When you’re cooking a classic Italian dish like chicken parmesan, having a delicious side that compliments the dish perfectly really hits all the right spots.
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Chicken parmesan (affectionally called chicken parm) is a timeless family classic that is fancy enough to serve to company. The key to a great chicken parmesan dinner is to have the right side dishes. It can be as simple as a side salad or something more complicated. Garlic bread is perfect.
You need something that goes well with the cheesy, crispy crust while still matching the tender, juicy chicken in the middle.
When it comes to serving chicken parmesan, the dish is already a crowd-pleaser on its own. However, I believe that the perfect side dishes can elevate this Italian classic into an unforgettable meal. With so many potential accompaniments, it might be overwhelming to decide which ones to include on your table. That’s why I am here to share some of my favorite side dishes that complement the flavors of chicken parmesan seamlessly.
One thing to consider when selecting a side dish is the balance of flavors, textures, and colors on your plate. Chicken parmesan is rich, cheesy, and often accompanied by a tomato-based sauce, so finding side dishes that offer contrasting but complementary tastes will make the entire meal more satisfying. Additionally, you’ll want to find sides that are easy to prepare, allowing you to focus on perfecting the main course.
From refreshing salads to perfectly baked bread, I’ve tried various side dishes that pair beautifully with chicken parmesan. In the following paragraphs, I will share some of my top picks so you can create a complete dining experience your guests will love.
You can cook some very classic Italian sides that have been enjoyed by generations or you can focus on creating a unique blend of flavors that might not be as obvious.
Whatever you decide, these chicken parmesan sides will inspire you to create the perfect meal and dining experience.
Have your try at these side dishes for chicken parmesan to see which one could become your next favorite.
1. Tomato Salad
Wondering what goes with chicken parmesan recipe that takes almost no time to make and prep but still matches that Italian flavor?
This tomato salad recipe is your secret to getting a delicious side dish without spending a ton of time.
Chop up some fresh basil and onions and create a generous amount of dressing to top it all off with.
The refreshing taste and ingredients will pair beautifully with your chicken parmesan.
Who can think of an Italian dish without thinking of a little side of pasta?
From spaghetti to angel hair to fettuccine, there’s a ton of different kinds of pasta you can have as one of your chicken parm sides.
Add a little homemade marinara sauce to the mix and you have all the wonderful flavors of Italian cuisine. The bread crumbs from the chicken parm fall into the pasta and give it a great texture.
You can boil pasta pretty quickly so this side won’t take you long and while you’re waiting for the pasta to be made, you can focus on your breaded chicken parm.
Toss a little fresh basil on top of your basil with some grated parmesan along with your tomato sauce and you’ll be transported back to Italy.
When you’re looking for one of the healthiest options to go with your chicken parmesan, you can look to quinoa to fill that gap.
Quina is considered a superfood with as many health benefits it has for the human body.
Anytime you don’t want to load up on rice, you can consider quinoa your next best friend.
The crunchy texture goes perfectly with the tender and juicy chicken parmesan.
The parmesan cheeses provide enough flavor for the quinoa to taste just as good as the main dish.
You could also mix up your quinoa with a bunch of other ingredients like olive oil, minced ginger, or lime juice to give it more flavor.
Don’t want to eat a bunch of carbs with your dinner but you still love the same feeling that regular noodles bring to your chicken recipe?
Try making some veggie noodles instead, so you can cut back on the heavy carbs and stay healthy.
If you don’t have one already, a spiralizer will be your best friend when you’re trying to create some noodles from veggies.
You can experiment with zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or butternut squash noodles to see which one you prefer with your parmesan chicken.
Toss a little garlic and olive oil with your veggie noodles to provide a huge kick of flavor.
5. Brown Rice
Although it might not be Italian, having some rice with your chicken parm can create a healthy balance between your decadent cheese-covered meal.
That’s especially true if you use brown rice on your side instead of white rice.
Brown rice has more nutrients and is a healthier alternative. You can even add a few veggies to your brown rice like mushrooms to mix it up.
The earthy and savory flavor of the mushroom with the clean healthy brown rice is the perfect mix with your chicken parmesan.
6. Caesar Salad
There are few sides more classic with an Italian dish than the caesar dish.
The anchovy flavor really gives this salad something unique that still holds true to this day.
You can even make your own croutons by slicing up some bread pieces and throwing them in the oven with your own Italian seasoning and spices.
The secret ingredient is going to be the high-quality parmesan cheese that you sprinkle in throughout the Caesar.
When you make your own caesar salad dressing, you can have control over just how strong and potent you want to make the salad.
If you have some romaine lettuce already sitting around, you should probably wait till you pick up some fresh pieces.
Having a crisp salad to go with your homemade dressing and croutons will help you get the most out of your time and effort.
When pairing it with your baked chicken parmesan, you have the ultimate balance of flavors and texture. Crispy and cheesy drenched chicken parm with a crisp and refreshing Caesar salad that has a tone of flavor.
7. Saffron Rice
Ok, so not everyone is going to have a bunch of saffron just sitting around their pantry. After all, it is one of the most expensive ingredients you can buy.
But once you get a taste of this saffron rice recipe, you might just budget out a saffron expense because this dish is that good.
The recipe is super easy and takes almost no time, so pairing it with your chicken parmesan seems like a natural choice.
Serve your rice on the bottom of your plate with your chicken parm resting on top. Each bite will have that beautiful saffron taste.
If you’re looking for a salad you can whip together in no time but that has a ton of health value, try out this cauliflower broccoli salad.
You don’t have to feel guilty gobbling up an entire mixing bowl of this salad because there is plenty of cauliflower, sunflower seeds, craisins, and bacon bits inside.
There’s also a delicious mayo-based dressing that will have your taste buds salivating.
Instead of going straight for your salad, let it have some time sitting in the fridge and cooling down so you can balance out the hot temps of your chicken parm.
The cooling also helps meld all the flavors together, so you’ll have a more delicious salad if you just wait a little.
Brussels sprouts have a unique flavor that you can prep in a lot of different ways.
That’s why they are the perfect side dish for your healthy chicken parmesan.
You can throw on some garlic and olive oil with your Brussels sprouts if you’re looking for some extra flavor.
The texture is also a nice difference from some of the other, softer, sides on this list.
When you get a beautiful golden brown crisp around the edges, that’s when you know they’re done.
10. Broccoli Salad
Wondering what to serve with chicken parmesan? Try out this crisp and refreshing broccoli salad that has a wonderful dressing you won’t want to miss out on.
With a bit of almond, cranberries, onion, and feta cheese, this salad has a great mix of flavors that tend to linger in the mouth.
Just like you would with the cauliflower salad, you’ll need to throw it in the fridge for a few hours.
You want all those good flavors from the dressing to soak up in the broccoli and other ingredients.
11. Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli is a staple Italian side because it goes well with so many dishes, so it should come as no surprise that when you pair roasted broccoli with chicken parmesan the flavors blend perfectly.
This one is simple and takes almost no time, so you can give most of your focus to your chicken parmesan.
Coat your florets with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and then let them roast in the oven.
12. Cucumber Salad
When you’re loading up with as much cheesy goodness as an easy chicken parmesan brings, sometimes you need to balance it out with a super refreshing salad.
This cucumber salad recipe really hits all those healthy spots while still bringing a mouthful of flavor.
The best part is that you only have to spend a short time putting it all together, so you can spend most of your attention on your traditional chicken parmesan.
Chop up some onions and slice some cucumbers, then throw in a bit of sugar, salt, and white vinegar.
Top it off with some dill and you’ll have a snack that’ll keep you cool on those hot, summer days.
13. Mashed Potatoes
When you have a side of perfectly buttered and whipped mashed potatoes, you can dunk your chicken cutlet parmesan into it all meal long for the perfect flavored bites.
The mashed potatoes are a great pairing because their light and airy consistency are able to balance the gruff and crispy chicken parm.
When the panko breadcrumbs fall into the mashed potatoes it gives them a little crunch.
A little pinch of some salt and pepper in your mashed potatoes can go a long way with some butter thrown in.
14. Garlic Bread
Just like serving up a nice side of pasta with your chicken parmesan, a good golden brown garlic bread can really elevate your meal.
The outside crust with a tender doughy middle really matches well with the texture of the chicken parmesan.
You can also take your garlic bread and wipe out any remaining mozzarella cheese and pasta sauce that happens to get left behind your chicken parm.
What to Serve With Chicken Parmesan (+Tomato Salad)
- 3 large sliced tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. diced red onion
- 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
- 4 leaves fresh basil
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- Arrange tomatoes on a platter.
- Whisk all other ingredients and pour over the tomatoes.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.