuisine. These soft and chewy bread rolls are brushed with garlic-infused oil, sprinkled with herbs, and baked to perfection. The aromatic garlic flavor adds depth to the meal, while the soft and pillowy texture provides a satisfying contrast to the pasta. Whether you dip them in marinara sauce or enjoy them on their own, garlic knots are a delicious addition to any pasta feast.

Caprese Salad

A classic Caprese salad is a refreshing and vibrant side dish that pairs beautifully with pasta. Made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, this salad offers a burst of flavors and textures. The creamy cheese, juicy tomatoes, and aromatic herbs create a harmonious combination that complements the richness of pasta. Serve it alongside your favorite pasta dish for a light and refreshing accompaniment.

Pasta Pairings

Classic Italian Pairings Recommended Pasta Dishes
Bruschetta Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Garlic Knots Linguine Aglio e Olio
Caprese Salad Penne alla Vodka

Pairing your pasta dish with classic Italian accompaniments is a guaranteed way to elevate your meal and impress your guests. Whether you choose bruschetta, garlic knots, or a refreshing Caprese salad, these timeless pairings will bring the flavors of Italy to your table. So why not add a touch of authenticity to your next pasta dinner?

Healthy and Light Sides

Pasta sides

When it comes to serving pasta, it’s not just about the main dish. The perfect side dishes can elevate your meal, adding a balance of flavors and providing a nutritious accompaniment to your pasta. If you’re looking for healthier options to serve alongside your favorite pasta recipes, there are plenty of light and refreshing sides to choose from.

One delicious option is sautéed spinach. Packed with vitamins and minerals, spinach is a nutrient-rich vegetable that pairs perfectly with pasta. Simply sauté it in olive oil with some garlic and a squeeze of lemon for a burst of flavor. The lemon parmesan asparagus is another fantastic choice. Asparagus is not only low in calories, but it also brings a vibrant green color to your plate. Toss it in olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and bake until tender for a delicious and healthy side.

If you’re a fan of Caesar salad, why not try a lighter version with kale? Kale is a superfood that is loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Toss it with a light Caesar dressing, some crunchy croutons, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a refreshing twist on a classic. This kale Caesar salad pairs beautifully with any pasta dish and adds a satisfying crunch.

Incorporating more vegetables into your diet is easy when you serve these healthy and light sides with your pasta. Whether you choose sautéed spinach, lemon parmesan asparagus, or a kale Caesar salad, these dishes provide a balance of flavors and textures that enhance the overall meal. So next time you’re planning a pasta dinner, consider these nutritious options for a delicious and guilt-free dining experience.

Bread and Cheese Combinations

If you’re a fan of bread and cheese, you’re in for a treat when it comes to pairing them with pasta. Think of warm, cheesy garlic bread alongside your plate of pasta, with its gooey melted cheese and irresistible garlic aroma. It’s the perfect accompaniment to enhance the flavors of your pasta dish and satisfy your cravings.

Another option is to indulge in delicious focaccia bread, topped with fragrant herbs and drizzled with olive oil. This soft and fluffy bread is a delightful addition to any pasta recipe, providing a delightful contrast in texture and a burst of flavor with every bite.

And let’s not forget about garlic knots, those twisted bundles of bread sprinkled with herbs and Parmesan cheese. They’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, making them a tasty choice to enjoy with your favorite pasta. Dip them in marinara sauce or melted cheese for an extra touch of indulgence.

If you’re looking to take your cheese pairing to the next level, consider creating a cheese platter with a variety of options. From sharp Parmesan to creamy mozzarella and luxurious burrata, these cheeses can be the perfect topping for your pasta. Grate some Parmesan over your pasta to add a salty and nutty flavor, or enjoy some fresh mozzarella on the side for a creamy and delicate accompaniment. The combination of bread, cheese, and pasta creates a harmony of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

By Mat Stuckey

Ex professional chef with a passion for cooking and unique flavours.

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