What makes a good side dish for chicken Parmesan?


Chicken Parmesan is a classic Italian dish that combines breaded and fried chicken cutlets with tomato sauce and melted cheese. It’s a delicious and satisfying dish on its own, but pairing it with the right side dish can elevate the meal to a whole new level. In this article, we will explore various options for side dishes that complement chicken Parmesan perfectly.

1. Classic Side Dishes

When it comes to classic Italian side dishes, there are a few tried and true options that pair beautifully with chicken Parmesan. These include:

  • 1.1 Pasta: A plate of spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine tossed in a rich tomato sauce or garlic and olive oil is a classic choice. The pasta provides a familiar and comforting element that complements the flavors of the chicken Parmesan.
  • 1.2 Garlic Bread: Crusty Italian bread slathered with garlic-infused butter and toasted until golden brown is the perfect accompaniment to chicken Parmesan. The crunchy texture and garlic flavor add a delightful contrast to the dish.
  • 1.3 Caprese Salad: A light and refreshing Caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze is a great option. The combination of flavors and textures balances out the richness of the chicken Parmesan.

2. Vegetable Side Dishes

If you’re looking to incorporate more vegetables into your meal, consider these vegetable side dishes:

  • 2.1 Roasted Vegetables: Roasting vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and zucchini brings out their natural sweetness and adds a caramelized flavor. The roasted veggies provide a hearty and nutritious complement to the chicken Parmesan.
  • 2.2 Grilled Asparagus: Grilled asparagus spears seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper make for a simple yet elegant side dish. The smoky flavor of the grilled asparagus pairs well with the savory chicken Parmesan.
  • 2.3 Sauteed Spinach: Fresh spinach sautéed with garlic and a dash of lemon juice creates a vibrant and healthy side dish. The bright flavors of the spinach balance out the richness of the chicken Parmesan.

3. Starch-Based Side Dishes

If you’re looking for a heartier side dish, consider these starch-based options:

  • 3.1 Risotto: Creamy and flavorful, risotto made with Arborio rice and infused with ingredients like mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, or saffron is a luxurious choice. The creamy texture of the risotto complements the crispy chicken Parmesan.
  • 3.2 Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic comfort food that pairs well with chicken Parmesan. Opt for garlic-infused mashed potatoes for an extra burst of flavor.
  • 3.3 Polenta: Creamy polenta, made from cornmeal, is a versatile side dish that can be flavored with herbs, cheese, or even roasted vegetables. Its smooth texture provides a pleasing contrast to the crispy chicken Parmesan.

4. Salad Options

If you prefer a lighter side dish, consider these salad options:

  • 4.1 Caesar Salad: A classic Caesar salad, tossed with crisp romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and tangy Caesar dressing, is a popular choice. The tanginess of the dressing complements the richness of the chicken Parmesan.
  • 4.2 Mixed Green Salad: A simple mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can provide a refreshing contrast to the flavors of the chicken Parmesan. Add toppings like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, or avocado for extra flavor and texture.
  • 4.3 Beet and Goat Cheese Salad: A salad made with roasted beets, creamy goat cheese, and mixed greens is a flavorful and colorful option. The earthy sweetness of the beets pairs well with the savory chicken Parmesan.

5. Wine Pairing

No Italian meal is complete without a good wine pairing. When it comes to chicken Parmesan, the following wines are excellent choices:

Wine Pairing Notes
Chianti A dry red wine with high acidity that complements the tomato-based sauce and enhances the flavors of the chicken Parmesan.
Sauvignon Blanc A crisp white wine with citrus and herbal notes that provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish.
Pinot Grigio A light and dry white wine that pairs well with the chicken Parmesan, enhancing its flavors without overpowering them.
Barbera A medium-bodied red wine with low tannins that complements the dish’s flavors without overwhelming them.

In conclusion, a good side dish for chicken Parmesan should complement the flavors and textures of the dish while adding variety to the meal. Whether you choose a classic side dish, a vegetable-based option, a starch-based accompaniment, or a refreshing salad, the right choice will enhance your dining experience. Don’t forget to select a suitable wine pairing to complete the meal!

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