32 Delectable Italian Side Dishes


Quick Answer: Best Italian Side Dishes?

Some of the best Italian side dishes are – Fresh Salads like Caprese Salad, Tuscan White Bean Salad; Delicacies crafted from vegetables like Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Italian Green Beans, Italian Stuffed Tomatoes, and Italian specialties like Risotto Alla Milanese, Focaccia Bread, Friselle, Italian Breadsticks, Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, and more.

Here are 32 delectable Italian side dishes that will put your body in harmony with your soul.

Each of these dishes delivers distinctive flavors in your meals and is easy to make at home.

Italian cuisine has my heart and thus I am often found wandering in Italian restaurants. One of such restaurants is run by a chef friend of mine who has happily helped me to make this list of the best side dishes that the Italian cuisine boasts upon.

Let’s get started!

RecipesTotal Calories
Total Time Taken
Caprese Salad14810
Italian Garlic Bread
Italian Roasted Potatoes
Tuscan White Bean Salad
Italian Marinated Mushrooms
Risotto alla Milanese
Roasted Broccoli Rabe
Italian Green Beans
Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
Burrata Salad
Italian Breadsticks
Zucchini Bites
Radicchio Salad
Summer Panzanella
Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin
Italian Pickled Eggplant
Italian Giardiniera
Italian Stuffed Artichoke

1. Caprese Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 148

Total preparation time: 10 minutes

One of the most popular summer side dishes in Italy!

This visually appealing side dish is crafted from bright red tomatoes, a generous amount of green Basil leaves, and fresh white mozzarella.

It is made during the summers when tomatoes are at their prime, heavy with juice and bright with their color.

When the juicy tomatoes combine with creamy mozzarella and fresh basil, it just creates a flavorsome masterpiece.

This side dish is perfect for summer gatherings.

Check out this recipe by Natashas Kitchen

2. Italian Garlic Bread

Total calories (per 100g): 350

Total preparation time: 20 minutes

Garlic Bread is a must when ordering pasta or pizza; it’s so essential, it’s almost ritualistic to have it with other Italian delicacies. 

This mouth-watering dish is made with Italian bread smothered in butter and seasoned with aromatic herbs, fresh garlic, and salt. 

If you are planning to serve spaghetti with meatballs for dinner, it would be a sin to not serve this as a side dish with it.

Here is a delicious recipe by Recipe30

3. Italian Roasted Potatoes

Total calories (per 100g): 149

Total preparation time: 50 minutes

This is one of the classic Italian side dishes. 

Popular for their simplicity and versatility, Italian Roasted Potatoes are prepared using accessible ingredients and it goes well with any meat or fish main dish. 

Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside these roasted potatoes have a buttery and cheesy flavor which they owe to the parmesan cheese. 

Also, the Italian seasoning, paprika, and garlic contribute their flavors which make this side dish quite irresistible.

Check out this recipe by Vincenzo’s Plate

4. Tuscan White Bean Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 99.44

Total preparation time: 20 minutes

Salads don’t have to be synonymous with ‘boring’ or ‘tasteless’ and this salad is proof of my contention!

This protein-filled salad is made with white beans which are made mouth-watering by the addition of Tuscan ingredients. 

The aforementioned ingredients include olive oil, basil, red peppers, and dried tomatoes. 

Healthy and easy to make, this salad is best paired with some toasted crispy bread and is a perfect side dish for potlucks.

Here is a recipe by the Wanderlust Kitchen

5. Italian Marinated Mushrooms

Total calories (per 100g): 36

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

An indispensable part of ante-pasta platter and charcuterie board—Italian Marinated Mushrooms are drool-worthy. 

Mushrooms have the tendency to soak the flavors of a dish and turn into delectable-juicy bites. 

This recipe is usually prepared with white vinegar, parsley, olive oil, orange juice, and orange zest. 

It can be prepared within 15 minutes but preparing it a night before and leaving it in the fridge would result in elevated flavors.

Check out this recipe by Gordon Ramsay

6. Risotto alla Milanese 

Total preparation time: 40 minutes

This silky and creamy risotto will make all other dishes fail in its comparison.

With a vibrant yellow color imparted by saffron, Risotto Alla Milanese is an authentic Italian dish that is eaten as comfort food. 

This delicacy is traditionally prepared with Arborio rice, saffron, shallots, onions, white wine, butter, beef stock, and the ingredient of honor—Parmesan cheese. 

Serve this as a side dish at your family meal and embrace the flavors of Italy!

Here is a quick recipe by Laura in the Kitchen

7. Roasted Broccoli Rabe

Total calories (per 100g): 21.1

Total preparation time: 25 minutes

Broccoli Rabe isn’t a vegetable that pleases all, but it is magnificent for those who enjoy delicate and intense flavors. 

Broccoli Rabe or Rapini is a leafy vegetable that is known for bitterness. But when it is roasted, the sharp bitterness of the edges subsides and its flavors intensify. 

Roasted Broccoli Rabe makes for an excellent side dish but if you seek more flavors then roast it with garlic or make it with some red pepper flakes and orange juice. 

Check out this yummy recipe by Everyday Food

8. Italian Green Beans

Total calories (per 100g): 190

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

A simple and elegant side dish for your next family gathering or potluck.

Traditionally the Italian Green Beans are prepared with simple ingredients like olive oil and chopped garlic. These elements just add a slight flavor to the beans.

For more flavors you can add bacon and diced tomato; additionally, you can sauté the beans in butter and top it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. 

It goes beautifully with pasta, ravioli, and lasagnas. 

Here is a simple recipe by Laura in the Kitchen

9. Italian Stuffed Tomatoes 

Total calories (per 100g): 58

Total preparation time: 80 minutes

Yet another summer special side dish. 

Juicy and luscious tomatoes are filled with savory and cheesy stuffing. A number of fillings options can be chosen from but the most popular is rice and cheese. 

The best part of serving this side dish is that along with the filling, the container is edible too and in fact, it adds its flavors to the stuff inside. 

It’s an ideal dish that serves the appetite of vegetarians and meat-lovers alike!

Check out this easy recipe by Lidia Bastianich

10. Focaccia 

Total calories (per 100g): 250

Total preparation time: 120 minutes

It’s impossible to talk of Italian cuisine and not mention the world-famous Focaccia bread!

The beauty of this bread is that it wholesomely accompanies soups and stews or be served during dinners or it can be cut in half and used as a sandwich.

The garlic used in this recipe gives it a delectable aroma. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and utterly tasty, this bread will leave your guests drooling.

Here is a quick recipe by Kitchen & Craft

11. Burrata Salad

Total preparation time: 10 minutes

If you are planning for an Italian-themed meal, then Burrata salad is a must as a side.

All you need for this dish is Burrata cheese, fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes or ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and some salt. 

The creamy cheese beautifully binds all the flavors in a bite and delivers an enchanting mouthfeel.

DIY recipe—

12. Italian Breadsticks

Total calories (per 100g): 410

Total preparation time: 80 minutes

Italian Breadstick is a popular side dish at Italian restaurants and there is a reason for it.

These sticks are delightfully fluffy and soft with their pillow-ey texture and make a great companion for soups and pasta. 

For more flavors, the sticks can be topped with a cheese and herbs mixture.

DIY recipe—

13. Zucchini Bites

Total preparation time: 50 minutes

Thriving with flavors and a crispy texture, this side dish can be made for weekday lunches or Sunday afternoon brunches. 

The most prominent way to make this cheesy dish is by using shredded zucchini, parmesan, and cheddar with a hint of rosemary and lemon.

Serve it with some marinara sauce for an authentic Italian experience. 

DIY recipe—

14. Radicchio Salad

Total preparation time: 25 minutes

Radicchio Salad can be prepared in several ways and every manner, it will pair well with your main dish. 

You can prepare a grilled radicchio salad if you seek a nutty-flavored delicacy, or make it with a lemon dressing if you like tangy salad. 

This purple beauty when mixed with apples and walnuts yields a bittersweet delight. 

DIY recipe—

15. Summer Panzanella

Total preparation time: 25 minutes

Serve your guests summer in a bowl with this side dish. 

Summer Panzanella is starred by juicy tomatoes and buttery bread as main artists who are supported by colorful veggies and vibrant Italian vinaigrette dressing. 

Visually pleasing and tummy satisfying, this side dish will surely hit a culinary home run!

DIY recipe—

16. Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin

Total calories (per 100g): 135

Total preparation time: 70 minutes

This savory dessert can be served as a slightly sweet side dish or slightly savory dessert.

Cooked upside-down on a skillet this Tarte Tartin recipe is bejeweled by succulent cherry tomatoes which are deeply caramelized for enhancing their flavors. 

The sherry and balsamic vinegar play a key role in the caramelizing process.

DIY recipe>

17. Friselle 

Total calories (per 100g): 223

Total preparation time: 100 minutes

This twice-baked bread hails from Puglia, Italy.

Friselle is ring-shaped bread that is traditionally devised from durum flour and grain barley. 

Top it with capers, sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, a little drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of feta cheese for a delectable escapade. 

DIY recipe—

18. Italian Pickled Eggplant

Total calories (per 100g): 49

Sliced eggplants are stored in olive oil after being mixed with several herbs and spices.

Flavored with dried chilis, garlic, fennel seeds, and oregano, Italian Pickled Eggplants are a popular antipasto. 

Serve it on your Bruschetta board; or with salami or cheese and olive. They also deliciously fit themselves in sandwiches. 

DIY recipe—

19. Italian Giardiniera 

Total calories (per 100g): 50

Total preparation time: 32 minutes

If you wish for more than eggplants in your pickles, then Italian Giardiniera is the better option for you. 

Essentially, this dish is used as a condiment and is locally known as verdure sottaceto which means ‘vegetables in vinegar’.

Italian-style Giardiniera is made with bell peppers, carrots, cauliflowers, and celery marinated in a mix of white/red wine vinegar, spices, and herbs. 

DIY recipe—

20. Italian Stuffed Artichoke

Total calories (per 100g): 181

Total preparation time: 80 minutes

Italian Stuffed Artichokes are a crowd pleaser and no, it is not a debatable opinion.

Artichokes have an intense earthy flavor which is gorgeously complemented by the light and flamboyant flavor of the lemon zest. 

The actual charmer of this recipe is its filling made from bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. 

DIY recipe—

21. Italian Farro Salad

Total preparation time: 45 minutes

This is hands-down the best side dish for potlucks and BBQs.

Created using Farro which has a rich nutty flavor, this salad owes its vibrant appearance to the colorful veggies and its tanginess to the vinaigrette dressing. 

Rich and flavor robust, you can add creaminess to it by using feta cheese.

DIY recipe—

22. Italian Bruschetta 

Total calories (per 100g): 449

Total preparation time: 40 minutes

A classic Italian antipasto that also doubles up as an amazing side dish. 

Italian Bruschetta is bread toasted with parmesan with juicy tomato and basil topping and is glazed by balsamic or red wine vinegar. 

Bruschetta refers to the toasted bread. The topping used can differ but the one mentioned above is traditionally preferred.

DIY recipe—

23. Italian Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

This side dish will be ordered again and again in your kitchen by your family.

Zucchini flowers are stuffed with mozzarella (often accompanied by prosciutto) and then fried, after being covered in a light batter.

The flowers are to be picked in the morning to bewilder your family with their flavors during lunch. 

DIY recipe—

24. Italian Wedding Soup

Total calories (per 100g): 70

Total preparation time: 50 minutes

This soup will ring the bells, not of a wedding, but delight and satisfaction. 

Italian Wedding Soup is made from green vegetables and succulent meatballs; it will fill the tummy and heart of those who savor it. 

The herbs and spices used impart their delectable flavors onto the tender meatballs which make this soup a hit!

DIY recipe—

25. Italian Chickpea Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 150.4

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Chickpeas are tossed in simple dressing with tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, fresh basil, and spices to make this side salad.

This food form of sunshine will deliver onto the plate delicious flavors and will go with almost every main dish. 

With a crunchy texture and a zesty taste, Italian Chickpea Salad makes for an excellent side dish. 

DIY recipe—

26. Italian Pasta Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 151

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

We have had pasta salads from all regions, so let’s try the OG one this time!

Italian Pasta Salad is one of those cold salads that become the showstopper at potlucks and picnics. 

Made with pasta, veggies, salami, and cheese tossed in Italian vinaigrette, this salad is bound to please your appetite.

DIY recipe—

27. Style Pinwheels

Total calories (per 100g): 263

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

This aesthetically-pleasing side dish will light up your meal table!

With savory cream cheese, fresh lettuce, bell peppers, and meat like salami, spicy pepperoni, and ham wrapped in a seasoned tortilla— Italian Style Pinwheels burst with ecstatic flavors.

This Italian favorite is sure to become your beloved the second they are consumed. 

DIY recipe—

28. Cacio E Pepe Brussels Sprouts

Total calories (per 100g): 88

Total preparation time: 35 minutes

If Brussels sprouts aren’t your thing it means you have never tried this delicious side dish.

Cheese and pepper can practically turn any vegetable into a desirable dish and Brussel sprouts are no exception.

Salty, crispy with a slight peppery tone, Cacio E Pepe Brussels Sprouts is simple yet tasty. 

DIY recipe—

29. Savory Parmesan Cookies

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Easy to make and ready in no time, the Savory Parmesan Cookies will become your go-to side dish for soups and stews.

Made with accessible ingredients like butter, flour, parmesan cheese, salt pepper, and a few spoons of water— these cookies deliver delightful flavor in each bite. 

DIY recipe—

30. Sweet Peas with Prosciutto 

Total calories (per 100g): 223

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

This is a perfect side dish for holiday potlucks or weekday meals. 

Fresh sweet peas are sautéed with prosciutto and shallots; it garners additional flavors from garlic and the olive oil/butter which is used for the sauté.

Throw in a sprinkle of some black pepper and et voila! simple peas turn into a delectable side dish.  

DIY recipe—

31. Caponata alla Siciliana

Total calories (per 100g): 58

Total preparation time: 60 minutes

A specialty from Sicily— this side dish now rules all the cities of Italy.

Fashioned from tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, olive, and celery, Caponata Alla Siciliana is made in a sweet and sour sauce. 

This dish has a lot of flavors and at times some cooks throw in a bit of dark chocolate to enhance the taste.

DIY recipe—

32. Grilled Eggplant

Total calories (per 100g): 85

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

Italians can turn a simple side dish into an elegant delight.

Grilled Eggplant is rich with flavors and has a saliva-inducing aroma whose credit goes to the balsamic vinegar dressing. 

The garlic char from the grill also diffuses its flavor onto it which makes this dish an absolute crowd pleaser!

DIY recipe—

The Bottom Line

We hope this wholesome guide gave you a glimpse of the wide world of Italian side dishes. 

If you have any tips or suggestions, please let us know below!

Do share this guide with your friends and family.

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About Nancy Miller

Nancy is a foodie by heart and loves experimenting with food. She likes to experiment not only as part of academics but also as a cook at home, sometimes she does not get the desired outcome of these experiments though! But that doesn't stop her from trying more out-of-the-box things. When Nancy entered college, it became clear to her that food was going to be an important part of her life.