37 Ideas for What To Serve With Meatballs for Dinner

If you’re like me, you love making (and eating) meatballs because you know that homemade meatballs are super easy to make with infinite variety. But some times you need ideas for what to serve with meatballs instead of pasta.

So read on for tons of suggestions for side dishes for meatballs! Or use the table of contents to jump down to your favorite type of meatballs for dinner.

a cast iron pan filled with chicken meatballs and barbecue sauce.
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What to serve with Italian meatballs

A plate of spaghetti with three braised meatballs in tomato sauce.

When you hear “meatballs for dinner,” you probably think of these babies. Italian meatballs are braised in tomato sauce for tender and juicy meatballs that are packed with flavor. They make the perfect spaghetti and meatball dinner.

What to serve with Italian meatballs? Try simple vegetables and other sides for meatballs like steamed green beans or roasted broccoli. Or one of the Italian-inspired salads and salad dressings below will always go well.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) with Garlic and Oil
This easy recipe for sautéed broccoli rabe (rapini) with garlic and oil is a classic Italian side dish that takes just 5 simple ingredients and 15 minutes to prepare.
Broccoli Rabe
Photo credit: coleycooks.com
cooked broccoli rabe in a white bowl with serving spoon.
Peach Burrata Caprese Salad
This peach and burrata Caprese salad is made with ripe peaches, tomatoes, and basil and some creamy burrata. It's the perfect example to illustrate that food doesn't have to be fussy to be both beautiful and delicious.
Peach Burrata Caprese Salad
round white shallow serving dish with sliced peaches and two different sliced tomatoes arranged in a spiral, whole basil leaves on top, and two balls of burrata in the center.
Watermelon Panzanella with Sourdough Croutons
This watermelon panzanella combines sourdough croutons and fresh watermelon into a fresh summer salad. It's the perfect side to bring to a potluck or take on a summer picnic.
Watermelon Panzanella
a serving bowl containing watermelon panzanella made with sourdough croutons.

Don’t forget bread or a dinner roll to sop up all that yummy marinara sauce. My semolina bread recipe is inspired by the Italian Pane Siciliano. Make it as a free-standing, rustic bread loaf for a crusty bread to serve with your Italian meatballs.

Semolina Bread Recipe
This semolina bread recipe makes a soft and nutty-flavored bread loaf with semolina flour that's perfect for your favorite sandwich. Or make it as a free-standing, rustic semolina loaf and serve it aside your favorite soup and salad.
Semolina Bread
a loaf of yellowish semolina bread, four slices, and a bread knife on a cutting board.
Garlic Bread Baguette
This Garlic Bread Baguette is the answer to all your garlic bread prayers. A whole head of roasted garlic turns your baguette into a garlic bread with a sweet and mellow but unmistakably garlic flavor.
Garlic Bread Baguette
slices of two halves of a garlic bread baguette in aluminum foil.

If we’re drinking, go Italian. You’d probably find a medium-bodied red table wine or an Aperol Negroni or Negroni spritz in my hand.

Sides for BBQ meatballs

a cast iron pan filled with chicken meatballs and barbecue sauce.

People swoon over these BBQ chicken meatballs, braised here in homemade barbecue sauce. Make the BBQ sauce ahead of time or use your favorite store-bought bottle, and you’ve got dinner in 30 minutes.

Serve your BBQ meatballs over mashed potatoes or my cavatappi mac and cheese. One reader even had the great idea to use them in a meatball sub. These meatballs are comfort food that will forever be a family favorite in your household as it is in mine. So check out some of the fabulous side dishes for meatballs below.

Cavatappi Mac and Cheese
This cavatappi mac and cheese recipe uses the broiler for a heavenly, gooey homemade mac and cheese with a crispy browned top. You'll never make macaroni and cheese any other way ever again.
Cavatappi Mac and Cheese
cavatappi mac and cheese in a bowl that is about one-third cut out of the image.
Apple Pie Baked Beans
These Apple Pie Baked Beans take baked beans to a whole new level. Yes, you read that right – this apple baked bean recipe is what happens when two classic American comfort foods get together and make a delicious baby.
Apple Pie Baked Beans
pan of baked beans and apple topped with bacon on a wood background.
Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes and Banana
These mashed purple sweet potatoes make an easy side dish. If you like both mashed sweet potatoes and banana, this is the recipe for you.
Mashed Purple Sweet Potato
a bowl of purple mashed sweet potatoes garnished with banana next to a potato masher and cut purple sweet potato.
Mashed Cauliflower
Mashed cauliflower is an easy-to-make side dish paired with any meal as a tasty low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
Mashed Cauliflower
Photo credit: jamilghar.com
Roasted Sweet Potato Slices with Brown Sugar
These delicious roasted sweet potato slices cook with the brown sugar on top so they get that caramelized yum factor.
Roasted Sweet Potato Slices
Photo credit: thedefaultcook.com
slices of sweet potato topped with caramelized brown sugar.
Purple Cabbage Slaw
This Purple Cabbage Slaw recipe makes a purple cabbage and carrot salad that will be your go-to mayo-free coleslaw for all your hot weather barbecues. It's in its happy place piled high atop a pulled chicken or pulled pork sandwich or served alongside all the burgers and hot dogs you can eat.
Purple Cabbage Slaw
bowl of purple cabbage slaw with shredded carrot, cilantro, and serving tongs in bright sunlight.
Raw Carrot Salad
Calling all carrot lovers! This raw carrot salad with honey lime vinaigrette is easy to make and versatile side dish that adds vibrant orange color and a touch of crunch to your plate. Serve it with a simple meat or pasta dish, or include it as one of the components of a grain bowl. Make it ahead, and it will keep for days.
Raw Carrot Salad
fork and small bowl of strips of raw carrot salad with a larger bowl of carrots in the corner.

What are we drinking? These BBQ meatballs would go well with a beer, a dry martini, or this spicy margarita.

What goes with Mediterranean meatballs

lamb meatballs with pine nuts and raisins atop fried chickpeas and purple cabbage.

Here are three options for your Mediterranean meatball dinner: Greek chicken meatballs with feta and olives. And there’s one with lamb meatballs and a related Meatless Monday option with quinoa balls with pine nuts and raisins. The pine nuts, raisins, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and cloves will make you dream of travel.

Center these meatballs in a bowl meal with Middle Eastern sides for meatballs like a cucumber tomato salad, hummus, feta, and olives. Serve with rice or couscous. And a creamy lemon tahini dressing or sour cream sumac sauce would go well here.

Mediterranean Lamb Bowl
This Mediterranean bowl with spiced lamb meatballs is a bowl dinner with a variety of tastes and textures inspired by Mediterranean flavors.
Mediterranean Lamb Bowl
bowl with lamb meatballs, Israeli couscous, hummus, vegetables, and pine nuts.
Pumpkin Couscous Salad
This Pumpkin Couscous Salad is a Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad made with Israeli couscous, roasted pumpkin, dried apricot, pine nuts, and feta. It's an easy, colorful, and slightly sweet side dish to bring to a potluck or to accompany your next Mediterranean meal.
Pumpkin Couscous Salad
bowl of pumpkin cubes, Israeli couscous, pine nuts, feta, and sprinkled parsley over a green napkin.
Greek Tomato Salad – Horiatiki Salata
This is the traditional authentic Greek salad known as peasant salad – horiatiki – made with ripe tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, olives, extra virgin olive oil, and feta cheese.
Greek Salad
Photo credit: thegreekfoodie.com
Creamy Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
Spoon this creamy lemon herb tahini sauce over your favorite Mediterranean meal. Whether dinner is lamb meatballs with pine nuts and raisins and a side of pita, or you've discovered the joy that is fawaffle, this sauce is a quick and easy flavor-matched accompaniment.
Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
a small bowl of green herb-flecked sauce on a green napkin with three pita, parsley, and a lemon.
Homemade pita pockets are easy to make. Serve them with your next Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-inspired meal to stuff meatballs or dip into hummus.
Homemade Pita Pockets
eight pita in a wire bread basket.
four quinoa balls on a pita with feta, lemon herb tahini sauce, and parsley on a plate.

What are we drinking? Big flavors call for big reds, and I love a Syrah (Shiraz) to go well with the lamb meatballs. Or try either one of these with the Cinnamon Toast from Shake, Strain, Done.

What to serve with chicken meatballs

a plate of chicken and apple meatbals with quinoa, cooked mushrooms, and chopped parsley.

Meat and fruit complement each other in these chicken and apple meatballs just like in those lamb meatballs or my pork tenderloin with bourbon apples. Check out the selection below of side dishes for meatballs made with chicken and apple. These meatballs would also go well added to cavatappi alfredo or to soups!

Strawberry Applesauce
Fresh strawberries add natural sweetness to unsweetened strawberry applesauce. Enjoy it with yogurt or waffles or just eat it with a spoon!
Strawberry Applesauce
a glass bowl of unsweetened strawberry applesauce surrounded by apples and strawberries.
Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
These Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts are an easy side dish you can make in 30 minutes. Serve them tonight with perfectly cooked pan-roasted chicken breasts and some homemade cranberry sauce, or make them part of your favorite grain bowls.
Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
small bowl full of roasted brussels sprouts.
4 Ingredient Potato and Leek Soup
This 4-ingredient potato and leek soup recipe is perfect for a weeknight. It's silky smooth and richer than you'd expect with just 4 ingredients. Add garnishes or try out some of the suggested variations.
Potato Soup
creamy potato soup topped with purple and green onions with a spoon and biscuit.
Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto
This recipe makes traditional, creamy risotto with fresh chanterelles and is finished with Parmesan. It looks and tastes luxurious but it's so easy to make in just 45 minutes.
Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto
Photo credit: sabrinacurrie.com
mushroom risotto on a white plate with glass of white wine in garden scene.
Red Quinoa Risotto
This Vegetable Quinotto (Red Quinoa Risotto) recipe is creamy, hearty, and so easy.
Red Quinoa Risotto
Photo credit: shewantstobegood.com
bowl of risotto garnished with parsley.
Rocket Pear Salad
This Rocket and Pear Salad is made with rocket or arugula, crisp pears, crunchy toasted walnuts, and shaved Parmesan. It's a simple salad you can put together in 15 minutes. Serve your rocket pear salad in Fall with simple roasts. It's the perfect salad for Thanksgiving dinner.
Arugula Pear Salad
rocket pear salad with toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan in a small wood salad bowl.
Feta Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
This Feta Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pecans is an easy cool-weather salad that you can make and vary over and over as a side salad for your Thanksgiving turkey or any roast meat. Or add hard-boiled eggs or a can of beans, and you have a main course kale salad.
Feta Kale Salad
salad bowl with shredded kale, cranberries, pecans, and feta.

What are we drinking? For wines, pick a crisp white wine, like a Pinot Grigio or a dry Riesling. Or go with a perfect brandy Manhattan if you’re in a cocktail kind of mood.

What to serve with Asian pork meatballs

shrimp and pork meatballs in a bowl with rice, pickled cabbage, green onions, and chopsticks.

These shrimp and pork meatballs bring back memories of Sunday dim sum with my family, a large cavernous dining room, and carts of goodies being wheeled between tables. For sides for pork meatballs, check out these recipes:

Baked Rice
Get perfectly fluffy rice every time with this easy recipe.
Baked Rice
Photo credit: www.thereciperebel.com
cooked rice in a baking dish.
Spicy Cucumber Salad With Peanuts
This Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe is a healthy and refreshing side dish.
Spicy Cucumber Salad With Peanuts
Photo credit: www.mychefsapron.com
cucumbers and chopped peanuts in a salad bowl.
Purple Daikon Radish Recipe
This purple daikon radish recipe only takes about 10 minutes from prep to table! The toasted black sesame seeds add a nutty flavor that perfectly compliments this daikon variety's natural sweetness.
Purple Daikon Radish
Photo credit: thesoundofcooking.com
purple daikon radish in a wood bowl.
Garlicky Cabbage
You will love this delicious and healthy Thai style garlicky cabbage that takes less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish.
Garlicky Cabbage
Photo credit: nutfreewok.com
Salad with Yuzu Dressing
Switch things up for your side salad with Mixed Greens & Veggie Salad with Yuzu Dressing!
Salad with Yuzu Dressing
Photo credit: streetsmartnutrition.com
mixed salad with cucumbers, carrot, and radish on a plate next to a salad bowl.

What are we drinking? Asian flavors are often a challenge to pair with wines, but you will never go wrong with a glass of bubbly or a French 75.

Meatball side dish FAQs

Are there any specific tools for making meatballs?

I love my medium cookie scoop for most meatballs to get them all about the same size.

What can I make with leftover meatballs?

If you have leftovers after your meatball dinner, grab a tortilla and make a meatball wrap for lunch. Or make a batch of pizza dough and use your leftover meatballs to inspire all sorts of pizza recipes your next pizza night!

Can I freeze meatballs?

Yes, meatballs freeze perfectly. Freeze braised meatballs in their sauce in a Tupperware type container or use a freezer bag for baked meatballs.

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:


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