Side Dishes

What to Serve with Meatballs: 23 Easy Side Dishes

Try a new way to enjoy this versatile comfort food.

Elen Rustick By Updated April 11, 2023

It can be a struggle to know what to serve with meatballs besides pasta.

what to serve with meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic, but meatballs can be enjoyed in so many other ways. There are endless combinations of seasonings and ingredients you can use for meatballs, so they go with almost anything.

What’s great about meatballs is that they can be braised, fried, or baked. When braised in sauce, meatballs hold their shape and do an excellent job absorbing flavor.

If you make them using lean ground meat, they’re also a healthy option too.

Whether you’re serving a meal for a party or looking for a weeknight dinner, give meatballs a try.

They’re delicious served on a bed of rice, with greek salad, or even dipped in tzatziki sauce. For more meal ideas, I’ve made this list with some of my favorite meatball side dishes.

what to serve with meatballs recipe

01. Mashed Potatoes

It’s rare to find a food that doesn’t go with mashed potatoes, so of course they made the list.

The best mashed potatoes are smooth, creamy, and filled with buttery flavor. This particular recipe uses half and half cream to make the potatoes extra rich.

You can add roasted garlic and parsley to your mashed potatoes for a greater depth of flavor. These mashed potatoes would be perfect with saucy meatballs on top.

02. Egg Noodles

Egg noodles are a classic pairing for dishes like Swedish meatballs.

You can buy these chewy noodles at any grocery store, or try making your own from scratch. Their curly texture is perfect for soaking up that creamy Swedish meatball sauce.

Make sure to use beef in your delicious meatballs, and spice them with nutmeg as the Swedish do.

03. Udon Noodles

Paired with soy sauce, these thick Japanese noodles are a favorite for stir fries and soups.

Udon noodles are wheat noodles, with a satisfying chewy texture. Their thickness means they hold up well in soups without falling apart.

You can add meatballs to udon soup in place of chicken or seafood. You can also try serving meatballs with a side of stir fried udon and vegetables.

04. Red Roasted Potatoes

Red potatoes are a waxy potato that hold their shape and get nice and crispy when roasted.

One of my favorite ways to eat red potatoes is roasted with plenty of fresh herbs and spices. They crisp up nicely in the oven and are full of fresh earthy flavor.

Try these roasted potatoes with barbeque meatballs for a simple summery meal.

05. Green Beans

It only takes 5 minutes from start to finish to get this tasty side dish on your plate.

Green beans are great for busy nights because they cook in just a few minutes. Just trim the stems and toss these green beans in a pan with butter and garlic.

They taste amazing, and are healthy for you too. Pair these green beans with any combination of meatballs and starch and you have a complete meal.

06. Bread and Butter

There’s no better side to a saucy meatball dish than classic bread and butter.

Instead of pasta or rice, try serving your marinara sauce and meatballs with freshly baked bread. These sourdough knots are the perfect size for dipping and are filled with seasonings like garlic and parmesan.

You can even use this bread to make mini meatballs subs as a snack or appetizer.

07. Caesar Salad

Swap grilled chicken for meatballs next time you make Caesar salad.

Caesar salad with meatballs is a great way to transform salad from an appetizer into a main course. You can season meatballs with parmesan and garlic to pair with the flavors of Caesar salad.

To keep this meal light and healthy, try using meatballs with ground turkey instead of beef or pork.

08. Zucchini Noodles

For a filling side dish with more nutrients than regular pasta, try these zucchini noodles.

As delicious as it is, pasta is heavy on the carbs and not the healthiest side dish. These zucchini noodles are made out of pure zucchini instead of flour and egg.

They are great at absorbing flavor and are a healthy alternative for spaghetti and meatballs.

If you don’t have a Spiralizer to make these noodles, you can also julienne zucchini for a similar result.

09. Cilantro Lime Rice

Take any spicy meatball dish to the next level with this zingy cilantro lime rice.

This rice is simple to make, and only requires salt, lime, and cilantro. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to make a side of rice more flavorful. The citrus flavor goes perfectly with spicy or Mexican flavored meatballs.

Since this rice is vegan, it’s a great option to serve with meatballs made from vegetables or faux meats.

10. Roasted Asparagus

Oven-baked asparagus is intensely flavorful and a great pairing for Italian meatballs.

If you’ve had roasted asparagus before, you know there’s no other way to serve this vegetable. The ends crisp up beautifully in the oven and soak up whatever seasoning you use.

This garlic parmesan asparagus maximizes on flavor while still being a healthy side option.

11. Cauliflower Rice

If you’re cutting back on carbs, give this cauliflower rice a go.

Cauliflower rice is made by roasting and then pulverizing cauliflower in a food processor. This results in a grainy texture, similar to rice but nuttier in flavor.

You can use cauliflower rice anywhere you would use regular rice, such as for stir fries or stews.

This cauliflower rice would be especially delicious as a side for Asian-inspired sweet and sour meatballs.

12. Creamy Baked Brussels Sprouts

If you know someone who doesn’t like brussel sprouts, this recipe will change their mind.

Brussel sprouts and bacon are made for each other, in my opinion. These baked brussel sprouts with bacon are intensely savory and soak up so much flavor.

This recipe adds cream and cheese for extra decadence and a hint of sweetness. Just add some herby meatballs to this classic dish and you have the ultimate comfort food dinner.

13. Fried Cabbage

Cabbage is often overlooked, but this delicious recipe will make you want to cook it over and over again.

Cabbage is healthy, inexpensive, and so easy to prepare. Simply slice a head of cabbage into thin strips and sauté with garlic, paprika, and salt.

The juices from the cabbage marinate in the seasoning and give this dish so much flavor. Green cabbage is my favorite, but you can use Napa or red cabbage too.

14. Ratatouille

Add some protein to this classic vegetable stew with the addition of meatballs.

Ratatouille is made using summer vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. The vegetables are seasoned with herbs and simmered in a delicious tomato sauce.

You can make this stew into a complete meal by adding savory meatballs right to the sauce as it cooks.

15. Orzo

Opt for orzo over mashed potatoes for a deliciously comforting side dish.

Although it looks like rice, orzo is actually a type of pasta. I’ve used it in salads, but it’s also delicious in creamy sauces.

This creamy garlic orzo is so versatile you can add practically any ingredients you wish. Along with meatballs, try adding roasted vegetables like zucchini and red peppers.

16. Corn on the Cob

It’s hard to believe something as easy as corn can be so delicious.

To make this corn on the cob, simply wrap your cobs in foil with a healthy dollop of garlic butter. Let them roast on the barbeque, then simply grate parmesan on top and serve.

This is an easy way to elevate the typical boiled corn with butter. Skewer some BBQ meatballs and serve them alongside this corn at your next picnic.

17. Spaghetti

We couldn’t make a list of meatball side dishes without including spaghetti.

Spaghetti and meatballs with tomato sauce is the classic way to enjoy this combination. But, to mix things up try this simple spaghetti with garlic butter instead. You can spruce up this dish by adding parmesan, parsley, and a squirt of lemon juice.

Toss in your favorite meatballs and you have a plate of soul-warming comfort food.

18. Caprese Salad

This traditional salad is fresh, flavorful, and healthy too.

Because this dish is so simple, use quality ingredients to let the flavors shine. Fresh mozzarella and good quality balsamic vinegar will make all the difference. This side dish is the perfect pairing for crusty bread and your favorite Italian spiced meatball recipe.

19. Rice

By adding minced garlic and butter, you can transform plain rice into a rich, savory side dish.

Rice is a great staple to have on hand because you can season it in unlimited ways. This makes it great for one-pot meals, or as a base for saucy dishes like stewed meatballs.

Try serving this garlic butter rice with stuffed turkey meatballs and lots of fresh parsley.

20. Tzatziki Sauce

Pair this cool creamy sauce with your favorite Greek meatball recipe.

Tzatziki is a cool and tangy cucumber and yogurt dip common in Southern European and Middle Eastern cuisine. Tzatziki is famously used as a sauce for the delicious Greek meatball dish “Keftedes”.

For a filling meal or snack, try wrapping tzatziki sauce and keftedes meatballs into a pita. Tzatziki is easy to make at home, just make sure you use greek yogurt to get that thick creamy consistency.

21. Greek Salad

Adding meatballs is a great way to make this zesty salad into a filling meal.

Olives, feta, and red onion give this salad its iconic tangy, salty flavor. Normally Greek salad is served vegetarian, but meatballs will give this side enough protein to become a meal.

To keep with the Greek theme, use keftedes meatballs to pair with this dish. Make sure you use kalamata olives and opt for cherry tomatoes so the salad greens don’t get soggy.

22. Sauteed Green Beans

You can complete any meatball dish by adding these healthy and easy sautéed green beans.

To save time, you can use frozen green beans for this recipe. They cook quickly, and they don’t get soggy, unlike other frozen vegetables.

And, they taste amazing with just olive oil, salt, and a pinch of garlic powder. Green beans are also easy to grow in your garden and freeze yourself to save money.

23. Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

All the deliciousness of breadsticks, with way fewer carbs.

If you’re craving a side of breadsticks, try out this healthier version made with cauliflower. Pulsed cauliflower is mixed with egg, mozzarella, and parmesan to create the bread “dough”.

When baked, these breadsticks have a nutty, roasted flavor with a chewy bite thanks to the cheese. These breadsticks are delicious dipped into any saucy meatball dish.

What to Serve with Meatballs: 23 Easy Side Dishes


  1. Choose your favorite side dish from this list.

  2. Gather your ingredients and kitchen tools.

  3. Prepare your side dish along with your favorite meatball recipe.

  4. Show your family and friends a new way to eat meatballs.