30 Best Pasta Side Dishes
Aug 23, 2022
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Every main course could benefit from one of these absolutely delicious pasta side dishes! After all, pasta is always a crowd-pleaser, plus it’s a simple recipe that lets you focus on your entree. But be careful… from lemon angel hair to tortellini with sun dried tomatoes to penne alla vodka, these pasta sides might just steal the show!
Looking for a dish to accompany your main course that’s guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser? You can’t go wrong serving up one of these amazing pasta sides!
From long noodles in a little bit of butter to thick shells in a creamy sauce and everything in between, you’re sure to find the perfect simple recipe to round out your meal. There’s a dish here to complement any flavor profile!
Whether you need something light to go with a hearty entree or a super satisfying side to ensure everyone gets their fill, pasta always does the trick. Just don’t be surprised if one of these pasta recipes ends up stealing the show!
1. Green Pasta
Not in the mood for marinara or pesto? This delightful green sauce is packed with nutrients thanks to the spinach and has just the right touch of creaminess. Best of all, it’s totally kid approved!
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the ones that hit the spot! I love tossing this amazing 2-ingredient sauce with pasta as well as serving it with steak, seafood, or anything that needs a dipping sauce.
The secret to this super easy yet oh-so-satisfying dish is cooking the noodles in broth and butter. They soak up all that wonderful flavor as they cook, then just add a little more butter and touch of seasoning to serve!
Need a tasty side that can be ready in just 20 minutes? This irresistible dish only needs 5 ingredients! I love serving it by itself as a yummy side, or you can mix it with a protein or veggie for your main course.
For a simple recipe made with pantry staples, garlic shells are always a winner! They taste just like the store-bought packaged version but are much healthier and free from any weird ingredients or fillers.
6. Lemon Angel Hair Pasta
Lemon and garlic keep this dish bright and fresh while adding so much comforting flavor! The creamy sauce is like a lighter alfredo while a little Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes add just the right kick.
7. Pesto Pasta
Looking for the perfect pesto pasta recipe that doesn’t require adding tons and tons of oil? The secret is using a little of the pasta cooking water to help the pesto evenly coat every strand of pasta!
This one-pot dish is the perfect dinner for busy weeknights! It’s simple to make and packed with nutritious broccoli while the creamy butter garlic Parmesan sauce makes it irresistible to even the pickiest of eaters.
Tender elbow macaroni with red onion, celery, bell peppers, and herbs tossed in a delicious creamy dressing is the BBQ side you’ve been waiting for! You can also add diced pickles if you enjoy them in your pasta salad.
10. Alfredo Pasta
You’re going to fall in love with this copycat Olive Garden dish! It’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-easy to make right in the comfort of your own kitchen. Now all you need are some endless breadsticks to go with it!
Sometimes, you just can’t beat a classic. This easy homemade mac and cheese only requires 6 ingredients and about 15 minutes, and the entire thing comes together on the stove. No baking necessary!
The combination of garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil along with the super creamy mozzarella cheese sauce make this dish downright unforgettable! Best of all, it can be ready in just 30 minutes.
When you need a simple recipe packed with comforting flavor, penne pasta marinara is sure to do the trick! The homemade marinara comes together with just a few pantry-staple ingredients plus fresh basil in a matter of minutes.
Who can resist tender orzo tossed in a creamy-yet-light cheese sauce? It’s an easy one-pot recipe that can be ready in about 20 minutes with just a few simple ingredients. Top with fresh Parmesan and enjoy!
15. Mushroom Pasta
Your favorite noodles and buttery, garlicky mushrooms swimming in a deliciously creamy Parmesan sauce is the kind of comfort meal you’ll come back to again and again. Especially since it only takes 20 minutes to make!
16. Taco Pasta
Can’t decide between your two favorite foods? Now you don’t have to! The noodles cook right in the sauce for a one-pot dish packed with cheese, lean ground beef, healthy veggies, and tons of flavor.
17. Pasta Primavera
Asparagus, zucchini, carrots, peas, and cherry tomatoes tossed together with fusilli pasta and a light lemon sauce is the kind of simple pasta side dish you’ll want to make all spring and summer long!
18. Pasta Carbonara
Silky spaghetti in a super creamy, cheesy sauce with crispy pancetta is like sitting down to a plate of heaven! Garnish with fresh basil for the kind of hearty side that will warm you up on even the coldest day.
19. Penne Alla Vodka
This iconic Italian dish made with a creamy vodka-infused sauce and tender penne pasta is surprisingly easy to make. Top with tangy Parmesan and throw on a few extra red pepper flakes if you like a little heat!
The name says it all! Thanks to the basic 3-ingredient cream sauce, this recipe will give you the most luxurious plate of pasta you’ve ever had the joy of trying. There are also so many ways to customize this dish!
21. Orzo Pasta Salad
You’ll love the Greek twist on this tasty pasta salad recipe! The lemony red wine vinaigrette dressing is sweetened with a touch of honey while the feta cheese adds just the right bit of creaminess.
This classic Italian comfort food is sure to become a favorite in your family as soon as you try it! Pastina, also called acini de pepe, is a smaller, pearl-shaped pasta that adds such a fun texture to the dish.
23. Pasta With Peas
All you need for this seriously easy and totally satisfying dish is pasta, peas, onions, broth, and pancetta! It’s a perfect quick and comforting side that’s ready in 30 minutes and always a crowd-pleaser.
Broccoli, carrots, shallots, mushrooms, and cherry-tomatoes make this dish super colorful and flavorful! Tossed with a bowl of bow-tie pasta, salty Parmesan, bright lemon juice, and fresh basil, it’s absolutely delightful.
It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe! The combination of cheese, eggs, and noodles is so simple, yet so cozy and comforting. Plus, you can prep the rest of your meal while it bakes in the oven!
Did someone say rich and decadent? Ultra creamy macaroni with cheddar and mozzarella plus chunks of lobster meat is baked together until golden brown, absolutely craveworthy, and utterly divine!
27. Chili Mac
The combination of classic chili with mac and cheese is the kind of hearty, homey comfort food that will get you through even the chilliest fall or winter day! It’s just as great for game day as it is for busy weeknights.
Creamy tomato sauce makes this simple dish a true standout. The combination of the tang from the tomato sauce and creaminess of the white sauce is super yummy without being too rich and heavy.
29. Pumpkin Pasta
What could be more fall than pasta made with pumpkin puree? The sauce is so easy to make and perfect to serve over fettuccine, penne, angel hair, and more for a creamy and delicious meal!
All you need for this recipe is pasta, butter, lemon, Parmesan, and black pepper for an easy dish that tastes absolutely divine! The luxuriously rich and glossy brown butter lemon pepper sauce is one you’ll come back to again and again.
What is your favorite pasta side? Let me know in the comments.
More easy pasta recipes
30 Best Pasta Side Dishes
- 1 lb angel hair pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt.
- Add in dried pasta and boil according to package directions.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir for 1 minute.
- Carefully pour in 1 cup of the pasta water into the skillet. Stir in cooked pasta and then toss with grated parmesan. Serve warm.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.