Ah, chicken parmesan. I will be eternally grateful to the Italians for this delectable little dish. It is one of my all-time favorites for dinner and the rest of the family agrees.
There’s just something about that crunchy-on-the-outside and tender-and-tasty-on-the-inside chicken paired with a rich marinara sauce and topped with loads of melted cheese that just does something to me.
When it comes to serving it up though, I often find that it’s just not enough on its own. Flavor-wise, sure I could just eat 10 of the tasty fillets on their own, but that’s just not really feasible.
So really, you need a side dish to the main event, that compliments the flavors and keeps you full. But I never want it to steal from the show-stopper that is the chicken parm.
But the great thing about chicken parmesan is that it goes with so many different sides! In fact, I had quite a difficult time just whittling it down to my favorite 16 sides. But I did – and without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
1. Mushroom & Pea Pasta
Chicken parm will go great with any kind of pasta really. But this one is the best by a landslide. It’s a great way to incorporate some veggies into your meal and ensure that you’ll have that bloated food-baby belly after your meal.
And it tastes so good. The ricotta cheese sauce really sets the whole thing apart and then once paired with that tasty chicken – it’s unlike anything else.
It also adds a burst of flavor and color to your plate without being too overpowering or overwhelming.
2. Caesar Salad
If you don’t want to go into a carb-coma then a light salad might be a good option. And a caesar salad pairs perfectly with the star of the dish. The rich dressing injects a tartness to the tastebuds that works so well.
The real secret salad star of this meal is without a doubt the garlicky anchovy paste. It adds that salty hit and just packs such a flavorsome punch.
And then don’t even get me started on those crunchy croutons. They’re the perfect addition to an already wonderful side.
3. Baked Eggplant & Yoghurt Salad
I find that chicken parm is the perfect dish for those hot summer days and do you know what else goes great on those shining-sun days? Baked eggplant and yoghurt salad. And together, well, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
It’s super thick and creamy and is perfect for dipping bite size pieces of chicken in. The tangy flavor of the salad only further elevates that rich and tender flavor of the chicken.
4. Cucumber Salad
I love trying to incorporate some fruit or veggies into any meal that I’m serving.
Its important to make sure you’re getting your five a day and I find that some days I definitely have grease-guilt while I’m scranning on some deep fried chicken.
Pairing it with a nice healthy side makes me feel a lot better – and the quickeness and ease of this salad is another added bonus.
5. Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
I’m not going to lie to you, the first time I was served cauliflower mash I kind of just stared at the plate for a little while too nervous to take a bite.
And all that went through my mind was why not just serve good old mashed potatoes? What’s wrong with mashed potatoes?
But it only took that first bite to sell me on the stuff. Wow. It was so very tasty. It doesn’t even really taste of cauliflower, it’s just this garlicky goodness that has all the texture of a mashed spud without any of the carbs.
Pop this beside your favorite chicken dish and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll go back for seconds, and thirds, maybe even fourths!
6. Garlic Bread
Who doesn’t like garlic bread? If you just said ‘me’ then know that we can never be friends. Well, maybe we can – but that is just a bit mind boggling for me.
Crunchy bread on the outside, while being soft, tender, and moist on the inside. What’s not to love? And then the butter and garlic. Yum! It’s so good.
I love a bit of garlic bread with a chicken parm, it’s a great way to mop up any remenanants of that devine marinara sauce.
7. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
If you’re serving up your chicken parmesan for a fancy meal then you may want to opt for a more elegant side dish. You’ll be sure to impress all of your guests with this sophisticated side.
Not only does it look fantastic, it tastes great too. And if you really want to push the boat out you could add even more flavors to the mix such as honey, caramelized onion, or balsamic glaze.
Professional chiefs eat your heart out.
8. Mashed Potatoes
If you’re looking for a nice hearty side thats going to leave you needing to unbutton your pants a little then you can never go wrong with mashed potatoes.
And I’ve tried hundreds of different mash recipes and this is by far my favorite. It’s fluffy, creamy, and packed full of butter. Plus the recipe calls for just four ingredients and is super easy to make! What more could you ask for?
Yes, you heard me right. I said waffles. And before you send me to the gallows for such an outrageous idea, let me pledge my case.
Sure it’s not the most common or traditional side to go with chicken parm, but don’t we all love fried chicken and waffles? Exactly.
It has all the flavors of fried chicken and waffles but just has the addition of marinara sauce and cheese – and it goes so well together. Don’t knock it till you try it. While it is an unlikely pairing – it is absolutely delicious.
10. Roasted Brussel Sprouts
You can stop arguing about whether brussels belong on a christmas dinner and discuss whether brussel sprouts go well with chicken parm. Here’s a hint: the answers yes!
If you’re sticking with brussel sprouts being the pariah of all vegetables, you’ve just not cooked them quite right yet.
There will be no soggy green mush with this recipe, oh no, we’re talking beautifully caramalized roasted brussel sprouts that taste both sweet and nutty.
11. Roasted Baby Potatoes And Cherry Tomatos
You can really elevate your chicken parm into an out of this world experience with this side. The saucy, cheesy, chicken is succulent enough without adding this decedant side to the mix.
We all love a good spud. And these baby potatoes that are smothered in herbs, olive oil, nd garlic are just above and beyond your regular potato.
They add a real depth of flavor to the dish and give you a rounded healthy and super tasty meal.
12. Brown Rice
You can’t beat a chicken and rice combo, which is probably why there are so many different meals that incorporate the two. Any rice will pair with chicken parm really well, but this brown rice recipe just adds extra dimension to the dish.
Its chewy and cheap (which is always a bonus.) And it’s also a really healthy option too for those of you who want to treat yourself to the main without loading up extra calories with your sides.
Try adding mushrooms to the rice too – the nutty and earthy flavors blend together for a wonderful taste sensation.
13. Romaine And Celery Salad With Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Fancying something light and leafy with your chicken parm? Then you need to try this romaine and celery salad.
While the salad itself is plenty tasty, oh my, that super garlicky ranch dressing is to die for. It’s bursting full of flavor without being calorifc. Healthy food has never tasted so good.
And while you’ll be sure to munch away on this tasty side, it still leaves room for the real star of the dish to shine through.
14. Blistered Green Beans With Pickled Shallots And Toasted Breadcrumbs
This salty and crunchy side is absolutely unbelievable. I’ve never much been one for anything green especially when I was younger, and alas I have passed this habit on to my children too. However, this they will gobble up without a second thought.
They also add a bit of colour to the dish which makes it look so much better. The tangy and salty flavors pair amazingly with that rich marinara sauce of the chicken parm.
15. French Fries
As far as sides go, I don’t think you can really ever go wrong with french fries. They go well with everything, they taste amazing, and everyone loves them.
It’s a great plate filler, they’re easy to make and won’t steal the show away from the main event which is your chicken parm.
You can buy frozen french fries and cook them the quick way, or you can follow this recipe, which while it takes a little longer to cook, tastes so much better.
The only issue you’ll have with this recipe is that you’ll never be able to go back to store bought fries again!
16. Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese
Last but by no means least, is mac & cheese. Now this can make for quite a stodgey meal, and you’ll definitely need to allocate about an hour after the meal for a food-induced nap. But what an eating experience it is.
You really can’t beat a really well cooked mac and cheese and this one is as cheesy as they come. The recipe calls for several different cheeses to be layered into the dish and the cheese doesn’t stop there.
There is also a rich and creamy cheese sauce too.
It is the ultimate comfort food paired with one of the tastiest chicken dishes going. Perfect for those rainy days when you’re feeling down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is It Called Chicken Parmesan If Its Made With Mozzarella?
This can cause some confusion, but chicken parmesan doesn’t actually use parmesan cheese in the recipe. The name is actually derived from the place in which it was created which is Parma in Italy.
How Do You Keep Chicken Parmesan From Getting Soggy?
If you want to avoid a soggy chicken parm, you’ll need to ensure you are cooking the chicken in oil that is hot enough.
Around 350 degrees (F) is ideal, but if you can’t temp it then the best way to check if the oil is hot enough is to drop in a small piece of breading. If it starts to sizzle instantly, you should be fine.
What Is Chicken Parmesan Sauce Made Of?
Each recipe may differ a little, but most parm sauces will include garlic, onion, pepper flakes and mixed herbs.
When it comes to chicken parmesan, you can really use your imagination for your sides.
The crispy fried chicken tends to pair well with most potato variations and veggies too. What option you’ll choose will depend on what kind of meal you are after.
If you’re looking for a belly-busting meal then I’d opt for a hearty potato option, but if you’re looking for something lighter then I’d serve up some veggies or rice.
And if you’re wanting to try something new – give the waffles a go. You won’t be disappointed!
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