When most people think of Meatballs, they think of them as a topping for pasta or on a meatball sandwich. Meatballs can be so much more than that.
When paired with the right side dish Meatballs can be the star of your meal. Whether you are going for a traditional Meatballs in Marinara or a Southern inspired Barbecue Meatballs, these sides are sure to delight.
To make Meatballs the highlight of your meal it is best to choose simpler side dishes or side dishes whose flavor compliments instead of competing with the Meatballs.
17 Side Dishes to Serve With Meatballs
Meatballs are the often unsung members of a tasty meal. Use the following side dishes to spotlight your Meatballs and make them the star of the show.
1. Pasta or Noodles
Pasta or noodles is the most popular and most common way to serve Meatballs. Ways of serving Meatballs with pasta or noodles varies widely. From Meatballs in Marinara over spaghetti to Swedish Meatballs.
If you are looking for a more Asian inspired recipe you could try Meatballs is Pho or with Udon Noodles. Another Asian inspired recipe is Peanut Sauce Noodles and Meatballs. For a slightly healthier option you can use zoodles or vegetable noodles.
Rice, like noodles, is another popular and common side dish for Meatballs. The simplicity of rice allows Meatballs to shine.
Rice can be prepared plain and served with Teriyaki, Barbecue, or Tomato Sauce Meatballs. You can also make a rice pilaf or fried rice to go with your Meatballs.
The third and final simple carb that pairs well with Meatballs is bread. Whether you decide to put your bread on the side or put your Meatballs on your bread this side dish is a crowd pleaser.
Bread is also popular as a side dish in addition to pasta. Some popular breads are Sourdough, garlic bread, and dinner rolls.
4. Roasted Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are a wonderfully versatile side dish for Meatballs. They can be paired with almost any other side dish and can be prepared in many different ways.
Some of the most popular ways to prepare roasted potatoes are plain (with salt and pepper), rosemary and garlic, and Spicy paprika. Try fingerling potatoes or heirloom potatoes to add some color variations. Sweet potatoes are also a good choice.
5. Mashed Potatoes
Another popular potato side dish is Mashed Potatoes. Mashed Potatoes can be served on the side or underneath your Meatballs.
For Southern inspired Meatballs try Gravy Smothered Meatballs or Barbecue Meatballs. Popular Mashed Potatoes include Plain, Garlic, and Onion or Chive. You can even make Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
Roasted, Mashed or riced Cauliflower is another good option. Riced Cauliflower is a great substitute for people looking for less carbs than traditional rice. It pairs best with a Sauce-covered Meatball dish.
Roasted Cauliflower makes a good vegetable side to Meatballs. Like Potatoes, Cauliflower can be seasoned in many different ways. Mashed Cauliflower is a good substitute for those who do not or cannot eat Mashed Potatoes.
Corn is a very versatile side dish. You can serve it on the cob or removed from the cob. You can serve it with butter, salt, and pepper. Or you can make a corn salad or creamed corn or corn soup.
Corn is best paired with Southern Style Meatballs and other southern sides, such as barbecue beans, cornbread, green bean casserole, and more.
8. Green Beans
Green beans are a delicious and healthy side dish for Meatballs. You can serve them steamed, boiled, roasted, raw, or baked. When preparing your green beans make sure the seasonings either compliment or enhance the Meatballs.
Some popular Green Bean Options are Green Bean Casserole, Bean Salad, Sesame Ginger Green Beans and steamed.
Ratatouille is a good side dish for Meatballs. Consisting of squash, peppers, tomatoes, and sometimes eggplant, this saucy vegetable side dish pairs well with Meatballs.
You can cook the Meatballs in the Ratatouille or have them plain on the side. Italian style Meatballs are the most popular, but Chorizo Meatballs would also pair well.
Asparagus, like green beans, is a simple yet excellent vegetable side dish. Asparagus can be roasted with salt and pepper, steamed, or sauteed with garlic and lemon.
Other popular options are Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus, Shaved Asparagus Salad, or Sesame Ginger Asparagus. Remember to keep your asparagus recipe simple as you want to compliment the Meatballs not compete with them.
Broccoli, like cauliflower, has great potential as a side dish. For a simple side dish eat broccoli raw with dip or steam it. For a slightly more complex flavor you can sauté or roast your broccoli.
Another option is Broccolini, or baby broccoli, which is more tender. Broccolini prepared with olives and lemon goes well with any Italian style or Italian sauce Meatballs.
Salad is easily the simplest and easiest side for Meatballs. Slice up cool Meatballs on a hot summer day or serve warmed Meatballs on a warmed spinach salad.
Salads also pair well with most of the other side dishes. You can have gravy Meatballs with mashed potatoes and a salad or Spaghetti and Meatballs and a salad. You can even have an Asian Salad with Teriyaki Meatballs.
One popular side or preparation for Meatballs is soup. Whether you want a Meatball soup or a soup to have along with your Meatballs, this versatile dish can please anyone.
As a side soup can be made to pair with Meatballs and Pasta, Meatballs and Salad, even Meatballs and Rice. Soups can be warm or cold and can be served as an appetizer or as part of the main course.
14. Orzo or Couscous
An interesting Rice or Pasta substitute Orzo, made like pasta but in the shape of rice. Orzo can be prepared plain or as a pilaf. It goes well with Saucy Meatballs.
Couscous is another good pasta or rice substitute. Also made from wheat, couscous can be prepared plain or as a pilaf. It can be the base of a Meatball dish or go along on the side.
Quinoa is a delicious and nutty grain that goes well with most Meatball Preparations. Serve with Saucy Meatballs or Dry Meatballs.
Quinoa can be prepared plain as a base for Meatballs with sauce or a Meatball Soup. It can also be made as a pilaf. Quinoa can be the base of just about any kind of Meatballs and sauce.
Grits are a popular southern staple that goes well with Barbecue or Cajun style Meatballs. Pair it with Ratatouille or Ragu for some vegetables and you have a superb Meatball dish.
Like mashed potatoes, Grits can be simple or complex. Cheesy grits are the most popular of all and pair well with spicy Meatballs.
Polenta, like grits, is a delicious corn-based side for Meatballs. Polenta can be served as a porridge (like grits), or it can be formed into shapes and grilled, fried, or baked.
Similar to other grains, the simpler forms work best in order to highlight the Meatballs. Try a simple garlic butter polenta or an Italian herb polenta.
There you have it. A great collection of 17 sides you can pair with Meatballs. Keep it simple and let your Meatballs shine, sauce or no sauce.
These 17 are not the end, there are many more options out there. Do not be afraid to look or to experiment with flavors you prefer. Sub Peas for Green beans or sub Artichoke for Broccoli. It is your meal, and it is up to you.