Who doesn’t love pizza? We made one the other day, and it got us thinking. While delicious, with pizza, the first bite is the same as the last. So we decided to mix things up and offer people something on the side to eat with it. What did we make? Well, here’s a list of the ideas we came up with when thinking about side dishes for pizza. Enjoy! Now you’ll know what to eat with pizza to unlock all of the flavors.
What to Serve with Pizza
1. Caesar Salad
The thing about pizza is, you always feel hungry afterward… Yeah, right! It’s probably one of the most filling dishes on the planet. As a result, you might want to pair it up with something really light! Our suggestion? A nice Caesar salad. The great thing about Caesar salad is that it contains many Italian elements. There are shavings of delicious Italian hard cheese, perhaps a little garlic, crispy croutons, and a delicious dressing. If you really aren’t filled with a pizza, you could even consider adding a few chunks of roast chicken to pad it out.
2. Avocado Salad
Ah, avocado, it’s nature’s butter! Catch an avocado at the right time, and you are in for a real treat. The creamy and smooth green flesh goes with just about anything. We love to pair slices of this lean green machine with juicy chunks of fresh grapefruit, orange segments, peppery rocket, and a few slices of crisp and anise-tasting fennel. This is fresh and fabulous, without being too filling.
3. Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Ok, so when we first saw this, we were perplexed. Sprouts as a side dish… For Pizza? We were glad we tried it. Consider this dish as a sort of hot salad. Slicing the sprouts is about as tough as it gets. We roast them, and halfway through the cooking process, add a couple of elements that wouldn’t be out of place in Italy. Namely a handful of toasted pine nuts along with a little shredded parmesan and some cubes of cured ham. The ham turns all crispy and makes this dish taste amazing.
4. Mozzarella Balls
What could be more Italian than bite sized pieces of Italian cheese? No, we don’t just leave it there. We actually love to roll these little balls of mozzarella in a beaten egg before covering them in breadcrumbs. We then fry them in oil, so they go all gooey in the middle. There’ll be a fight at the table for these, so be sure to make a lot, and watch your mouth as they are like lava inside!
5. A Crisp White Wine
Sometimes the best thing to serve with pizza isn’t food; it’s a drink. What could be better for cutting through those layers of rich cheese than a nice sharp white wine to freshen up your palette between each bite? Imagine you are sat on a square in Naples if you feel guilty about it.
6. Italian Antipasti Platter
A true Italian dinner is a feast. Yours should be no different. An antipasti platter is like a mini buffet that encompasses all the fun of tapas, with all the tastes of Italy. We serve ours on rustic-style breadboards. Our normal fayre includes Italian ham, parmesan cheese, tasty olives, and various finely sliced sausages.
7. Marinated Olives
This one is a real dish that you can pick at. Our favorite olives have been pitted and stuffed with whole cloves of garlic. You can serve a few alongside or alternatively put a load in a big bowl in the center of the table and give everyone a couple of toothpicks!
8. Beef Carpaccio
Imagine a salad, but instead of leafy greens, you’d get steak. Well, this is exactly what this dish is about. If you were being true Italian, the steak would be served very finely sliced and raw. If you have picky eaters, it is ok to cook it a little first. Serve a beef carpaccio with a drizzle of oil and perhaps a nice dressing. Extra points awarded for a large glass of red wine with each portion, Italian style.
The beautiful thing about ciabatta is that it’s made from identical dough to pizza dough. Except it is less fuss. Just roll your dough into a vaguely flat shape and top with butter, garlic, and some Italian herbs before baking on a red hot pizza stone until it puffs up. This is great to place in the middle of the table, then people can rip off hunks as they wish.
Ok, so we don’t tend to have a red and white checked paper tablecloth, but for an authentic Italian restaurant vibe. Why not serve your pizza with a few breadsticks. If you’ve been a legend and made your own pizza dough, these are a great way to use up any spare.
11. Kale and Chickpea Salad
Kale is one of those vegetables that nobody seems to know what to do with it. Well, if you make only one kale dish in your life, make this. This is jam-packed full of vitamins and minerals. Kale can get a little boring on its own, so we mix chickpeas with a blend of herbs and spices before pan-frying them until they turn all crispy. The contrast between the kale and chickpeas is amazing.
12. Parmesan Bites
We’ll be up front. Eggplant doesn’t normally feature as one of our favorites. However, it can be transformed into one of our favorite side dishes for pizza with a little love. We peel and cut the eggplant into cubes before giving it a dip in some tasty savory breadcrumbs. Each cube then gets deep fried until crunchy and golden. As soon as the cubes emerge from the oil, they get rolled in finely shredded parmesan before being served on cocktail sticks! This is great dinner party food.
13. Oven Baked Artichokes
We love a simple recipe. If you’ve got the oven on for pizza, you can make these in the last 10 minutes. Just slice artichokes into quarters and toss them into a bowl with a little oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they turn golden and crispy. Easy!
14. Fig and Ham Salad
Italian ham is cured using salt. It can be very strong tasting. The answer is to offset the saltiness with something sweet. How does a nice fresh fig sound? The trick to making figs taste amazing is to catch them before they overripen. We sometimes like to bake ours, so they turn all gooey.
15. Frutti di Mare
This is fine Italian dining. Make no mistake. For the uninitiated, this is a seafood salad. We use a mixture of shellfish, squid, and shrimp in ours. This is a great one to buy ready cooked at the store. You can enliven even the dullest seafood with a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of freshly chopped parsley.
16. Asparagus and Parmesan Salad
Asparagus and parmesan both taste pretty strong, yet they seem to complement each other so well. We thinly slice asparagus And flash fry it. We then remove it to a bowl, and as it cools, add parmesan shavings and a few bright yellow lemon wedges. It’s simple, tasty and we love it!
17. Pesto Spaghetti
If you’ve been making pizzas from scratch, you don’t want to add too much complexity to your side dishes. This one is very filling, so we suggest you serve it sparingly. It’s a simple dish to create. Boil some spaghetti, add a spoonful of good quality pesto, enjoy!
18. Chicken Meatball Skewers
This is another dish that can be served in its own right or as part of an antipasti platter. The secret is to mix ground chicken breast with Italian herbs. We prefer to oven bake our skewers. As the metal rods heat, it helps to cook the middle. Cook these delightful little nibbles until the outside turns golden brown. You could consider serving these with a nice garlic aioli.
19. Roasted Broccoli
If the oven is full of baking pizzas, then you might have to resort to the hob. Luckily, we; ‘ve got you covered. Slice broccoli florets in half lengthways. Get your skillet smoldering hot, and then fry on each side until the edges of the broccoli go all dark. Serve with a dusting of sesame seeds and a few sliced chilis.
20. Bacon Wrapped Figs
This dish is like an Italian version of pigs in blankets. Except there is no sausage, instead it is figs. We wrap them in bacon (or pancetta if you can find it) before roasting in the oven. As the figs cook, they turn all sweet and gooey, which goes wonderfully with the salty bacon.
21. Melon and Prosciutto Salad
All that cheese and bread can get a bit much. How’s about we freshen it up slightly? We opt for a cantaloupe melon, the firm yellow flesh is a little less sweet, and it works wonderfully with a few slices of salty prosciutto.
Want more carbs? Some sourdough, garlic cloves, tomatoes, and a splash of olive oil are all it takes. Our top tip is to half the garlic clove, and after you’ve toasted the bread, give it a rub with the cut end of the clove, from there top with chopped tomato and olive oil. If you want a bit of greenery, feel free to add a few torn basil leaves.
23. Spicy Salami Salad
If you’ve been making pizza toppings, you might have some sausage leftover. Spicy salami salad is the way to go. Just add a few thin slices to a leafy salad, along with a garlic and herb dressing and a few shavings of parmesan.
24. Egg Ravioli
No list of pizza side dishes would be complete without adding a little pasta. Make fresh ravioli. While you can stuff it with a filling of your choosing, we find one of the simplest and most decadent fillings is to crack an egg inside before boiling. Slicing through these thin little pillows frees the yolk. Delicious!
25. Leafy Green Salad
Simple side salads are a common feature in Italian menus. This is a great way to use up any spare greens. It is also a good way to get the kids to eat some. No greens, no pizza! Rocket and spinach are a great combination. Baby gem lettuce is equally as vibrant.
26. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
This is a super combo that is so easy to make. We love serving this in summer when the tomatoes are ripe and juicy. To make, just slice a large tomato as thin as you can and layer it with equally thin slices of mozzarella. If you can make homemade pesto, give it a messy drizzle. It is easy, but it looks classy!
27. Homemade Chili Oil
This one takes minutes to make and keeps forever. If you have guests who are picky about spice, this allows each to choose how spicy their pizza is. To make chili oil quickly, add chopped or dried chilis to a pan along with a cup of chili oil. Heat over really low heat for around 15 minutes before decanting into a bottle.
28. Garlic Butter Dip
If you’ve ever had pizza from Dominos, you’ll already be familiar with the principle. Those pizza crusts can get a little dry. Why not ease the passage with a healthy (or unhealthy) side of garlic butter. We roast whole garlic bulbs along with the pizza and squeeze the resulting roasted garlic paste into butter just before serving.
29. Herb Butter Flatbreads
If you’ve made your own dough, you are bound to have a little leftover. Make some light flatbreads and serve as a side dish for pizza! If you add these to an antipasti platter, people can effectively make their own mini pizzas at the table! Even better with the addition of herb butter.
Well, if you weren’t full before you ate any of these, we are certain that you are now! Whether you want something light and zesty or a real filler, there’ll be something on our list of side dishes for Pizza that we are sure you’ll be bound to love. What’s your favorite pizza topping? Tell us in the comments!