If you’re wondering what to serve with your bolognese, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 18 of the most popular side dishes for bolognese.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best side dishes to serve with bolognese are garlic knots, caesar salad, braised mushrooms, and spaghetti squash. For more vegetable options, try garlic broccolini, zucchini boats, or cauliflower steak. Or for more filling options, go for mac and cheese, mozzarella sticks, or polenta.
Ready? let’s jump right in.
Garlic parmesan knots
We all know garlic bread is a classic side dish for bolognese.
But if you want something a bit unique, serve your bolognese with these garlic knots instead.
Imagine mopping up your bolognese with these fluffy morsels. Pure bliss.
Another great thing about these treats?
These garlic parmesan knots take less than 20 minutes to make.
Sauteed green beans
Add a bright pop of freshness to your bolognese with these green beans.
The addition of lemon gives the beans a zingy flavor that will contrast with the rich, savory flavors of the beef.
These sauteed lemon butter parmesan green beans may well become your new favorite way of eating green beans.
Psst… cook the beans quickly so they don’t get limp or lose their brilliant color.
This Caesar salad is a fresh side dish that will help keep your bolognese light.
It features crisp lettuce and crunchy croutons to provide texture.
And the creamy dressing blends in really well with the tomato-y flavors from the bolognese sauce.
This simple yet flavorful Caesar salad is great for both weeknight dinners and special occasions.
Instant pot mac n cheese
Looking for something indulgent?
Swap out your plain pasta with some creamy mac and cheese.
You can serve the two dishes side by side, or stir the bolognese into the mac and cheese for the ultimate comfort meal.
It’s up to you. But whatever you go for – it’s guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s faces.
And with this instant pot recipe, you can have your mac and cheese ready in 10-minutes!
Mozzarella sticks may not be traditionally Italian, but there’s no denying they pair nicely with bolognese.
And no one can resist some gooey cheese.
Scoop up some of the bolognese sauce with these sticks for a tasty bite, and remember to indulge responsibly!
Rocket pear salad
Bolognese is a rich and heavy dish, so goes great with a salad.
But sometimes you want something a bit more fancy than your average green salad.
And that’s where this rocket and pear dish comes in.
The peppery flavor of the rocket is balanced out by the pears’ sweetness. And the balsamic vinaigrette adds some acidity to cut through the savory bolognese sauce.
And the best thing, this rocket pear salad only takes 5 minutes to put together.
Brussels sprouts gratin
Add a cheesy, festive flair to your bolognese with this brussels sprouts gratin.
This dish features blanched brussels sprouts drenched in a creamy sauce made with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Blanching the brussels sprouts gives them a crisp-tender texture and ensures they won’t get mushy (because who likes mushy sprouts!).
This brussels sprouts gratin will make any meal feel instantly special.
Psst… you can also add leeks and spinach.
Spaghetti squash is a lighter, healthier, low-carb alternative to pasta.
It can be quite tricky to get spaghetti squash right, but this tutorial breaks it down step by step.
Psst… the squash tastes especially delicious with a lentil bolognese.
And don’t feel limited by squash, and vegetable pasta will work.
If you don’t have much time to make a side dish to go with your bolognese, this garlic broccolini has your back.
It has a simple earthy flavor that pairs well with the richness of pasta bolognese. And the gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) add a delicious spicy kick to the greens.
This gochugaru garlic broccolini is perfect for those days when you’re feeling completely overrun.
One of my favorite vegetables is mushrooms.
They’re like sponges – and will soak up whatever sauce you cook them in.
Garlic butter mushrooms are a classic, add some white wine to the mix and you’ve got a bold side dish that will hold its own against the bolognese sauce.
Make these wine-braised mushrooms for an umami-packed addition to your meal.
Want to try something a little bit different?
These cauliflower steaks will turn your homely bolognese into a restaurant-worthy dish.
A tender cauliflower “steak” with a lightly crisp, golden-brown crust that’s seasoned to perfection with paprika and parsley.
Spoon a big heap of your mince over it and your guests will be wowed!
There’ll be no need for pasta with Jessica Gavin’s recipe.
Garlic basil parmesan crisps
Want something extra for your bolognese, but don’t want anything too filling?
Take a look at these garlic basil parmesan chips.
They’re easy to make, and they instantly elevate a meal from bog-standard to something special.
All you need is 15 minutes plus some parmesan cheese, basil, and garlic powder.
Warning: they are extremely moreish.
Summer zucchini ribbons
Have you ever had zucchini ribbons?
You can serve them in a delicious salad, or give them a quick sautee like Rachel does in her recipe.
The whole thing will only take 15 minutes to get on the table, and you don’t need any fancy equipment.
Just a vegetable peeler.
Pair this with some bolognese for a nice light dinner.
This is another suggestion you can use instead of pasta.
Keep things simple and scoop your bolognese over a bed of cheesy polenta.
The polenta will absorb all the wonderful sauce, so nothing will go to waste.
And it keeps brilliantly in the fridge. So if you end up with leftovers, you’ll have a tasty lunch ready for the next day.
Try this easy basic polenta recipe today.
Coleslaw is an all-time favorite side, and it’s great with you’re trying to feed a big crowd.
It’s versatile, so you can make it extra creamy or have it more on the tangy side if that’s what you’d prefer.
For bolognese, I think a creamy coleslaw is best to help mellow out all the strong flavors.
Pro tip: don’t dress the coleslaw until just before serving to keep the cabbage crunchy.
Jacket potatoes (or baked potatoes) with bolognese is a classic British meal.
It’s ideal for a filling lunch or a simple mid-week dinner (when you don’t want pasta).
You can cook the potatoes in the microwave if you’re in a hurry, but if you want to get the crispiest skin possible, follow the salt-baked method outlined here.
(yes it’s a tik-tok trend)
This is a really fun (and deceptively easy) option.
Zucchini boats are less of a side dish, and more of a unique way to serve bolognese. But I couldn’t leave them off my list!
Simply hollow out the inside, fill them with your meaty sauce, and top generously with cheese.
It’s a great way to sneak some vegetables into picky eaters.
Bacon and squash fritters
These tasty treats take the spaghetti squash I mentioned earlier and turn it into something a little more exciting.
I’d top each fritter with a spoonful of bolognese and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Sounds irresistible, right?
You and your guests will be dreaming about these bacon and squash fritters for days.
Pro tip: they taste great with eggs for breakfast too.
The best side dishes for bolognese
- Garlic parmesan knots
- Sauteed green beans
- Caesar salad
- Instant pot mac n cheese
- Mozzarella sticks
- Rocket pear salad
- Brussels sprouts gratin
- Spaghetti squash
- Garlic broccolini
- Wine-braised mushrooms
- Cauliflower steak
- Garlic basil parmesan crisps
- Summer zucchini ribbons
- Jacket potatoes
- Zucchini boats
- Bacon and squash fritters
What To Serve With Bolognese
- 1 portion bolognese
- Prepare your bolognese according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: garlic parmesan knots, sauteed green beans, caesar salad, instant pot mac n cheese, mozzarella sticks, rocket pear salad, brussels sprouts gratin, spaghetti squash, garlic broccolini, wine-braised mushrooms, cauliflower steak, garlic basil parmesan crisps, summer zucchini ribbons, polenta, coleslaw, jacket potatoes, zucchini boats, or bacon and squash fritters.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!