What to Serve with Carbonara: 5 Delicious Side Dishes to Elevate Your Pasta Game

Updated on 
6 May, 2023

What To Serve With Carbonara

Carbonara is one of the most beloved Italian dishes. It's creamy, cheesy and packed with flavor. But what do you serve alongside this classic dish to make it even more enjoyable?

If you're looking for something new and exciting to pair with your carbonara, you're in luck! We've got some unique and delicious accompaniments that will take your carbonara to a whole new level. From fresh vegetables to flavorful side dishes, we've got all the inspiration you need to transform your plate into a culinary masterpiece.

So get ready for a taste sensation like no other!

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a great accompaniment to carbonara.

Despite the traditional Italian influences in this dish, there's no reason to feel limited - you can always mix and match flavors and ingredients that you love!

Grilling vegetables brings out their natural sweetness, while adding just the right amount of smoky flavor.

Consider asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, or Brussels sprouts for your grilled veggie side dish.

No matter which vegetables you decide on, be sure to season them with salt and pepper and add some fresh herbs for extra flavor.

The possibilities don't end here though - feel free to experiment with different marinades or sauces for the grilled vegetables.

If you're looking for something light and refreshing, try a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil and lemon juice.

Or if you want something more indulgent, whip up a quick garlic-butter sauce!

The combinations are endless so get creative: whatever tastes best to you is guaranteed to be delicious alongside carbonara.

After grilling your veggies of choice until they’re lightly charred and tender, serve them up next to your carbonara for an incredibly satisfying meal.

Moving on...

Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes are a great accompaniment to carbonara. Not only do they provide a creamy texture and savory flavor, but they also add an extra layer of crunchy texture that pairs perfectly with the creamy sauce of the carbonara.

When roasted in the oven, potatoes become golden brown on the outside while remaining tender and fluffy on the inside. This creates a unique contrast of textures that will have your guests coming back for more.

Adding herbs and spices to roasted potatoes gives them an extra punch of flavor. Rosemary, thyme, garlic, and onion powder can all be used to enhance the flavor profile of this tasty side dish. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some freshly chopped chives or spicy chili flakes for an added kick!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to seasoning your roasted potatoes. No matter how you choose to season them, roasted potatoes are sure to be a hit at your next dinner party. And since they’re so easy to make, there’s no excuse not to give them a try!

With just a few simple ingredients and minimal effort required, these flavorful potatoes can easily take any meal from ordinary to extraordinary – perfect for pairing with carbonara! Moving right along...

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment to carbonara. Whether you prefer a classic, crunchy French baguette or a delightfully soft Italian one, it's an easy way to add extra flavor without too much effort.

The combination of garlic, butter and cheese creates a tantalizing aroma that will have your guests drooling in anticipation. Not only does it look and smell great but it also adds another level of texture to the dish.

It's also incredibly simple to make. Just cut the bread into slices, spread on some garlic butter and top with grated cheese. Bake until golden brown then serve piping hot alongside your carbonara.

You can even use store-bought garlic butter if you're short on time - just be sure to check the ingredients as many contain preservatives or artificial flavors.

For those looking for something a little more special, try baking a round loaf of focaccia with rosemary and sea salt for an added hint of sophistication. Or why not go all out and make your own from scratch?

Whichever option you choose, garlic bread makes the perfect side to any carbonara dish.

Ready for something else? Let's get creative with salad!


A delicious salad can be the perfect accompaniment to carbonara. A simple side salad of greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers is a great option that won't overpower the main dish. To give it an extra flavor kick, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and drizzle with a light balsamic vinaigrette. For a more substantial side dish, you can add grilled chicken or steak strips to the salad for added protein and flavor.

If you're looking for something a bit different, try serving your carbonara with a Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad. Start by cooking some short-cut pasta such as rotini or macaroni and then mix in chopped olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, feta cheese and plenty of fresh herbs like basil and oregano. Finish off the dish with a tangy lemon dressing for an unforgettable flavor combination!

When served together, carbonara and salad make for an unbeatable combination that's sure to please everyone at the table. With its unique texture and flavor profile, this classic Italian favorite is sure to become one of your go-to meals when you need something quick yet satisfying.

Now let's move on to how spinach and artichoke dip can bring even more variety to your meal!

Spinach And Artichoke Dip

Spinach and artichoke dip is an ideal side dish to serve with carbonara. This classic combination of flavors is a favorite among many, with over 2 million orders of spinach and artichoke dip served annually in the US alone.

Not only does it pair perfectly with the flavor of carbonara, but its creamy texture complements the robustness of the main dish. This dip's popularity can be attributed to how easy it is to make. With just a few ingredients, you can prepare a delicious treat for your guests in no time at all.

You can customize this recipe by adding other vegetables or seasonings to give it an extra kick. Plus, you don't have to worry about any added calories from frying - this dish gets its creamy texture from cream cheese and mayonnaise.

Whether you're hosting a dinner party or just looking for something simple to serve, spinach and artichoke dip is sure to be a hit! Enjoying this flavorful dish alongside carbonara will be sure to please everyone's palate - not to mention their stomachs!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make Carbonara Sauce?

Making carbonara sauce is a classic Italian dish that's surprisingly easy to make.
All you need is some good quality pancetta or bacon, eggs, pasta, Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.
Start by frying the pancetta in a pan until it's crispy and then remove from the heat.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the pancetta oil and stir until combined.
Then crack in your eggs and use a spoon to mix everything together until it forms a creamy sauce.
Finally, add some grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste before serving!

What Type Of Pasta Is Best For Carbonara?

When it comes to the perfect pasta for carbonara, there's no one-size-fits-all answer.
Longer pastas like spaghetti and fettuccine are classic choices, but shorter varieties like penne, rigatoni and even macaroni can make for a delicious dish.
For a truly unique experience, go for a more unusual shape such as bucatini or farfalle — you won't regret it!

How Long Should I Cook The Pasta For?

Cooking pasta for carbonara is a simple task, but it's important to get the timing right.
For perfectly cooked pasta that's al dente, yet still has a bit of bite to it, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add your favorite pasta.
Cook for 8-10 minutes depending on the size and shape.
Then, drain and rinse with cold water before adding it to your carbonara sauce.

Is Carbonara A Healthy Dish?

Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish made with eggs, cheese, bacon and spaghetti. It's a delicious meal that can be prepared quickly, but it's not necessarily the healthiest option.
The high amount of fat from the bacon and cheese can make it difficult to fit into a balanced diet. Additionally, depending on the type of pasta used, it can be quite high in carbohydrates.
If you're looking for a healthy version of carbonara, consider using lighter versions of the ingredients and switching out regular pasta for whole wheat or gluten-free varieties.

How Can I Make Carbonara Vegetarian?

Vegetarians, have no fear! You can still enjoy the deliciousness of carbonara - without compromising your dietary beliefs.
Just leave out the bacon and opt for vegetarian-friendly ingredients like mushrooms, eggplant, or spinach instead. The trick is to sauté them until they’re nice and tender before adding them to the classic sauce of eggs, cheese, and cream.
With a few simple swaps, you can enjoy a delicious vegetarian version of this classic Italian dish. Bon Appétit!


Carbonara is a simple yet delicious Italian dish that can be enjoyed by everyone. Making it is quick and easy, and it's the perfect meal for busy weeknights.

A good starting point is to choose a pasta variety that will hold up to the creamy sauce. Then, pair it with a light vegetable side or salad for contrast and flavor.

Lastly, don't forget about some freshly grated parmesan cheese—the finishing touch that glues all of the flavors together like stars in the night sky.

Enjoying carbonara is like taking a trip to Italy without ever leaving your kitchen!

Jennifer is a certified nutritionist and weight loss coach with a Master's in Nutrition from Cambridge. With over 10 years experience, she shares healthy recipes and science-backed slimming tips on SheCooksSheEats to help people reach their wellness goals. Jennifer stays up-to-date by regularly attending conferences and continuing her nutrition education. She aims to provide research-backed advice to inspire balanced, happy living.
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