26+ Delicious Pasta Side Dishes

When you have an excellent Italian dish ready for dinner you need the perfect pasta sides that round out the meal perfectly.

Pasta is one of the easiest meals you can cook for your family on a busy weeknight. However, pasta dishes are also elegant for entertaining on the weekend. Pasta is filling and delicious, and you can serve it with a lot of different side dishes. Let’s go beyond bread sticks and salad.

Pasta side dishes that can balance out the flavors of your entrée or compliment them will be the key to making the entire experience memorable.

With these sides for pasta, you’ll be bringing the restaurant experience to your own home.


Pasta side dishes have always been a popular choice at dinner tables worldwide. These versatile, delightful accompaniments can transform a simple meal into a rich culinary experience. With countless variations and unique flavor profiles, pasta side dishes appeal to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

Starting with the universally loved and simple crowd-pleasers like macaroni and cheese, pasta salads, and garlic bread, the world of pasta side dishes extends to more intricate and flavorful creations like risottos and ratatouille. Rich creamy sauces or spiced olive oil blends provide the foundation for these delicious sides that can elevate any meal.

Choosing the right pasta side dish can make all the difference in complementing the main course and satisfying every palate. Factors to consider include the type of pasta used, the flavors and textures, and the nutritional content. With such a diverse array of options available, finding the perfect pasta side dish to complete a meal has never been easier.

You’ll find side dishes for spaghetti, noodle side dishes, pasta side dishes for steak, and more.

It doesn’t if you’re dining with the pickiest eaters, you’ll find a side that will please their palate.

Take note of these sides for spaghetti and other Italian classics so you can bust them out the next time you’re making dinner.

Source: iwashyoudry.com

1. Olive Tortellini Pasta Salad

Tortellini pasta salad is great but when you add some olives it turns the entire thing on its head.

The olives give off a great unique flavor that helps give the pasta salad something special you won’t forget.

Source: theherbeevore.com

2. Creamy Garlic Shells

When you’re having pasta already, you might as well go with even more pasta in this amazing side dish.

It’s so simple and flavorful it’s a perfect combination with your Italian dish.

You have shells that are covered in a creamy garlic sauce that will leave you wanting another bowl.

These are so good you might as well add some seafood to them and make it your main entree.

You can even throw in some veggies to make it a bit healthier for yourself.

Source: asimplepantry.com

3. Chili Mac

Make your mac and cheese more savory with this chili mac recipe.

This dish is perfect for those who want something with a little more spice to it.

You can make this up whenever you want because it’s an easy base with the chili and cheese sauce added in.

Source: kitchendreaming.com

4. Mac & Cheese

How can you deny a classic dish like macaroni and cheese?

You can’t when it has this much flavor.

The pasta is covered in a creamy, velvety sauce that will taste amazing with whatever Italian meal you have.

This goes perfectly with the creamier dishes that tend to be made but you won’t want to miss out on this side dish for even a second.

Another thing about mac and cheese is that you can do so much more than just pasta and sauce.

Add extra things like ground beef or chicken to make it an entree rather than just a side.

You could even throw in some bacon bits with some breadcrumbs to make it a bit fancier.

Try out some higher quality cheeses too like gruyere to give it a more sophisticated flavor.

Source: peaceloveanddicedlattes.com

5. Orzo with Mushrooms, Scallions, and Parmesan

You’ll be surprised how quickly this dish can be made with how good it tastes.

The flavors combine to make a rich and savory dish that you need to introduce your family and friends to immediately.

Everyone is going to love this pasta side and it’s guaranteed they’ll ask for more.

Source: joyousapron.com

6. Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Garlic parmesan pasta is a perfect side dish because it has all the things you love about Italian meals.

It has pasta, cheese, and garlic which are some of the best features of Italy’s cuisine.

The garlic parmesan is made by mixing your favorite pasta of choice with parmesan cheese to give it that perfect texture.

This side dish goes especially well with seafood dishes and chicken dishes because it has a bit of that cheese to give it a rich flavor.

You can also use this as an entree by adding in some broccoli or meatballs.

The next time you’re having Italian food at home, be sure to have garlic parmesan pasta on the menu!

Don’t forget the breadsticks either. You’ll need something to help you soak up all the great sauce at the end of the meal.

What’s perfect about these sides is you can make a ton and then use it to create an entirely different dinner the next night.

Source: littlefarrarokitchen.com

7. Lobster Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese doesn’t need any help to make it delicious, but when you throw lobster in, you’re in for a treat.

Plus, this is an easy dish to make when you don’t have the time to make something extravagant.

It doesn’t take much to take this classic mac and cheese and turn it into a fancy side for your Italian meal.

Source: dinnerthendessert.com

8. Cheesy Taco Pasta

You can’t go wrong with pasta and taco seasoning, it’s just one of those things that you’re going to love no matter what.

This will go perfectly with your favorite Mexican meal or on Taco Tuesday at home or in the office.

You can make this pasta as saucy as you want but if you want to go for a more traditional flavor, try pairing this pasta with chicken or beef.

The taco seasoning is definitely what brings the dish together because it gives that Mexican-inspired flavor to the dish.

This dish will be an instant hit at your next dinner party, just make sure you have enough for everyone!

It’ll also go perfectly with some sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.

For an even more intense flavor, try adding some jalapenos to the mix.

Source: keviniscooking.com

9. Creamy Beef and Shells

Beef and shells pack in a ton of flavor and it’s the perfect side for dinner.

Making your own is even better because you can mess around with the ingredients to get the perfect mix.

Serve this at the table and everyone will enjoy!

Source: epicurious.com

10. Pasta Primavera

Pasta primavera is a great side to make because it’s filled with healthy ingredients you’ll love.

The flavor is so good you won’t even know they are there either. Which makes it perfect for serving kids who are picky eaters.

You can throw in pretty much anything you want when it comes to this dish.

Add in some carrots, broccoli, or whatever kind of veggies you want.

This pasta primavera is filled with a creamy sauce that makes the perfect texture for your pasta.

The garlic and olive oil with basil give it a rich flavor that will make you ask for seconds, which is always a good thing.

Source: restlesschipotle.com

11. Macaroni Salad

This is another classic that can’t go wrong along an Italian dinner.

All you need is your favorite pasta noodles, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, and green pepper with optional carrots.

Once you try this you’ll never buy one from the store again!

Source: food.theffeed.com

12. 5-Cheese Marinara

One of the staples you have to learn how to make if you want any kind of Italian food is a great marinara recipe.

This one takes the cake and has five different kinds of cheese added in.

You know it’s going to taste delicious and go perfectly with any pasta you make.

This isn’t really a side on its own, but you can make a ton of delicious recipes once you have a great marinara sauce.

Once you get used to the recipe you can start mixing in more or less of your favorite ingredients to fine-tune the flavor to exactly what you like.

Source: cookingprofessionally.com

13. Fettuccine Alfredo

This classic isn’t going away anytime soon because it’s one of the best pasta side dishes out there.

Making your own isn’t hard at all and you can quickly have it ready before anyone arrives for dinner or even when you’re in need of a quick snack.

The sauce is made with cream, butter, garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, parsley, and pasta noodles with optional peas.

Source: eat-the-heat.com

14. Pasta Carbonara

Pasta carbonara is a delicious side to make and it’s incredibly easy to do.

All you need is spaghetti pasta, bacon or pancetta, garlic minced, eggs beaten, salt, and pepper.

When it comes to the sauce itself, there are so many different ways you can go with this dish.

You can use cream instead of eggs if you want a bit of richness in your dish, or you can use milk instead.

The most important part is making sure the heat is kept at a bare minimum when you are cooking these three main ingredients together so that they don’t scramble, but rather create this amazing sauce.

You’ll be craving carbonara pasta for days after trying it out for the first time, but if you want to switch things up a little, feel free to try out this recipe with some chicken added in.

Source: therecipecritic.com

15. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

The bacon ranch pasta salad is a perfect one if you are looking to cool down the intensity from a rich, spicy dinner.

It’s incredibly refreshing and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make this before.

This dish goes great with the regular Italian ingredients so you can even use what you have leftover from your dinner to create the rest of your salad.

Source: tosimplyinspire.com

16. Tortellini Pasta Salad

Tortellini is the perfect pasta because it’s filled with delicious cheese that is sure to make your mouth water.

This recipe creates the best tortellini salad you’ve ever had, all you have to do is cook up some tortellini pasta, mix in some veggies and dressing, and bam! Dinnertime.

The great thing about this dish is if you want it to be something you can serve to kids or picky eaters feel free to leave out the veggies and just go with the cheese tortellini.

No matter how you make it through, this dish is sure to be a winner at dinner time.

If you want even more flavor, try adding in some garlic, basil, and lemon juice and it will transform the dish.

Source: thesaltymarshmellow.com

17. Garlic Butter Mushroom Pasta

Want a side dish that’s filled with flavor you can’t stop eating?

Try out this recipe that’s guaranteed to become one of your favorites.

Garlic butter mushrooms are easy to make even if you don’t have the time to do so.

This side features garlic pasta noodles cooked in butter with sauteed mushrooms, white wine, and parmesan cheese mixed in for a creamy consistency.

Source: togetherasfamily.com

18. Italian Pasta Salad

If you’re wondering what goes good with spaghetti then this is the perfect match.

This is one of the best ways to fit in some veggies because it’s hidden in delicious pasta.

This is a great side to make if you are looking for something easy because it only takes about ten minutes from start to finish.

Just cook up some spaghetti or macaroni noodles, throw together your veggies, and mix everything together with the dressing of your choice.

The lemon juice and oil give it the perfect tangy flavor that is going to make you come back for more.

The secret here is in not adding too much dressing because it will be way too soggy and no one wants a soggy pasta salad.

Source: foodtalkdaily.com

19. Balsalmic Mushroom Pasta

Balsalmic mushroom pasta is a simple side dish to make for dinner, but also impressive enough to serve guests.

This is the perfect choice for those who want something that’s cheesy and vegetarian or just love mushrooms in general.

The flavors are sure to please any palate and the ingredients are all healthy so you don’t have to feel bad taking seconds.

Source: cookingfrog.com

20. Creamy White Sauce Pasta

It’s going to be hard to make this pasta without tasting it but because if you do. You might not want to stop.

This creamy white pasta goes with just about any ingredient you could want.

You can use sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, olives, onions – the list goes on and on.

The sauce is incredibly cheesy and rich with a kick of spice that will leave your mouth watering for more.

It’s one of the best pasta side dishes you’ll ever try because it’s so versatile and easy to make.

Once you try this you’ll be adding it into your dinner lineup on a weekly basis, just like the rest of us.

Source: buildyourbite.com

21. Baked Ziti

Having a side of baked ziti waiting for you is a treat all on its own.

Mixing up your pasta with cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and parsley is going to give you a cheesy dish that will have everyone coming back for more.

You can add in some meatballs if you want but it’s also good on its own.

The best part of this side is how baked it gets which gives it a nice, crispy crust.

Make sure you have some garlic bread waiting on the side so you can soak up all the fantastic flavors at the end.

Source: nourish-and-fete.com

22. Pesto Pasta

Making this pesto pasta recipe can be fairly easy if you buy some store-bought pesto but the best way to make it is from scratch.

That way, you can really get the flavor you want.

Pesto is full of healthy ingredients that will leave you feeling satisfied instead of wishing there was a bit of something more to the dish.

All it takes to make this delicious pasta is sauteing up some chicken or shrimp, cooking up your pasta noodles, combining the two together with pesto, and seasoning – voila!

Source: britneybreaksbread.com

23. Shrimp Pasta

You can’t go wrong with adding shrimp to your pasta, especially because it’s so incredibly perfect together.

The rich flavors really go well together and it will be hard to just have one serving.

This is one of those dishes you make when you feel like splurging.

You can have this as a small side but fair warning, it might just be the star of the show.

This is one of those sides you can’t make enough of because someone is going to eat it.

Source: happilyunprocessed.com

24. Parmesan Orzo Pasta

If you’re wondering what goes with spaghetti then try out this recipe because it’s going to knock your socks off.

You can even throw in some grilled chicken for more protein and flavor.

The parmesan is what makes this dish so creamy and rich but you can also add in some cream cheese if you want more of that tangy taste too.

The orzo is a great addition if you’re having noodle pasta because it gives off a different texture.

This one is quick to make so you don’t have to worry about your side taking up too much of your time while you’re trying to worry about dinner.

Source: sweetandsavorymeals.com

25. Angel Hair Pasta

This is a classic Italian side that you can add anything to and it will still be just as good.

The angel hair pasta is made with parmesan cheese and parsley to give it the perfect taste.

Adding garlic is optional but recommended for those who want something with a bit more flavor.

The trick to this side is in the sauce, which you can make by adding olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and parsley.

You’re going to love how great the flavors are together because you’ll want to keep coming back for more of this side dish.

It’s so simple yet so flavorful that it’s hard not to eat up every last bite.

Source: carlsbadcravings.com

26. BLT Pasta Salad

This is one of those good sides for pasta you probably have never had before.

Try something a little unique as your pasta side and go with this recipe that’s sure to impress anyone who tries it.

This side features crispy bacon, red onion, lettuce, and tomatoes in the mix with your favorite pasta noodles.

You’re going to love how amazing this is, because not only can you make it for dinner but you can also take it on the go.

The recipe is easy enough to make any time and it’s a great side you can bring to parties as well.

You can even add in some cheese for extra flavor but the best part about this is how fresh it tastes with all of those vegetables mixed in.


26+ Delicious Pasta Side Dishes (+Garlic Parmesan White Sauce)

These recipes are sure to please. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 6 votes
Total Time 24 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 3
Calories 190 kcal


  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


  • Add butter to a pan and melt.
  • Sautee the garlic for 4 seconds.
  • Reduce heat and add flour, stirring for 1 minute.
  • Add milk and chicken broth, then spices and cheese.


Select your favorite recipe.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.


Calories: 190kcal
Keyword garlic parmesan white sauce, pasta side didhes
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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