Choosing the right vegetable side dish for pasta can be tricky. While you want to make sure the vegetables are fresh and in season, they also need to have enough flavor to complement the pasta. In general, the best vegetable side dishes for pasta include:
- Grilled or Roasted Asparagus
- Roasted Broccoli
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Sautéed Zucchini
- Sautéed Spinach
- Steamed Carrots
- Steamed Sweet Potatoes
Pasta is one of my favorite dishes to cook at home.
I love making pasta with fresh veggies and herbs, adding a dash of cream, and topping it with a crunchy topping.
But since I know most of you are busy with work, I figured I’d make a list of some easy and convenient vegetable side dishes to serve with your pasta.
And believe me, I can’t stop myself from piling these tasty side dishes on top of my pasta. They’re all made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
So make this an easy and fast weeknight meal for your family or get-together with friends.
Here are a few vegetable side dishes that pair beautifully with pasta — and you don’t have to look far to find them!
Why Consider Serving Vegetable Side Dishes for Pasta?
Pasta is a delicious and healthy dish.
However, it’s often served as a main dish and paired with meat, cheese, or other sides.
To make sure that your pasta dish isn’t a one-dimensional experience, think about serving a side dish that complements the meal.
This can be anything from a simple salad to a more complex dish like a vegetable stew.
When making a dish that includes pasta, you can even include some of the pasta in the side dish.
For example, you can add cooked pasta to a salad or soup to make them a little heartier.
By serving side dishes for pasta, you’re providing an extra helping of vegetables, protein, and flavor.
This makes for an exceptional meal.
15 Vegetable Side Dishes for Pasta
While I enjoy the traditional pasta with sauce options, I know that not everyone has that much of an appetite or is as skilled in the kitchen as I am. (just kidding)
That’s where these other options come in.
In fact, most of the recipes below can be made in less than half the time it takes to make a traditional pasta with sauce dish, so you can whip up these tasty vegetarian meals in no time at all.
You can use any of these veggie side dishes for pasta with other main dishes, but the key to making the dish work is to choose a side that’s hearty enough to complement whatever you’re making.
For example, a traditional pasta with meat would go great with a side of broccoli, while a pasta with veggies would be perfect with a side of green beans.
Here are 15 easy vegetable side dishes for pasta:
1. Greek Cucumber Salad
Greek cucumber salad is a popular dish in Greece, and it’s always a great option for what to serve with pasta. It’s packed with lots of fresh flavours, such as oregano, feta, dill, garlic, and olive oil.
The cucumbers are traditionally sliced into rounds, but I’ve found that it’s quite hard to cut them this way, so instead, slice them into batons or matchsticks and leave some larger ones intact. You can serve the salad with warm pitta bread to soak up the juices, but you can also go a little healthier by serving it with a side of wholegrain pasta.
2. Broccoli and Cheese
This dish has a lot of appeal for me, and I find it’s a good option for pasta parties as it’s filling and nutritious. For this recipe, I like to use broccoli rabe rather than regular broccoli, which adds a bit of a bitter note to the overall flavour.
I like to make this with feta cheese and garlic, but you can use any other cheese or flavour combination that you prefer. You can even experiment with adding other herbs or spices, so feel free to try a few different options before you settle on your favourite!
3. Parmesan Baked Potato Wedges
You could have any number of vegetable side dishes for pasta – broccoli, cauliflower, or even sweet potato – but I think you should go with the tried and tested! I mean, how many times do you get to enjoy potato wedges covered in cheese and cooked in the oven?!
This is one of my all time favourite side dishes and it’s so simple to make. Just cut a large, thick potato into wedges, lightly salt them, brush with butter, then sprinkle over some grated cheese. Bake them at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until golden brown. For a healthier option, try this one:
4. Green Beans and Garlic
This is another veg side dish that can be served alongside pasta. The garlic will add a little pungency to your meal, but it’s not overwhelming. I always think green beans are such a great option for a side vegetable.
They’re so versatile, and you can make them in a variety of ways. Some of my favourites include stir frying with garlic, grilling, and even roasting.
5. Sweet Potato Fries
You’ve probably seen sweet potato fries in a takeaway or on a menu somewhere, but have you ever tried making them at home? They are really quite easy to make, as long as you follow a few simple steps.
You can serve them as a side dish with any pasta dish, or even serve them as a snack for the kids! Just slice up some potatoes into wedges, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pop them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
6. Green Peas With Mint
This one is quick and easy, and will add an extra burst of fresh flavour to your pasta. Just chop up a handful of peas, and place them in a bowl. Add some olive oil, a pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss together to mix, then let them sit for about 10 minutes before serving. The mint adds a great hint of zing.
7. Baked Parsnip Fries
This is a great alternative to potato chips or even potato wedges if you prefer a healthier option! Parsnips are an under-rated root vegetable and this is the perfect way to get people eating them.
Simply cut them into sticks, toss in some oil, a bit of salt, and bake in the oven until crisp. If you’re making a large batch, it’s nice to serve them warm from the oven. Once you’ve got the hang of how long they take to cook, you can really experiment with different cooking times to get just the right crispy texture.
8. Kale Chips
This is another healthy option that will be a real winner with your guests. Kale chips make an excellent side serving for pasta, as you can easily throw them in the oven while the pasta cooks.
The key to making them really crispy is to keep the chips moving around the pan, rather than letting them sit still.
9. Spinach Salad
When I make a spinach salad for my family, I always serve it alongside pasta. This is because it really is the perfect complement to a hearty dish like pasta, and it will go down a treat with the kids too!
Spinach is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also a good source of iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. All of which help to keep your little ones healthy. It’s also very easy to grow yourself, so get planting!
10. Roasted Zucchini
Roasted zucchini is a great side dish for pasta, especially when you’re looking for a dish that won’t take too long to make. The secret here is in the preparation – make sure you wash and dry your zucchini before cutting it up, as this will ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t retain too much water.
The recipe is for a large zucchini, but you can easily halve the quantities if you’re cooking for a smaller number of people. I like to toss my zucchini in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and then roast it for about 15 minutes at 180°C until tender.
11. Fiesta Salad
A traditional side dish from the Mexican cooking school, the fiesta salad is so easy to make, and has so much flavour. Just chop up some fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and bell peppers, mix with some chopped spring onions and coriander leaves, and you’re good to go!
You can use any combination of vegetables you like, and just add as many or as few as you like! I like to pair it with pasta if I’m having a quick, light meal at home.
12. Beet Salad
If you’re feeling adventurous, try something new in the vegetable department for a change, and opt for a beet salad instead! It’s a really healthy option for those of you who are watching your sugar intake, as beets are naturally low in calories and contain loads of vitamins and minerals.
You can use beets in many different ways – cut them into cubes, add to mashed potatoes, bake them in an oven dish, or even make pickled beetroot. It’s a versatile and delicious side dish that you won’t regret serving up.
13. Zucchini and Mushrooms Saute
There’s something really special about a dish of sauteed vegetables. They come together really quickly and are a perfect way to add fresh flavours to your pasta dishes.
Here, I’m adding in some green beans and mushrooms, but you can choose whatever vegetables you have on hand. Just make sure you saute them for a few minutes before serving, or else they won’t retain their crunchy texture!
14. Mashed Turnips
Another great way to serve vegetables with your pasta is by giving them a little bit of a boost with mashed turnips. Turnips are a root vegetable, which are often used in the same way as potatoes.
They can be boiled, steamed, roasted, and then mashed into delicious dishes like this one. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a potato masher to get rid of all that extra starch! For maximum flavour, try to use the really tasty purple ones when you have the chance.
15. Roasted Vegetables
Roasting vegetables is one of my favourite ways to prepare them, as they add a great depth of flavour to the dish and also have the added benefit of keeping them crispy and crunchy, so you don’t need to worry about them going soggy!
This is a really easy way to serve them as side dishes to pasta and rice, but if you’re feeling especially creative, you can also serve them as a healthy alternative to chips.
15 Vegetable Side Dishes for Pasta
- Greek Cucumber Salad
- Broccoli and Cheese
- Parmesan Baked Potato Wedges
- Green Beans and Garlic
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Green Peas With Mint
- Baked Parsnip Fries
- Kale Chips
- Spinach Salad
- Roasted Zucchini
- Fiesta Salad
- Beet Salad
- Zucchini and Mushrooms Saute
- Mashed Turnips
- Roasted Vegetables
- Pick any of these tasty veggie sides to go with your pasta dinner.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Enjoy your meal in no time!