Carbonara is one of those dishes that sound fancy, yet are incredibly simple to make.
It’s also incredibly rich and filling—just the way we like it! But what dishes should you serve with carbonara?
There’s plenty of options beyond the classic spaghetti noodles that so many of us are used to eating it with.
In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 delicious and unique sides that will pair perfectly with your favorite carbonara dish.
So grab a fork and get ready; these delicious offerings will make for an unforgettable meal!
What to Serve with Carbonara? 10 BEST Options
1. Steamed Greens
Steamed greens are a healthy and flavorful addition to any meal.
When cooked properly, they have a tender texture and a slightly sweet taste.
One of the best ways to enjoy steamed greens is to simply seasoning them with salt and pepper.
However, there are also several ways to elevate the dish.
For example, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil.
You can also top steamed greens with shredded cheese, diced avocado, or crumbled bacon.
However you choose to enjoy them, steamed greens are an delicious and nutritious way to add some extra vegetables to your diet.
2. Puntarelle Salad with Anchovies and Capers
Puntarelle salad is a traditional Italian dish made with puntarelle, a type of chicory.
The salad is typically made with anchovies, capers, and olive oil.
Puntarelle salad has a bitter taste and a crunchy texture.
To elevate this dish, you can add crumbled bacon or pancetta.
You can also substitute the anchovies for another type of fish, such as tuna or salmon.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, you can omit the fish entirely.
For an extra bit of flavor, you can also add freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the salad.
3. Courgette Fries
Courgette fries are a delicious and easy way to elevate your side dish game.
These crispy little bites pack a serious flavor punch, and their versatility means they can be enjoyed as a snack or alongside your favorite main course.
The key to perfect courgette fries is all in the preparation.
For the best taste and texture, be sure to slice the courgettes into uniform pieces.
This will help them cook evenly and ensure that each fry is nice and crispy.
You can also add a variety of seasonings to suit your taste.
Some popular options include garlic powder, paprika, and Parmesan cheese.
If you’re looking for a truly indulgent treat, try dipping your courgette fries in a mixture of mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce.
This combination is guaranteed to send your taste buds soaring.
4. Grilled Aubergine Salad
Aubergine, or eggplant, is a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed in many different dishes.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy aubergine is by grilling it and adding it to a salad.
The smoky flavor of the grilled aubergine pairs perfectly with the freshness of the salad greens and the acidity of the dressing.
This dish is also packed with nutrients and is a great option for vegetarians or those looking for a lighter meal.
When grilling aubergine, you want to aim for a char on the outside while still keeping the inside nice and tender.
We like to slice our aubergine into thick rounds so that they don’t fall through the grill grates.
Season the aubergine rounds generously with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices.
Then, brush them with olive oil and place them on a hot grill.
Grill for 5-7 minutes per side, or until nicely charred.
Remove from grill and let cool slightly before adding to your salad.
For the salad, we like to use mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese.
You can really use any combination of ingredients that you like.
Just make sure to add a bit of everything so that each bite is flavorful and satisfying.
We also like to make our own vinaigrette for this dish using olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce
This Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce is the perfect way to elevate your pasta dish.
The sauce is packed with flavor and has a slight kick to it that will leave your taste buds tingling.
The best part about this sauce is that it is so easy to make.
All you need are some basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
The sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes.
These ingredients come together to create a sauce that is both flavorful and spicy.
The tomato paste provides a rich flavor, while the garlic and onion add depth of flavor.
The red pepper flakes give the sauce its spice, but you can adjust the amount to suit your preferences.
This Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce is the perfect addition to any pasta dish.
It pairs well with both spaghetti and penne pasta.
If you want to elevate your dish even further, you can add in some shredded chicken or sausage.
This will turn your simple pasta dish into a hearty meal that is sure to satisfy your hunger.
6. Artichoke Hearts with Lemon and Parsley
If you’re looking for a unique and delicious way to serve carbonara, then you need to try artichoke hearts with lemon and parsley.
This dish is packed with flavor and the texture of the artichoke hearts pairs perfectly with the creamy carbonara sauce.
Plus, the lemon and parsley add a beautiful brightness to the dish that elevates it to new heights.
When it comes to taste, this dish is definitely on point.
The artichoke hearts are tender and flavorful, while the carbonara sauce is rich and creamy.
The lemon and parsley add a lovely brightness that really makes the flavors pop.
And the best part is that all of these flavors come together in perfect harmony.
As far as tips go, we would recommend cooking the pasta al dente so that it doesn’t get too mushy when mixed with the sauce.
And be sure to add plenty of Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
It will take this dish from good to great.
7. Chargrilled Vegetables with Balsamic Dressing
Chargrilled vegetables are a great option to serve alongside carbonara.
The smoky flavor of the vegetables pairs well with the rich, creamy sauce.
Plus, the colorful vegetables add a beautiful contrast to the dish.
There are many different types of vegetables that can be chargrilled.
Some of our favorites include zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and mushrooms.
The key is to choose vegetables that will hold up well to being cooked over high heat.
You don’t want your vegetables to turn into mush.
To make sure your vegetables have great flavor, be sure to season them generously with salt and pepper before cooking.
You can also brush them with olive oil to help them brown evenly.
Cook the vegetables over high heat until they are nicely charred on the outside but still crisp on the inside.
This usually takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and type of vegetable.
Once the vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a plate and drizzle with your favorite balsamic dressing.
We like to use a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper.
But feel free to get creative.
You could also add some chopped fresh herbs or crumbled cheese on top.
8. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
There’s something about roasted cherry tomatoes that just screams summer.
They’re the perfect blend of sweet and juicy, with a slightly smoky flavor from being roasted.
And they’re so versatile.
You can eat them as is, use them as a topping on pizza or pasta, or even toss them into a salad.
Roasted cherry tomatoes are also incredibly easy to make.
Simply toss some cherry tomatoes with olive oil and your favorite herbs, then roast in a hot oven until they’re blistered and slightly charred.
The key is to not overcook them, or else they’ll lose their juices and become dry.
Here are some tips for taking your roasted cherry tomatoes to the next level:
- Add balsamic vinegar or lemon juice before roasting for an extra zing of flavor.
- Toss with fresh herbs like basil or thyme before roasting.
- Roast in a hot oven (400F or higher) for the best results.
9. Fried Zucchini Flowers
Fried zucchini flowers are a delicious and creative way to elevate your dish.
While they may look intimidating, they are actually quite simple to make.
Zucchini flowers have a delicate taste and a slightly crunchy texture when fried.
Here are some tips on how to make the perfect fried zucchini flower:
- Choose zucchini flowers that are fresh and in season. The fresher the flower, the better the flavor.
- Cut the zucchini flowers into bite-sized pieces so that they are easy to eat.
- Coat the zucchini flowers in a light batter before frying. This will help to create a crispy outer layer.
- Fry the zucchini flowers in hot oil until they are golden brown.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
10. Caprese Salad
A classic caprese salad is a thing of beauty: fresh, ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil all come together to create a dish that’s simple yet stunning.
And while it may be tempting to just throw everything on a plate and call it a day, there are a few things you can do to take your caprese salad from good to great.
For starters, pay attention to the quality of your ingredients.
This is a dish where freshness really matters, so make sure to use tomatoes that are ripe and in season, as well as mozzarella that’s freshly made (or at least very high quality).
The same goes for the basil – using fresh leaves will make a big difference in taste.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, take a moment to think about how you’re going to arrange them on the plate.
A classic caprese salad is usually just layered with slices of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves, but you could also get creative and try different arrangements.
For example, you could try rolled or foldedmozzarella slices, or arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on skewers.
Finally, don’t forget the finishing touches.
A drizzle of high quality olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt are all you need to take your caprese salad from ordinary to extraordinary.
There you have it – 10 of the best dishes to serve with carbonara.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration on what to cook for your next carbonara night.
Remember to tag us on Instagram if you try out any of these dishes.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!