When serving baked ziti for a dinner party, you want to keep things light and fresh. It’s easy to get carried away when making this dish, but remember that it’s meant to be a light and simple side. Some great options include steamed broccoli or a simple pasta salad.
Baked ziti is one of my favorite comfort foods. And like everything else in my world, it’s best served with great sides. When you’re planning a special dinner party, don’t forget to pair baked ziti with a few amazing side dishes.
I’ve done the work for you, so you can focus on planning your table decor and your menu.
And you’ll find plenty of ideas in this list. From pasta salad to chicken soup, I’ve got 17 awesome side dishes to choose from.
Now, the first thing you should do is decide whether you’re having a casual or a formal party. Casual means that you’ll want to keep the side dishes simple. For a more upscale and elegant party, however, you might want to play it a little more fancy.
For example, I’d serve a beautiful salad as my main dish, paired with pasta salad and Caesar salad. That would be my casual party food. But for a more sophisticated affair, I’d serve pasta salad and Caesar salad as my side dishes, then finish with a delicious dessert.
What to Serve with Baked Ziti for A Dinner Party
If you’re planning on serving baked ziti for a dinner party, you can always go classic by serving it alongside a salad or a side of macaroni and cheese. If you’re looking for something a bit more filling, go with some mashed potatoes or steamed veggies.
Creamy Garlic Shells
Baked ziti is the ultimate comfort food. It’s delicious, it’s easy to make, and it goes great with so many other dishes.
But I’ve never tried to make it ahead of time.
I’m pretty sure that will be the only thing that keeps me from making it again.
Because it’s the perfect hostess gift.
Creamy Garlic Shells are so delicious, they’re hard to put down. Plus, they’re easy to whip up.
You can use whatever pasta shape you like. The choice is yours.
I love that there are no rules. You can even add different vegetables to your ziti if you want. Just make sure you have enough noodles for all your guests!
Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese has been around since the beginning of time, but it’s still one of the most popular dishes in America. And there are so many different versions of it out there!
You can go traditional by adding cheddar cheese and bacon bits to mac & cheese. You can also go healthy by using whole wheat pasta.
But my personal favorite is mac & cheese with a secret ingredient: garlic! It’s such a wonderful addition to the dish.
If you don’t want to use garlic, though, you can add some other flavor to the cheese sauce. A little bit of onion or bell pepper will give it that extra oomph.
Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Garlic Parmesan pasta is a side dish that’s perfect for any night of the week. You can use it as a vegetarian option to accompany your baked ziti, or make it your main dish to be paired with your shepherd’s pie.
You can also make it your base for an entire meal, by adding some vegetables, like broccoli or peppers.
It’s really versatile and tastes great.
Cheesy Taco Pasta
I love pasta! This is because, like most Americans, I’m not very good at it. I always forget how to boil water properly, overcook pasta, and end up with spaghetti that’s chewy rather than tender.
So, when my friend suggested I make baked ziti, I was hesitant.
But, since it’s easy to make, I decided to give it a try. It turned out amazing. And, it’s the perfect side dish for a dinner party.
To make, heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.
Add egg, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, layer half of the pasta mixture. Top with chicken, then half of the tomato sauce. Repeat layering with remaining pasta, chicken, and sauce. Cover with aluminium foil. Bake for about 30 minutes.
This is a pasta salad with a twist! While most pasta salads are made with pasta tossed in dressing, this one uses fresh vegetables. And, since it’s tossed with tomatoes, it’s loaded with flavor.
To make, chop your favorite vegetables and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a few slices of green onion to round out the flavors.
Then, pour pasta salad into a serving bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Another recipe I want to share with you is my family’s favorite marinara sauce. It’s simple and easy to make, yet packs a punch of flavor.
And, while most people tend to use only 4 ingredients in marinara sauce, I like to add 5!
To make, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic powder, and basil. Cook for about 30 seconds.
Stir in tomato paste. Cook for about 1 minute. Then, whisk in tomato sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Finally, stir in milk, cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until heated through.
I love grilling vegetables and putting them on top of pizza. Why not do the same with zucchini? They’re easy to grill, and the charred flavor makes them even more flavorful.
Since the only thing that really distinguishes baked ziti from regular ziti is that it’s baked, you can easily take it to another level.
But, you have to make sure you use the right ingredients. You don’t want to go overboard with spices or cheese, because the flavor will overwhelm the dish.
So, to achieve the best results, I suggest using a simple marinara sauce and a mix of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Then, add a few grilled zucchini to your pasta for a nice change of pace.
Garlic bread is a classic, but it’s also a great accompaniment for your baked ziti.
You can serve it on the side or make it the star of the show. Either way, it’s a crowd-pleasing side dish that your family will love.
The garlic flavor of the bread pairs perfectly with the spicy cheese-filled pasta. Plus, the freshness of the bread will add another dimension of flavor.
If you want to impress at a dinner party, just serve some caprese salad! Caprese salad is made from tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves.
The flavors are refreshing, and the colors are pretty to look at. It’s perfect with grilled meats and pastas.
You can even make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Just be sure to leave the basil leaves on the tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a main course that is healthy, delicious, and crowd pleasing, baked ziti is the answer. This dish pairs perfectly with the Italian classic bruschetta.
Instead of topping your baked ziti with buttery mozzarella cheese, why not try serving it with a savory tomato sauce? That way, you can enjoy your meal without feeling guilty.
The tomato sauce is also a great way to add a bit of flavor to something as bland as ziti.
Easy Green Salad
A refreshing salad to pair with your baked ziti is an easy way to add color and flavor to your meal.
Start by making your own homemade dressing using apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
Then, toss in some cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and whatever vegetables you like. Add the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Roasted asparagus adds a nice crunch to your salad and goes especially well with your ziti.
To prepare, trim the bottom third of each stalk and then place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes.
When it comes to a side dish for baked ziti, vegetables are the way to go. Especially when they’re roasted and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.
That’s exactly what you get when you bake ziti. The pasta gets nice and crunchy while the veggies get perfectly cooked.
I love using pesto in this recipe because it makes the dish extra creamy and flavorful. It’s also one of my favorite side dishes because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to put together. Just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and toss with your hands.
Pesto toast is similar but instead of mixing it with pasta, it’s a spreadable toast. It tastes like a cross between pesto and ranch dressing.
Broccoli is a great alternative to zucchini, especially if you’re looking for a more vegetable-centric dinner party. It has a milder flavor and is easier to work with than zucchini.
I love a good slice of bread. But, I also love a good sandwich. So, why not combine the two?
Pesto toast combines the flavors of pesto with melted mozzarella cheese on top of toasted bread.
It’s a savory side dish that’s as tasty as it is simple to make. And, while pesto toast may be simple, it’s one of my favorite ways to serve bread.
The best part of roasted broccoli is that it’s so versatile. You can serve it as an appetizer or as a side dish for your next dinner party.
It’s crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Plus, it’s delicious. You can even toss it in a salad.
What’s more, the recipe for roasted broccoli makes it easy to make ahead of time, which is a big plus.
Simple Skillet Green Beans
You know how I love green beans? They’re sweet, they’re crunchy, and they’re loaded with healthy nutrients.
And, while green beans are easy to cook and quick to make, they’re not always as easy to eat.
I mean, who wants to eat something that is slimy, stringy, or hard to chew? Not me.
So, what I do is simply prepare a simple skillet green bean dish. It’s quick and it’s delicious. You can make it even faster by pre-cooking the green beans.
Then, you can quickly toss them in the pan with some spices. Then, top them with a mixture of mozzarella cheese and a creamy béchamel sauce.
After cooking for a few minutes, you can serve them hot.
This cheesy pizza is made by topping the baked ziti with a mixture of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Then you bake it in the oven until the cheese is bubbly.
It’s a simple way to turn baked ziti into a pizza. Plus, it’s really delicious. I recommend it as an appetizer or a light dinner.
Finally, meatballs! These Italian-style meatballs are made from ground beef and breadcrumbs. They’re simple to make, and it’s the perfect recipe for when you want something that’s quick but still healthy.
They’re super filling and can be served with spaghetti, rice, or polenta.
What is a good side dish for pasta?
There are so many great side dishes for pasta, but some of the most popular include garlic bread, potato wedges, french fries and broccoli. While these side dishes are all delicious, you will want to consider which one you want to serve with your meal. For example, you may choose to have garlic bread with your dinner, while potato wedges are better suited to accompany your lunch.
Should baked ziti be baked covered or uncovered?
Baked ziti should be baked covered. Uncovering it for the last few minutes of baking will result in a slightly dry, undercooked pasta dish.
What vegetable goes with pasta?
Pasta goes well with almost any vegetable, but some of the most common include green beans, carrots, and broccoli. You can also find other side dishes that go well with pasta. Some popular side dishes include salad, eggplant parmesan, spinach, potato wedges, and macaroni and cheese.
How do you keep baked ziti from drying out?
To keep baked ziti moist, serve it right after it comes out of the oven. However, it’s important to cover the dish with a lid if the oven is still warm. The moisture will help to keep the pasta soft.
If you want to keep your baked ziti moist, you’ll need to bake it in a covered dish. This is because the oven dries out the pasta when you cook it uncovered.
What to Serve with Baked Ziti for A Dinner Party
- Pick any of these amazing recipes.
- Prepare the ingredients and follow the instructions.
- Enjoy your meal in no time!