Ever tried paella? If you haven’t, then don’t and if you have, do it soon!
Paella is undoubtedly one of the most versatile dishes out there; not only because it can be customized according to your tastes but also because of the vast selection of side dishes that go perfectly with it.
From a taste perspective alone, this Spanish dish is an incredible experience for all who partake in its delight.
But beyond flavor-pairing, having the right mix of sides can take any paella meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
So today let’s dive deep into a variety of scrumptious options that will pair well with your surf ‘n turf style cooking extravaganza!
What to Serve with Paella? 14 Must-try Side Dishes
1. Spanish Rice
This dish is simple to make and full of flavor. Plus, it pairs perfectly with paella.
Spanish rice is a great recipe to try if you’re looking for something that’s both tasty and easy to make.
The rice is flavored with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and saffron.
This gives the dish a lovely depth of flavor that is sure to please everyone at the table.
Plus, the bright colors of the ingredients make for a beautiful presentation.
When making Spanish rice, be sure to use long-grain rice.
This type of rice absorbs the flavors of the dish better than other types of rice.
Also, be sure to cook the rice until it is tender but not mushy.
Overcooked rice will result in a mushy dish that is not very appetizing.
2. Crusty Bread
Crusty bread is a great recipe to try if you’re looking for something that’s both flavorful and easy to make.
This dish is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just having a quiet night in.
The best part about crusty bread is that it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
When it comes to flavor, crusty bread is all about the crust.
A good crust should be crispy and golden brown, with a slightly chewy texture.
The key to achieving this is to use high-quality bread flour and to bake the bread in a hot oven.
For tips on making the perfect crusty bread, check out this helpful guide.
Once you’ve mastered the art of making crusty bread, there are endless possibilities for how you can enjoy it.
Serve it as an appetizer with dipping sauces, or use it as the base for a delicious sandwich.
3. Sauteed Garlic Shrimp
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy recipe to try, look no further than sauteed garlic shrimp.
This dish is packed with flavor and only takes a few minutes to make.
Plus, it’s healthy and low in calories.
The key to making this dish taste amazing is to use fresh, quality ingredients.
I recommend using wild-caught shrimp that has been peeled and deveined.
You’ll also need garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
To make the dish, simply saute the garlic in olive oil until it’s fragrant.
Then add the shrimp and cook until they’re pink and slightly charred around the edges.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges, and enjoy.
4. Roasted Red Pepper Soup
This Roasted Red Pepper Soup is the perfect recipe to try if you’re looking for something new and exciting.
This soup is packed with flavor and has a unique taste that will leave you wanting more.
Plus, it’s easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients.
One of the best things about this soup is that it’s packed with flavor.
The roasted red peppers give the soup a smoky taste, while the onions and garlic add a touch of sweetness.
This soup is also surprisingly easy to make.
All you need are some roasted red peppers, onion, garlic, and chicken broth.
Simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy-to-make soup, then this Roasted Red Pepper Soup is the perfect recipe for you.
Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish dish that is perfect for hot summer days.
It is a refreshing soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and bread.
Gazpacho can be served cold or at room temperature, making it a great dish to enjoy on a hot day.
This soup is not only delicious but also healthy.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C, while cucumbers are a good source of water and fiber.
Onions and garlic are both low in calories and have several health benefits.
Bread provides the body with energy and essential nutrients.
To make gazpacho, simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
If you want a thinner soup, add more tomato juice or water.
For a thicker soup, add more bread. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
6. Ensalada Mixta (Mixed Green Salad)
Ensalada mixta is a classic Spanish dish consisting of a mix of greens, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
It’s a simple dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The best thing about the Ensalada mixta is that it can be easily customized to your liking.
You can add or remove any ingredients that you want.
The key to a good Ensalada mixta is to use fresh and seasonal ingredients.
Using fresh ingredients will give the salad a great flavor and taste.
If you can’t find fresh ingredients, you can also use frozen or canned vegetables.
Just make sure to drain them well before adding them to the salad.
To make an Ensalada mixta, start by chopping up all of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
Then, in a large bowl, mix together the chopped greens, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
Add dressing of your choice and mix everything together until evenly coated.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later.
7. Potatoes Bravas
Potatoes Bravas is a delicious dish that is perfect for any occasion.
This dish is made with potatoes, onions, garlic, and paprika, which give it a unique flavor that is sure to please everyone at the table.
The dish is also very easy to make, so it is perfect for those who are not familiar with cooking.
The best thing about Potatoes Bravas is that they can be served as a side dish or a main course.
If you want to serve it as a side dish, you can add some chicken or beef to the dish.
If you want to serve it as a main course, you can add some fish or shrimp.
Either way, you will be sure to impress your guests with this delicious dish.
- Be sure to use fresh potatoes for this dish. You can find them at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
- When chopping the onions and garlic, be sure to chop them finely so that they will not overpower the taste of the potatoes.
- Be sure to use fresh paprika for this dish. You can find it at your local grocery store or spice shop.
- Be sure to cook the potatoes until they are tender but not mushy.
- Serve Potatoes Bravas with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley for garnish.
8. Calamares A La Romana (Deep Fried Squid)
Calamares a la Romana is a dish made of deep-fried squid.
The dish is popular in Spain and many other countries.
This recipe is a great one to try if you are looking for something new and different to make for dinner.
The dish has a light, crispy batter that pairs well with the tender squid.
The flavor of the dish is slightly salty with a hint of lemon.
When making Calamares a la Romana, it is important to use fresh squid.
If you can’t find fresh squid, you can also use frozen squid that has been thawed.
Be sure to pat the squid dry before adding it to the batter so that the batter will stick to the squid.
It is also important not to overcrowd the pan when frying the squid so that it cooks evenly.
Serve the dish with a lemon wedge, and enjoy.
9. Chorizo Al Vino Tinto (Red Wine Chorizo)
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy recipe to try, look no further than chorizo al vino Tinto.
This dish is made with red wine and chorizo, two of the most flavorful ingredients out there.
The result is a dish that is packed with flavor and sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
One of the best things about this dish is that it is relatively easy to make.
Simply brown the chorizo in a pan and then add the red wine.
Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, and then serve over your favorite type of pasta.
You can also add in some vegetables if you want to make it a more well-rounded meal.
This dish bursts with flavor thanks to the combination of red wine and chorizo.
If you’re looking for a new recipe to try, this is definitely one that you should consider making.
It’s easy to make and sure to please everyone at the table.
10. Croquetas De Jamón (Ham Croquettes)
Croquetas de Jamón is a Spanish dish that is traditionally made with ham, breadcrumbs, and eggs.
This dish can be served as an appetizer or main course.
Croquetas de Jamón is a great recipe to try if you are looking for something different to make for dinner.
The flavor of this dish is savory and rich.
The ham pairs well with the breadcrumbs and eggs, making for a delicious and hearty meal.
If you are looking for tips on making this dish, here are a few:
- Use quality ham for the best flavor.
- Be sure to chop the ham finely so that it mixes well with the other ingredients.
- Make sure the croquettes are nicely browned before serving.
11. Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)
Spain is well-known for its delicious food, and one of the country’s most popular dishes is tortilla Española.
Often referred to as a Spanish potato omelet, this dish is made with eggs, potatoes, and onions and can be served as a main course or side dish.
One of the reasons that tortilla Española is such a great recipe to try is because it is so versatile.
It can be served hot or cold, and it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Additionally, the dish is relatively easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.
When it comes to flavor, tortilla Española is quite savory.
The potatoes and onions give the dish a slight sweetness, while the eggs provide a rich and creamy flavor.
Tips for making the perfect tortilla Española include using starchy potatoes (such as Yukon Golds), which will help the omelet hold together better.
Additionally, make sure to cook the onion until it is softened before adding it to the egg mixture.
12. Gambas Al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)
Shrimp in garlic sauce is a classic Spanish dish that is simple to make and full of flavor.
This dish is traditionally made with shrimp, garlic, olive oil, white wine, and salt.
The shrimp are cooked in the garlic sauce until they are pink and slightly charred.
The reason this dish is so good is because of the intensity of the flavors.
The garlic really shines through in this dish, and the shrimp add a nice sweetness and umami flavor.
The dish is also relatively easy to make, especially if you use pre-peeled and deveined shrimp.
If you want to try this dish at home, I would recommend using fresh shrimp if possible.
The frozen shrimp will work fine, but the fresh shrimp will have a better flavor and texture.
When cooking the shrimp, be careful not to overcook them.
They should be pink and slightly charred when they are done.
Lastly, don’t forget to season the dish with salt before serving.
13. Pimientos De Padrón (Stuffed Peppers)
Pimientos de Padrón is a traditional Spanish dish of small green peppers that are typically fried and served with a sprinkle of sea salt.
The peppers are usually mild, but every once in awhile, you’ll get a spicy one.
This dish is perfect for sharing as an appetizer or side dish.
The best thing about Pimientos de Padrón is the contrast of flavors and textures.
The peppers are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a slightly salty flavor from the sea salt.
If you’re looking for something different to try, this dish is definitely it.
Here are some tips for making the perfect Pimientos de Padrón:
- Make sure to use small peppers for this dish – they should be about the size of your thumb.
- If you can’t find fresh peppers, you can also use jarred ones. Just make sure to drain them well before cooking.
- Fry the peppers in olive oil until they are slightly charred around the edges.
- Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt, and enjoy.
14. Sweet Potato Frittata
This Sweet Potato Frittata is a great recipe to try if you’re looking for something new and exciting to make for breakfast.
This dish is packed with flavor, and the sweet potatoes add a lovely sweetness that pairs perfectly with the savory eggs.
Plus, it’s super easy to make and only takes a few minutes to cook.
When making this dish, make sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Be sure to use fresh, organic eggs for the best flavor.
- If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, you can substitute dried herbs. Just use a little less than what the recipe calls for.
- You can use any type of cheese you like in this dish. I like to use cheddar or mozzarella, but feel free to experiment with different types of cheese.
- This dish is best served hot and fresh out of the pan. However, it will also keep well in the fridge for up to a week.
There you have it. 14 amazing side dishes that go great with paella.
With such a wide variety of flavors and textures, there’s sure to be something here for everyone.
So the next time you’re planning a paella party, be sure to keep this list handy.
And if you have any other suggestions, be sure to let us know in the comments below.
What to Serve with Paella? 14 Must-try Side Dishes
- 1. Spanish Rice
- 2. Crusty Bread
- 3. Sauteed Garlic Shrimp
- 4. Roasted Red Pepper Soup
- 5. Gazpacho
- 6. Ensalada Mixta Mixed Green Salad
- 7. Potatoes Bravas
- 8. Calamares A La Romana Deep Fried Squid
- 9. Chorizo Al Vino Tinto Red Wine Chorizo
- 10. Croquetas De Jamón Ham Croquettes
- 11. Tortilla Española Spanish Potato Omelet
- 12. Gambas Al Ajillo Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
- 13. Pimientos De Padrón Stuffed Peppers
- 14. Sweet Potato Frittata
- Select your favorite sides from the list above.
- Prepare the side dish according to the recipe instructions.
- If you’re short on time, some of these can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!
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!