Porchetta is a simple Italian dish and, when served well with an array of side dishes, it can be the centerpiece of a large gathering.
It can be known as ‘Italian roast pork’, particularly in the US, and can be seasoned with several different, fragrant ingredients including fennel, rosemary, and garlic.
There is a depth of flavor and a range of textures, from the soft and juicy meat to the crispy pork belly skin. That’s why you should take the time to consider the side dishes that can go with it.
On a plate of delicious porchetta, you can complement the flavor with some of the best side dishes around. In this guide, we will look at what you should serve with porchetta and we will dedicate a bonus section to green salads.
For a really simple Italian side dish to go with your porchetta, opt for a fresh Caprese salad.
Start with the dressing by adding garlic, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper to a mason jar before sealing and shaking vigorously.
In a bowl, combine halved bocconcini with cherry tomatoes and torn basil leaves. Drizzle over the dressing, toss gently, and perhaps add a Balsamic glaze before serving.
Another simple, fresh and tomato-based salad is this Cherry Tomato Salad.
Half a batch of cherry tomatoes and mix with sliced green onions, as well as pitted, sliced green and black olives. In a skillet, toast the pine nuts and stir them in with the vegetables.
For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, sugar, red wine vinegar, and dried oregano then add seasoning. Pour the dressing over the salad, stir to coat, then chill under plastic wrap in the refrigerator for around an hour before serving.
Should you decide on using fennel seeds for your porchetta, then pair it up with this tangy Apple Fennel Salad.
Create a dressing in a mason jar by pouring in extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Meanwhile, slice the fennel bulb, celery, and apples with a mandolin slicer then add the slices to a large bowl. Toss the salad with the dressing and add roasted walnuts and grated Parmigiano just before serving.
4. Carrot Slaw
To add some color to your table, create a bowl of Carrot Slaw to go with your porchetta.
It should be really easy to do, so start with a vinaigrette by whisking together Dijon mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Kosher salt, and black pepper.
Add peeled and shredded carrots with thinly sliced scallions then toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for over 30 minutes though you could leave it in there overnight for the flavors to fully develop.
While your porchetta is resting, you can easily prepare this Radicchio Salad and it may only take five minutes. Slice a head of radicchio and toss it with microgreens in a bowl.
Throw in thinly sliced apple, chopped hazelnuts, pomegranate arils, and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. When it is serving time, sprinkle on some seasoning and add a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar.
You may want to give the salad another five minutes simply for the vegetables to absorb the oil and vinegar a touch.
Another traditional Italian side dish is Peperonata which combines cooked peppers and onions, you can even use it as a pasta sauce. Heat up olive oil and sauté sliced onion until softened then add garlic cloves to sauté too.
Add your sliced bell peppers and resist stirring to let them stew while covered but give your pan the odd shake every few minutes or so.
Once the peppers have softened, add red wine then simmer uncovered and serve with basil, parsley, and seasoning.
Partway through cooking your porchetta, you can throw this Italian Roasted Cauliflower into the oven. In a bowl, combine olive oil, Dijon mustard, and tomato paste with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Snap the cauliflower head into florets with your hands then add it to the tomato paste mixture and ensure it is all stained red. Roast the florets on a baking sheet and until darkened in patches but tender-crisp when poked with a fork.
A fresh Italian Potato Salad can work really well with porchetta too.
First, cook the diced Yukon Gold potatoes (you can use red ones instead if you want) in salted water until tender then drain and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, create the vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil with red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the vinaigrette and add baby arugula, mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes, halved artichoke hearts from a jar, diced Italian salami, thinly sliced red onion, and basil leaves.
Serve straight away with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese or refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Italian Tomatoes is such a simple yet delicious side dish that goes so well with porchetta.
Slice your tomatoes into wedges and place them in a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, finely chopped scallion, garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley, and tarragon.
Toss it all for an even coating then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for around half an hour before serving.
If you want to make a porchetta sandwich, you will need some crusty bread and that goes really well with this Tuscan White Bean Salad.
First, fry off the chopped onion, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes in the oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil then incorporate the scallion, white beans, tomato, parsley and toss to make sure that everything is coated.
Fold in the onion mixture, add some seasoning, and serve at room temperature.
11. Burrata Salad
A Burrata Salad is almost like a variation of a Caesar salad as it comes with croutons and a dressing.
However, the key ingredient is Burrata cheese which is a mozzarella cheese filled with a stringy curd and cream.
This salad, and this cheese, should only be brought out on special occasions so it should be ideal with a serving of porchetta.
Alongside a spring mix of salad vegetables, you will need a few baby tomatoes, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing for a delicious salad.
This Confetti Baby Potato Salad not only looks good, but tastes superb so it is ideal to pair up with porchetta.
Cook the confetti baby potatoes until fork tender and while they are cooking you can create the dressing. Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper then add bacon drippings.
Drain and allow the potatoes to cool then cut them in half and create tiny holes in each one with a fork before mixing with chopped onion and parsley. Pour on the dressing and sprinkle over crumbed bacon.
You could even use the same spices for your porchetta to serve with a side dish of roasted potatoes. That means ground fennel, dried thyme, finely chopped rosemary, and sage.
The baby potatoes are tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then baked until light golden.
Combine more olive oil with garlic, those herbs, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and mix well then spoon the mixture over the potatoes and ensure a complete coating.
Roast the potatoes until golden brown and fragrant then garnish with chopped parsley.
Of course, sweet potatoes go really well with porchetta too and they can be even easier to create.
Cut the sweet potatoes into two-inch pieces then toss in olive oil, finely chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast until fork tender and turn over during the cooking.
Remove the batch of sweet potatoes from the oven, sprinkle with some more seasoning and parsley then serve.
15. Mashed Potatoes
Just about any roasted meat will go well with mashed potatoes so make sure that you prepare them as a side dish.
You may not want to peel these potatoes, which is fine, but cut them into pieces, place in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, and then simmer until ready.
Meanwhile, heat up butter, milk, and sea salt in a pan then drain and pan-dry the potatoes. Mash the potatoes, then gradually add the melted butter mixture and fold together, taste, and season to your liking.
Freshly caramelized asparagus goes really well as a side dish with porchetta or most roasted meats.
Trim the asparagus spears then pour on a garlic butter sauce of melted butter with garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Toss the spears to coat then roast until tender yet crisp then remove from the oven and add on a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
It should be fairly obvious that apple goes really well with porchetta so try this Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad.
On a baking sheet, toss together pepitas in olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and just a pinch of salt then lay on prosciutto to bake until crisp.
In a salad bowl, combine shredded kale with pomegranate arils, and thinly sliced honeycrisp apples.
For the vinaigrette, cook shallots in olive oil then remove from the heat and add fig preserves, apple cider vinegar, thyme, red pepper flakes, and seasoning then pour over the salad and top with the toasted pepitas mix and crumbled feta cheese.
Bonus Section: Green Salads
You should look for a light side dish to go with your porchetta so keep it green.
That could mean a Simple Green Salad though look to pair it with familiar flavors such as with a Kale and Fennel Salad or a Arugula Salad with Apple and Walnuts.
A Simple Green Salad can work so well with any meal, including porchetta. For this recipe, toast raw almonds with tamari until browned.
When it comes to serving, simply combine lettuce with lemon vinaigrette, thinly sliced Persian cucumber, shaved Parmesan cheese, pepitas, thinly sliced avocado, and microgreens. Season with some sea salt flakes and serve immediately.
By combining fennel and orange, you can create a classic Sicilian side dish which works so well with porchetta.
Remove the pith and peel from an orange then cut out orange segments and leave them in a salad bowl with any juice. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar then whisk until combined for a tenderized dressing.
Throw in slivered, toasted almonds and dried cherries then top it all off with shredded kale and fennel slices.
For a tasty and fresh salad that goes so well with porchetta and during the festive season, try this Arugula Salad With Apple And Walnuts.
Whisk together Green yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper for a dressing. Pour that over baby arugula, chopped apple, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
Porchetta is a roasted meat that is well worth savoring so treat it well. While the pork meat is cooking, you can prepare a range of side dishes to serve with it.
That should mean pairing the meat with the same flavors so look out for side dishes that use fennel and other herbs. Pork also goes well with apples and there are plenty of salads that incorporate some thin slices that will work.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are serving porchetta for a gathering, you should find a good wine to work with it. Porchetta is a versatile meat and works well with medium-bodied and fruity red wines.
These include Chianti, Côtes du Rhône, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. These wines have a low tannin, low oak, and high acidity which should be looked for in a wine serving to pair with porchetta.