When you’re making stuffed shells, one of the most important factors is how you match it with a side dish. Every element of a meal needs to come together in order to achieve balance and harmony, but it’s easy to overlook the importance of your side dishes, particularly if you’re just serving 1 or 2 different dishes.
What Are Stuffed Shells?
Stuffed shells are a classic Italian-American casserole with a filling of cheese and ground beef or pork, topped with sauce and baked until bubbly.
Stuffed shells are commonly made with ricotta cheese, but they can be made with cottage cheese or even cream cheese. The stuffing can also include spinach, mushrooms and other vegetables.
This dish is great for feeding a crowd because you can make it ahead of time and bake it just before serving. It’s also a good choice for potlucks since it travels well and doesn’t need to be kept warm throughout the party.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Stuffed Shells?
Stuffed shells are a delicious dish to serve during the holiday season. However, they can be quite filling and may not need to be served as a main course. Therefore, serving side dishes for stuffed shells is an excellent way to add variety to your meal and ensure that everyone has enough to eat.
Stuffed shells are often served as a main course, but they can also be used as an appetizer or side dish. If you want to serve stuffed shells as the main course of your meal, you should consider adding one or two side dishes so that everyone has enough food on their plates. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. To give people more options
If you have a large group of people coming over for dinner and want them all to have something different in their stomachs before they start eating, then serving stuffed shells with another dish will allow them all to have something different in their bellies. This way, everyone can enjoy a taste of everything on the table without having to choose between two things at once!
2. To add variety
Stuffed shells are delicious, but they might not be enough on their own when it comes to serving as a main course. If you want to keep your guests guessing, then offer them side dishes such as stuffed shells and other side dishes with the same stuffing recipe or a different stuffing recipe.
What to Serve with Stuffed Shells? 24 BEST Side Dishes
1. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread goes great with stuffed shells because it’s so easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time. Just slice up some French bread, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle on minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven until golden brown and serve warm.
2. Garden Salad
Garden salads are usually made with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, but you can add other vegetables like shredded carrots or green peppers for even more flavor and texture. Add some croutons for crunch or try using chopped walnuts instead of croutons if you have them on hand.
3. Caprese Salad
Caprese salad is the perfect side dish for stuffed shells. It’s easy to make, too. Just slice up some tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and serve them on top of some arugula. If you want to get fancy, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the top of the salad.
4. Antipasto Salad
The antipasto salad is a great way to use up any leftover veggies and meats from your meal prep sessions. This salad can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just make sure you give the salad time to rest before serving it so that all of those flavors can come together and meld together into something amazing!
5. Green Beans
These are one of the healthiest vegetables around. They’re high in fiber and low in calories, and they’re also packed with vitamins C and K. If you don’t have time to cook green beans from scratch, just reach for a bag of frozen ones instead.
6. Roasted Broccoli
This is another healthy vegetable that’s easy to prepare in advance. Simply toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting at 400 °F until they’re tender but not mushy. The broccoli will shrink down quite a bit while cooking, so be sure to buy enough when deciding how many servings your family needs per person.
7. Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels sprouts are a delicious and easy way to prepare Brussels sprouts. The key is roasting them at high heat until they get crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
8. Roasted Carrots
Carrots are roasted until they’re tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside. They make a great side dish for stuffed shells because they complement the pasta so well.
Asparagus is a nice addition to this dish. It can be steamed or sautéed and then added to the stuffed shells. Asparagus is in season from April through June, so try it with your stuffed shells during that time.
10. Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
This recipe takes roasted cauliflower to a whole new level by coating it with parmesan cheese and baking it until crispy. It’s crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside – just like you want your stuffed shells to be!
11. Roasted Cabbage with Bacon and Red Onion
This recipe was inspired by a dish I used to order at a restaurant in the East Village called The Meatball Shop. It’s a simple combination of cabbage and bacon, but it tastes delicious. The cabbage has great texture, and the bacon adds lots of flavor.
12. Broccoli & Bow Ties
Corn is a must-have side dish for any meal, but it’s especially good with stuffed shells. To make this simple recipe, place the corn kernels in a skillet and add butter, garlic powder and salt. Cook over medium heat until the corn is tender and golden brown.
13. Buttered Corn Kernels
Broccoli pairs perfectly with cheese, try it on top of your stuffed shells for an extra flavorful meal. Prepare the broccoli by steaming it for about three minutes until it’s tender but still firm. For the bow ties, cook them according to the package directions. Add both ingredients to each shell before baking them in the oven as directed in your recipe.
14. Butternut Squash Puree
A butternut squash puree is a great side dish for stuffed shells because it’s creamy and mild in flavor, but also has some sweetness from the squash itself.
15. Italian Sausage and Peppers Skewers
This is a great dish for entertaining. Guests can make their own skewers with a variety of ingredients, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, or whatever they like, and then cook them on the grill. Serve with some crusty bread and a glass of wine to complete the meal.
16. Gluten-Free Potato Casserole
This is a great dish to serve with chicken or ham. It is also delicious on its own, especially when you serve it with a side of fresh vegetables.
17. Mac & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This dish is easy to make, and it’s always a hit with kids and adults alike. Try adding your favorite cheese blend, such as sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese for an extra punch of flavor.
18. Scalloped Potatoes with Carrots, Parsnips, & Leeks
This is a classic rendition of scalloped potatoes. Topped with carrots, parsnips and leeks, this dish is a real crowd pleaser. The added vegetables add flavor while helping to create a lush sauce for the potatoes. In addition to being delicious, this side dish will complement any meal nicely.
19. Baked Potato Casserole with Ham & Cheese
This baked potato casserole is one of my all-time favorite side dishes! It’s the perfect way to use up leftover ham or turkey after the holidays or any time of year when you have extra ham or turkey left over from a meal (or two).
20. Mashed Potatoes & Parsnips with Caramelized Onions
This is the perfect side dish for your stuffed shells. It’s a bit different than your traditional mashed potatoes and yet still comforting and delicious. Caramelized onions add a nice sweetness to the dish and make it extra special. You can make these ahead of time and reheat them when needed, so they are perfect for entertaining or even just for a weeknight dinner.
21. Sauteed Spinach with Garlic & Lemon Juice (Garlicky Corkscrews)
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. It contains more iron than beef and is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K. Spinach also contains antioxidants that protect against cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The best way to consume spinach is raw, but if you want to cook it first then sauteing it in garlic and lemon juice will give it a nice flavor without overpowering its health benefits.
22. Spanish Rice (with Leftover Turkey)
This Spanish rice recipe is made with leftover turkey meat, but it can also be made with chicken breast or any other kind of meat. The key ingredient in this recipe is saffron, which gives the rice its distinctive yellow hue and gives it an exotic flavor.
23. Sweet Potato Casserole with Candied Pecans and Praline Sauce
Sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables around. They can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled or even fried. This casserole uses sweet potato as a base for a creamy sauce that is made from chicken broth, sour cream and cream cheese. The candied pecans add crunch and sweetness to the dish. The praline sauce adds even more nutty flavor to this dish.
24. Sautéed Greens (Swiss Chard, Collards or Spinach) with Onions and Garlic
Sauteed greens are a great side dish for stuffed shells. You can use whatever greens you like, but I prefer Swiss chard because it’s easy to find at the grocery store and it cooks up in no time at all.
Hopefully, this list helps you find some great side dishes for stuffed shells. While the above selections are our picks for the twenty best options, there are plenty of others that are worth trying. So explore the menu and read reviews from other customers to help make a final decision. If you find something that works well with your stuffed shells, feel free to share your thoughts in an online review for others to see!