30 Quick and Easy Italian Side Dishes You Need to Try
From a gooey ball of burrata to a simple bowl of marinated heirloom tomatoes, Italian side dishes are just as delicious as the heaping bowls of pasta that take center stage. Whether you’re serving up a Tuscan-inspired feast or you’re just in the mood for minestrone, here are the 30 best Italian side dishes to try.
1. Classic Italian Fried Zucchini Flowers
In Rome, you’ll find these on the menu as fiori di zucca fritti—and they’re just as delicious as they sound in Italian. Zucchini blossoms are lightly battered and fried, then stuffed with Parmesan, mozzarella and anchovies.
29. Stuffed Eggplant
All this veggie wants to do is live its best life, and that can be kind of hard when it's always drowned in tomato sauce and mozz. Consider this eggplant's big day. They're hollowed out before getting stuffed and roasted with quinoa, kale and garlicky mushrooms.
2. 20-Minute Burrata Salad with Stone Fruit and Asparagus
A big, fresh ball of burrata makes everything better. Along with the gooey cow’s milk cheese, toss peaches, plums, asparagus and snap peas in a dainty vinaigrette. It’s so good, you may make it your main.
4. Lightened-Up Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs
Soup alone for dinner may not be enough, which is why this light version of Italian wedding soup makes the ideal side dish. (Coterie member Jesse Reilly gives us tips for flavorful chicken meatballs, too.)
5. Everyday Italian Salad
There’s a reason they call this an “everyday” salad—it takes just 15 minutes to prep, and it’s tasty enough to eat every day. Just combine fresh greens, veggies and croutons in a mustard vinaigrette.
6. Caprese Salad with Grilled Zucchini
Put a twist on the classic plate of tomatoes and mozzarella. Grill zucchini, then top it with mozzarella and tomato. Drizzle it all with balsamic. (The cheese melts slightly and we’re not complaining.)
8. Farro and Roasted Vegetables with Italian Salsa Verde
This “salsa verde” is basically a play on pesto. Slather it onto just about any seasonal veggie your heart desires.
9. Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio
Eating a tomato in Tuscany is a heavenly experience. Bring that experience to your dinner table with this gorgeous five-minute recipe.
11. Prosciutto and Balsamic Greens Flatbread
OK, maybe flatbread isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear “side dish.” But who is really going to complain when this prosciutto-topped masterpiece arrives at the table?
12. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Dill, Goat Cheese and Peas
Side dishes shouldn’t be complicated, since the main often takes all of your cooking focus. After roasting the fingerlings, just toss in the herbs, cheese and veggies and you’re ready to eat.
13. Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares
Every extra millimeter of our plates is going to be filled with these divine little bites. Stuffed with fontina cheese and prosciutto, it’s like umami went wild in the bakery.
14. Easy Minestrone Soup
Forget the canned version. Maria Lichty serves up a hearty (and ridiculously simple) vegetable soup that will satisfy your Italian cravings.
15. Maple Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Pine Nuts and Parmesan
The secret to mouthwatering Brussels sprouts? Pancetta. Jesse Reilly also adds pine nuts, Parmesan shavings and a maple glaze.
16. Chopped Italian Salad
The amazing thing about this side salad? You can use up any extra sandwich ingredients you have in the fridge, like salami and sliced cheese.
17. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
Sprinkle grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes on this vegetable soup for an extra kick. And did we mention you can whip it up in just 30 minutes with one pot?
18. Italian Pinwheels
Whenever there’s a party, you know where to find us: by the charcuterie spread. Italian pinwheels combine all the elements of a cheese board (cured meat, cheese and carbs) into one delicious bite.
19. Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage
If you asked us our favorite food, we’d respond with a resounding “pasta.” Oh, wait, maybe soup. (We really love soup.) Thanks to this tasty tortellini soup with Italian sausage, we no longer have to choose.
20. Salami, Artichoke and Ricotta Pasta Salad
Not all pasta dishes need to be swimming in red sauce. Take this salami, artichoke and ricotta pasta salad recipe. A few classic Italian flavors come together for one simple yet satisfying dish.
21. Kale Minestrone
This recipe for kale minestrone has all the good stuff—vegetables, beans, pasta and cheese. For a bit of freshness, we add a spoonful of pesto (and more cheese) to each bowl.
22. Italian Bruschetta Bar
You only need a few store-bought ingredients to build this stunning Italian Bruschetta Bar. Don't fuss about the arrangement—a random presentation is the best way to convey that perfect "relaxed afternoon in a vineyard" vibe.
23. Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Barley Risotto
Sure, you could plop this delicious creamy risotto onto a plate and have a great meal. Or you could cradle it in portobello mushroom caps and feast like a queen.
24. Spring Panzanella Salad
Panzanella is an Italian salad made with hunks of bread (not croutons!). And that's definitely our kind of salad. Start dinner with a crisp mix of asparagus, peas, watercress, scallions and mushrooms. Toast the bread in the oven before topping it all off with tangy mint-mustard dressing.
25. Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts
Oh, cacio e pepe, we adore you. The simple combo of black pepper and cheese instantly elevates not only pasta but also pretty much every veggie
26. Zucchini & Tomato Ragù
Think of this dish as a deconstructed ratatouille. Start by sautéing zucchini and summer squash until golden and al dente, then rip up hunks of mozzarella (the recipe calls for four ounces, but it'll be our little secret if you double it). Pour some over your spaghetti and top it off with a runny egg.
27. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Your friends are popping by for an unexpected visit, but water crackers and onion dip are not gonna cut it. Time to whip up rainbow heirloom tomato bruschetta. It’s quick, easy and on the table in 15 minutes. (Phew.)
28. Chopped Italian Salad Pizza
This chopped Italian salad pizza is a far better way to eat your greens. Plus, thanks to store-bought dough, the thin and crispy-crusted beauty is as easy to toss together as your go-to bowl of kale.
30. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches
Sure, you could throw some deli meat between two slices of bread and call it a day. Or you could take ten extra minutes and whip up bite-size Italian deli pinwheel sandwiches! (Bonus points if you serve them with peperoncini.)