What To Serve With Spaghetti? 7 Perfect Side Dishes

Spaghetti is a delicious dish that we all find comforting. Whether it is a Sunday night dinner or a quick lunch, spaghetti will always be there for you. Do not stress about what else to make with it, since these recipes will surely complement your meal.

Keep reading to find out all the best side dishes for spaghetti! You will not regret trying these dishes at least once.

What Is Spaghetti?

Spaghetti is a long, cylindrical pasta traditional from Italian cuisine. This pasta comes from semolina durum wheat and water. The pasta is yellow or white because people use enriched flour in the cooking process.

When it first became a staple food, spaghetti used to be very long. However, as it became more commercial in the 20th century, spaghetti became shorter to fit in a box for resale. Commercial factories sell spaghetti that is very thin and evenly shaped.

Spaghetti can also be homemade. You only need a rolling pin and a knife, although a pasta machine makes the noodle more even. Cutting the pasta more widely will result in less cylindrical and wider pasta known as fettuccine.

You can cook the spaghetti very easily, and all you have to do is add the pasta to a pot with water and salt. Usually, you cook the pasta al dente, which means it is fully cooked but still firm and not mushy. After it is ready, you should drain the spaghetti with a colander.

In Italy, you will see spaghetti with tomato sauce, oregano, basil, olive oil. You might also see it with a denser sauce, such as carbonara.

In the United States, meatballs make up a sauce called bolognese. In its simplest form, spaghetti comes with only olive oil and garlic.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked spaghetti without any other ingredients (140 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 220 calories
  • 8.06 g protein
  • 1.29 g fat
  • 43 g carbohydrate
  • 2.52 g fiber
  • 0.784 g sugar
  • 9.8 mg calcium
  • 1.78 mg iron
  • 25.2 mg magnesium
  • 81.2 mg phosphorus
  • 61.6 mg potassium
  • 325 mg sodium
  • 0 mg cholesterol

Spaghetti is a carbohydrate, which means it will contain little fat and protein. However, this pasta is relatively high in protein per serving, thanks to wheat. If you make it at home, you can also choose to use less sodium and make it healthier.

Before you continue to side dishes, if you have leftovers, learn how to freeze spaghetti for later.

What Goes With Spaghetti?

Below are some options for side dishes that you can serve with spaghetti at any time!

#1. Homemade Garlic Bread

An Italian dinner would not be complete without a good piece of bread. This homemade garlic bread takes only a few steps but tastes perfect with your favorite spaghetti dish.


  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 baguette or another bread of choice
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your homemade garlic bread: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  2. Remove the butter from the refrigerator to allow it to soften.
  3. Cut your bread lengthwise and set it aside.
  4. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  5. Mix the butter, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  6. Spread the butter mixture onto the bread slices.
  7. Add the parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Bake your bread slices for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread turns golden.
  9. Serve your homemade garlic bread hot on the side of your favorite spaghetti.

#2. Panzanella Salad

Have you ever had bread salad? While it might sound weird, it is worth a try. This salad is a traditional Italian delicacy that goes well with any pasta meal.


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 cups French bread or any bread you like, cut into cubes
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your Panzanella salad:

  1. Wash, clean, and chop your vegetables. Set them aside.
  2. Cube your bread and set it aside.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a saucepan. Place the bread on the oil and cook for about 10 minutes or until it toasts.
  4. Mix the rest of the olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, capers, and basil to a large bowl.
  6. Stir in the bread pieces and slowly pour the vinaigrette on top. Toss well.
  7. Allow the salad to sit for a few minutes.
  8. Serve your Panzanella salad cold and fresh next to your spaghetti.

#3. Bolognese Sauce

A classic bolognese is what we all dream of when we feel sick or sad. This sauce is delicious and always the best choice to accompany spaghetti.


  • 4 oz. Italian sausage, ground
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 12 oz. ground beef or turkey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • ¼ cup broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your bolognese sauce:

  1. Wash, clean, and chop your vegetables.
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the ground sausage and ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for five more minutes.
  4. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, oregano, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook at a low simmer for about one hour or more.
  6. Serve your bolognese sauce hot on top of your spaghetti and with fresh parmesan cheese on top.

#4. Zucchini and Tomato Bake

A zucchini and tomato bake is just as delicious as it sounds. You can make it in minutes and make your spaghetti more nutritious too.


  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your zucchini and tomato bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  2. Wash, clean, and chop your vegetables.
  3. Drizzle a baking dish with half the olive oil. Add the tomato sauce, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
  4. Arrange the tomatoes, onion, and zucchini on the baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil.
  6. Bake the dish covered for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the tin foil and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve your zucchini and tomato bake hot with spaghetti on the side.

#5. Garlic Cream Sauce

This garlic cream sauce is a simple yet unique dish. You can add a few vegetables if you want, but the sauce is perfect on its own too.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your garlic cream sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once it is bubbling, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds.
  2. Add the flour slowly as you continue to mix. Cook until the flour mixes entirely with the garlic and butter.
  3. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Simmer over low-medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese and cook for another minute.
  6. Serve your garlic cream sauce hot on top of your favorite spaghetti.

#6. Arugula Salad

Sometimes simplicity is the correct choice. This arugula salad is fresh and delicious, but it also packs a bit of zest.


  • 5 cups arugula
  • 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pecans, toasted
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your arugula salad:

  1. Add the pecans to a small saucepan and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, turning them constantly until they are toasted but not burnt.
  2. Wash and dry your arugula. Set it aside in a large bowl.
  3. Wash, clean, chop your vegetables and place them in the large bowl too.
  4. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over your vegetables and toss.
  6. Add the toasted pecans and toss again.
  7. Serve your arugula salad fresh on the side of your spaghetti.

#7. Three-Cheese Sauce

This three-cheese sauce is both filling and easy to make. You can add your spaghetti to the sauce and bake for a few minutes for an extra touch.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup broth
  • ½ cup shredded Italian mix cheese
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your three-cheese sauce:

  1. Clean and chop your onion.
  2. Add the olive oil to a skillet along with the garlic.
  3. Cook for a minute and add the onion. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, broth, oregano, salt, pepper, and cook over medium heat for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add the Italian mix cheese and mix well.
  6. Finish off by adding your cooked spaghetti and mixing until the sauce covers it entirely.
  7. Serve your three-cheese sauce and spaghetti hot.

Tip: to make things different, add the spaghetti to the sauce before the cheese, then transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for a few minutes.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Side Dish?

Spaghetti is one of those foods you love to have, no matter the season or time of day. Next time you are about to make some, be sure to try one of these recipes. These all go well with your pasta and make it shine even more.

If you are trying to keep things simple, you can go with a sauce to serve on top of your spaghetti. The bolognese sauce is a classic that never stops surprising everyone. The garlic cream sauce is something to remember. Finally, the three-cheese sauce is decadent and complex.

When you want some veggies to go with your pasta, there are some options too. You can go with the zucchini and tomato bake that is crunchy and filling. The arugula salad is very healthy and fresh.

You can also try an Italian classic for another Italian dish like spaghetti. The homemade garlic bread is something you will not regret making. The Panzanella salad is different but also a delicious mix of flavors.


Since spaghetti is a comfort dish that we all like to make often, why not elevate your meal to the next level? All these side dishes are going to let your spaghetti shine even more. Try making them one at a time or all together.

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*image by karandaev/depositphotos

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