What to serve with Paella? This is a question we get asked a lot. And it’s no wonder because Paella is such an incredible dish. But what makes it even better are the delicious side dishes you can serve.
I’ve been preparing and cooking Paella for years, and I’ve come up with a list of my favorite side dishes. These recipes are easy to follow and will complement your Paella perfectly.
So, without further ado, here are my top picks for the best Paella side dishes:
Side Dishes for Paella
- Green Salad
- Fried Sweet Plantain Slices
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Fried Rice
- Griddled Asparagus Spears
- Potato frittata
- Veggie Crudités
- Broccoli Salad
- Baked Hash Browns
- Fried Pimientos De Padron
- Cheese and olive platter
- Fried Shrimp
- Grilled Mushrooms
- Toasted Bread Slices
- Pickled Onions
- Toasted Marcona almonds
- Caesar Salad
When it comes to preparing a delicious paella, many people overlook the importance of a good side dish. While the rice and seafood may be the stars of the show, a well-chosen side can make all the difference in terms of flavor and balance.
One of my personal favorite side dishes for paella is a green salad. The acidity of the dressing helps to cut through the richness of the dish, and the crunch of the vegetables provides a lovely contrast to the softness of the rice.
Plus, it’s an easy dish to prepare ahead of time, which is always helpful when you’re entertaining guests. To make my green salad, I simply combine some chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a simple vinaigrette.
Then, I let it sit for a few minutes so that the flavors have a chance to meld together. Whether you’re serving paella for a special occasion or just for a weeknight dinner, I hope you’ll give this tasty side dish a try.
Fried Sweet Plantain Slices
Next is sweet fried plantains. They are a delicious and popular side dish in many Latin American cuisines and are often served as a side to dishes like paella.
Plantains are a type of banana that is harvested when it is still unripe and green however the ripened fruit is sweeter and softer, making it ideal for frying.
To prepare sweet fried plantains, the plantains are first peeled and sliced into thin rounds. Then, they are fried in hot oil until they are golden brown and slightly caramelized.
Sweet fried plantains are best served hot, with a sprinkle of sugar or salt. They can also be served with dipping sauces such as honey or chocolate sauce. Whether you are enjoying them as a side dish or a snack, sweet fried plantains are sure to delight your taste buds.
Roasted Red Peppers
So while there are many different ways to enjoy paella, one of the best ways to experience its flavor is by pairing it with roasted red peppers.
From my perspective, the peppers add a touch of sweetness to the dish, and their rich flavor pairs well with the other ingredients. In addition, the peppers help to add color and contrast to the paella.
To prepare the peppers, simply place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven until they are slightly charred. Then, allow them to cool before slicing them into thin strips. Add the roasted red peppers to your paella just before serving.
I absolutely love fried rice, and I think it makes an excellent side dish for paella. The rice soaks up all the flavors of the dish, and the crispy bits add a nice contrast in texture.
Not to mention, it’s pretty easy to prepare. Just cook some rice and then fry it in a pan with some oil. I like to add a little bit of soy sauce to really bring out the flavors.
Go ahead and give it a try because I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Griddled Asparagus Spears
Now, if you are a lover of simplicity, then maybe a serving of griddled asparagus spears is for you. This side dish is sure to bring out the best in your paella, and to top it off, preparation is a breeze.
Plus, it’s the perfect way to add a touch of elegance to your main meal. To make griddled asparagus spears, simply grill or fry thin spears of asparagus over high heat until they are crispy and browned.
Then serve immediately with your favorite paella recipe.
Next up is potato frittata, and quite frankly, its a yummy side dish for paella. The great thing about a potato frittata is that it can be easily customized to suit your taste.
Just saute some potatoes and onions, throw in some beaten eggs, and cook until set. I like to add a little bit of onion and garlic for extra flavor, but you can really add any vegetables you like.
Also, I like to top mine with some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. If you’re looking for a lighter option, you can omit the cheese and sour cream.
So if it still seems tricky to find the perfect side dish to complement your paella. I believe that veggie crudités perfectly fits the bill.
First of all, the bright colors of the vegetables contrast beautifully with the rich golden hue of the paella. Secondly, the crunchy texture of the veggies provides a lovely contrast to the fluffy rice.
And last but not least, the healthy vegetables help to offset some of the richness of the dish. As far as preparation goes, it couldn’t be simpler. Just slice up your favorite veggies (I like to use carrots, celery, and cucumber) and serve with a delicious dip.
So far, it’s safe to say that when it comes to pairing side dishes with Paella, there are many delicious options to choose from. However, one of my personal favorites is broccoli salad.
The savory flavors of the broccoli pair perfectly with the traditional seasoning of Paella, and the crisp texture provides a nice contrast to the tenderness of the rice. Plus, the green color of the broccoli salad helps to brighten up the dish and makes it more visually appealing.
To prepare the salad, simply start by chopping up some fresh broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Then, add in some diced onion, diced bacon, shredded cheese, and your favorite dressing. I prefer a vinaigrette dressing, but you can use whatever you like best.
Once everything is mixed together, chill the salad in the refrigerator for an hour or so to allow the flavors to meld together. Then, simply serve it alongside your Paella and savor every bite.
Baked Hash Browns
Here is another one of my personal favorites. It is baked hash browns.
The crispy potatoes pair perfectly with the saffron-infused rice, and the added onions and garlic give the dish an extra kick of flavor. Besides, the dish as a whole is just more enjoyable when you’ve got a little something to gnaw on between bites.
In addition, hash browns are extremely easy to prepare. Simply shred some potatoes, mix in some sautéed onions and garlic, and bake in a hot oven until crispy.
In my experience, bread is also an excellent side dish for Paella. The crispy, chewy texture of a good loaf pairs perfectly with the flavorful rice dish.
Plus, sopping up all of that delicious sauce is always a plus in my book!
Here’s how I like to prepare my bread side dish for paella. First, I take a loaf of crusty bread and slice it into thin slices. Then, I brush each slice with olive oil and place it on a baking sheet.
I bake the bread in a preheated oven until it’s nice and crispy. Once it’s out of the oven, I sprinkle it with a little bit of salt and serve it alongside my paella.
Fried Pimientos De Padron
While it’s evident that there are many delicious options out there to be used as a side dish for paella. Fried Pimientos De Padron is definitely a top contender.
These little peppers are so full of flavor, and they go so well with the rice and other ingredients in paella. And even better, they’re easy to prepare and add a delicious smoky flavor to the dish, making it even more irresistible.
Simply saute them in a little olive oil until they’re nice and crispy. Then Serve them alongside your paella and enjoy! Trust me, your guests will be asking for seconds (and thirds!) of this delicious side dish.
Cheese and olive platter
Next on the list is cheese and olive platter. This is a superb side dish for Paella because it brings out the best flavors of the dish. The cheese provides a creamy texture that meshes well with the saffron rice, while the olives add a touch of sweetness.
The dish can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge, so it’s perfect for busy families or entertaining guests. The dish consists of a variety of cheeses, olives, and bread and it is a great way to get your guests to interact and have something to nibble on alongside the main course.
All you need is a cutting board, a knife, and a few minutes. First, cut the cheese into small cubes. Next, pit the olives and slice them into thin strips.
Finally, cut the bread into small pieces. Arrange the cheese, olives, and bread on a platter and serve. Your guests will be impressed with your culinary skills!
All in all, when it comes to pairing side dishes with Paella, it’s always good to keep it simple. That’s why another of my go-to choice is fried shrimp.
The light, crispy coating pairs perfectly with the fluffy rice, and the lemon wedge gives it a touch of acidity. Plus, it’s quick and easy to whip up, which is always a bonus in my eyes.
Hence, to make the dish, simply peel and devein the shrimp, then coat them in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. Next, heat a few inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, carefully add the shrimp to the pan and fry until golden brown and cooked through. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge and tasty paella.
With so many different ways to enjoy paella, one simple yet elegant side dish to pair with it is grilled mushrooms. The mushrooms add a rich umami flavor to the dish and their earthy taste pairs well with the other ingredients.
To prepare this side dish, simply slice the mushrooms and grill them over medium heat until they’re tender. Then, add them to your paella, and you know the rest!
Toasted Bread Slices
A lot of people don’t know this, but toasted bread also makes an excellent side dish for paella. There are a couple of reasons why it goes so well with the rice dish.
First, the texture of the toasted bread helps to offset the creaminess of the paella. Second, the flavor of the toast pairs perfectly with the spices in the dish.
Preparation is simple…
Just slice some bread and put it in a toaster. Once it’s done, you can either butter it or leave it plain. I prefer to butter it, as it adds a nice richness to the dish.
All things considered, there is no way juicy pickled onions could miss the perfect side dish listing. The acidity of the onions helps to balance out the richness of the Paella, and the sweetness of the onions complements the flavor of the seafood.
Plus, they add a unique burst of flavor to the dish.
To prepare pickled onions, simply slice them thin and soak them in vinegar for a few hours. Then, when you’re ready to serve the Paella, just drain off the vinegar and add them to the dish.
They’ll be the perfect finishing touch to your meal.
Toasted Marcona almonds
Ah, the Marcona almond. A true delicacy of the Mediterranean. Sweet, yet savory. Rich, yet subtly nutty. And, of course, Delicious! What’s not to love?
Marcona almonds are the perfect side dish for Paella. They add a lovely crunch and contrast beautifully with the softness of the rice. Plus, their flavor pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients in Paella, such as chicken, shrimp, and chorizo.
Typicaly, to prepare toated marcona almonds as a side dish for Paella, simply place them on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven until golden brown.
Delicious! And so easy to make!
Last but not least is ceasar salad. I’m a big fan of serving this classic salad with paella. Some people might think that salad is too light to stand up to the rich flavors of paella, but I disagree.
The sharpness of the dressing pairs perfectly with the saffron-infused rice, and the crunchy croutons provide a welcome contrast to the soft seafood.
Plus, if you’re looking for a healthy option, you can’t beat a dish that’s packed with fresh vegetables.
To prepare the salad, simply chop up some romaine lettuce and toss it with a classic Caesar dressing. Then top with croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Seems simple, but trust me, your guests will be impressed.
Can paella be a side dish?
In general, paella is considered a full meal, so it is not common to have it as a side dish. However, if you are looking for something different to serve as a side, paella could be a good option.
What can I serve with my Paella?
There are many delicious options for what to serve with your Paella. Some of our favorites include grilled mushrooms, toasted bread slices, pickled onions, toasted Marcona almonds, and Caesar salad.
What is a good substitute for saffron?
If you don’t have saffron or can’t find it at your local store, there are a few substitutes that will work just as well. You can use turmeric, paprika, or even cumin. Just keep in mind that these substitutes will change the flavor of your dish slightly.
There you have it!
A few of our favorite side dishes to serve with Paella. We hope this list has inspired you to try something new the next time you make Paella.
You can keep it simple or you can get creative. Just remember to have fun and enjoy the process. After all, that’s what cooking is all about!