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What To Serve With Stuffed Shells – 42 BEST Sides

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

In this article, I list 42 of the most popular side dishes for stuffed shells.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with stuffed shells are pesto garlic knots, cheesy breadsticks, and kale Caesar salad. You can also serve mushroom bruschetta, lemon butter green beans, or crispy rosemary focaccia. For protein options, try seared halibut or meatball kabobs.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Pesto garlic knots

Tired of your plain old garlic bread?

Try these pesto garlic knots instead.

They’re buttery, incredibly soft, and super flavorful. The added homemade pesto amps up the garlic flavor and the herbs keep things feeling fresh.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a crowd pleasing dish that comes together in less than 15 minutes.

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Pesto garlic knots
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Garlic bread
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Red lobster biscuits

Balsamic tomato salad

Keep things simple with this 1 ingredient salad (okay, 1 main ingredient). 

Any kind of tomatoes work – cherry, grape, or heirloom – as long as they’re plum and juicy!

The balsamic vinegar, garlic, and fresh herbs in the dressing will highlight your tomatoes’ natural sweetness. YUM.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a delicious make-ahead summer salad.

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Stuffed baked tomatoes
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Panzanella salad

Mushroom Bruschetta

This classic Italian dish is always a welcome addition to a dinner spread.

It works as a starter, or you can serve it as a side to add some crunch to your pasta shells.

The topping in the recipe is a. mix of mushrooms, gruyere cheese, garlic, and fresh thyme. YUM.

Why we love this recipe: it’s simple but packs a flavorful punch.

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Mushroom bruschetta
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Roasted red pepper bruschetta
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Bruschetta arugula salad

Kale Caesar salad

I love a classic Caesar, but this version is a game-changer (especially in the winter). 

It’s got a simplified version of the traditional dressing that you only need 4 ingredients to make, and hopefully you’ll have all of them to hand.

This dressing adds flavor, but it’s also used to massage the kale making sure the leaves are tender.

Why we love this recipe: it’s anchovy-free and vegetarian. 

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Lemon parmesan kale salad

Rosemary focaccia

Aside from garlic bread, my next favorite bread to pair with pasta is focaccia.

The light and airy texture makes it perfect for mopping up leftover sauce. And you can play around with the flavors.

This recipe keeps it simple with some rosemary. But I like adding olives in too.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a great option for beginner bakers.

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Sourdough bread

Italian-style meatball kabobs

Kabobs are so versatile and really easy to make your own. Which means you can pair them with pretty much anything!

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.

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Italian-style meatball kabobs
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Grilled vegetale salad

Parmesan zucchini fries

You can never go wrong with a side of fries.

Especially when they’re as healthy and crispy as this baked zucchini fries.

The panko bread crumbs and parmesan coating is super addicting, and will taste amazing dipped in some of your pasta shell sauce.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a low-calorie snack.

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Lemon butter green beans

Another simple side option is some green veggies.

Green beans are budget friendly, easy to cook, and don’t need a lot to keep them interesting.

This recipe brightens them up with a spritz of lemon juice.

Why we love this recipe: it’s an easy weeknight meal.

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Green beans almondine

Spring vegetable salad

I know, another salad. But salads really do make great sides for stuffed shells!

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.

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Spring vegetable salad
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Lemony arugula salad with pine nuts

Apple slaw

Add a fruity twist to your stuffed shells with some apple slaw.

It’s also refreshingly crunchy and will cool you down on a hot summer’s day.

Pro tip: make this salad ahead of time so the shredded apple and cabbage really soak in the flavors from the dressing.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a fun spin on your traditional coleslaw.

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Apple slaw
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Asian coleslaw with sesame dressing
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Red cabbage slaw

Pan-seared halibut

Fish is my go-to side for a light and healthy protein. 

And when I’m pairing the fish with a saucy dish like stuffed shells, 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.

Why we love this recipe: it’s and elegant dish that will make you dinner feel restaurant worthy.

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Cheesy breadsticks

If you love bread and cheese (who doesn’t) then you’re in for a real treat with these cheesy breadsticks.

You can dip them into your saucy stuffed shells and use them to scoop up any overflowing stuffing.

And they’ll make your kitchen smell amazing.

Why we love this recipe: it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

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Cheesy breadsticks
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Hasselback cheesy bread
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Artichoke dip stuffed bread

Creamed spinach and artichokes

This recipe is halfway between creamed spinach and a spinach and artichoke dip.

And it’s half way between a side and a sauce.

Parmesan and cream cheese are added to a roux, giving this dish an ultra-thick texture. I would used it as a bed to rest my stuffed shells on.

Why we love this recipe: it adds some holiday flair to your dinner.

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Creamed spinach and artichokes
Skip the spinach
Miso creamed kale
Keep it light
Brown butter sauteed spinach


Not a side dish… but a slice of tiramisu is a lovely way to finish off an Italian meal.

And it’s pretty easy to make, especially with this recipe which has a really detailed visual guide.

Pro tip: if you don’t have rum, you can use brandy or any coffee liquor instead. Or you can try rum extract and one its substitutes.

Why we love this recipe: there’s no baking involved with this recipe.

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Brownie pie ala mode
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Panna cotta with berry sauce

The best side dishes to serve with stuffed shells

  • Pesto garlic knots
  • Balsamic tomato salad
  • Mushroom Bruschetta
  • Kale Caesar salad
  • Rosemary focaccia
  • Italian-style meatball kabobs
  • Parmesan zucchini fries
  • Lemon butter green beans
  • Spring vegetable salad
  • Apple slaw
  • Pan-seared halibut
  • Cheesy breadsticks
  • Creamed spinach and artichokes
  • Tiramisu

Read next: what to serve with stuffed tomatoes

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your stuffed shells.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: stuffed shells side dishes, what to serve with stuffed shells
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 141kcal


  • 1 portion stuffed shells


  • Prepare your stuffed shells according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: pesto garlic knots, balsamic tomato salad, mushroom bruschetta, kale caesar salad, rosemary focaccia, Italian-style meatball kabobs, parmesan zucchini fries, lemon butter green beans, spring vegetable salad, apple slaw, pan-seared halibut, cheesy breadsticks, creamed spinach and artichokes, and tiramisu.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 141kcal

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