Mac and cheese is a deliciously creamy form of pasta that oozes with cheesy flavor.
It is renowned for being one of the country’s most loved comfort foods.
It is guaranteed to more than suffice your appetite, however, it may require side dishes on occasion.
If you are wondering what you should serve alongside a mac and cheese dish, then you should search for food products that directly contrast the rich and creamy texture of this dish.
You may want to consider the color of these side dishes also, as this dish is notably vibrant in coloration, ensuring that your plate remains colorful and delicious.
If you are struggling to think of ideas for side dishes to accompany this dish, then this article will help you out!
Here are some examples of the perfect side dishes to serve alongside this creamy, oozing pasta favorite.
1. BBQ Ribs
The side dish that is most commonly paired with this pasta dish, is BBQ ribs (see also ‘18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With BBQ Ribs‘).
The combined color of these two ensures that your plate looks incredible.
The reddened hue of the ribs alongside the golden tones of your Mac and Cheese, makes for the perfect, picturesque combination.
Crucially, the smoky nature of the ribs perfectly complements the tantalizing creaminess of this pasta dish.
Thus, amalgamating the two is the perfect means of serving a hearty meal.
Your guest will thank you for days after sampling these two much-loved favorites side by side.
You can evolve this pasta dish into a more fulfilling meal by adding some tasty meatloaf on the side (see also ‘29 Scrummy Side Dish Ideas To Go With Meatloaf‘).
These two dishes work perfectly together, creating a luscious symphony of textured taste.
There are even recipes online that showcase meatloaf embedded with Mac and Cheese!
Thus, you are guaranteed to create a dish to die for when combining these two dishes.
3. Sloppy Joes
A single bite of this notoriously sloop sandwich (see also ‘The Best 20 Recipes For Sandwiches‘) will instantly bring back joyous childhood memories.
You should combine your sloppy Joe with this pasta dish in order to create a meal that epitomizes comfort.
This meal is guaranteed to satisfy your loved ones on a weekday or weekend evening.
It is surprising that these two are not paired together in the first instance.
However, if you are looking to take your Mac and Cheese to the next level, then you should definitely add some meatballs on the side (if you want to bump meatballs up to the main course, read here).
Cook your meatballs with some chili or tomato sauce and serve them accordingly to tantalize your taste buds with perfection.
If you are looking for another creamy side dish that provides additional crunch, then serving coleslaw alongside this pasta dish is a great option!
Coleslaw is also incredibly simple to make. You merely need to chop up some carrots and cabbage before mixing them with sugar, white vinegar, salt, poppy seeds, and chopped onions.
You can also simply purchase pre-made coleslaw mix from the store.
This is an easy compromise that does not sacrifice any of the taste sensations that arise from combining these two side dishes.
Due to the decadent nature of this pasta dish, you will need to ensure that it is served alongside green vegetables in order to absorb its creamy richness.
Broccoli is always paired with cheese because they taste sensational together!
You should ensure that you have roasted your broccoli accordingly in order to enhance the smokiness of this vegetable.
You can also top your broccoli with some sliced red onion and feta cheese prior to drizzling them with olive or sesame oil.
Then, place them into your oven and roast them for 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also enhance the cheesiness of your side dish by adding some grated Parmesan cheese.
When selecting vegetables to use as a side dish, you should always aim to use fresh veggies.
However, you can also use frozen broccoli and place it in an oven to bake alongside your Mac and Cheese so that both dishes cook together.
7. Side Salad
A simplistic side salad pairs wonderfully with every dish, including Mac and Cheese.
This is also a beautiful light side dish that perfectly pairs with the heaviness of your pasta.
This side dish makes a refreshing addition to a BBQ (see also our favorite BBQ recipes), and you can use a vast array of vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, radishes, cabbages, red onions, and carrots if desired.
Top your salad with some protein like shredded chicken, or sprinkle on some bacon bits for added perfection.
Using corn kernels in your side salad is also highly advisable, and do not hold back on the walnuts if you do not have a food allergy.
These provide the perfect contrast in texture alongside your pasta dish. Finally, drizzle on some ranch dressing for completion.
Pigs in blankets take the form of small hotdogs that are wrapped in bacon and pastry.
You can use croissant dough, biscuit dough, or pancake to hold your sausages in place.
These little snacks can be devoured in a single bite, and they make the perfect dipping accompaniment to your Mac and Cheese dish.
Little smokies are an alternative snack that is guaranteed to be a favorite amongst your family and friends.
You can also wrap them in bacon and serve them alongside your Mac and Cheese dish.
You should cook your little smokies in an oven in order to crisp them properly on the outside.
The smoky flavor of this side dish pairs wonderfully with the overall richness of your pasta dish, ensuring that you are fully satisfied!
10. Beef Chili
Pairing another comfort food dish like beef chili works wonderfully when serving Mac and Cheese.
A combination of these two dishes ensures that you achieve a harmony of creamy, hearty, and meaty food.
The spice of the chili also offsets the creamy texture of your Mac and Cheese.
If you have had a hard day, and want to make a winning combination of comfort food, then you should definitely consider pairing these two dishes together for the ultimate taste sensation.
You may wonder how a sweet dish can work alongside Mac and cheese, but trust me it does!
This sweet treat perfectly complements the creamy nature of your Mac and Cheese dish.
Serve your brownie alongside a dollop of vanilla ice cream to provide the perfect dessert to accompany your pasta dish (see also ‘13 Italian Side Dishes To Serve With Lasagna‘).
12. Apple Pie
An alternative form of dessert that you can serve alongside your Mac and Cheese dish is apple pie!
Apple pie is renowned for being delicious and it is also the perfect warm dessert to serve as comfort food.
This sweet dish is perfectly finished with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, ensuring that your guests are satisfied in the sweet and savory department.
This is also the perfect way to end a hearty, family meal.
This easy-to-make citrus salad is utterly delicious and wonderfully refreshing!
Combine some oranges and grapefruit with fresh mint and vinaigrette for a unique amalgamation of citrus flavors that perfectly complement the heaviness of your mac and cheese dish.
14. Sauteed Spinach
This sauteed spinach is seasoned with garlic and served with a drizzle of olive oil.
The dash of lemon juice perfectly brings out the array of flavor contained within the dish.
If you are looking for food that is full of vibrant flavors, without being overly mushy, then this is the side dish for you.
15. Kale Salad
Utilize some dark green tuscan kale for the perfect contrasting side dish.
This recipe fuses italian-style lemon dressing with parmesan cheese in order to create the perfect taste sensation that amalgamates a vast array of flavor.
The zest of this dish works wonderfully to offset the heavy, gooey nature of your pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Mac And Cheese Sit Out?
Like most other food, Mac and Cheese can only sit at room temperature for two hours before it becomes dangerous to eat.
If temperatures are also high, then you should not leave your Mac and Cheese dish out for more than an hour.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Mac And Cheese?
Eating macaroni and cheese provides you with copious amounts of selenium.
This is a natural mineral that can help to improve cardiovascular health when eaten in moderation.
It also helps to prevent free radicals from overwhelming the body, improving your overall ability to detox whilst boosting your immune system.
How Often Can Mac And Cheese Be Reheated?
There isn’t a limit to how many times you can reheat your Mac and Cheese dish.
However, it is advised that you DO limit the amount of times that you reheat it.
If you are cooking your Mac and Cheese in bulk, then you should ensure that you separate it into portions prior to storing.
How Old Is Mac And Cheese?
The specific origin story of this dish is not known, however, it is likely to hail from Northern Europe.
The oldest recipe that has been recorded was penned in 1769!
How Can I Tell If Mac And Cheese Has Gone Bad?
In order to tell whether your Mac and Cheese has gone bad, you will need to assess its overall odor, appearance, and flavor.
Any mold that appears is also a clear indication that your dish has gone off and should be discarded immediately.
Can Mac And Cheese Be Reheated In The Oven?
Yes, if you have stored your Mac and Cheese leftovers correctly, you can reheat your Mac and Cheese dish in an oven.
You simply need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and reheat it until it appears bubbly. This usually takes 20 minutes.
How Often Should I Eat Mac And Cheese?
As these recipes are high in sodium and calories, you should only aim to eat this pasta dish in moderation as part of your diet.
This dish tends to contain 500 calories per serving, and thus, you should try to avoid eating too much Mac and Cheese if you are aiming to lose weight, or you have high levels of cholesterol.
To conclude, the 12 tasty recipes that I have outlined above make the perfect additions to a hearty Mac and Cheese meal.
If you are looking to provide dishes that boast an array of contrasting textures and flavors, then you will definitely find the side dish to suit your needs in the list above.
You should bear in mind that Mac and Cheese is packed full of calories and sodium, and thus, you should only aim to eat it on occasion.
This ensures that you can enjoy your meal and side dishes fully without feeling guilty about your intake!
The side dishes that I have outlined above contain a vast amount of calories in and of themselves and thus, this should also be taken into consideration if you are following a stricter diet.