8 Easy Pasta Side Dishes to Pair With Your Favorite Proteins

Pasta side dishes are versatile, easy to prepare, and complement a wide range of main courses. Whether you’re serving up grilled chicken, roasted salmon, or a juicy steak, these eight easy pasta side dishes will elevate your meal and delight your taste buds.

1. Pastina: A Celestial Treat

Pastina, the tiny star-shaped pasta, is a nostalgic favorite that brings back fond memories of childhood. Thanks to efforts by pasta enthusiasts and celebrities like Stanley Tucci, pastina has made a comeback, delighting both kids and adults alike with its charming shape and comforting texture.

2. Macaroni and Cheese with Cashew Cream: Gourmet Comfort Food

Upgrade your macaroni and cheese game with this sophisticated version featuring creamy cashew sauce. Unlike boxed mac and cheese, this homemade dish is rich, velvety, and packed with flavor, making it the perfect accompaniment to any protein dish.

3. Herbed Garden Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful

This herbed garden couscous is a refreshing pasta side dish bursting with vibrant flavors. With colorful vegetables, fragrant herbs, and a tangy balsamic dressing, it’s a delightful way to clean out your fridge and add a nutritious element to your meal.

4. Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Pasta: Quick and Delicious

Short on time? This roasted tomato and artichoke pasta is here to save the day. With just six simple ingredients and minimal prep time, you can whip up this flavorful dish in no time, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute dinner plans.

5. Roasted Tomato and Mushroom Pasta Salad: A Perfect Combination

Why choose between pasta and salad when you can have both? This roasted tomato and mushroom pasta salad combines the best of both worlds, offering a satisfying mix of hearty pasta, savory roasted vegetables, and crisp greens, all tossed in a zesty vinaigrette.

6. Orzo with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Bacon: Savory and Satisfying

For a cozy and comforting pasta side dish, look no further than orzo with butternut squash, sage, and bacon. This hearty dish is bursting with autumnal flavors, thanks to the sweet squash, aromatic sage, and crispy bacon, making it a perfect pairing for your favorite proteins.

7. Cauliflower Gnocchi: A Low-Carb Twist

Looking for a low-carb alternative to traditional pasta? Try cauliflower gnocchi! Made with cauliflower instead of potatoes, this lighter version of the classic Italian dish is a guilt-free indulgence that pairs perfectly with a variety of proteins.

8. Triple-Veggie Pasta: Nutritious and Delicious

Loaded with vegetables and cheese, this triple-veggie pasta is a nutritious and delicious side dish that’s easy to make and bursting with flavor. Whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to add more veggies to your diet, this dish is sure to satisfy your cravings.

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