If you’re looking for what to serve with meatballs instead of pasta, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to give you 35 easy sides that will go perfectly with your meatballs, plus tips for making them even better.
What to Serve with Meatballs Instead of Pasta
Most people think of pasta when they think “meatball side,” but there are so many other options!
When you’re serving meatballs, you don’t have to serve pasta. There are plenty of delicious side options that go well with meatballs.
Try roasting some potatoes and serving them alongside your meatballs. You can also make a salad or sauté some vegetables in butter or olive oil.
Here are 35 more ideas:
Roasted vegetables with a little olive oil and salt + pepper is a fantastic side dish.
You can make it with any veggies you like—I usually use carrots, bell peppers, and onions.
2. Potato salad
Potato salad is another great option because it’s filling and has a lot of flavor on its own, so it doesn’t need much seasoning added!
You can make it with red potatoes or boiled new potatoes (cut into cubes) and add in some diced pickles or olives if you like those flavors.
If you want something really easy, try putting some marinated mushrooms on top of your meatballs—they’ll soak up all of the juices from the meatballs and taste heavenly when paired together!
Just drizzle some olive oil on top before baking at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until soft enough to eat without chewing too hard (if needed).
It’s true: mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish for meatballs, especially if you’re serving them as a main course.
They’re creamy and rich, which means they’ll stand up to the bold flavor of your meatballs without overpowering them!
But even better than their ability to complement your meal is their ability to make it even more delicious.
You can add garlic and onion powder to the mash, or try adding some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
You can also add butter or cream cheese for an extra indulgent finish that will leave your guests feeling satisfied.
5. Garlic Bread
This side is super easy to make, and it goes perfectly with your meatballs.
Here’s how you do it:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Cut a loaf of Italian bread in half lengthwise and place it on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and sprinkle salt over both sides of the bread slices.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over each slice and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
A green salad is a great way to add some color and a fresh flavor to your meal.
It also helps balance out the heavier nature of meatballs by adding some lightness and crunchiness.
Plus, it’s super easy to make!
Just toss your favorite greens with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice, then top with Parmesan cheese, pine nuts or walnuts (or both), dried cranberries, sliced strawberries/raspberries/blueberries… whatever sounds good!
This Greek yogurt-based dip is delicious with meatballs and can be made in minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (you can also use low-fat or full-fat)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp of each)
To make this super simple dip: toss all your ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth; then stir in some salt and pepper; serve chilled or at room temperature with your meatballs!
8. Baked Beans
Baked beans are an easy option that can be made ahead of time and kept warm in the oven or slow cooker while your meatballs cook.
They’re also a great way to use up leftovers; if you have any leftover baked beans from last night’s dinner, use them here!
- Just throw them in a baking dish and cover with foil before baking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- Then add some toast on top or some cornbread or biscuits—whatever sounds good!
You can also add some brown sugar if you like things sweet and savory at the same time!
9. Rice Pilaf
This is a great grain-based alternative to pasta and it’s really easy to make.
Just follow these steps:
- Put 1 cup of long grain rice in a saucepan and add 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer covered until cooked (about 20 minutes).
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly before fluffing with a fork, adding salt and pepper if desired then serving alongside your meatballs!
10. Chips and Salsa
This is one of my favorite go-to’s because it’s so simple.
You can make your own chips by slicing up potatoes or buy some at the store.
They’re usually pretty cheap, too! Just bake them in the oven until they’re crispy and enjoy with salsa on top.
It’s a great way to spice up any meatball dish!
11. Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are such a classic pairing for meatballs that I don’t think I need to say more!
They’re super easy too: just cut up your potatoes into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, then roast them in the oven until they start getting crispy on the outside but are still soft on the inside (about 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit).
This one is simple:
- Just scoop out the seeds and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until soft (about 30-40 minutes).
- Then add salt, pepper, and olive oil.
You can also add some sage if you want—it goes great with squash!
If you want more flavor, you can sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese after roasting.
13. Crispy Broccoli
Ready for something super simple?
- Start by trimming off the ends of each stalk of broccoli and then cutting them into florets.
- Then place them in a bowl with water mixed with a little bit of salt (just enough to dissolve) and microwave them for 2-3 minutes until they’re tender but still crisp.
- Drain them well and sprinkle with olive oil or melted butter before serving.
You’ve already got your meatballs—now it’s time to make some fries!
The trick here is to bake them instead of frying them. It’s still delicious, but without all that extra oil and grease.
Plus, it’s a lot easier to clean up!
15. Cauliflower Mash
If you’re looking for something a little different than regular mashed potatoes, try this cauliflower mash recipe.
It’s a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet while still enjoying all the comfort food of a classic side dish.
The best part?
It tastes just like regular mashed potatoes!
Breadsticks are a great way to turn a basic meal into something special.
They’re also really easy to make!
- All you need is some fresh bread dough and some butter.
- Roll out the dough into long strips and then cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the pieces on a baking sheet and brush them with melted butter or olive oil (or both).
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake until golden brown.
You can make these ahead of time, so they’ll be ready when dinner time rolls around!
17. Tossed Salad
A tossed salad is a great way to add some green vegetables to the menu without having to cook anything at all—and they’re super easy to make too!
You can keep it simple with just lettuce and tomatoes, or go all out with cucumbers, carrots, avocado slices… whatever it takes to make your heart happy.
Just don’t forget that good old-fashioned vinegar-based dressing!
It’s what makes this dish sing.
18. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are one of those foods that people either love or hate—but if you’re on Team Love, then this is the side for you!
- All you have to do is steam them in a pot with salt and pepper until they’re soft enough to eat (around 10 minutes).
- Then add some butter and seasonings (I like garlic powder) before serving alongside your meatballs.
19. Simple Biscuits
I love these biscuits because they’re so quick and easy to make, and they go great with meatballs.
You can even make them the day before, stick them in your freezer, then just pull them out of the oven when you’re ready for dinner!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s fresh!)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
- Pour flour into a bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in baking powder and salt until combined.
- Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a 1/2 inch thick disc; gently pat down on baking sheet until dough is about 5 inches across.
- Make an indentation in center of dough with your thumb, then fill it with about 1 tablespoon cheese and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Serve warm alongside your favorite kind of meatballs!
If you love jalapeno poppers and cornbread, this recipe is going to be your jam. It’s not just a side dish—it’s a meal!
The jalapenos add a kick of heat, but the cream cheese in the batter keeps things cool and creamy.
They’re great alongside any kind of meatball and are even delicious on their own as an appetizer (and they’re gluten-free!).
Cucumbers are a great way to add a little crunch and freshness to your meatball meal.
Just slice them up, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and top them with chopped dill.
You can also add a little olive oil or vinegar if you want to make it extra tasty!
Asparagus is great because it’s super healthy and it pairs really well with a lot of different flavors (like garlic, lemon juice and olive oil).
Roasting asparagus makes it really tender and sweet, so you’ll want to add some salt, pepper and lemon juice before serving!
23. Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots are a classic side dish, and they’re a great way to add some extra color to your meal.
They’re also super easy to make:
- Just toss the carrots and some water in a pot and bring them to a boil.
- Then reduce the heat and let them simmer until the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once most of the water has evaporated, add brown sugar and cook for another few minutes until it’s absorbed into the carrots.
- Then remove from heat and serve!
24. Fruit Salad
Fruit salad is one of the best ways to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies.
Not only that, but it’s an incredibly simple recipe that everyone loves!
Just grab some fresh fruit from your local grocery store (or farmer’s market) and chop it up.
You can also add some honey or yogurt for extra sweetness if you want.
To make this even more delicious, try adding some nuts or seeds like walnuts or sunflower seeds on top before serving!
25. Spinach Salad
This is one of my favorite side dishes because it’s so easy to make and tastes amazing.
All you need is spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese—you can also add some other vegetables like cucumbers or broccoli if you want more variety.
Here’s how to do it:
- Just wash the spinach and chop up the tomatoes (you can leave them whole if they’re small).
- Then chop up some feta cheese into small pieces and mix everything together in a bowl.
It’s best if you let this sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so that all the flavors can blend together!
26. Spanish Rice
Spanish rice is a classic side dish and an excellent complement to meatballs because it’s made with tomatoes and spices.
It’s also very easy—just add a few ingredients and voila!
You’ve got yourself a delicious side dish that’s ready in no time.
Here’s how to do it:
- 2 cups rice (I used brown)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, cumin (if using), onion powder, and garlic powder; bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered until thickened slightly and reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked rice until well combined; season with salt and pepper as needed.
This is an easy side dish that’s perfect with meatballs.
The orzo is cooked in a flavorful sauce, and then topped with parmesan cheese and basil.
The basil and parmesan add a lot of flavor to the orzo, so you don’t need much else to make this simple side dish taste great.
To make it even more delicious, you can also add some mushrooms and garlic to the recipe.
Mushrooms add a savory taste that goes well with meatballs, and garlic adds a nice savory flavor as well.
If you’re looking for something a little different from your usual side dishes, this would be a great option!
Fried onions are an easy way to add some crunch and sweetness to any dish, but they don’t have to be fried in oil—in fact, they taste better when they’re baked!
- Simply slice an onion into rings, put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (so they don’t stick), and bake at 400 degrees until tender (about 20 minutes).
- Then toss them in a bowl with some apples that have been peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges.
- Add salt and pepper before serving.
29. Quinoa Salad
This salad is a great way to get some whole grains into your diet.
And it’s got a nice crunch from the almonds and red onion!
- Ingredients: 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed), 1 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup sliced red onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 cup chopped almonds (toasted), 1 avocado (sliced).
- Instructions: Cook quinoa according to package directions; let cool slightly before mixing with other ingredients; toss together with lemon juice, olive oil salt and black pepper then sprinkle with almonds just before serving.
Green beans with almonds is one of my favorite side dishes to serve with meatballs.
It’s quick and easy, and the sweet crunch of the almonds complements the savory meatballs perfectly.
Here’s how to make it happen:
- Cut your green beans into 1-inch pieces (so they’ll be bite-sized).
- Put them in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Cook until they’re bright green and tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove them from the heat and add 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (you can add more if you want).
- Toast them over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.
- Serve alongside your meatballs!
This is one of my favorite salads! It’s a super-quick and easy way to get your veggies in and feel good about yourself.
It’s also delicious and looks great on a plate when served alongside some meatballs.
Just chop up some strawberries and arugula (or any other bitter greens), toss them with some feta cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar—and voila!
You’ve got yourself an amazing side dish that’ll make everyone at the table happy.
32. Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with.
They’re so fast and easy to prepare, and they go with practically every main course.
They’re also incredibly versatile—you can serve them hot or cold, sautéed or raw, on their own or as part of a salad.
To make them even better for serving with meatballs, try adding some balsamic vinegar and olive oil before you sauté them.
This will give them a delicious flavor that goes well with meatballs without overpowering their taste.
If you’re looking for something to serve with your meatballs instead of pasta, this Mediterranean cauliflower is the perfect solution.
It’s simple, delicious, and takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
This recipe is also naturally gluten-free!
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets (about 10 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place cauliflower on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with garlic and spices; toss until evenly coated.
- Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and lightly browned on top.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature.
34. Bacon Pea Salad
This is the easiest side dish ever.
You just need bacon and peas (or edamame).
- First, cook the bacon until it’s crispy.
- Then chop it up into small pieces and add it to your salad bowl.
- Next, cook your peas until they’re soft, then add them to the bowl as well.
You can also add any other vegetables that you like! Just make sure to drain any excess liquid from them before adding them to your salad so that it doesn’t get soggy from all of the water content in there.
35. Broccoli Salad
This salad is one of my favorites because it’s so simple and so delicious!
All it takes is broccoli florets, tomato wedges, red onion slices, and raisins (optional).
Toss them all together in a bowl with some olive oil and vinegar dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
What to Serve with Meatballs Instead of Pasta (35 Sides)
- Roasted vegetables
- Potato salad
- Marinated Mushrooms
- Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Bread
- A Green Salad
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Baked Beans
- Rice Pilaf
- Chips and Salsa
- Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Winter Squash
- Crispy Broccoli
- Baked Cheese Fries
- Cauliflower Mash
- Tossed Salad
- Brussel Sprouts
- Simple Biscuits
- Jalapeno Corn Muffins
- Cucumbers with Dill
- Roasted Asparagus
- Glazed Carrots
- Fruit Salad
- Spinach Salad
- Spanish Rice
- Orzo with Parmesan & Basil
- Fried Onions and Apples
- Quinoa Salad
- Green Beans with Almonds
- Strawberry Arugula Salad with Feta
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Mediterranean Cauliflower
- Bacon Pea Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Pick your favorite side dish from this list to serve with your meatballs.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to munch in no time!