This article was updated on the 11th of August 2023 for clarity and freshness.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your baked ziti, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 39 of the most popular side dishes for baked ziti.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with baked ziti are cheesy garlic bread, chicken cordon bleu, mozzarella sticks, sticky ribs, and steak kabobs. Try Italian green salad, blackened shrimp, roasted eggplant salad, Caprese stuffed mushrooms, skillet green beans, and broccoli slaw for healthier options.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Baked ziti is hearty enough on its own, but why not make it even more filling with a tasty protein on the side? And with ziti’s rich flavor, you have plenty of options to choose from. Steak kabobs are great, especially if you’re serving baked ziti at a cookout. But why not go with seafood if you want to keep it light?
Serving baked ziti at a summer party? Make these steak kabobs to go with your delicious pasta dish.
These kabobs feature marinated steak pieces skewered with onions, bell peppers, and zucchini. Not a fan of these veggies? You can swap them with your favorite or even leave them out if you want.
And the best part is these steak kabobs cook in just 10 minutes, so your guests can easily grab a skewer (or two) as you’re grilling them.
Pro-tip: marinate the steak pieces overnight to make them more flavorful and tender.
Blackened shrimp and asparagus skillet
Elevate your baked ziti dish by serving it with this blackened shrimp and asparagus skillet.
It’s simple, but don’t count it out. The blackened seasoning gives the shrimp and asparagus spears a spicy, smoky flavor that pairs well with the richness of your ziti.
EatWell 101 makes this seasoning blend from scratch, which allows you to tweak the quantities of the spices to suit your preference. But you can also use a pre-made blend to eliminate the guesswork.
Chicken cordon bleu
Hosting a dinner party? Impress your guests by serving your baked ziti and this classic chicken cordon bleu.
Just thinking about Swiss cheese and ham encased in the tender chicken is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
Want to take things up a notch? Whip up a quick mustard sauce to drizzle over your cordon bleu slices.
It’s not the simplest dish to prepare, but seeing how gorgeous this chicken cordon bleu is makes the effort worthwhile.
Sticky Asian ribs
These Asian ribs have a sticky, sweet, and savory flavor that goes well with a saucy pasta dish like ziti.
You don’t even have to fire up your grill to achieve these results because this recipe involves baking the ribs in the oven for hours. The long cooking time ensures they’re fork-tender and practically falling off the bone. And as a bonus, these ribs will make your kitchen smell heavenly.
Psst… don’t expect these sticky Asian ribs to last long – they’ll be devoured as soon as you set them down.
Parmesan garlic crumbed fish
Want a light protein to pair with your rich baked ziti? Try this easy parmesan crumbed fish.
This recipe skips dredging the fish filets in an egg mixture. Instead, you only need to coat one side of the fish with mustard, which acts as glue to hold the parmesan and breadcrumb mixture.
The results? Soft, flaky fish with a delightfully crunchy, nutty crust that adds a satisfying contrast to your baked ziti’s soft textures.
RecipeTin Eats uses perch filets in this recipe, but you can use any white fish you like. I would skip the salmon though — I think it’d be far too rich-tasting to pair with ziti.
Salads and vegetables
With a dish as indulgent as baked ziti, you can never go wrong with pairing it with a fresh salad or a simple veggie side. These side dishes are light enough to cut through the ziti’s richness, offering a refreshing bite that makes you dive right back into that cheesy pasta.
Baked ziti can be a complete meal on its own, but it lacks a fresh and nutritious component. And that’s where this slaw comes in!
Unlike typical recipes that involve a mayo dressing, this slaw is dressed with a honey mustard vinaigrette, making it lighter. The dressing also infuses the veggies with a lightly sweet, tangy flavor that holds up well to the bold flavors of your baked ziti.
Pro-tip: take your cue from Detoxinista — skip the prep work and use a bag of broccoli slaw mix instead.
Italian green salad
A good bowl of Italian green salad is an excellent side dish for baked ziti.
It’s quick and easy to prepare, making it great for when you’re pressed for time. Plus, it doesn’t involve any cooking — simply chop your ingredients and toss them in your dressing.
All of the components of this salad are tied together with a zesty Italian dressing that helps offset your ziti’s heaviness.
Psst… Creme de la Crumb uses a lettuce base, but other leafy greens like kale and arugula also work great for this salad.
Skillet green beans
Add pops of freshness to your baked ziti with these skillet green beans. They may look boring, but I assure you they’re not.
The green beans are seasoned with a combination of garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and zest that give them a lightly spicy, zesty kick. They’re just what you need to prevent your cheesy baked ziti from getting overwhelming.
Psst… these green beans cook fast, so keep an eye on them. They can easily go from crisp-tender to soggy in a minute. And no one wants soggy green beans.
Roasted eggplant salad
This salad combines two dishes together — fresh tomato salad and roasted eggplant, all on a bed of cucumber-yogurt sauce. It boasts a medley of bright, smoky, and refreshing flavors that everyone will enjoy, even the meat-eaters.
I prefer serving this as a starter with slices of bread for my baked ziti, but you can also enjoy it on the side if you want that smoky kick.
Air-fried Brussels sprouts
Roasting is my favorite method of cooking Brussels sprouts, but this recipe is very close to changing my mind. It involves tossing the sprouts in a spiced breadcrumb mixture before air-frying, which gives them satisfyingly extra crunchy exteriors. These sprouts are so good, you’ll want to have them for a snack.
Plus, each batch of sprouts only takes 8 minutes in the air fryer, making this an excellent last-minute nourishing addition.
Serve these jazzed-up sprouts alongside your baked ziti for a complete and healthy meal.
Appetizers or snacks
Before the main show, how about some tasty tidbits to get the party started? I love starting off with mozzarella sticks and stuffed mushrooms, but who’s to say you also can’t enjoy them alongside your baked ziti? Just a heads up, though — you’ll need a nap right after.
Cheesy garlic crack bread
Garlic bread is the go-to accompaniment for pasta dishes like baked ziti.
But want to know what’s better than garlic bread? This cheesy garlic crack bread. Every bread piece you pull is oh-so-cheesy, buttery, and garlicky with this dish. It even has that picture-perfect cheese pull.
But that’s not even the most satisfying part of this indulgent dish. When all the pre-cut bread pieces have been pulled, you’re left with a crispy base that’s extra buttery and cheesy.
You’ll never go back to plain garlic bread when you taste this cheesy garlic crack bread.
Caprese stuffed mushrooms
Caprese salad is a classic accompaniment for pasta dishes, but if you find it boring, try making these stuffed mushrooms instead.
As the name suggests, the mushrooms are stuffed with everything Caprese — cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. This lets the mozzarella melt, making it gooey and the cherry tomatoes roast, releasing their natural sweetness.
It kind of reminds me of pizza but without the crust, making it healthier.
Even your pickiest eaters will have difficulty saying no to these Caprese stuffed mushrooms.
If you’re a cheese lover, make your ziti extra cheesy with a serving of crispy mozzarella sticks. And no, not the store-bought stuff!
Homemade mozzarella sticks are such a breeze to make, and you can even make a big batch to freeze so you can have them anytime you want.
The trick is to double-coat the cheese sticks to prevent them from leaking and to ensure they achieve those delightful crisp, golden crusts.
Enjoy these treats with a side of marinara sauce or use them to mop up your baked ziti’s sauce.
What To Serve With Baked Ziti [39 Ideas]
- 1 portion cheesy garlic crack bread
- 1 portion blackened shrimp and asparagus skillet
- 1 portion Italian green salad
- 1 portion steak kabobs
- 1 portion broccoli slaw
- 1 portion chicken cordon bleu
- Prepare your baked ziti according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: cheesy garlic crack bread, Caprese stuffed mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, broccoli slaw, steak kabobs, blackened shrimp and asparagus skillet, Italian green salad, chicken cordon bleu, skillet green beans, sticky Asian ribs, and roasted eggplant salad.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!