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.

24 Old-School Italian Recipes Your Grandma Used to Make

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.

italian side dishes stuffed eggplant recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

3. Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe

There’s a reason garlic bread is so popular: It’s delicious and incredibly easy to make. Just melt garlic and butter on bread in the oven and you’re ready to eat. (Thanks, Coterie member Maria Lichty.)

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.)

7. Roasted Eggplant Panzanella With Capers, Olives, And Pine Nuts

You’ll find this bread salad all over Italy, and the addition of eggplant makes it a bit heartier. Now pass the vino.

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.

10. The Ultimate Italian Salad Platter

Antipasti spreads always whet our appetites, and this beauty is no exception. Master the craft with these tips from Coterie member Heidi Larsen.

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?

italian side dishes pinwheels recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishestortellini soup with italian sausage recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

salami artichoke and ricotta pasta salad recipe

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.

kale minestrone soup recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes bruschetta bar recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes barley risotto in mushroom bowls 921
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes spring panzanella salad recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes cacio e pepe brussels sprouts recipe1
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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

italian side dishes zucchini and tomato ragu recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes no cook rainbow bruschetta recipe 921
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.)

italian side dishes chopped salad pizza hero
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.

italian side dishes deli pinwheel sandwiches recipe hero
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

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.)

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