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What To Serve With Sweet and Sour Meatballs – 15 Best Side Dishes

This article was updated on the 17th of August 2023 for clarity and freshness.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your sweet and sour meatballs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 15 of the most popular side dishes for sweet and sour meatballs.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes to serve with sweet and sour meatballs are coconut rice, vegetable chow mein, bok choy, spring rolls, and fried wontons. You can also try roasted Asian vegetable medley, spicy cucumber salad, Sichuan green beans, and Chinese cabbage salad for a healthier option.

For each side dish, I’ve provided alternative options to cater to various diets and lifestyles, including vegan, quick and easy, and health-conscious options.

Starchy sides

Starchy sides are a no-brainer side dish for saucy dishes like sweet and sour meatballs. A bowl of steamed rice or noodles helps absorb the tangy and vibrant sauce, creating a more complete and satisfying meal.

Coconut Rice

5.0 ⭐️ (15 ratings) | 30 mins

Steamed rice is the go-to side dish for sweet and sour meatballs, but why not add a tropical twist with this coconut-flavored version?

Minimalist Baker uses a combination of coconut milk and water to infuse plain old rice with a delicious nutty flavor that complements your sweet and sour meatballs.

You can also add unsweetened shredded coconut for extra flavor and a satisfying contrasting texture.

What readers are saying…

“Love this!! I’ve made it 5 times now and I could just eat it straight out of the pot!”

“My guests raved about the coconut rice. You’re right that the addition of the coconut water made such a difference–genius!”

“This was absolutely gorgeous! In all my years of trying to replicate the coconut rice from our local favorite Thai restaurant, this is the best by a long shot. Perfect, just the right coconut, sugar, and salt combination, for me.”

🍚 Egg Fried Rice
🌱 Coconut Lime Quinoa
😇 Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Vegetable Chow Mein Noodles

4.6 ⭐️ (114 ratings) | 20 mins

Vegetable chow mein noodles are great for a quick weeknight meal.

They’re a breeze to make and are packed with veggies to help boost your daily nutritional intake. This recipe uses a medley of cabbage, bean sprouts, and carrots. But the real beauty of this dish is you can use any veggies you have in the fridge.

Enjoy these colorful vegetable chow mein noodles with your sweet and sour meatballs for the ultimate Chinese “fakeout” meal.

What readers are saying…

“I had to substitute white cabbage for red cabbage and couldn’t get hold of beans shoots but it didn’t matter, it’s that lovely salty, slightly spicy sauce that makes it yummy!”

“Just made this. Really simple and subtle but very enjoyable.”

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

5.0 ⭐️ (22 ratings) | 30 mins

Not in the mood for pairing your sweet and sour meatballs with rice or noodles? Try mashed potatoes instead.

Its rich, creamy consistency easily soaks up all the deliciousness from your meatballs’ sauce, making each bite extra tasty.

This recipe is as basic as you can get, but I like adding a clove of garlic or two into the mash for a subtle savory flavor.

What readers are saying…

These were perfect! I used Irish butter which makes these potatoes decadent.

This is really the best mashed potato recipe I’ve ever made! I thought 1/3 cup of milk wouldn’t be enough but it’s the perfect amount. Such a hit for my family.

“Yum. Perfect complement of salt to butter to milk ratio.”

Hawaiian Rolls

4.6 ⭐️ (47 ratings) | 3 hrs 35 mins

These Hawaiian rolls are another excellent starchy side to serve with your meatballs.

They’re perfectly light and fluffy, with a subtle sweetness from the addition of pineapple juice.

Use them to mop up your meatballs’ finger-licking good sauce. Or you can tear them open and stuff them with your meatballs!

What readers are saying…

These rolls turned out beautifully! Perfectly tender crumb and lovely flavor.

“Great recipe! They turned out perfect! Didn’t have potato flour so I used bread flour, and I used fast-acting yeast instead of instant yeast and let it proof 30 minutes longer for each proofing. Sooo goood!!!

“I’ve always loved these rolls from the store but like most things, it’s better when homemade.”


Warm veggie sides are a great way to counter your meatballs’ rich, sweet-tangy sauce. And aside from balancing flavors, these sides also help add color and vibrancy to your plate. Most importantly, they’re packed with different nutrients to help round out the meal.

Air-fryer Asian Sesame Broccoli

4.6 ⭐️ (22 ratings) | 15 mins

Roasting is my favorite method for cooking broccoli, but air-frying is a close second. After all, it’s hard not to love getting the florets perfectly crisp-tender in just 10 minutes of cooking time.

And with additions like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, these bright green florets are an excellent savory contrast to your meatballs’ sweet and sour notes.

What the chef says…

“And don’t forget the toasted sesame seed garnish. It only takes a minute to toast the sesame seeds, and they add such a great, nutty flavor to this dish.

Sichuan Green Beans

4.9 ⭐️ (31 ratings) | 25 mins

Green beans aren’t the most exciting vegetable, but they’re super easy to jazz up.

I especially love dry-frying them, like with this recipe. This simple method gives them the texture of being deep-fried without all the hot oil.

And another easy way to spruce them up is with a dollop of chili garlic paste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. These additions give the green beans a spicy kick to cut through the sweet-tangy goodness of your meatballs.

What the readers are saying…

“I took the plunge!!! Have wanted to make these ever since I had them at a restaurant years ago! Don’t have a wok, but didn’t have any problems. I made the recipe as is but added a few extra DROPS of sesame oil as it’s one of my favorite flavors. DELICIOUS!!!

My two teenage sons request this weekly and steal from the pan before dinner is served. Signs of a keeper recipe!

Roasted Asian Vegetable Medley

5.0 ⭐️ (8 ratings) | 20 mins

In a rush? Take a look in your fridge and see what vegetables you have. Season them with some Asian flavors (soy sauce and sesame oil) so they match the sweet and sour meatballs, then put them in the oven.

In no time at all, you’ll have a yummy side and a clean fridge. Now that’s what I call a win-win!

What readers are saying…

“Great base recipe. I had a few different veggies in mine than those listed, just used what I had on hand. I did however up the soy sauce slightly and cut half of the sesame oil with olive oil because sometimes sesame can be really overpowering. Turned out fantastic.”

“Sheet pan meal with Asian flavors sounds fab! Weeknight friendly plus lunch to boot”

🔥 Grilled Veggie Skewers
🥡 Vegetable Stir-fry

Stir-fried Bok Choy

4.9 ⭐️ (440 ratings) | 17 mins

Want to switch things up from the usual kale or spinach? Try stir-frying bok choy instead.

This leafy veg has crunchy stalks that develop a delightful crisp-tender bite when cooked properly. And you don’t need much to make bok choy tasty.

Follow Jessica Gavin’s lead and dress up these leafy greens with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and honey for a delicious Asian flair that pairs nicely with your sweet and sour meatballs.

What readers are saying…

“Great recipe and very easy! Even my preschooler and kindergartner loved it. The sauce is delicious with rice. Will be put in my regular rotation of recipes!”

“I’ve made tons of recipes I found online and this is the first one that turned out so rock solid and delicious that I had to write a review. And it’s just bok choy! I’m so excited to now make bok choy one of my weekly vegetable sides. This method is truly yummy.”


Salads are an excellent accompaniment to sweet and sour meatballs if you want to keep your meal light but filling. Options like cucumber salads or a vibrant slaw also act as a palate cleanser in between bites of your rich, saucy meatballs.

Chinese Cabbage Salad

5.0 ⭐️ (55 ratings) | 20 mins

Chinese or napa cabbage is typically served cooked, but this recipe shakes things up by using it in a salad.

It’s a tad softer than lettuce leaves, but its mild, sweet flavor makes it a great base for a salad.

And the other element that makes this salad special is a Thai-inspired dressing with tamarind that melds well with the sweet-tangy notes of your meatballs.

What readers are saying…

“This recipe is FIRE!!! What a great combination of crisp, refreshing, savory, and herbal. You also introduced me to tamarind, and I am in love.”

“This salad is really fresh, crunchy, and delicious! I thought I’d have enough for lunch the next day but my husband went back for seconds.”

“That is an amazing salad! I have half of a Chinese cabbage in my fridge and I want to try and make it. I never thought it could be eaten raw!”

Thai Cucumber Salad

4.5 ⭐️ (32 ratings) | 15 mins

Liven up your sweet and sour meatballs with a serving of this spicy cucumber salad.

The refreshing cucumbers, combined with the spicy dressing are exactly what you need to cut through your saucy meatballs’ richness. Plus, the crunch from the cucumbers gives you a satisfying contrast from your tender, juicy meatballs.

What readers are saying…

“I’ve made this Thai Salad several times, and it is wonderful. It’s crisp and refreshing with a hint of heat. All the things I like!”

“Easy and addictive. I made it to use up some cucumbers I had on hand it was so good. I’m going to go buy more to make it again. Easy, healthy, delish.”

“This salad was deelish. My 8-year-old niece loved it! It lasted for a few days in the fridge. I going to make it again and again!”

🇬🇷 Shirazi Salad
🥕 Carrot Zucchini Salad

Sesame Quinoa Slaw

5.0 ⭐️ (4 ratings) | 10 mins

If you think the previous salads won’t be enough to fill you up, this quinoa slaw is for you.

Not only does quinoa have carbs, but it’s also rich in protein that’ll make you feel full for longer. And with a deliciously nutty sesame honey vinaigrette, you’re guaranteed to come back for second helpings.

This salad is so good it can already pass as a meal on its own, but it’s even better alongside saucy sweet and sour meatballs.

What readers are saying…

“I made this last night for a school event and the bowl was empty by the end! I’m making it again right now for myself for lunch. It’s just plain yummy!”

“I made this salad on Friday and it’s now Monday and I keep making it every day in the morning, it is SO good! The colors are so vibrant and the flavor is amazing.”

“I really love this, and so did the rest of my family! It’s so beautiful and has a fabulous flavor. This would be great to bring to a potluck!”

🍂 Butternut Squash Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Fresh Corn, Carrot, and Quinoa Salad
🥗 Tabbouleh

Snacks and appetizers

Sweet and sour meatballs aren’t just for lunch or dinner – they’re great as a snack or appetizer for party spreads too. So it’s not surprising that they pair nicely with other fun treats like egg rolls or crab rangoon!

Avocado Egg Rolls

5 ⭐️ (11 ratings) | 20 mins

Complete your Asian fusion-themed party spread with these tasty egg rolls!

Inspired by a menu item from a popular chain restaurant, these babies are stuffed with a mixture of avocados, cilantro, and sun-dried tomatoes. Each bite is crunchy and oh-so-refreshing.

Dinner then Dessert also includes a tasty dipping sauce in the recipe.

What readers are saying…

“As a sneaky addition, I put in cream cheese & crab to make it even more decadent.”

“This is one of my favorite appetizers to order when I eat out! Love that I now know how to make it at home instead!”

“These taste just like the ones from the factory! So happy I can now make them at home.”

😇 Baked Egg Rolls
🇵🇭 Air-fried Lumpia
🇻🇳 Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

Crispy Seaweed Kale

Total time: 8 mins

Despite its name, crispy seaweed isn’t made from seaweed – it’s made from kale leaves!

It has always been my favorite part of any Chinese takeaway, so whenever I cook Chinese food at home I always make it. 

You simply have to roast kale leaves until they crisp up and you’re done! Their crispy texture works really well with the soft meatballs

It’s also a great last-minute side dish because crispy kale seaweed takes less than ten minutes to prepare and cook.

What the chef says

“This dish is best eaten fresh, it’s not suitable for storing or freezing.”

🧘‍♀️ Air fryer kale chips
🇯🇵 Herb Tempura

Fried Wontons

5.0 ⭐️ (24 ratings) | 1 hr

Wontons can be fried, steamed, or served in wonton soup.

But I always go for deep-fried wontons, especially when I have to pair them with sweet and sour meatballs. The crunchy wrappers are an excellent contrast to the tender meatballs.

This recipe keeps the filling straightforward with ground pork, but you can use any protein or veggies you like.

What readers are saying…

“My friends are asking me how I made them! Thank You! Wish I could post my pic because it would show justice to your recipe!”

“I’ve been making this recipe for some time now. Well, the air fryer was on the counter so I tried it with these after spraying them with oil and they were delicious!!”

“Thanks for your delicious recipe. My next party snack is ready. Love the crunch to it.”

Scallion Pancakes

4.9 ⭐️ (126 ratings) | 2 hrs 20 mins

These scallion pancakes are another must-have whether you’re serving sweet and sour meatballs as a snack or meal.

They’re flaky and lightly crisp on the outside, making each bite a treat. Plus, the bits of scallions all throughout add a light peppery kick that your taste buds will enjoy.

These pancakes are usually served with a soy sauce-based dip, but you can also try dipping them into your meatballs’ sauce for a fun twist.

What readers are saying…

“Made these last night and they were so yummy – I was lucky my family left me some! They were better than the ones I order from my favorite Chinese restaurant and I don’t have to pay $10 for three pancakes.”

“This recipe is sooo easy to make and uses ingredients you most likely have in your pantry. I love how versatile it is– I used green onions and shiso instead of scallions because I didn’t have any scallions.”

🇰🇷 Korean Vegetable Pancakes
🌿 Thai Basil Pancakes

What To Serve With Sweet and Sour Meatballs

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your sweet and sour meatballs.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: sweet and sour meatballs sides, what to serve with sweet and sour meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 102kcal


  • 1 portion scallion pancakes
  • 1 portion vegetable chow mein noodles
  • 1 portion spicy cucumber salad
  • 1 portion roasted asian vegetable medley
  • 1 portion stir-fried bok choy
  • 1 portion coconut rice … and more


  • Prepare your sweet and sour meatballs according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: sesame-soy broccoli, chinese cabbage salad, coconut rice, sichuan green beans, vegetable chow mein noodles, crispy seaweed kale, egg rolls, spicy cucumber salad, fried wontons, roasted asian vegetable medley, and stir-fried bok choy.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 102kcal

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