Wondering What Goes with Mac and Cheese? Here Are 32 Sides That Make It a Meal

Whether you’ve DIYed mac and cheese or simply popped some in the microwave (hey, no judgment), you’ve committed to something gloriously cheesy for dinner. But to round out your indulgent entrée, you’ll need a side dish or two to play supporting roles. Wondering what goes with mac and cheese? From tangy coleslaw to sheet-pan chicken meatballs, here are 32 sides that will transform it into a full meal.

27 Simple Pasta Recipes Anyone Can Master

1. Spicy Broccoli Sauté

A spicy, crunchy vegetable side is a welcome accompaniment to all that gooey cheese.

2. Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

No one will mind if these balsamic-laced vegetables mingle with the macaroni entrée.

3. Strawberry, Basil And Arugula Salad With Lots Of Black Pepper

The strawberries are macerated in vinegar and honey beforehand, so the dressing practically makes itself.

4. Baby Vegetables With Orange And Thyme

Since this side dish is cooked in a parchment parcel (aka en papillote), there’s almost no cleanup.

5. Baked Chicken And Ricotta Meatballs

Take it a step further and serve the meatballs on top of the mac and cheese. (You’re welcome.)

6. Kale And Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw

It’s creamy, crisp and vegan-optional.

7. Cherry Tomato Galette With Garlic And Herbs

Slice it into strips then watch it disappear in a flash.

8. Crispy Bacon-wrapped Brussels Sprouts

These are a few of our favorite things.

9. Strawberry Cobb Salad With Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

Lettuce is great, but we’re really here for the toppings.

10. Keto Guacamole Burger Bites

Finger foods always have the edge—it’s just a fact.

11. Korean-style Popcorn Cauliflower

These sweet and tangy flavors pair deliciously with gooey mac and cheese.

12. Zucchini & Tomato Ragù

It’s saucy, savory and ready to eat in just 20 minutes. (Plus, it’s an excellent way to use up zucchini.)

13. 15-minute Skillet Pepper Steak

Meat, vegetables and pasta? That’s what we call balanced.

14. Family Style Chicken Caesar Salad

Cheesy mac and crisp salad are a match made in heaven.

15. Lemon-tahini Salad With Lentils, Beets And Carrots

Psst: To shortcut this salad, seek out vacuum-packed cooked beets at the supermarket.

16. Brussels Sprouts Latkes

You’ll need something crispy to go with all that creamy.

17. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers

We can’t get over these cuties. The pepper boats are optional but highly encouraged.

18. Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa

It’s ready in just 30 minutes.

19. Swedish ‘pizzasallad’ Cabbage Slaw

This sharp, vinegary dressing was literally created to complement melty cheese.

20. Delicata Squash Agrodolce

We love a good high-low pairing, not to mention the sweet-savory combination of winter squash and macaroni.

21. Sheet-pan Chicken And Rainbow Vegetables

Not today, dishes.

22. Easy Zucchini Chips

Potato chips won’t know what’s coming.

23. One-pan Eggs With Asparagus And Tomatoes

It’s impossibly easy and adds a boost of protein to your pasta dinner.

24. Light And Tangy Coleslaw

We love pairing pasta with something crunchy.

25. Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Sriracha And Lime

We love the combination of sweet, spicy and sour.

26. The Best Damn Tomato Soup

Tomatoes and cheese are a natural duo.

27. Asparagus Caesar Salad

FYI, you can totally make it in advance.

28. Chilled Cucumber Salad

We love no-cook recipes.

29. Beef Empanadas

Bonus: They can be frozen for three months.

30. Crispy Mushrooms

Cremini + garlic + salt + vinegar = bliss.

31. Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

You can’t go wrong with something spicy and sautéed.

32. Coconut Creamed Spinach

Even the kids will want seconds of this easy, saucy side.


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...