Risotto's Perfect Pairings: Delicious Sides to Complement Your Dish

Updated on 
21 April, 2023

What To Serve With Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that can be seemingly intimidating to make, yet it's actually quite easy. This creamy Italian rice dish can be served as an entree or side dish and is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of meals.

What To Serve With Risotto

In this article, we'll take a look at what to serve with risotto, so you can create the perfect meal for any occasion. Risotto has a creamy texture that makes it incredibly versatile and open to a range of flavors and ingredients. Whether you're looking for something light and fresh or something more substantial, there are plenty of options for pairing your risotto with other components of your meal.

We'll explore all the possibilities so you can create delicious dishes that will have your guests raving!


The perfect accompaniment to risotto can be found in the juxtaposition of savory grilled salads and sweet fruit salads.

From the char-grilled asparagus and bell pepper salad to the fresh strawberry and mango salad, there is something for every palate.

Not only do these salads offer a great variety of flavors, but they also provide a nice balance to the creaminess of a risotto dish.

The smokiness of the grilled vegetables combines with the sweetness of the fruits to create a delightful contrast that will be sure to please any dinner guest.

With all these options, it's easy to see why adding salads as side dishes is such a great choice.

And so, while not necessarily required, incorporating salads into any risotto meal can truly enhance its flavor and presentation.


With salads done, it's time to move onto vegetables.

Risotto pairs well with a variety of vegetables, so you can really get creative with your side dish selection.

Grilled vegetables are especially good choices as the char and smokiness adds flavor to the risotto.

Baked vegetables are also great as they provide texture and delicate notes of sweetness that melds with the risotto's savory flavor.

Don't forget to season your vegetables before serving them; a sprinkle of herbs or spices will bring out even more deliciousness in your risotto-vegetable combo.

And now, let's have a look at seafood options for pairing with risotto...



For the seafood lover, a risotto served with a fish stew or some succulent crab cakes just might be the ultimate comfort food.

The light and creamy texture of the risotto pairs perfectly with the rich, savory flavors of the seafood accompaniments.

The warm, aromatic broth of the stew enhances every bite, while the crispy golden exterior of the crab cakes provides a pleasant contrast to its tender and moist filling.

Together, these dishes create an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more.

As we transition from seafood to poultry in our exploration of perfect side dishes for risotto, it is clear that this classic Italian dish is versatile enough to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.


Seafood is always a fantastic accompaniment to risotto, but if you're looking for something meatier, poultry can be just as delicious.

Grilled chicken is a great way to add flavor and texture to the creamy dish, while poached turkey offers a milder counterpoint that can still pack in plenty of taste.

Try serving your risotto with either of these meats to take it up a notch and give your dinner guests something they won't soon forget.

Moving on from poultry, another great option for accompanying risotto is meat.


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that pairs well with robust proteins like grilled steak and slow cooked pork. Both bring a nice meaty flavor to the dish, while still allowing the creamy risotto to take center stage.

The tenderness of the steak or pork complements the texture of the risotto perfectly, making for an incredibly indulgent meal. And as a bonus, these proteins are both relatively simple to prepare - just a quick sear or slow simmer in a saucepan and you're good to go!

With these two meats as sides, your risotto will be transformed into an unforgettable culinary experience. As such, it goes without saying that cheese should also be part of this equation.


After savoring the delicious meat, it's time to explore the wonderful world of cheese. From creamy bries and pungent blues to nutty goudas and tangy cheddars, there are so many varieties of cheese to discover.

To store cheese properly, keep it wrapped tightly in wax paper or parchment paper, and then place it in a resealable bag.


When pairing cheese with risotto, opt for aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano as they will provide a salty depth while cutting through the richness of the dish.

When selecting softer cheeses like Brie and Camembert, use them as an accent instead of a main course accompaniment.

With such a range of flavors available, you can easily find the perfect cheese to suit your taste buds.

Now let's move onto sauces that will perfectly complement this classic Italian dish.


A great way to elevate risotto is to pair it with a flavorful and creamy sauce.

While tomato sauces can provide a nice acidity and balance, their more mellow cousin, creamy sauces, are the perfect counterpart for this classic Italian dish.

Creamy sauces like béchamel or Parmesan cream sauce add richness and creaminess that complements the texture of the rice perfectly.

A drizzle of olive oil can also be used to bring out all the complex flavors in each bite.

With these two options, you have the perfect accompaniment for your risotto!

To round out your meal, consider adding herbs and spices to enhance the flavor even further.

Herbs And Spices

Herbs and spices are essential elements in any risotto dish, adding flavor and complexity. Aromatic ginger garlic, fragrant lemon basil and spicy red pepper flakes are all popular choices.

Ginger garlic can be used as a base flavor to start your risotto, while lemon basil can be added at the end of cooking for a bright finish. Red pepper flakes will add a burst of heat that pairs nicely with the creamy rice texture of risotto.

For maximum flavor, try using a combination of these three herbs and spices to create an unforgettable dish. To really take your risotto up a notch, consider sprinkling some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top – it's sure to be a hit!

Herbs And Spices


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that can be dressed up with a variety of accompaniments. Salads, vegetables, seafood, poultry, meat, cheese and sauces offer an array of possibilities to pair with this creamy dish. Herbs and spices also add flavor and dimension to the meal.

With careful consideration of all these components, every bite of risotto can be transformed into a delectable delight. I'm always in awe of how each individual ingredient lends its own unique flavor to the dish. From the sweetness of the seafood to the savory herbs and spices; from the crunchy texture of vegetables to the creaminess of the cheese - each adds its own special touch to create a truly scrumptious experience.

Risotto is one fabulous feast!

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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