Meatballs make a great lunch or dinner option. They can be extremely versatile and have the ability to adapt easily to any taste buds. Traditional options like spaghetti and meatballs are great, but why not mix it up every now and then? It’s fun to try different side options with meatballs to mix up the every day routine.
There are a lot of different ways to make meatballs. Meatballs can be made with ground beef, turkey, chicken, or even a mixture of vegetables. They go well with a lot of sauces like tomato, cream-based, barbeque and sweet & sour. But what side dishes go best with meatballs?
Here is a list of some very delicious side options that compliment meatballs perfectly. These are some really simple options that will be sure to mix up your weekly meal plans. You’ll certainly know what goes with meatballs after you complete this list.
17 Sides for Meatballs
1. Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are great, but they are even better if you had a punch of flavor. What better way to do that than add prepared horseradish? Prepare mashed potatoes using your favorite method. Once the potatoes are creamy, gently stir in a few dollops of prepared horseradish. If you would like to have a little more richness, add sour cream or Greek yogurt at the end, too. You’ll still get the kick of the horseradish without it being too spicy.
2. Warm Couscous Cranberry Spinach Salad
This salad will pair well with a meatball made out of turkey or chicken. Prepare the couscous per package instructions. Once the couscous is cooked, gently toss it with some dried cranberries, fresh spinach, olive oil, and lemon juice. If you would like to add a little crunch, top the salad with toasted walnuts or almonds.
3. Zoodles with Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
Wheat pasta is a traditional pairing with meatballs, but have you tried zoodles? Zucchini noodles are low-carb and high fiber, making this dish extra healthy. Other vegetables work really well as noodle substitutes as well, like butternut squash. You can buy pre-made vegetables noodles at the market or there are tools to help you do it at home. Adding roasted red peppers to your traditional tomato sauce also adds a fresh, unique flavor. This side dish goes well with any meatballs, but Italian seasoned meatballs will work best.
4. Crunchy Italian Cheesy Bread Croutons
Meatball subs are delicious, but they can also be really messy. If you have a loaf of bread laying around that is getting stale, this recipe will help you use that up. Cut an Italian loaf of bread into 1” cubes. Toss the bread with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Toast in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes or until the bread gets really crispy. Sprinkle your favorite cheeses on top during the last few minutes. Scoop the meatballs off of the tray and simply serve your meatballs on top of it. Drizzle with your favorite tomato sauce and enjoy the mess-free meatball sub flavor. Italian meatballs (beef, chicken, or turkey) will work best with this recipe.
5. Sesame Green Beans
Serving meatballs with green vegetables keeps the dish low carb while still staying delicious. This dish is best when the meatballs are made with a sweet and sour or Asian sauce. Sauté cleaned green beans in a large pan with some sesame oil. Cook the beans until they are slightly tender. Add a dash of soy sauce, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. A drizzle of honey also adds a really appetizing sweetness to the beans.
6. Creamy Egg Noodles
If you are looking for something different than traditional spaghetti, try egg noodles instead. Egg noodles work really well with tomato sauce, but they are also a great vessel for a cream-based sauce. Swedish meatballs go really well with egg noodles. You can make your own cream sauce or find your favorite at the supermarket.
Serving meatballs with stir fried bell peppers and rice is another tasty option. You can use your favorite rice and prepare according to the package instructions. Simply sauté sliced bell pepper strips with some garlic and olive oil. Serve the meatballs on top of the rice with the peppers and enjoy! This will work well with any type of meatball.
8. Quinoa and Fresh Herbs
Quinoa is a great side dish for a lot of proteins, especially meatballs. It doesn’t take much to make the quinoa a delicious side dish. Prepare the quinoa according to the package instructions. When it’s done, toss is some of your favorite chopped herbs.
Leafy herbs will work best here like basil, parsley, or cilantro. If you want to add more goodies to the side, diced apples, sundried tomatoes, and diced, roasted vegetables are great options to try. If the quinoa is a little too dry, you can drizzle some olive oil or avocado oil and toss everything together.
9. Simple Lemon Garlic Broccolini
Broccolini is a fantastic way to pair meatballs with a fresh, healthy side dish. Regular broccoli will also work well here if you can’t find broccolini. You can prepare the green vegetable however you would like – roasting, steaming, or sautéing. Once the broccolini is cooked, toss with fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This side dish pairs really well with all kinds of meatballs (beef, chicken, or turkey).
10. Roasted Potatoes
Meatballs pair great with your favorite roasted potatoes. Red roasted potatoes are especially delicious! If you are trying to avoid white potatoes, you can also use sweet potatoes. Toss the large pieces of potatoes with olive oil and seasonings prior to roasting.
Roast in a high heat oven (450F) for at least 20-30 minutes. If you have an air fryer, it’s a great cooking appliance for cooking crispy, delicious roasted potatoes.
11. Cauliflower Rice
Riced cauliflower is a terrific substitute for grain rice. You can purchase cauliflower rice at the store, but it’s much cheaper to make at home. Simply remove the green leaves from the cauliflower and make sure that it’s clean. Rice the cauliflower by using a cheese grater.
After the cauliflower has been riced, you can steam or sauté it with a little butter or olive oil. It cooks really quickly and is very good for you. Be sure that you don’t overcook it or it will lose the rice-like texture and become mashed cauliflower instead.
12. Roasted Asparagus with Bacon
Asparagus and bacon pair extremely well together. Wrap 3-4 sprigs of asparagus with bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking tray until the bacon is crisp and the asparagus is tender. Prosciutto is another salty, savory meat that you can use to wrap asparagus with.
13. Parmesan Orzo
Orzo is a fun way to mix up the regular pasta rotation. It’s a small rice-like shape but made with wheat so has the flavor of traditional pasta. It’s a great pasta for any sauce but sometimes it’s best to keep it really simple. One of the simplest ways to prepare it is to toss it with fresh grated parmesan cheese, a little bit of lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh cracked pepper.
14. Roasted Corn
Corn is sweet, crunchy, and packs in a lot of flavor. You can roast the corn with the husks on. Lay them flat on a baking tray and roast at 400F for 25-30 minutes or until the husks start to brown. Once the corn is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Shed the husks from the corn and then cut all of the kernels off of the cob. Fresh corn has a lot of natural flavor and often doesn’t need a lot of extra seasoning. If you do want an extra burst of flavor, try adding smoked paprika.
15. Vegetable Kabobs
Meatballs are extra fun when they are served on a kabob. Potatoes, butternut squash, peppers, onions, and zucchini are options that you can use on the kabob to pair with the meatballs. It’s best to toss the vegetables with seasonings prior to putting them on the skewer. To add boost of flavor, once the kabobs are cooked, drizzle them with balsamic glaze. You could also brush the vegetables and the meatballs with a sauce like barbecue or sweet and sour.
16. Seared Polenta
Prepared polenta is an easy ingredient to find and it’s also very simple to prepare. You can find logs of polenta at the grocery store. When you’re ready to cook, you can cut it into ½” thick slices prior to frying. Heat a frying pan with oil or butter and fry each side of the polenta until they are golden brown. Season the polenta with salt and pepper after cooking. It’s best when you serve it with meatballs and a tomato-based sauce.
17. Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil
If you’re to pick just one side for meatballs then this is in my favorite. It goes really well with the meatballs and compliments the flavors perfectly. The combination of mozzarella, basil and tomato will turn your main into the perfect meal.
A lot of side options pair well with meatballs. They can be very versatile and pair with many pallets. There is a side option for whatever you are looking for, whether it’s a pasta, grains, or vegetables. Enjoy all of these side options as you start to meal plan with meatballs. You’re bound to find something you love from this list. There you have it, meatballs sides, which is one of the many foods we’ve listed on our foods that start with m listicle.
What can I serve with meatballs instead of pasta?
Instead of pasta, meatballs can be served with bread or mashed potatoes. These can soak up any sauce served with the meatballs and offer a satisfying texture. For a lighter option, a fresh salad or steamed vegetables can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich meatballs.
What do Italians eat with meatballs?
In Italy, meatballs are often cooked in a simple tomato sauce and served as a standalone dish, enjoyed with crusty Italian bread for soaking up the sauce. They can also be served with polenta, a cornmeal dish that is a staple in Northern Italy. For a lighter option, they may be served alongside a fresh salad or cooked vegetables.
What do Swedish people eat with meatballs?
In Sweden, meatballs are often paired with ‘potatismos’ or mashed potatoes, a hearty side that complements the meatballs well. Another staple is ‘lingonsylt’, a sweet-tart lingonberry jam, which provides a counterbalance to the savory meatballs. Gravy and pickled cucumber are also commonly served with Swedish meatballs.
What sauce goes with meatballs?
A classic choice is a simple tomato sauce, adding a tangy sweetness that complements the savory meatballs. For a creamy, indulgent option, a white sauce or gravy can be used.
What vegetable to serve with meatballs?
A variety of vegetables can accompany meatballs to create a balanced meal. Roasted vegetables like carrots or zucchini add a flavorful touch. Steamed options like broccoli or green beans offer a lighter side. A fresh salad provides a refreshing contrast, while sautéed greens like spinach or kale add a nutritious component. These choices can be tailored to personal tastes and dietary needs.