You’re looking to make this delicious Italian dish, but you’re unsure of what to serve with Cacio e Pepe? Look no further as we’ve put together a list of 11 fantastic side dishes to make your meal unforgettable.
Cacio e Pepe is a simple Italian pasta dish made from spaghetti, pecorino romano (a type of Italian cheese), and black pepper. The name “Cacio e Pepe” literally translates into “cheese and pepper”.
It was popular among nomadic Italian shepherds as the ingredients for the dish don’t spoil quickly. Now, it is a prevalent dish in Italy and is becoming more popular in the US.
Delicious and simple, it makes an excellent starter for more elaborate dishes but can be served independently. Don’t let the dish’s simplicity fool you. It is packed with flavor.
What To Serve With Cacio E Pepe: 11 Amazing Side Dishes
This humble pasta dish is loaded with carbs. So, serving side dishes with different food groups like vegetables and grains helps balance it out. The beauty of Cacio e Pepe is in its simplicity. Therefore, it’s best to avoid side dishes with too many ingredients that may overcomplicate things.
You should consider serving side dishes with refreshing flavors to balance out the sharper and peppery flavor profile of Cacio e Pepe. Colorful side dishes are a good idea to add a pop of color to the monotone plate of pasta.
Here is our list of 11 recommended side dishes that pair well with Cacio e Pepe.
1. Lightly Fried Zucchini
Vegetables are always a great pairing with pasta dishes. And zucchini is a lovely choice as a side dish as it’s healthy and nutritious. For this dish, we recommend lightly frying your zucchini with cheese.
Fried zucchini is a light and refreshing side dish that can add that extra oomph to your meal. The light crunch and the creaminess of the cheese are just divine. Lightly fried zucchini’s mild taste lets the sharpness of the pasta sauce come through perfectly.
2. Avocado and Tomato Salad
Salads are a great option when deciding what to serve with Cacio e Pepe. They always look good next to a pasta dish, and Cacio e Pepe is no exception. Avocado and tomato salad is a fresh and healthy side dish that pairs amazingly with Cacio e Pepe. It’s also delicious and easy to make.
The tanginess of the tomato and lemon juice balances with the coolness of the avocado. This adds a much-needed complexity of flavors to the Cacio e Pepe meal. It also adds a burst of color to your plate.
3. Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are a familiar appetizer in Europe and North America. And this elegant and delicious classic is one of the easiest side dishes to make.
The mayonnaise and mustard-infused egg yolks deliver tangy and salty satisfaction. Combined with the peppery Cacio e Pepe, these flavors are undoubtedly a match made in heaven.
4. Caprese Salad
Nothing goes better with a pasta dish like salads. And Caprese salad is an Italian classic comprising tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil, and olive oil. When paired with Cacio e Pepe, it adds a refreshing taste to the dish.
The different colors of the salad arranged on a plate are nothing short of beautiful. Simple and easy to make, the soft texture of the mozzarella cheese complements the sauce Cacio e Pepe. And the slight tartness of tomato cuts through the buttery pasta. Fresh basil adds flavor and life to the meal.
5. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread never fails if you’re unsure what to serve with Cacio e Pepe. In fact, an Italian dish is not complete without this gem of a side dish. Garlic bread adds a punch of garlicky butter flavors to the Cacio e Pepe.
The bread also elevates the pasta with its texture, counteracting the soft cheesiness of the dish. And it can be used to mop up the sauce resulting in an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
6. Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
When looking for something nutritious and delicious, cauliflower is a healthy and easy option for a side dish. It’s light and, when roasted, adds incredible flavor to any meal.
The baked and browned parmesan cheese topping takes this side to the next level. The crunch of this topping contrasts the softness of the pasta dish nicely. It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
Bruschetta is a light and refreshing Italian side dish. It’s made from French bread, pepper, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and flavorful basil leaves. This crunchy side brings acidity to the meal, which counters the creaminess of the Cacio e Pepe.
Satisfying and filled with vitamins, fats, and fiber, bruschetta captures the flavors of nature and brings them to your plate. The pop of color is also very inviting and pairs amazingly with Cacio e Pepe.
8. Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
A classic wedge salad is crisp and refreshing. It comprises iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing. And is often topped with blue cheese crumbs and crisp bacon bits. This gives a nice contrast to the flavors and textures of Cacio e Pepe.
The lettuce is laid on the plate as a wedge and adds color when served next to your pasta. The saltiness and crunch of the bacon complement the peppery Cacio e Pepe. Blue cheese dressing is cold and creamy with a bit of tang. This intense flavor complements the butter and pecorino cheese in the Cacio e Pepe.
Biscuits with pasta may seem unusual when exploring what to serve with Cacio e Pepe. But they make a fantastic pair. You can serve biscuits with anything, and Cacio e Pepe is no exception.
The biscuits are creamy and sweet, adding a different flavor profile to the dish. And they soak up the sauce of the Cacio e Pepe well while adding some texture to the dish.
10. Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad typically features tomato, red onions, lemon juice, dill, and garlic. These ingredients combine to form a citrusy, herbal flavor that elevates the flavors of Cacio e Pepe.
The cucumber also offers a cool contrast to the peppery pasta. It’s a healthy and filling side, preventing overindulging in the pasta, which can lead to weight gain.
11. Whole Roasted Carrots
Carrots are sweet vegetables that pair well with any dish. Roasting them brings out the natural flavors in these root vegetables and caramelizes them slightly.
These nutritious vegetables are simple and nutritious and add color to your plate. The roasted smokiness of the carrots complements the peppery taste of the Cacio e Pepe.
Cacio e Pepe is a simple dish that can be served on any occasion. Choosing a side dish that won’t overshadow the main dish can be challenging. But the 11 excellent side dishes listed above will complement the flavor and texture of the Cacio e Pepe perfectly.