The Ultimate Guide: 10 Side Dishes to Pair with Aglio e Olio

Aglio e Olio, the classic Italian pasta dish, has gained popularity around the world for its simplicity and robust flavors. A dish consisting of spaghetti tossed with garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, and parsley, it offers a delightful blend of aromatic ingredients. If you’ve mastered the art of preparing Aglio e Olio or are planning to give it a try, you might be wondering what to serve alongside this delectable pasta. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best side dishes that perfectly complement the flavors of Aglio e Olio, enhancing your dining experience.

Importance of Pairing Side Dishes

Pairing the right side dishes with your main course can elevate your meal to new heights. Side dishes not only add variety to the plate but also balance the overall flavors, textures, and nutritional elements of the meal. When it comes to Aglio e Olio, selecting side dishes that harmonize with the garlic-infused pasta can take your dining experience to a whole new level. So, let’s dive into the 10 best side dishes to serve with Aglio e Olio.

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are a versatile and flavorful addition to any meal, and they pair exceptionally well with Aglio e Olio. The process of roasting brings out the natural sweetness and caramelization of vegetables, enhancing their depth of flavor. Consider adding roasted asparagus, bell peppers, or zucchini to your plate for a vibrant and nutritious side dish.

Caprese Salad

For a refreshing and visually appealing side dish, a classic Caprese salad is a perfect choice. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil creates a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. Drizzle it with a balsamic glaze or experiment with different varieties of tomatoes to add your own twist to this timeless salad.


Bruschetta, with its crispy bread and vibrant tomato topping, is another fantastic accompaniment to Aglio e Olio. The garlic-infused tomatoes, fresh herbs, and tangy vinegar create a burst of flavors that complement the pasta beautifully. You can get creative with variations such as adding diced avocados or experimenting with different herb combinations.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

If you’re looking to incorporate protein into your meal, grilled shrimp skewers are an excellent choice. The succulent and slightly sweet taste of grilled shrimp pairs wonderfully with the garlic-infused pasta. Consider marinating the shrimp in lemon garlic or herb-infused oils to enhance the flavors even further.

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad, with its crisp romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and creamy Caesar dressing, provides a refreshing and crunchy side dish for Aglio e Olio. The combination of textures and the savory flavors of the dressing complements the pasta perfectly. You can elevate this classic salad by adding grilled chicken or anchovies for an extra kick.

Garlic Bread

It’s hard to resist the allure of warm and garlicky bread, especially when served alongside Aglio e Olio. Garlic bread is a natural pairing, adding an extra layer of flavor and comfort to your meal. Consider variations like adding melted cheese or sprinkling herbs to take this simple side dish to the next level.

Antipasto Platter

For a more extensive offering of side dishes, an antipasto platter is a wonderful choice. This Italian-style appetizer platter typically includes a selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables. The variety of flavors and textures on the platter complement the pasta and offer a delightful mix of savory bites. Customize your antipasto platter based on your preferences to create a unique dining experience.

Roasted Chicken

If you’re craving a heartier side dish, roasted chicken is an excellent option. The savory and tender meat pairs beautifully with the garlic-infused pasta, adding richness and depth of flavor to your meal. Season the chicken with lemon pepper or a blend of Italian herbs to create a delightful fusion of tastes.

Steamed or Sautéed Greens

Balancing your meal with greens is always a good idea, and steamed or sautéed greens make a fantastic side dish for Aglio e Olio. Whether it’s spinach, kale, or Swiss chard, these nutrient-dense greens offer simplicity and health benefits. The vibrant colors and earthy flavors of the greens provide a refreshing contrast to the pasta.

Lemon Sorbet

To cleanse your palate and add a touch of refreshment to the meal, consider serving a lemon sorbet as a palate cleanser or a light dessert. The citrusy flavors of the sorbet beautifully balance the richness of Aglio e Olio. You can even sprinkle it with a hint of mint or serve it with fresh berries for an extra burst of flavor.


Selecting the right side dishes to serve with Aglio e Olio can enhance your dining experience by adding complementary flavors, textures, and nutritional elements to the meal. Whether you choose roasted vegetables, Caprese salad, bruschetta, grilled shrimp skewers, Caesar salad, garlic bread, antipasto platter, roasted chicken, steamed or sautéed greens, or lemon sorbet, the key is to balance the overall flavors and create a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Get creative with your side dish selections, considering your personal preferences and the occasion. Embrace the opportunity to experiment and discover new flavor combinations that enhance the enjoyment of your Aglio e Olio experience. So, gather your ingredients, prepare your pasta, and complement it with these 10 best side dishes. Buon appetito!

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