Manicotti originates from Italy and is typically found in Italian-American cooking.
It can be made with many different fillings, but the most common are cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
It is most typically made with tube-shaped pasta that has been cooked in water and then filled with a mixture of beaten eggs, cheeses, seasonings, or leftover meats.
After filling the manicotti tubes, they are baked in a sauce until the cheese melts and becomes bubbly.
Serving manicotti can be a straightforward and elegant dish that consists of placing the manicotti on a plate, top with sauce, then garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
However, adding other ingredients such as Italian sausage or grilled veggies to the mixture is also possible.
It is important to note that these additional ingredients might change the dish’s overall flavor and calorie and fat contents.
This article will help you to serve a homemade manicotti dish with a minimal amount of effort.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Manicotti?
There are many reasons to consider serving a side dish with manicotti.
First, filling the manicotti shells with ingredients that add flavor and nutrition, such as vegetables, meat, or even cheese, is possible.
For example, some ways of adding veggies include spinach or zucchini.
Adding meat can help to make the dish more filling as well as increase the overall protein count.
Another way to add a different flavor is to make Mexican-style manicotti by adding salsa and black beans.
Finally, it is possible to use traditional cheese fillings, such as ricotta and mozzarella cheese, for a classic dish.
Another reason to consider serving side dishes with manicotti is that it makes for an excellent presentation.
A plate that includes both the manicotti and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, as well as parsley garnish, looks very elegant and will leave your guest thinking they are in an Italian restaurant.
Finally, there is always something to be said about having options at mealtime.
For instance, if someone prefers a more classic dish, they can order it without any side dishes.
However, those looking to add extra items like vegetables or meat can easily add them to the meal since all ingredients will already be on the plate.
What to Serve with Manicotti – 10 Side Dishes
Since the manicotti is already a very flavorful dish, it would be best to pair it with a side that does not overpower or compete for flavors.
Here are a few side dishes that pair well with manicotti:
1 – Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
This dish is the perfect light side that will complement the manicotti.
It is made with garlic, lemon juice, and fresh green beans.
All ingredients work together to bring out unique flavors without changing or overpowering anything already in the dish.
You can serve this dish hot or chilled, depending on the preference of your guest.
2 – Creamy Orzo Salad
This salad is made with a creamy dressing that pairs very well with the parmesan cheese in the manicotti.
You can make it by boiling orzo pasta and mixing it with diced tomatoes, onion, cucumber, basil, parsley, and parmesan cheese that has been crumbled.
Toss the salad with a light Italian dressing and serve chilled for best results.
You can also add other ingredients like grilled chicken or olives for extra protein and flavor.
3 – Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
This dish comes together very quickly by sautéeing fresh spinach with garlic and olive oil in a skillet.
It only takes a few minutes to cook and is very simple.
This dish adds a lot of taste and nutrients to the meal and brings out the flavors in other ingredients.
For example, you can serve this dish with garlic bread that has been brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese on top.
4 – Baked Parmesan Potato Wedges
These potato wedges are similar to French fries in texture and taste but are much healthier since they are baked instead of fried in oil.
To make this side dish, you will need to cut Russet potatoes into wedges and toss them with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and spices such as garlic powder and paprika.
After the wedges have been coated in the mixture, you can bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, ensuring that they are tender inside and crispy on the outside.
5 – Grilled Corn on the Cob
To make this side dish, you will need to shuck six corn cobs and remove all the silk strands.
Once complete, place each cob in a piece of foil and brush with half a stick of melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder for added flavor.
Once the cobs have been prepared, you can wrap them in the foil and grill them over medium heat for about 20 minutes to ensure that they are tender all the way through before serving.
6 – Zucchini Fritters
These zucchini fritters are made with grated zucchini, parmesan cheese, and garlic.
To make the fritters, you will need to combine all ingredients in a bowl until they are well blended, then form the mixture into small patties that can be fried in a skillet with oil or butter.
Once the outside of each cake is browned and crispy, you can remove them from the skillet and serve them with additional parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
7 – Vegetable Soup
This soup is an excellent choice for adding extra vegetables or meat to the dish.
It can be made by sautéeing celery, carrots, onions, and garlic in butter on medium heat until tender.
After that, you will need to add sliced cremini mushrooms, diced tomatoes, frozen cut green beans, water, and salt and pepper to taste.
Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes before adding 1/4 cup heavy cream and cooking it for an extra five minutes.
It is a hearty side that can be served with bread or crackers to complete the meal.
8 – Baked French Fries
These French fries are typically served with steak and cheese sandwiches but go well with manicotti too.
To make them, you will need to slice Russet potatoes into wedges and toss them in olive oil.
Next, you can sprinkle French fries seasoning on top of the potato wedges along with kosher salt and bake them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes before flipping the potatoes over and baking for another 10 minutes.
The potatoes should be tender on the inside and crispy on the outside after baking.
9 – Crispy Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
To make this side dish, you will need to blanch green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes until they are bright green and tender.
After that, you can dry them off with a paper towel and toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Toast some slivered almonds by heating them in a skillet on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes before adding the green beans and stirring everything together.
Once the green beans are toasted, you can remove them from the skillet and serve them immediately.
10 – Cesar Salad or Garden Salad
This salad is both delicious and easy to make.
For Caesar Salad, you will need to combine romaine lettuce, homemade croutons, parmesan cheese, and caesar dressing for the best flavor.
For Garden Salad, you will need to combine sliced cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, and green peppers with your favorite type of dressing for added flavor.
Slice the vegetables into bite-sized pieces for best results.
In conclusion, any of these side dishes will go great with your next plate of manicotti.
It is not a complicated dish to make, but there are always more side dishes accompanying it.
Therefore, if you are looking for some inspiration or have had trouble with your original side dish choice in the past, these options are sure to both please and surprise everyone at the table.