What sides pair best with baked ziti? Pair baked ziti with a burrata salad or a green salad with radicchio and pepitas for a fresh, healthy side. Alternatively, prepare yummy veggies like roasted peppers and zucchini, stuffed tomatoes, whole roasted artichokes, or green beans. Lastly, opt for bruschetta or cheesy garlic bread.
Baked ziti is a favorite Italian dish that you can enjoy on its own. However, who does not like a yummy side with a delicious pasta dish?
Here are the top 8 sides that will ensure a well-rounded meal without taking the shine away from the creamy baked ziti main meal.
A burrata salad is a simple yet elegant salad that perfectly matches a homemade baked ziti meal.
Burrata salad kicks an ordinary green salad up a notch thanks to the crispy croutons and soft, gooey burrata cheese.
Our burrata salad requires no cooking, only a quick prep.
Start by slicing a mixture of colored tomatoes -we like using sliced heirlooms and halved cherry tomatoes -and arranging them on a platter. Then layer your other ingredients, including fresh basil leaves, bite-size burrata cheese, and croutons.
Lastly, add the final seasonings: extra virgin olive oil, flaky salt (we prefer Maldon), ground black pepper, and aged balsamic vinegar.
If you can’t find burrata cheese, make a Caprese salad instead using mozzarella cheese instead of burrata.
Green Salad With Radicchio and Pepitas
A lemony green salad topped with radicchio and pepitas is a light salad that compliments hot, rich baked ziti pasta dishes.
In a large bowl, toss a mixture of leafy greens and the sliced radicchio ribbons with an emulsified vinaigrette of lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and honey.
Then, finish the salad with a generous handful of toasted pepitas, salt, and pepper.
If the salad tastes too tart, tweak the recipe with a nut oil and a splash of soy sauce.
Adding stuffed tomatoes to your baked ziti side dish is dinner done the right way. A side dish doesn’t have to be intricate to make your tastebuds dance -go ahead and give this recipe a try.
Cut the tops off some ripe tomatoes and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Then, generously season the insides with kosher salt before adding the stuffing.
We use a mixture of bread crumbs, pine nuts, and a touch of anchovy to create a mouth-watering savory filling for our stuffed tomatoes.
Bake the tomatoes in a little white wine for around 25 minutes or until they’re wilted and bursting with juice.
Roasted Peppers & Zucchini
You can always count on humble vegetables to save the day when you’re out of ideas for a side dish. Roasted peppers and zucchini fit the bill to pair with baked ziti.
Simply chop equal quantities of peppers and zucchini. Then, generously season them with olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Roast the veggies at 450°F for 30 minutes, tossing the veggies halfway through baking.
The secret to irresistible roasted veggies is a piping hot oven. This helps caramelize the edges and provides a deep rich flavor.
Roasted Whole Artichokes
Roast whole artichokes as a classic side the next time you prepare baked ziti -your guests are guaranteed to love it!
Cut the artichoke stems about an inch from the top. Season the whole artichoke with a generous squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves (tuck them between the leaves), and kosher salt.
Wrap the artichokes in tinfoil and bake them in the oven at 425°F for 75 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool down slightly, then enjoy!
Italian Green Beans
If you’re a sucker for parmesan cheese and butter, you have to try our Italian green beans. More so, these green beans pair perfectly with baked ziti.
Melt a dollop of butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Then, add the minced garlic, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
While the mixture is sautéing to brown the crumbs, you can steam the green beans until cooked. Once cooked, add the beans to the frying pan of cheesy goodness and stir to coat.
Lastly, season the green beans with salt to taste and enjoy.
Tip: We prefer using freshly grated parmesan cheese. It melts better and adds flavor and texture to this recipe. In addition, add sautéed grape tomatoes to the green beans for a bursting flavor and gorgeous pop of color.
Bruschetta is a yummy Italian appetizer that tastes fantastic with baked ziti.
This delightful starter consists of chunks of roasted tomatoes atop crunchy Italian bread.
We recommend rubbing the toasted Italian bread with a fresh garlic clove to help impart tons of flavor. Then, we top the tiny toasts with marinated tomatoes for the ultimate side dish.
To marinate your tomatoes, pop garlic in a medium skillet with olive oil and cook till lightly golden. Meanwhile, toss together ripe tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, salt, and red pepper.
Add the garlic-infused oil to the tomatoes and leave them to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Once ready, spoon tomato on top of the bread before serving.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
You can’t go wrong with cheesy garlic bread as a side for baked ziti.
You’ll need a crusty French loaf or baguette, butter, mozzarella, parmesan, Colby Jack cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Cut the loaf into slices and spread the garlic butter mixture over the bread. Be sure to spread the butter right to the edges.
Top the slices with the cheese and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes for bubbly cheese.
Best Wine Pairings For Baked Ziti
The best wines for baked ziti are classic red wines, including Chianti, Montepulciano, and Zinfandel.
Chianti is a medium-bodied and acidic red wine that holds up to the acidity of the tomato-based baked ziti. The wine also lends unique fruity and herb flavors and a peppery hint to clean your palate from the dense ziti flavors.
Montepulciano is a juicy, medium-bodied red wine with soft tannins, high acidity, and dark fruit flavors, making it ideal for pairing with baked ziti.
Zinfandel is a versatile red wine that tends to come off as acidic and slightly sweet, which is what you’ll need for a baked ziti dish with a marinara sauce.
Best Sauces For Baked Ziti
We love to use a homemade marinara sauce with rich and lively tomato flavors to best complement baked ziti.
Sauté onions and garlic with olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until aromatic and brown on the edges. Then, combine pulsed tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes (optional), and dry red wine.
Allow it all to simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
Now, add salt, pepper, and freshly chopped basil and parsley to taste.