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20 Of Our Best Italian Side Dishes

17 November 2020
by Giadzy
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Everyone's always looking forward to the main events on holiday menus, but we're shining the spotlight on Giada's Italian side dishes.

Hold on to your hats, everyone - holiday season is really here. We're ready to fully enjoy these few months of family gatherings and feasting! While the piece de la resistance main course always gets the most attention, we don't think anyone should skimp on the sides. When everyone's expecting the same main protein (and if a riot would break out in the family if you didn't serve it), side dishes are the opportunity to get a bit creative with the menu! From decadent goodies to fresh counterparts, here's our definitive list of our favorite Italian side dishes for the season.

AKA - bookmark this page, and you'll have holiday meals on lock!

Italian Side Dishes

Italian Side Dishes

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

We turn to this side dish all the time, because it's just so dang versatile. Quickly sauteed green beans, kale and mushrooms gets loads of flavor from parmesan, pepper flakes and lemon juice. You'll be wanting to make this one on any weeknight for a quick side - but it doubles as a wonderful addition to any holiday table.

Italian Side Dishes

Citrus-Chili Acorn Squash

Winter squash gets a zing from orange zest and Calabrian chili paste, making this a great side dish to spice up any fall or winter protein.

Italian Side Dishes

Lemon Smashed Potatoes

Giada has been quoted saying these are her favorite ways to prepare potatoes, period. Just look at them - can you blame her?


Roasted Acorn Squash Agrodolce

Wedges of caramelized acorn squash are tossed in a sweet-and-sour vinaigrette, known as "agrodolce"! With brown butter, fried sage, dollops of mascarpone and smoked almonds, this is an incredible and sophisticated side dish for the holiday table.

Italian Side Dishes

Peas, Bacon & Prosecco

This side dish is super quick to whip up - and only one pan needed! We love this side because it's a fantastic way to up the ante on a regular ol' side of peas with just a few flavorful ingredients.

Italian Side Dishes

Pan-Fried Zucchini with Anchovy Vinaigrette

You may not be thinking about zucchini and tomatoes in the throes of the colder months, but trust us! Pan-frying them and tossing with a delicious vinaigrette will bring out the flavor in even the most out-of-season vegetables.

Italian Side Dishes

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Almonds

Quickly roasting cauliflower takes it from bland to brilliant. If you’ve never tried it, here’s your recipe. The capers, almonds, and Parmesan make this side dish a real standout.


Sauteed Green Beans with Parmesan Crisps

Another great way to take green beans to a new level? Douse them in crispy parmesan chips!


Bacon Bourbon Brussel Sprouts

Any picky eaters will be scarfing down their brussels sprouts thanks to this recipe!


Smashed Root Vegetables

A twist on the conventional mashed potatoes, celery root and parsnips give this side dish lots of extra flavor.


Roasted Squash with Cherries and Pistachios

Roasting squash with rosemary and garlic gives it an amazing depth of fall flavor, and it makes magic when paired with tart cherries, salty pistachios and tangy gorgonzola.


Mushroom Risotto With Peas

This vegetarian mushroom and pea risotto makes a great hearty side for any main protein. Just don’t skip the Parmesan rind - it gives it that extra umami flavor!


Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

One part salad, one part roasted veggie side dish. It's perfect for using up odds-and-ends root vegetables you might have lying around, and you can easily substitute the ones listed for sweet potatoes, beets, or turnips.

Bacon And Brussels Sprouts Orecchiette

This pasta salad is brimming with flavor from bacon, brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds, plenty of Parm and a zesty vinaigrette.


Roasted Fennel with Parmesan

Fennel is one of those vegetables that is used all the time in Italy, but seems a bit underappreciated in this country. The licorice flavor mellows a bit and is a great match for the salty Parmesan.


Smokey Candied Carrots with Walnut Gremolata

Heads up - this is going to quickly become your new favorite way to cook carrots. They get perfectly tender, and the smokey-sweet glaze pairs perfectly with the lemon herb gremolata.


Roasted Cauliflower with Parsley Sauce

Roasting cauliflower whole gives it a great caramelization on the outside, while it stays super tender on the inside. The zesty parsley sauce has lemon and parmesan, giving the whole dish some great bright flavor - and color!


Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Consider this your ultimate back-pocket recipe for perfectly roasting all root veggies.


Broccoli Rabe with Raisins and Pine Nuts

This is a quintessentially Italian dish! The combo of raisins and pine nuts is very common in Italy, and it brings some great sweetness and crunch to broccoli rabe.


Shaved Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette and Walnuts

This fall vegetable "salad" uses zucchini and carrots, which are shaved into long strips and tossed with a tart and creamy vinaigrette. It's visually beautiful on the plate and is sure to impress!


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