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What To Serve With Carbonara – 13 Delicious Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your carbonara, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 13 of the most popular side dishes for carbonara.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with carbonara are bruschetta, scallops, mushrooms, and parmesan chips. Try spinach, stuffed tomatoes, grilled zucchini, or veggie tart for healthier options. You can also serve Caesar salad, roasted salmon, Mediterranean chicken, focaccia, or cauliflower bites. 

Ready? Let’s jump right in.


Keep it simple and delicious with a plate of bruschetta

It’s a classic Italian appetizer that works with any pasta dish – and carbonara is no exception. 

I like to make the tomato topping ahead of time. 

Letting it soak for a couple of hours makes it even more delicious. 

Easy Weeknight Recipes adds garlic to this tasty dish to amp up the flavors. 

Caesar salad

Classic carbonara is pretty much a complete meal on its own – it’s just missing a veggie component.

Salads are easy to whip up. They add flavor and nutrition to any dish. 

I like a good, crisp Caesar salad alongside my carbonara. 

Throw in some garlic croutons, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

FoodieCrush’s recipe features a delicious caesar salad dressing that’ll knock your socks off. 

Pan-seared scallops

Make your classic carbonara even fancier by preparing a handful of scallops. 

These scallops add a fresh, briny flavor to your carbonara.

Never cooked scallops before? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. 

Wholesome Yum has a detailed recipe you can follow for perfect pan-seared scallops. 

It also features a tasty lemon butter sauce you can drizzle over your carbonara. 

Parmesan crisps

These delicate parmesan crisps will look oh so pretty on top of your carbonara. 

They’re elegant and add a delicious flair to any pasta dish. 

You’ll be surprised by how easy these are to make!

You only need parmesan, flour, and a handful of fresh herbs. And you’re good to go.

Just remember to use quality parmesan cheese. 

Try these tasty treats with the recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine

Grilled zucchini

Zucchini always taste great, no matter how you prepare them. 

That said, grilling zucchini is one of my favorite ways to cook it. 

It gives the zucchini a smoky, subtle sweet floral taste that goes well with a creamy dish like carbonara. 

It’s a light, healthy dish that you can jazz up with a drizzle of garlic oil. 

Sounds great, right?

Make this tasty dish right now with this recipe from Damn Delicious

Grilled Mediterranean chicken

Creamy pasta and delicious grilled chicken – who can say no to that? 

This classic combination will be a hit among your dinner party guests.

I like to make a Mediterranean-style marinade for my grilled chicken when I serve it with carbonara. 

It’s a fresh, light flavor that pairs well with the richness and creaminess of the carbonara. 

Hungry yet?

Check out the full recipe from Two Kooks in the Kitchen

Sauteed mushrooms

These sauteed mushrooms go with any dish. 

They’re packed to the brim with flavors that will leave your taste buds tingling.

And the best part? They’re low-carb. A perfect nutritious side dish to balance an indulgent plate of carbonara. 

Typically, sauteed mushrooms are drenched in butter (which is delicious).

But if you want to go the healthy route, you can reduce the amount of butter and substitute it with olive oil instead. 

You’ll feel less guilty eating carbonara with this side dish. 

Want to get a taste?

Try it out with this recipe from The Kitchen Magpie

Cauliflower bites

Who says vegetables have to be boring? 

If you have kids or picky eaters who refuse to eat cauliflower, this is the dish that might make them change their minds. 

Thanks to the panko and parmesan, these cauliflower bites have a crispy exterior. They remain soft and tender inside. 

These bites may not need even a dipping sauce when you serve them with carbonara. You can simply dip these cauliflower bites in the creamy carbonara sauce. 

These are super addictive, so don’t be surprised if they run out quickly.

Plan ahead and make a double batch with this recipe from Enjoy Clean Eating.

This recipe uses an air fryer, but you can also bake your cauliflower bites if you don’t have one. 

Wilted spinach

Spinach usually goes well in a rich, creamy sauce.

That’s why it’s a no-brainer to have it as a side dish for carbonara. 

Wilted spinach is quick and easy to make. 

All you need is spinach, garlic, and olive oil.

How simple!

Try it out with this recipe from Skinny Taste

Stuffed tomatoes

These stuffed tomatoes are filled with gooey cheese and herbs that will remind you of a Margherita pizza, just without the crust. (and the guilt).

I like to use mozzarella and basil for these stuffed tomatoes, but you can get creative and come up with any cheese and herb combo you can think of.

These stuffed tomatoes are usually grilled, but they can also be baked if you want less hassle. 

Let Simply Recipes guide you through making the best mozzarella and basil stuffed tomatoes. 


Garlic bread is good, but focaccia is on another level. 

It’s crispy and herby on the outside with a light and air crumb.

It’s the perfect bread to soak up the remaining creamy carbonara sauce on your plate. 

I keep it simple when I serve focaccia with carbonara, but you can jazz it up with various toppings. 

You can even get creative and use brightly colored veggies to make your focaccia look like a work of art. 

Salt and Baker’s recipe will help you get the basics down.

Once you know the basics, you can experiment with the toppings.

Vegetable spiral tart

Try making this vegetable spiral tart for a twist to your regular roasted vegetables. 

It’s an impressive-looking dish that’s bound to turn heads when you bring it to the dinner table.

Serve a slice of this tart alongside your carbonara, and you have a plate that’s #instaworthy.

Ready to bake? 

Bake To The Roots‘ recipe will walk you through making this gorgeous spiral tart. 

Roasted salmon

Roasted salmon is an excellent dish to serve with carbonara as a light protein. 

I like to roast my salmon with lemon, butter, and seasonal herbs. 

It’s a simple protein with a fresh, citrusy zing that complements the carbonara. 

It’s also quick and easy to cook, perfect for busy weeknight dinners.

If you want to give it a try, check out The Defined Dish’s easy lemon thyme roasted salmon recipe. 

The best carbonara side dishes

  • Bruschetta
  • Caesar salad
  • Pan-seared scallops
  • Parmesan crisps
  • Grilled zucchini
  • Grilled mediterranean chicken
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Cauliflower bites
  • Wilted spinach
  • Stuffed tomatoes
  • Focaccia
  • Vegetable spiral tart
  • Roasted salmon

What To Serve With Carbonara

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your pasta carbonara.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: carbonara side dishes, what to serve with carbonara
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 191kcal


  • 1 portion pasta carbonara


  • Prepare your carbonara according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: bruschetta, caesar salad, pan-seared scallops, parmesan crisps, grilled zucchini, grilled Mediterranean chicken, sauteed mushrooms, cauliflower bites, wilted spinach, stuffed tomatoes, focaccia, vegetable spiral tart, and roasted salmon.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 191kcal

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