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The 46 Best Side Dishes for Lamb to Serve at Dinner Parties, Barbecues and Beyond

Entertaining guests is suddenly a breeze

what to serve with lamb
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

You make a beeline for beef at the supermarket, but did you know that lamb is just as versatile a red meat? You can season it with Middle Eastern spices, liven it up with Latin ingredients or go classic with mint jelly and herbs. No matter if you’re roasting chops or a whole leg, it will pair fabulously with veggie- and grain-forward sides of all kinds—and surely serve as a crowd-pleaser during dinner parties and other gatherings. Behold: our 46 favorite side dishes for lamb, including za'atar-roasted cauliflower, pomegranate roasted carrots and rosemary roasted potatoes.

65 Healthy Side Dishes That Are So Good, They Might Steal the Show


1. Whole Roasted Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegan, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 4

Glazed carrots are so last Christmas. These are roasted with cumin, onion and lemon zest, all natural pairings for lamb. Leftovers? Serve them with fried eggs and toast for breakfast tomorrow.

2. Cauliflower with Roasted Tomatoes, Parsley and Breadcrumbs

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, make ahead, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

Cauliflower is one of our favorite veggies of all time, but sometimes we get bored of roasting it with salt and olive oil. Spice things up with sweet-tart tomatoes. You can leave them raw, but roasting them will concentrate their acidity and turn them jammy in texture.

3. Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegan, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 4 to 6

Pick and choose your favorite produce. (We like cherry tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini.) Regardless of what you use, the pantry seasonings are super versatile and will pair seamlessly.

4. Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Apple Salad

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, gluten free, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 4

This salad has it all: sweet-tart, crispy apples, cumin-spiced cauliflower and an irresistible tahini-honey dressing. If your oven has a convection setting, use it to your advantage: It'll make your cauliflower extra crispy.

5. Harissa and Honey-Roasted Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, vegetarian, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 6

Harissa is a spicy Tunisian chile paste. Here, it’s tempered with a bit of honey and a cooling yogurt sauce. You'll roast the carrots until they're golden brown, so if you check on it after 20 minutes and they aren't crispy enough, keep 'em cooking.

6. Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 4

Rosemary and lamb are like two peas in a pod. Add potatoes and make that three peas. If you're feeling extra indulgent, cook them in bacon fat instead of olive oil for a dose of savory, smoky flavor your guests will love.

7. Sumac Fries with Garlic-Feta Labneh

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegetarian, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 6

That bag of crinkle-cut spuds in your freezer could never. This Middle Eastern spin on everyone's favorite side is truly next-level. And we're totally smothering everything in that garlic-feta labneh—including the lamb.

8. Melted Onions

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 4 to 6

This side dish sounds simple, but the final result—deeply caramelized, sweet-savory onions—is actually show-stopping. When slicing the onions, pretend the stem of the onion is the North Pole and cut down through the "equator" to get the shape just right.

9. Fattoush Salad with Mint Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

This fattoush (a salad with fried flatbread) is drizzled with a fresh mint dressing, so you totally won’t mind if it creeps over to the lamb side of your plate. The salad calls for romaine lettuce, but feel free to swap in kale, Swiss chard, arugula or spinach if you'd prefer.

10. Broiled Wedge Salad with Pomegranates and Pistachios

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

Blue cheese and bacon bits? So yesterday. Both the gingery dressing and pomegranate topping pair splendidly with your main protein. Warning: This dish will make you want to start grilling all of your greens.

11. Curry-Roasted Fennel Salad with Rosemary Tahini Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, vegetarian, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

We have a soft spot for the licorice-y flavor of fennel, but we never thought to roast it until now. Looking for extra protein? Add crispy chickpeas to the top of the salad.

12. Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio-Chili Pesto

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, make ahead
  • Serves: 8

The crunchy, nutty pesto is going on everything at the table, just you wait. (Yup, even you, rack of lamb.) For an extra kick, leave the jalapeño seeds in the pesto instead of removing them.

13. Mediterranean Orzo Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, make ahead
  • Serves: 12

Take a trip to Greece and pair your perfectly cooked lamb chops with this hearty, briny salad. If you can, prepare it a day or so ahead of serving. This will allow the orzo to soak up as much flavor as possible.

14. Shaved Spring Vegetable and Apple Salad with Ginger-Dijon Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

The best part about this salad, other than its delicious flavor and photogenic appearance? The homemade dressing comes together in a blender for minimum fuss. If you have a mandolin, thinly shave the veggies for an extra gorgeous aesthetic.

15. Baby Vegetables with Orange and Thyme

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, make ahead, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

You can use any small veggies you want, but we like the way carrots and zucchini taste next to lamb. And even though standard thyme works, we strongly suggest lemon thyme if you can find it, as it has a uniquely tangy taste.

16. Prosciutto and Fig Salad Board

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

Who said those pretty toppings had to hide under a bowl of lettuce? Grab your favorite cheese platter and make this salad a board. If blue cheese isn't your thing, swap for goat cheese and use that instead.

17. Pomegranate Roasted Carrots with Feta and Brown Butter

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy, vegetarian
  • Serves: 2 to 4

A classic accompaniment to lamb? Tangy pomegranate seeds. We love the addition of roasted carrots and feta, too. Even though orange carrots will look nice, using rainbow carrots adds a variety of colors to the dish without changing the taste.

18. Corn, Zucchini and Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto and Herbs

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

Salad doesn’t have to be boring. This prosciutto, cantaloupe and vegetable salad makes a hearty side for your lamb entrée. While you might not have fresh herbs on hand, the basil and mint really make take the dish over the top, so we wouldn't recommend leaving them out.

19. Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, vegetarian, make ahead
  • Serves: 4

Sometimes, a simple and straightforward veggie side is best (especially when it’s coated with melted Parmesan cheese). Leave the asparagus in the oven for a few extra minutes to ensure maximum crispness.

20. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

We hate to break it to you, but your three standard side dishes (glazed carrots, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli) are getting a bit...boring. Give this tangy, cheesy masterpiece a whirl tonight instead, and you'll want to top every side with burrata from here on out.

21. Salsa Verde Garlic Bread

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegetarian, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 8

Garlic bread isn’t only reserved for pasta nights. The salsa verde-topped side pairs fabulously with chimichurri lamb. Bonus? Even your picky eaters will ask you for seconds. Now, to get them to taste the lamb without crying...

22. Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip)

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: high protein, vegetarian, gluten-free
  • Serves: 4

For easy alfresco dining, serve your lamb alongside a smoky, flavorful dip. Just add toasted pita and you’re good to go. Tip: For a boost of flavor, roast your own red peppers instead of using the jarred kind. Trust.

23. Tahini Mustard Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Arugula Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, high protein, gluten-free
  • Serves: 4

Sweet potatoes and lentils make this salad a filling side dish for lamb. If arugula isn't your cup of tea, feel free to swap for kale, spinach or romaine. Whatever you choose, lay the tahini-mustard dressing on thick.

24. Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan and Thyme Roasted Potato Wedges

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, vegan, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 2

After five minutes of prep time, pop these low-maintenance babies in the air fryer and they’ll be ready to devour in 20 minutes flat. The best part? They're practically oil-free, thanks to the handy countertop appliance.

25. Beet, Carrot and Pomegranate Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegan, no cook
  • Serves: 4 to 6

A light and colorful salad makes a delightful bite alongside medium-rare lamb. The bitterness of the citrus will cut right through the protein's richness. Though the recipe doesn't call for goat cheese or feta, either would be a stellar addition.

26. Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegan, gluten-free
  • Serves: 4

The olive tapenade offers an earthy tang to roasted broccoli and, of course, lamb. Although you can totally blanche the broccoli, roasting it adds crunchy texture and charred flavor to the dish...but you do you, friend.

27. Mujaddara (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions)

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegan, high protein, gluten-free
  • Serves: 4

Lamb is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, so pair it with mujaddara, an Iraqi rice and lentil dish topped with caramelized onions. Be sure you're working with uncooked brown or green lentils—not red, yellow, French green, black beluga or canned. Their cooking times vary, and this recipe is designed specifically for brown or green.

28. Blistered Green Beans with Tomatoes, Pounded Walnuts and Raw Summer Squash

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, gluten-free, <30 minutes
  • Serves: 4

Trying to get the kids to eat their vegetables? Top fried veggies with crushed walnuts and juicy tomatoes and see how you fare. (We bet they’ll go back for seconds.) As for the green beans, blister them by simply cooking them over high heat.

29. Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Whipped Feta

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, gluten-free, make ahead
  • Serves: 8

Now that we’ve discovered whipped feta, we want to eat it with every vegetable until the end of time. (Might we suggest making a second batch for the lamb?) The recipe notes that those who enjoy extra crispy cauliflower should roast it for an additional 15 minutes.

30. Chipotle Gouda Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 8

This is a far cry from that sweet potato casserole you had last Thanksgiving, thanks to chipotle peppers and smoked gouda cheese. Make the dish gluten-free by subbing almond or oat flour for standard all-purpose.

31. Little Gem Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, gluten-free, <30 minutes
  • Serves: 5

Keep dinner light and healthy with this gem salad topped with ricotta salata, quinoa and a walnut-Dijon mustard vinaigrette. For the dressing, you can use white wine or sherry vinegar, depending on what you have in your pantry.

32. Cacio E Pepe Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, gluten-free, special occasion-worthy
  • Serves: 6 to 8

We’re giving one of our favorite foods the cheesy-peppery treatment, and the results are glorious. FYI, that divine, simple topping works on just about any vegetable, so you can sub in cauliflower, carrots, broccoli...the crisper drawer is your oyster.

33. Batbout (Pan-Grilled Moroccan Pita Bread)

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 20

Once you try the fresh stuff, you’ll never go back to the store-bought kind again. While some recipes forgo oil in the pan, this one uses it, adding to the bread's golden hue. Catch us making tiny sandwiches with the lamb.

34. Cucumber Avocado Salad

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, gluten-free, <30 minutes
  • Serves: 6

This cooling salad shines, thanks to mint, cilantro, peanuts and a rice wine vinegar-based dressing. The Thai chili pepper adds a serious kick, but if you can't handle spice, just leave it out (or substitute crushed red pepper flakes).

35. Baked Brie Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 8

Aka the ultimate side dish for, well, anything. Broil it at the tail-end for a few minutes to get the topping nice and crispy. A shower of your favorite hot sauce is recommended but technically not mandatory.

36. Spicy Broccoli Sauté

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, <30 minutes
  • Serves: 4

Take boring steamed florets up a notch with this spicy, crunchy number. While the recipe calls for panko crumbs, you can easily make your own with any stale bread lurking in your kitchen.

37. Apple Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Herbs

  • Time Commitment: 12 hours and 20 minutes (includes proofing time)
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 12

That daunting 12 hours is mostly spent waiting for the bread to rise, so don't let that deter you. The fresh herbs, funky cheese and sweet-tart apples are all magically flawless pairings for lamb. Use a few apple varieties if you feel so inclined, like Honeycrisp, Jonagold and Gala.

38. Grown-Up Baked Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

This is a sophisticated take on the tired baked potato. Instead of the usual suspects, like sour cream and chives, this recipe guides you to make creamy mushroom-, spicy Brussels sprout- and caramelized onion-topped taters. Dare you try all three?

39. Crunchy Okra Fries

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 4

Just like your typical fry, sans the starchiness. Serve them with green goddess dressing, lemon aioli or eat them plain. Either way, make sure you salt them when they're fresh out the oven.

40. Spring Pea Fritters with Whipped Feta

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy
  • Serves: 4

These bite-sized green beauties are a delicious side dish—and we welcome their light airiness when eating hearty lamb. Something else we're also happy about? The fact that we can use frozen peas instead of fresh.

41. Cast Iron Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 12 to 16

Cornbread goes with just about everything, and lamb is no exception. The cast iron skillet makes for a crispy edge, while the nutty brown butter infuses every crumb with flavor and greases the pan.

42. Spiral Sweet Potato Skillet with Rosemary Brown Sugar Streusel

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 6 to 8

This colorful dish is sure to get some compliments. Slicing the potatoes thin is absolutely crucial for the Insta-worthy look, so if you can't get your hands on a mandolin, try your best to slice them uniformly.

43. Coconut Creamed Spinach

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 4 to 6

Even though it's classically paired with a steak, creamed spinach also complements lamb like a charm. This recipe swaps typical dairy milk for coconut milk, giving it a slightly sweet flavor and extra creamy consistency.

44. Purple Salad

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, make ahead, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 4

Your guests will never see this monochromatic gem coming. If you can't find purple sweet potatoes, purple basil or blood oranges though, you can easily substitute their non-purple counterparts. As for the dressing, nix the fish sauce to make it vegan.

45. Shallot and Spicy Mushroom Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, vegetarian, special occasion-worthy
  • Serves: 4

Shallots take the lead in this meaty-yet-vegetarian pasta dish. To go the extra mile, sauté thin-sliced, roasted chestnuts alongside the mushrooms when they're in season, or substitute fried or grilled halloumi for Parmesan cheese.

46. Lemony Swiss Chard Salad with White Beans and Garlic Breadcrumbs

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, vegan
  • Serves: 4

PSA: Swiss chard can be eaten raw. In fact, it's a stellar addition to salads, since its tender, sturdy stalks and leaves can hold their own against weighty additions like white beans and dressing. We won't tell if you use store-bought breadcrumbs instead of making your own.


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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...