One of my absolute favorite recipes of all time is our best-ever pasta bake. It’s rich and comforting and super filling, but it can also be a little bit much on its own.
That’s why I always recommend that you serve it alongside a few delicious side dishes.
I’ve put together this collection of recipes for 12 of my favorite accompaniments to pasta bake.
From a simple green salad, to hearty casseroles and classic bread-like sides that will pair perfectly with the pasta bake.
I hope you enjoy this collection and that it makes your next pasta bake gathering a smashing success!
What to Serve with Pasta Bake: 12 Best Side Dishes
Any of these sides below will be a good match for pasta bake, but no matter which side dish you choose to serve with it, I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy it.
Here are my favorite side dishes for pasta bake:
1. Garlic Bread
I can’t deny that garlic bread goes perfectly with pasta bake. Once you cut into that buttery, cheesy goodness on top of the pasta bake, it’s even more perfect.
Ever since my sister introduced me to garlic bread, I’ve been a huge fan. It’s simple and easy to make too!
Tips To Make Perfect Garlic Bread:
- Use A Mix Of Butter And Olive Oil: I’ve always found that the perfect garlic bread isn’t made with too much butter. The trick is to use 1 stick of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Roast Garlic Or Don’t: To roast garlic is to remove the skin from a whole head of garlic, drizzle it generously with olive oil and salt. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour. When it’s done roasting, squeeze all of the softened garlic cloves out. Mix them together with the butter and olive oil.
- Butter First, Then Garlic: You don’t want to apply the garlic mixture to the bread before adding the melted butter because it will be too messy and difficult to spread.
I’m thinking of the kind you serve with Thanksgiving dinner!
You don’t have to make a whole pan of it though, just a few pieces will do – and they’re going to be perfect with pasta bake.
Tips To Make The Best Bread:
- Try Not To Over-Knead: I know, it’s hard to resist the temptation because you’re almost done! But over-kneading bread will cause it to become tough and less flavorful.
- Salt: Salt brings out the flavor in bread, so don’t skimp on the salt.
- Bake it on A Baking Stone: If you have a baking stone, use it instead of an oven tray. The bread will bake more evenly and it will get more crispy on the outside.
- Serve It Warm: The best way to serve bread or dinner rolls is warm, right out of the oven.
- Use a Bread Box: To keep bread from getting too dried out, store it in a container with a large opening and a lid. Fresh bread really only stays fresh for about two days. If you’re not going to eat it that day or the next, store it in a bread box.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m kind of obsessed with roasted vegetables. They are so easy to make and they’re full of flavor.
Roasted vegetables are always good with pasta bake because they don’t require any seasoning.
The pasta bake has it all!
A list of vegetables that are delicious when roasted:
- Red bell pepper, cut in large chunks
- Squash, halved and seeded
- Carrots, peeled and chopped
Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are tender. You can roast them together, separately or do a combination of the two.
4. Green Garden Salad
The fourth side dish that goes well with pasta bake is a green garden salad. It’s the perfect complement to a hearty, cheesy pasta bake!
It’s hard to make a bad salad, but if you want an easy recipe for one that does not disappoint, then check out this Green Garden Salad.
Tips To Make A Perfect Green Garden Salad:
- Dress the Greens First: Dressing makes all the difference in a salad, so don’t put it off! The dressing will marinate the greens and turn them into delicious bites of goodness.
- Add Seeds Or Nuts For Texture: I suggest adding some roasted sunflower seeds or almonds for extra flavor and texture.
- Use Goat Cheese, Feta Or Pecorino Romano Cheese: Cheeses are a must for any good salad. Try goat cheese, feta or Pecorino Romano for a twist.
- Use Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs are a little bit pricey, but sometimes it’s worth the splurge. The fresh taste really brings your salad to life!
- Dress it Up: Don’t just use a boring bottle of store-bought dressing. Make your own!
- Add Vegetables: The more vegetables you add to your salad, the healthier it is.
Most pasta bakes come with a side of vegetables, but why not roast them yourself? It’s the perfect way to make your pasta bake dinner even healthier.
Both sweet potatoes and butternut squash are delicious roasted. If you want to go all out, mix the two together.
Roast your vegetables at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are soft and lightly browned.
Don’t forget your veggies! Roasted vegetables may be the star of the show, but steamed vegetables can also stand on their own or accompany pasta bake as a side dish.
The best part about steaming vegetables is that you can add your favorite spices and seasonings.
To steam your vegetables:
- Fill a steamer basket with vegetables and place it over a pot of boiling water so that the veggies are not actually touching the water.
- Cover the pot and let the veggies cook for about 15 minutes or until they’re tender.
7. Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are always a great side dish for pasta dishes such as pasta bake.
You can make baked potatoes easily at home, but if you want a really good one try this recipe for How to Bake a Potato.
Here are a few tips to assure you have a perfect baked potato every time:
- Use Russet Potatoes, Not Other Kinds: For the best flavor and texture, only use russet potatoes.
- Preheat The Oven: It’s important to preheat the oven so that the skin of the potato gets crispy and crunchy.
- Use Olive Oil And Herbs: Instead of using butter, for a healthy twist use olive oil and lay down some fresh herbs before baking.
- Add Cheese, Asparagus Or Broccoli: If you’re looking for a little extra flavor, try adding broccoli, asparagus or cheese to your baked potato!
Something as simple as a potato can be dressed up or down depending on how you choose to cook it.
Turn a baked potato into a fun appetizer perfect for sharing with friends by cutting the potato into wedges and roasting it until it’s crispy, but not burnt!
Brussels sprouts are incredibly healthy and they are one of the most versatile vegetables out there. You can make any dish more interesting by adding roasted brussels sprouts to it.
To roast your brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and toss the brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper before roasting for 20 minutes or until they are tender and lightly browned.
10. Baked Beans
Pasta bake typically comes with a side of vegetables, but if you want to add something different consider serving baked beans as your side dish for pasta bake!
To make baked beans:
Just follow the instructions on the back of the can and serve them in a bowl or in a bun as a sandwich.
11. Rice Pilaf
Rice is another easy side dish that tastes great with pasta bake. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this recipe for How to Make and Cook Rice Pilaf.
Here are a few tips:
- Use Chicken Or Vegetable Broth Instead of Water: It really kicks up the flavor and makes your rice taste amazing.
- Use Butter: It’s good for you and it tastes great!
- Add Veggies For Extra Flavor: If you’re looking to add some extra flavors to your rice, try adding onion or celery when making the pilaf!
Garlic bread goes great with everything, including pasta bake!
Here’s how to make it:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice a baguette of Italian bread on the diagonal and place it onto a sheet tray.
- Mix butter, minced garlic, parsley and salt together in a bowl.
- Coat the bread with the herb mixture.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread is crunchy.
Why Consider Serving a Side Dish for Pasta Bake?
Pasta bake is a comforting dish that many people love to eat.
However, because it contains several different ingredients, it can be quite time-consuming to make.
However, since pasta bake is a well-known dish, it makes sense that it would be served as a side dish.
Most people eat pasta bake because they enjoy the taste, texture, and convenience.
However, if you’re looking to experiment with side dishes for pasta bake, there are some different options to consider.
For example, if you love seafood and pasta bake, you could consider serving shrimp or clams with it.
However, if you’re looking to stick with the traditional pasta bake recipe, then consider serving it alongside rice or potatoes.
These dishes can provide a nice contrast in texture and flavor.
Pasta bake is a dish that’s perfect for any occasion, and that includes your next meal.
Whether you serve it at the end of the day or want something to feed your family for dinner, there are many options to choose from.
Our favorite way to eat pasta bake is alongside a simple salad.
This is a perfect option if you want to make a healthy meal but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Some of our favorite salads to pair with pasta bake are the following:
- 4-Ingredient Garden Salad
- Healthy Tuna Salad
- Italian Bean and Sausage Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese Dressing
- Mexican Cornbread Salad
- Spanish Tortilla Salad
The above are all great choices, so feel free to use them as inspiration for your next pasta bake.
Remember to eat slowly and savor the flavors.
What’s your favorite pasta bake side dish?
Let us know in the comments below!
12 Pasta Bake Side Dishes
- Garlic Bread
- Bread, Dinner Rolls, or Cornbread
- Roasted Vegetables
- Green Garden Salad
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes Or Butternut Squash
- Steamed Vegetables
- Baked Potatoes
- Potato Wedges
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Baked Beans
- Rice Pilaf
- Creamy Garlic Bread
- Pick any of these delicious side dishes for your pasta dinner.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your meal in no time!