Perhaps you’re preparing for a special dinner party. Your famous cannelloni is set to be the hero of the meal. But you’re not sure what to serve with cannelloni. Fear not, because we’ve rounded up 8 perfect side dishes to serve with your cheesy pasta dish.
Cannelloni is a type of pasta that comes in the form of large tubes. In fact, the word “cannelloni” is Italian for “large pipes”. It’s a baked type of pasta dish and considered by many to be the ultimate in comfort food.
These tubes are usually stuffed with delicious fillings such as minced beef, chicken, vegetables, and cheese. They’re then placed in a thick tomato sauce and covered with creamy Italian béchamel sauce and grated cheese before baking.
Cannelloni has been around since 1907, when It was first cooked in La Favorita Restaurant in Sorrento, Italy. By World War II, the dish had evolved from its initial simple version and become popular in other parts of Italy.
Today, you’ll find cannelloni on the menu at most Italian restaurants. And it’s a favorite in many homes as a satisfying family meal or the star of a special gathering.
What to Serve with Cannelloni: 8 Scrumptious Side Dishes
We’ve got you covered if you’re wondering what to serve with cannelloni. Because cannelloni is stuffed with cheese and meats or vegetables, it can often be quite filling. It’s also an incredibly creamy and cheesy dish, making it somewhat rich.
Therefore, it’s best to pair your cannelloni with a side dish that isn’t too heavy. You’ll also want a side that cuts through some of that richness with a more refreshing flavor profile. These 8 delicious side dishes should do the trick.
1. Garlic Bread
Simple, crisp garlic bread is a popular accompaniment to pasta dishes. Ciabatta and French loaves are the ideal breads to use when making your own garlic bread.
Garlic bread’s crisp, buttery goodness compliments the creamy, cheesy cannelloni. And what better way to soak up that mix of tomato and béchamel sauce than with soft, garlicky bread.
If you don’t have the time to make your own garlic bread, you can always buy one from your local store. Garlic bread is readily available and can also be topped with cheese, chilies, or herbs.
2. Fresh Garden Salad
Salad is likely the most common side dish that comes to mind when wondering what to serve with cannelloni. And it makes for a great accompaniment because it’s light and healthy.
Incorporating a fresh, crisp mix of lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes will do the trick. The refreshing salad will provide balance next to the rich and creamy cannelloni.
Get creative and add any other vegetables you enjoy eating raw. Some popular salad ingredients include grated carrots, sliced avocado, and spring onions, to name a few.
And because cannelloni is an Italian dish, making an Italian salad with a vinaigrette makes perfect sense. Olives, crunchy lettuce, croutons, and grated parmesan in the salad will make marry well with your cheesy cannelloni main.
3. Creamy Mushrooms
Sautéed mushrooms are an excellent accompaniment to any pasta dish. They bring a natural, earthy flavor to the meal. And if you are having vegetable cannelloni, they’ll add a meaty texture to your dish.
It takes less than ten minutes to sauté mushrooms with butter, garlic, and some fresh herbs such as thyme. The butter will complement your cannelloni’s creaminess. But the garlic and fresh herbs will provide a refreshing balance.
Use different types of mushrooms to make your side dish more interesting. Button, Portobello, and Shiitake mushrooms are some great options.
4. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Garlic
When wondering what to serve with cannelloni, bacon may be the last thing on your mind. But Brussels sprouts and bacon are commonly served with cannelloni as a warm and hearty vegetable side dish.
Frying your parboiled Brussels sprouts with bacon, shallots, and garlic will only take a few minutes. The crunchy, salty, caramelized bacon will spice up your sprouts and add an umami flavor to the whole meal.
Brussels sprouts with bacon and garlic go best with chicken cannelloni. This is why these ingredients are often paired together. Some say Brussels sprouts with bacon and garlic leftovers are great on toast. But we doubt there will be any leftovers.
5. Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach is a familiar and popular side dish present on many a restaurant menu. And it’s a great option to serve with your beef or chicken cannelloni.
You can make your own creamed spinach by adding ricotta or cream cheese to cooked spinach. Or you can buy “heat and eat” creamed spinach at your local store.
Either way, the creamed spinach will echo the creaminess of your cannelloni. But it will add the fresh earthy flavor of the leafy green superfood that is spinach. You can also spice up your creamy spinach with cayenne pepper or paprika.
6. Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini is a mild and sweet vegetable that complements almost any dish, cannelloni included. Also called zoodles, zucchini noodles are easy to make. You can use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to cut your zucchini noodles. Or you can buy precut zoodles at your local grocery store.
Because their flavor is subtle, they’re the perfect fresh vegetable side that won’t take anything away from the cannelloni flavors. However, if you’d like to add some flavor, sprinkle your zoodles with crispy bacon bits for added salty deliciousness. Parmesan cheese is also an excellent topping for zucchini noodles.
7. Stuffed Sweet Peppers
Stuffed sweet peppers make a colorful side dish if you’re thinking about what to serve with cannelloni. Fill green, red, yellow, and orange peppers with a stuffing of your choice. And you’ll have a sweet and filling side dish for your cannelloni.
A typical stuffed pepper contains rice, onions, garlic, tomato, and herbs. But some like to stuff their peppers with ground beef, cheese, and other vegetables. In fact, you could stuff your peppers with almost anything before popping them in the oven.
Just be mindful of how your stuffing will complement your cannelloni. For instance, if you’re making beef cannelloni, avoid stuffing your peppers with ground beef. Instead, opt for a vegetable and grain stuffing for a more balanced meal.
8. Eggplant Parmesan
Still not sure what to serve with cannelloni? Another impressive vegetable side you can serve with cannelloni is eggplant parmesan. The savory, salty, and acidic combination of grilled eggplant and tomato will counter the rich cannelloni flavors. And baked parmesan will add a crisp texture to your meal.
Simply slice and roast your eggplant, then layer them in a casserole dish with tomato, garlic, and basil sauce. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake until the cheese is lightly browned.
Cannelloni is the perfect comfort food. It is also the ideal dish to serve at a family gathering or dinner with friends. And now you know exactly what to serve with cannelloni. Pairing your cannelloni with any of these 8 side dishes will have your friends and family showering you with compliments.