If you’re wondering what to serve with your penne alla vodka, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 33 of the most popular side dishes for penne alla vodka.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with penne alla vodka are rosemary olive oil bread, pan-seared scallops, grilled Tuscan steak, veggie balls, and chicken Milanese. You can also serve garlic parmesan brussels sprouts, spicy roasted pork loin, tempeh bacon, roasted zucchini salad, or baked asparagus fries.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Serving bread with this pasta dish will give you twice the carbs, but you can’t deny it’s an unbeatable combo!
You can never go wrong with classic garlic bread, but you can also go the extra mile and bake your own loaf.
Looking for a low-carb alternative? Try parmesan-crusted asparagus spears!
No-knead rosemary olive oil bread
A slice of this rosemary olive oil bread is the perfect accompaniment for penne alla vodka.
It features a chewy golden crust and a soft, fluffy crumb that’s excellent for mopping up that creamy vodka sauce.
And the best part? It doesn’t require kneading – just mix your ingredients and leave your dough to rest before baking.
Why we love this recipe: it’ll make your kitchen smell amazing.
Crispy baked asparagus fries
If you’ve never tried asparagus fries, you’re missing out – big time!
A double coating of the panko and parmesan mixture gives your asparagus spears a golden, crispy crust.
These spears are fabulous with lemon aioli (recipe included), but I usually treat them like breadsticks and dip them in the pasta’s vodka cream sauce instead.
Why we love this recipe: you get that satisfying crunch without the grease and guilt of frying.
Vegetables and salads
A veggie side dish or a bowl of salad can help you offset a heavier penne alla vodka dish.
Caesar salad has a bright, garlicky flavor that can stand up to the rich sauce, but you can always keep it simple with a bowl of greens tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.
Or you can roll up your sleeves and make tasty veggie balls to sneakily add more veggies into your pasta meal.
Kale Caesar salad
I love a classic Caesar, but this version is a game-changer.
Instead of a lemony, anchovy dressing, this version has a creamy, garlicky dressing with a tangy bite that pairs superbly with your penne alla vodka.
This dressing is also used to massage the kale, meaning the leaves turn out tender and flavorful.
Add some crunchy croutons and salty parm to complete this delicious side salad.
Why we love this recipe: it’s anchovy-free.
Air fryer garlic parmesan brussels sprouts
Make your penne alla vodka meal healthier with a serving of these crispy sprouts.
With an air fryer, you get deliciously crisp and tender brussels sprouts in just 15 minutes!
These sprouts are great with salt and pepper, but a dusting of parmesan cheese adds a tasty, salty, nutty flavor.
I sometimes also add some chili flakes for a hint of spice.
Why we love this recipe: each serving only has 155 calories.
Roasted zucchini salad
Penne alla vodka is a carb-loaded dish, so a pure veggie side like this zucchini salad is an excellent idea.
Roasting the zucchini enhances its mild sweetness, and gives you those delightful charred spots.
But what makes this dish unique is its refreshingly zesty lemon-parmesan dressing.
It’s excellent for cutting through the rich, bold flavors of your tomato and cream sauce.
Why we love this recipe: a serving only adds 105 calories to your meal.
Mushroom, quinoa, and red pepper veggie balls
Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian or just wanting to add more nutrition in your meals, these veggie balls have your back.
They’re satisfyingly crisp on the outside, with tender, creamy insides that are simply irresistible.
And the best part? These veggie morsels are baked not fried, making them even healthier!
Pro-tip: mix these veggie balls with your pasta so they get coated with its tasty sauce.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a clever way to add more veggies to your meal.
Penne alla vodka has the carbohydrates part of the meal covered – now all you need is a protein-loaded side to complete the meal!
I love juicy lamb chops for date nights, but you can also go with chicken milanese for added crunch.
You can also explore meatless options like tempeh or tofu.
Pan-seared lemon garlic butter scallops
Whipping up a pasta dinner for your significant other?
Complete the meal with a serving of these seared scallops.
Pan seared scallops sounds intimidating, but they’re really simple to make. Just don’t leave them unattended. They will overcook quickly (I learnt this the hard way).
Psst… recipe goes the extra mile with a drizzle of lemon garlic butter pan sauce, bringing a zesty bite to contrast your pasta.
Why we love this recipe: it instantly makes any dish restaurant-quality.
Tempeh bacon is a fabulous accompaniment for a vegan penne alla vodka.
This popular meat substitute made of soybeans is cut into slices and then seasoned with soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke.
The mixture infuses your tempeh with a delicious smoky, sweet, and umami flavor that works wonders with your robust vodka sauce.
Why we love this recipe: it won’t taste exactly like bacon, but even non-vegans will enjoy this substitute.
Grilled Tuscan steak
In the mood for something fancy and indulgent? You can’t go wrong with this grilled Tuscan steak.
With this recipe, the steaks are rubbed with a herb, lemon, and olive oil marinade.
They’re then left to rest for at least 12 hours, infusing them with a bright, zesty flavor.
Enjoy these show-stopping steaks with a fresh pot of penne alla vodka for the ultimate Tuscan feast.
Why we love this recipe: it’s highly detailed and shares various tips and tricks for the perfect grilled Tuscan-inspired steak.
Go full Italian and pair your penne alla vodka with a side of chicken Milanese.
This dish involves coating your thin meat cutlet with seasoned bread crumbs and then frying, giving you a gorgeous golden crust.
Psst… this recipe uses onion and garlic powder for the breadcrumbs, but you can use any herbs or spices you like.
Why we love this recipe: it’s great even for busy work nights.
Spicy roasted pork loin
With this roasted pork loin, you don’t have to break the bank for a show-stopping main dish.
An entire pork loin is slathered with a sriracha-garlic sauce and then left to marinate for at least 2 hours before roasting.
The result? Juicy, fork-tender pork with a spicy note that goes nicely with your rich penne alla vodka.
Why we love this recipe: it instantly elevates any meal.
The best side dishes for penne alla vodka
- No-knead rosemary olive oil bread
- Crispy baked asparagus fries
- Kale Caesar salad
- Air fryer garlic parmesan brussels sprouts
- Roasted zucchini salad
- Mushroom, quinoa, and red pepper veggie balls
- Pan-seared lemon garlic butter scallops
- Tempeh bacon
- Grilled Tuscan steak
- Chicken milanese
- Spicy roasted pork loin
What To Serve With Penne Alla Vodka (33 Ideas)
- 1 portion no-knead rosemary olive oil bread
- 1 portion kale caesar salad
- 1 portion spicy roasted pork loin
- 1 portion mushroom quinoa veggie balls
- 1 portion grilled tuscan steak
- 1 portion tempeh bacon … and more
- Prepare your penne alla vodka according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: no-knead rosemary olive oil bread, crispy baked asparagus fries, kale caesar salad, air fryer garlic parmesan brussels sprouts, roasted zucchini salad, mushroom, quinoa, and red pepper veggie balls, pan-seared lemon garlic butter scallops, tempeh bacon, grilled tuscan steak, chicken milanese, and spicy roasted pork loin.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!