Risotto is a staple dish in Italian cuisine.
It is a rice dish that typically consists of Arborio or Carnaroli rice, white wine, and chicken broth.
However, risotto can be enjoyed as the main course with any meat, fish, or vegetables you like – it is usually served with just butter and cheese on top.
While there are many different types of risottos depending on what region they come from.
But everyone agrees that risotto should always have some complimentary side dish to enhance the flavors and textures even more.
In this blog post, we will explore ten side dishes that you can serve with risotto.
What to Serve with Risotto? 10 BEST Side Dishes
When it comes to creating a delicious, flavorful dish for your family and friends, risotto is a perfect choice.
However, to make this popular Italian dish a complete meal, you need to think of complementary side dishes.
The beauty of risotto is that it can be served with any meat, fish, or vegetable – so there are many different options for complementary sides.
1 – Arugula and Parmesan Salad
First off, let’s start with a salad. This arugula and parmesan side dish is simple to create, yet it packs in tons of flavor.
Chopped fresh arugula tossed with shaved Parmesan cheese and dressed lightly in olive oil and lemon juice make for a delightful pairing that perfectly complements the risotto’s richness.
To ensure your salad reaches its complete potential flavor profile, try adding some balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar at the end, too, as an extra taste enhancer.
2 – Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sugars, so you get an incredible sweetness from this healthy vegetable while getting all of its nutrition benefits in one meal.
The roasted broccoli has a crispy and crunchy exterior while being tender on the inside.
The garlic adds flavor to this dish that can be served alongside other healthy dishes or by itself.
Serving it up seasoned will make any meal more complete.
3 – Buttered Green Beans
There’s nothing like the addition of rich vegetables to a meal.
Green beans are one of the most popular veggies in this category, and they’re usually cooked with some butter for an added touch of richness that compliments their natural taste.
The green beans will be sweeter than usual because the sugars were released when they boiled or steamed; they’ll also have more nutrients.
The earthy flavor of the green beans will shine through this side dish, and they’re straightforward to prepare.
All you need is a pot of water, your favorite seasoning, butter or oil for sauteeing if desired (optional), salt, pepper, and a few minutes on the stovetop.
4 – Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
If you’re looking for a way to add some freshness and light flavor into your side dish, then roasted asparagus with lemon zest is the perfect solution.
The addition of chop stems adds another layer of texture that contrasts perfectly with the crispy outer leaves.
The dish is pretty simple to prepare and cooks quickly as well.
Just toss the chopped stems with a bit of lemon zest, salt, pepper, olive oil, or butter if desired (optional), then spread them evenly on an oven-safe dish.
Top it off by roasting your spears at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes–the perfect side dish.
5 – Sautéed Mushrooms
There are many reasons why mushrooms make an excellent side dish for risotto.
For one, they add color and flavor to the finished dish – while adding little fat or many calories.
For another, they’re easy to cook and can be made in advance if desired.
Plus, mushrooms are a good source of nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, and selenium (do not overcook).
Try sautéing them with butter or olive oil for the perfect side dish addition.
You can also flavor these mushrooms by adding some chopped herbs like thyme or rosemary for additional flavor.
6 – Pan-Fried Eggplant Rounds
Eggplant is a veggie that’s often overlooked in the kitchen, but it can be downright addictive.
Another excellent option for a side dish with risotto is pan-frying eggplant rounds.
These tasty treats are packed full of flavor and can be served hot or cold, depending on the occasion (a nice appetizer if you’re entertaining).
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that your slices are thin enough, so they cook quickly – while still retaining their shape and texture when cooked.
While we typically think of these as vegetarian dishes, feel free to add some chopped bacon bits into this stir fry for extra oomph.
7 – Creamed Spinach
Spinach is not just for salads, you know. Creamed spinach is a super easy side dish to prepare – and it looks beautiful too.
First, sauté some chopped onion in butter until it softens, then add your fresh cooked or frozen spinach with the water that clings to its leaves.
Season well with salt and pepper before adding milk (or cream) and simmering for about 15 minutes.
The key here is paying attention to how much liquid you’re using, as this will determine how creamy the final product turns out – so don’t go overboard on either one.
For those who are watching their calories, try substituting half-and-half instead of whole milk.
This simple trick means you’ll still get all the rich flavor without overwhelming your waistline.
8 – Baked Beans
Adding beans is a great way to bulk up your dish and give you that full feeling.
If anyone asks me what I’d serve as a side at Thanksgiving dinner (or any other holiday), my answer would be baked beans.
The easiest of all sides, there’s no need to do anything fancy here: toss some canned beans in a sauce made from ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, and dry mustard powder, then bake until they bubble away.
They will thicken nicely without needing too much liquid—and who doesn’t love that sticky sweetness? Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila.
9 – Creamy Vegetable Soup
How about a little healthy comfort food for those cold days? Make a pot of creamy vegetable soup with your favorite vegetables and add milk to thicken it up.
If you have carrots, onion, celery, or cauliflower on hand, this is the perfect time to use them.
Other good choices would be broccoli, mushrooms (try crimini), zucchini – in other words: any winter squash will do.
Add some salt and pepper and curry powder if you want to give it an extra flavor boost.
You can also stir in sour cream or yogurt for even more yumminess.
Vegetarian or not, this vegetable soup recipe will delight your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
10 – Caprese Salad
Caprese is an Italian appetizer consisting of tomatoes and mozzarella balls wrapped up in basil leaves that have been drizzle olive oil on top for unfamiliar people.
It’s best served as a side dish for other dishes like soup or pasta but can also act as your main course if you’re looking for something light yet filling at lunchtime during work hours.
The ingredients are pretty simple:.
- Fresh basil leaves.
- Cherry tomatoes (or any other variety).
- Sliced mozzarella cheese.
- Olive oil.
- Salt and pepper.
You can also add some balsamic vinegar to give it an added kick.
If you’re looking for something even more straightforward and quick, make your basil vinaigrette with a bit of lemon juice in place of the olive oil for those who are vegan/vegetarian.
Risotto is hearty and satisfying, but even the most devoted risotto lover can tire of it.
Luckily, many side dishes compliment this dish well without overwhelming its taste.
We hope you’ve found these ten side dishes to be helpful in your search for the perfect match for risotto.
So what are some of your favorite recipes?