If you’re wondering what to serve with your pasta bake, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 45 of the most popular side dishes for pasta bake.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with pasta bake are chimichurri garlic bread, focaccia, Caesar salad, or lemon butter broccoli. For a protein rich side, try pan-seared halibut, chicken tenders, or meatballs kebabs. Other options include a spring salad, zucchini balls, or spicy prosciutto straws.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Lemon butter broccoli
Looking to jazz up your plain steamed broccoli?
Toss them in a mixture of lemon, garlic powder, and butter.
This gives your crisp-tender florets a bright and fresh flavor, perfect for pairing with a rich dish like a pasta bake.
Why we love this recipe: you can use the sauce to elevate basically any green vegetable!
This is a classic Italian flatbread with a golden crispy crust and fluffy insides that make it oh-so-irresistible.
A sprinkle of herbs – rosemary’s my favorite – is all you need to enhance this bread’s natural flavors.
But you can also get creative with olives, sun dried tomatoes, and even pesto.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a detailed, easy-to-follow recipe that’s great even for beginners at baking.
Pasta bakes can be pretty heavy, so sometimes you just want a light side.
And salads are an easy fix!
I especially like a simple Caesar salad. The crisp lettuce and croutons covered with a garlicky, lemony dressing is a satisfying combination.
Psst… don’t skip the anchovies in the dressing. They’re essential.
Why we love this recipe: it’s all homemade, including the croutons.
These faux meatballs will make a great addition to your meat-free pasta bake.
They’re loaded with shredded zucchini, making them super nourishing.
And the two cheeses, mozzarella and parmesan, gives them a deliciously gooey texture.
They go great with any type of pasta sauce, but my favorite pairing is a rustic tomato sauce.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a great way to sneak more veggies into your meals.
Pasta bake is often a complete meal on its own, so you don’t always need an actual side.
Something like a bowl of marinated olives can be ideal.
They’ll give the guests something to snack on if you need extra time to prepare in the kitchen, and you can prep them ahead of time so there’s no extra stress on the day.
Why we love this recipe: there’s zero hands on cooking.
Beef up your pasta bake with a serving of crispy chicken tenders.
The key to getting the best chicken tenders is to marinate them in buttermilk – it tenderizes the meat plus helps the breading stick better.
Your kids will be so excited for dinner!
Why we love this recipe: you’re getting restaurant-quality tenders with basic pantry staples.
Wilted spinach with mushrooms and bacon
Getting bored of your usual spinach side?
Throw in some bacon and mushrooms to give it a delectable umami boost.
And the best part? You can save the leftovers and eat them for breakfast with a poached egg on top. YUM.
Why we love this recipe: it transforms a simple ingredient into something super tasty.
Another salad option is a simple Italian salad.
It’s easy to make, doesn’t require any extra cooking, and it’s open to customization.
I always like to throw in some cucumber for extra crunch.
Why we love this recipe: it tastes just like what you’d get at Olive Garden.
Fish is my go-to for a light and healthy protein.
And when I’m pairing the fish with a saucy dish like pasta bake, I usually go for seared halibut.
It has a mild flavor and firm meat that holds up well with any sauce.
And you can get it on the table in less than 20 minutes with just 4 ingredients!
Why we love this recipe: it’s ideal for those busy weeknight dinners.
Chimichurri garlic bread
Chimichurri isn’t just for steaks – it’s fabulous on top of cheesy garlic bread too.
This popular Argentinian condiment adds a herby, zesty flavor to the garlic bread that cuts through all the greasy melted cheese perfectly.
Pro tip: make the chimichurri mix slightly ahead of time so the flavors have time to fully develop.
Why we love this recipe: everyone will be asking for the recipe.
Pesto stuffed mushrooms
These are usually served as appetizers, but they’re also an excellent side dish to your pasta bake.
You’re free to stuff them with anything – from cheeses to sausages – but I’m especially fond of a pesto sauce filling.
Psst… want to make your own pesto? Here’s a great recipe.
Why we love this recipe: it looks as good as it tastes.
Spring vegetable salad
I know, another salad. But salads really do make great sides for pasta bake!
This recipe is packed with springtime veggies including raw asparagus, snap peas, radishes, and baby spinach leaves.
Then everything is tossed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette to round out the flavors.
Why we love this recipe: it adds a pop of refreshing green to your plate.
Spicy prosciutto straws
Spruce up your pasta bake meal with a piece (or two) of these prosciutto straws.
They’ll add even more elegance to the meal and a much-needed crunchy texture.
Psst… these are still just as tasty without the prosciutto, so don’t worry if you need to skip it.
Why we love this recipe: you’re guaranteed no leftovers.
Italian-style meatball kabobs
Kabobs are one of my favorite summer foods.
They’re fun, filling, and easy to make your own.
These kabos have an italian spin on them with meatballs and a pesto marinade.
Psst… cubes of chicken would also be great with the pesto flavor.
Why we love the recipe: it’s great for a party.
If you’re serving an Italian starter or main, tiramisu is a must-have dessert.
There are loads of variations of tiramisu (even a peanut and jelly one!), but I like adding a nutty twist with almond extract and pistachios.
The pistachios add a great crunch to the top to contrast with the rest of the soft, creamy textures.
Why we love the recipe: it’s a delicious spin on a traditional recipe.
The best side dishes to serve with pasta bake
- Lemon butter broccoli
- Caesar salad
- Zucchini “meatballs”
- Marinated olives
- Chicken tenders
- Wilted spinach with mushrooms and bacon
- Italian salad
- Pan-seared halibut
- Chimichurri garlic bread
- Pesto stuffed mushrooms
- Spring vegetable salad
- Spicy prosciutto straws
- Italian-style meatball kabobs
- Pistachio tiramisu
What To Serve With Pasta Bake
- 1 portion pasta bake
- Prepare your pasta bake according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: lemon butter broccoli, focaccia, caesar salad, zucchini “meatballs”, marinated olives, chicken tenders, wilted spinach with mushrooms and bacon, Italian salad, pan-seared halibut, chimichurri garlic bread, pesto stuffed mushrooms, spring vegetable salad, spicy prosciutto straws, Italian-style meatball kabobs, and pistachio tiramisu.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!