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.
30 Quick and Easy Italian Side Dishes You Need 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.)