Whether you’re showcasing a tender piece of meat or savory pasta, these easy Italian side dishes are the perfect complement to any meal.
While the main dish usually gets most of the love, it doesn’t make side dishes any less important. Side dishes are a great way to showcase your creativity!
Best Italian Side Dishes
From Caprese salad to garlic bread, these 25 Italian side dishes are the perfect accompaniment for a fancy dinner party or a laid back family meal.
1. Easy Italian Green Beans
You’ll have no trouble getting your family to eat vegetables with these perfectly tender Italian green beans.
Ripe and slightly sweet grape tomatoes are sautéed until wilted and bursting.
Mix them into the green beans to add another flavor profile and a beautiful pop of color.
The entire dish is flavored with garlic, Italian seasoning, and finished with parmesan cheese.
These Italian green beans are perfect with any meal.
2. Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is simple, so you’ll want to get the very best ingredients to highlight every flavor. A dish doesn’t need to be intricate to taste delicious.
The secret that puts this recipe above others is tossing it in a homemade garlic herb vinaigrette before topping with a balsamic glaze.
This ensures every inch of the dish is bursting with flavor.
Even though this Caprese salad is an amazing side dish, I also love it as a main meal with some crusty bread.
3. Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
Pine nuts and bread crumbs create the most incredible savory filling for these Italian stuffed tomatoes.
Toasted with garlic and anchovies, the filling is packed with bite after bite of flavor. Parsley and lemon zest give it a touch of freshness.
Cut the tops off your ripe tomatoes and scoop out the pulp. Generously season the insides with salt before adding your stuffing.
Bake your tomatoes until they’re wilted and bursting with juice. Don’t be surprised if these become the star of the show!
Originating in southern Italy, friselle is a double-baked bread in the shape of a bagel. With a minimal ingredient list, they’re not difficult to make.
It starts off similar to any other yeast bread. It needs to rise two separate times, so even though it’s not hard to make; it does take some time.
But it’s well worth the effort!
The unique part is how to serve Friselle. Traditionally, you’ll quickly dip your bread in water and top with tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil. Fun, right?
5. Italian Pickled Eggplant
Skeptical about eggplant? Forget all previous encounters because this Italian pickled eggplant will turn everyone into a believer.
While not challenging, making this Italian pickled eggplant is a long process.
The chopped eggplant first needs to rest for eight hours to release moisture.
It also needs to sit for 24 hours after cooking. Just be sure to leave yourself enough time.
Besides the vinegar, it’s flavored with garlic, parsley, and hot pepper flakes. This is a great side for your favorite meat dish!
6. Italian Stuffed Artichokes
Italian stuffed artichokes are a classic side dish guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Artichokes can look intimidating. From trimming the tops to scooping out the fuzzy choke inside, you’ll learn the ins and outs in no time.
Savory Italian sausage and salty parmesan cheese create the perfect filling.
The lemon juice and olive oil drizzle flavors the artichoke leaves perfectly.
The fun part is eating them. Pull off the leaves and scrape the meaty part against your teeth.
7. Tuscan White Bean Salad
Fresh and hearty, this Tuscan white bean salad is a great side dish for any meal. It’s also quick to prepare, so you can have it on the dinner table in a flash.
You’ll start off by sautéing sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and mushroom.
The beans, scallion, tomato, parsley get mixed in a separate bowl with olive oil and lemon juice.
When your sautéed mixture is cooled, mix the two bowls together and watch the magic happen!
8. Italian Giardiniera
Traditional Italian giardiniera is basically a mixture of vegetables. Although it tastes anything but basic!
This vegetable mixture is canned with vinegar and bay leaves and left for at least a month before serving.
Can you imagine the amount of flavor infused into the vegetables?
The best vegetables to use are cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, green beans, peas, carrots, celery, fennel, and cucumber.
You can serve it alongside any meal!
9. Italian Marinated Mushrooms
These Italian marinated mushrooms are boiled in vinegar and preserved in quality olive oil, leaving them chewy with a wonderful meaty texture.
Lemon and oregano are marinated with your mushrooms alongside several hot chiles for a touch of heat. Every mouthful is bursting with flavor!
Serve these marinated mushrooms alongside meat, pasta, or as part of an antipasti plate. You can’t go wrong!
10. Italian Garlic Bread
One of the great loves of my life, without a doubt, is bread.
While all garlic bread recipes have a few ingredients in common, this Italian garlic bread has a few secrets to help it stand out.
Using both butter and olive oil keeps this bread from feeling too heavy. It obviously has a lot of fragrant minced garlic.
The secret to this bread is the lemon zest and fresh parsley. You’ll want your garlic bread to be indulgent yet fresh, and that’s what you’ll get here.
11. Italian Farro Salad
Fresh and filling, this Italian farro salad is the perfect side dish when you need something a little fancier than a green salad.
All your guests will be clamoring for more!
Farro is similar to barley and is chewy with a slightly nutty taste.
Add in your favorite veggies like cherry tomatoes, radishes, and red onion. Any in-season veggies will work great.
It all gets tossed with fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice, creating the perfect side dish!
12. Italian Roasted Potatoes
Italian roasted potatoes are versatile and can be paired with almost any main dish. And they can be on your table in only 20 minutes!
Sautéing your potatoes for about five minutes before baking is the secret to achieving a perfectly crisp outside and moist, tender middle.
The flavor of these potatoes is out of this world! Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, and parmesan fuse together, making your house smell amazing.
13. Easy Focaccia Bread
Whether you know all the tricks to make homemade bread or are a novice, there’s nothing difficult about this easy focaccia bread.
This focaccia bread isn’t sweet at all, even though it contains honey. It’s more on the savory side, topped with rosemary, salt, and olive oil.
It’s so incredible, you’ll want to eat it before you put it on the table! But you’ll be glad you waited.
Serve focaccia bread alongside pasta, soup, or stew.
14. Italian Bruschetta
Authentic Italian bruschetta is always the star of the party. Give your guests what they want and serve this at your next dinner.
Using quality ingredients is the key to amazing bruschetta. Tomatoes need to be ripe and juice while the best basil is fresh and fragrant.
Add in your oregano, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a splash of flavorful balsamic vinegar. Choosing a hearty bread will keep it from getting soggy.
I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering!
15. Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
These Italian stuffed zucchini flowers are fun and delicious, making them the perfect side dish for any meal.
If you have zucchini in your garden, pick some of the flowers for this tasty dish. It gets lightly dipped in batter and fried for several minutes.
You’re in for a surprise when you bite into this gorgeous fried flower to find gooey mozzarella and salty prosciutto.
And it really does look like a flower!
16. Burrata Salad
This burrata salad takes an ordinary green salad and kicks it up a notch — actually make that two notches.
If you’ve never had burrata cheese before, you’re missing out! Inside an outer casing made of mozzarella lies soft cheese curds and cream.
As if that treat isn’t enough, this recipe also uses homemade croutons alongside homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s pretty effortless and comes together quickly. Add in your favorite salad veggies and serve!
17. Italian Wedding Soup
Ready in just 30 minutes, this Italian wedding soup is amazing on its own or as a side dish.
A lot of people think this savory soup got its name due to being served at Italian weddings.
The name actually refers to a marriage of delicious, rich ingredients coming together.
Al dente orzo and tender meatballs are the heart of this soup. Although the broth is flavorful enough to eat on its own.
18. Italian Chickpea Salad
The beautiful colors in this Italian chickpea salad remind me of summer! It’s light with just a slight tang from the homemade dressing.
Chickpeas are mixed together with cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, and black olives.
Potatoes are cooked and cubed, adding yet another texture.
Refrigerate until cold and add arugula just before serving.
19. Italian Pasta Salad
Italian pasta salad is one of the most versatile dishes. You can add or take away ingredients, and it goes well with almost everything.
This recipe uses rotini noodles, but you can pick any pasta that will hold the dressing. Bottled Italian dressing keeps this pasta salad simple.
Add in your favorite ingredients like cherry tomatoes, black olives, pepperoni, cubed cheese, and bell pepper.
Bring this Italian pasta salad to your next barbecue or pack up your picnic basket and enjoy!
20. Italian Pinwheels
Even the pickiest of eaters will love these Italian pinwheels. Appetizer, side dish, or snack, they’re perfect for any occasion.
You won’t believe how simple these are to put together. With store-bought pizza dough, they can be ready in under 30 minutes.
These pinwheels are so gooey since they’re made with several types of cheese. Finely chopped pepperoni is also added to the creamy mixture.
Try not to eat them all before serving!
21. Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts
Cacio e pepe Brussels Sprouts are a low carb substitution for the classic Italian pasta dish. Take one bite, and you’ll forget all about pasta.
Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” in Italian. It’s meant to be simple yet flavorful, and this dish accomplishes that perfectly.
In addition to parmesan cheese and pepper, shredded brussels sprouts are mixed with olive oil, lemon, and toasted nuts for a bit of texture.
22. Savory Parmesan Cookies
No, these aren’t the dessert kind of cookies. These savory parmesan cookies are the perfect accompaniment for your favorite soup.
Whip up a batch of these right as your soup is finishing up. All you’ll need is 20 minutes.
Parmesan cheese is mixed with flour and butter to create a savory dough. Roll it flat and cut it out with a round cookie cutter.
Sprinkle with some rosemary and thyme right before baking, and you’re done!
23. Italian Breadsticks
Wish you had Olive Garden’s famous breadsticks but don’t feel like leaving the house?
You’ll never need to visit the restaurant again after making these soft Italian breadsticks.
Bread flour works the best because it helps the breadsticks get so fluffy, but all-purpose flour can be substituted.
After cooking up this airy creation, it’s time to brush with melted butter, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Yummy!
24. Zucchini Bites
These cheesy zucchini bites are so delicious, even zucchini skeptics will fall in love!
The ingredients are so simple you might even have everything in your pantry.
These can be deep-fried, pan-fried, or baked for a healthier version.
Both mozzarella and parmesan cheese are used. Take your first bite and watch the gooey cheese ooze out.
25. Radicchio Salad
Not only is this radicchio salad mouth-watering, but it’s also extremely beautiful to look at.
Every ingredient in this salad is perfectly balanced with another. The sweet apple complements the tart pomegranates and bitter radicchio.
The creaminess is added by using blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts creating a multi-dimensional flavor. Bite after bite, the flavors keep coming!
Serve with your favorite meat or next to a sandwich.
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