One of my favorite dishes in the whole wide world is macaroni and cheese.
Have you ever noticed how many different takes on this simple dish there are? It’s overwhelming.
There are gourmet versions made with truffle oil, no-bake versions, even low-fat versions – so what makes this classic American dish one of America’s favorite comfort foods?
Well, first of all, everyone loves macaroni and cheese.
It’s cheesy, creamy, buttery pasta goodness – what’s not to like? You can alter it with different types of cheeses or add veggies if that is more your style.
Also, everyone has their version of how they would make the perfect mac and cheese.
That being said, serving mac and cheese is a great way to please all your dinner guests.
This dish can go with pretty much any side dish you choose to serve it with, but we have come up with the eight best ones that compliment mac and cheese perfectly.
Read on and see if any of them strike your fancy.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Mac and Cheese?
Mac and cheese is the perfect side dish for any meal, yet it can also be an entrée for lunch or dinner.
There are many different types of mac and cheese, but this article will focus on casserole-based macaroni and cheese dishes.
Since mac and cheese are already packed with flavor (cheese), you don’t need to add any spices or herbs.
That’s right – keep it simple.
The more ingredients you add, the more your taste buds will be confused by flavor overload.
Mac and cheese is a versatile dish that can go great with many dishes such as chicken or steak.
This dish also works well with most vegetables, such as broccoli or green beans.
When thinking about side dishes for mac and cheese, don’t think about pairing flavors; instead, try to find complementary flavors that will not clash with the meal’s flavor.
Whatever you decide to pair with your dish, keep it simple and serve it on the side.
Try not to marinate the food or add too many spices and herbs so that you don’t interfere with the flavor of the mac and cheese itself.
Remember: two great flavors are better than a hundred mediocre ones.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese? 8 BEST Side Dishes
So what can you serve with mac and cheese? Here are eight great side dishes that will pair perfectly with your dish.
1 – Sweet Potato Fries
Depending on your guest list, you may want to consider serving sweet potato fries with your salmon patties.
This side dish is good for people of all dietary preferences – it’s gluten-free and vegan-friendly (if you use vegetable oil instead of beef) and delicious.
Sweet potato fries are super easy to make: peel and slice your potatoes, mix in a tsp of oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and about 10 minutes in the oven.
You can also make homemade mayo to go with the sweet potato fries (mayo and sweet potatoes are a match made in heaven).
2 – Steamed Broccoli or Green Beans
Steamed broccoli or green beans is a classic American side dish that many people enjoy.
This simple dish goes well with any main entrée, especially when paired with a tomato sauce.
To steam broccoli or green beans, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the vegetables into the mix.
Wait for the water to come back up to a boil, and then take out your veggie mix – you can pour them into a strainer if you want to get rid of all excess liquid.
After that, serve them while still warm, and they’ll be ready to eat.
3 – Cauliflower Casserole
Cauliflower casserole is a delicious side dish that’s creamy yet healthy.
The great thing about this side dish is that it goes extremely well with beef or black bean burgers, but you can also incorporate more spices into this dish to make it a bit spicier for chicken dishes.
Cauliflower casserole can best be described as a rich cauliflower cheese soup that you don’t have to feel guilty about after eating.
To make the perfect cauliflower casserole, add your florets into a pot of boiling water, and once they turn a brighter color, take them out and put them into the blender.
After that, add in some spices such as salt, pepper, and garlic powder with some powdered cheese.
From there, pour your cauliflower mixture into an oven-safe dish and top it off with bread crumbs and more cheese – voila.
4 – Roasted Pumpkin
Roasted pumpkin provides a great contrast in textures that will make any mac and cheese dish pop.
This side dish is perfect for fall or winter because it’s sure to warm everyone up.
Roasting pumpkins can be challenging, but here are some helpful hints on how to get the best results.
You’re going to want to wash out your pumpkin and then set it onto a baking sheet to get ready for the oven.
After that, use a knife and cut your pumpkin in half before removing all of the seeds and pulp from inside – don’t forget to keep the skin on when preparing your pumpkin for the oven.
Once you’ve finished cutting your pumpkin, take out three cups of pumpkin and put it onto another baking sheet.
To finish up, add in some spices such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil leaves, thyme leaves, etc.
Once everything is done cooking in the oven at 400° F or 205° C, you’ll end up with delicious bites of roasted pumpkin that will go great with any dish.
5 – Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is very versatile for its many health benefits.
This side dish can also be prepared in various ways depending on your guests’ preferences for sweet or savory sides.
Traditionally, corn on the cob is boiled before serving; however, you can also try grilling or baking your corn to make it even healthier.
There are many ways to prepare roasted corn, including placing it in aluminum foil with butter and salt before cooking it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350° F or 175° C for a sweet side or adding in some chili powder and lime juice with salt before cooking it over the grill for a spicy side.
6 – Grilled Asparagus
Grilling asparagus is a great way to make this side dish healthier and more delicious.
This simple side dish can be made very quickly with just a few ingredients, making it perfect for a party or family dinner.
Here’s how you grill asparagus.
First, cut off any tough ends of the asparagus.
After that, grab a few stalks and place them onto a metal skewer to give it more stability while grilling.
Finally, brush your grill with some olive oil or butter before placing the skewers on the grill – you’ll only have to wait for about five minutes before flipping over your skewers and allowing everything to cook on the other side.
Once your asparagus is done cooking, remove the skewers from the grill, and you’ll have a delicious side that will accompany any main dish.
7 – Sauteed Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a very healthy green vegetable that’s great for adding to side dishes or even as a main dish itself.
Here’s how you saute chard.
First, remove the tough stems of your swiss chard.
After that, chop up your leaves and wash them in cold water before adding them to a pan with olive oil and garlic.
Let your swiss chard cook for around five minutes before seasoning it with salt and pepper.
You can also add Parmesan cheese if you like, pour the swiss chard onto a plate, and top it off with some balsamic vinegar.
8 – Apple Pie
Apple pie is a classic dessert that also makes for an excellent side dish.
This sweet treat is not only delicious, but it’s quick to make, and you can even bake your apples the night before.
Here are some helpful hints on how to prepare this apple treat.
First, place all of your ingredients into a large bowl and mix them up well.
Second, preheat your oven to 375° F or 190° C and grease a pie pan with vegetable oil.
After that, pour your ingredients into the greased pan and cover it up with aluminum foil before placing it inside and baking for an hour.
When your apple pie is done, remove the aluminum foil and let it cook for another 20 minutes before adding on some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
In conclusion, mac and cheese are a delicious dish that can be made in many ways and goes great with all sorts of side dishes.
Whether you’re looking for some healthy vegetables or something sweet to end the meal on, there are plenty of side dishes to choose from.
It’s important to not just think about what side dish you want to serve with Mac and Cheese, but why are they being paired together.
After all, it’s the combination of food items that makes a meal complete.