Any form of pasta tastes yummy, and manicotti isn’t an exception.
It means “little sleeves” in Italian, and they’re part of Italian-American cuisine.
The pasta is designed for stuffing, and you can include a variety of ingredients for the same.
The typical filling consists of ricotta cheese, spinach, and meat such as veal.
The dish is similar to Italian cannelloni, and you can eat the stuffed pasta on its own or with other items.
Are you looking for side dish ideas? Are you wondering what to serve with manicotti? If yes, stay on a bit more, and we will find out.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Manicotti?
Besides being delicious, manicotti is versatile, so that you can serve many dishes with it.
While it’s edible on its own, side dishes add more depth to a meal.
Hence, it’s only reasonable to include some side dishes.
Besides, how can you serve only manicotti if you have a crowd to feed? Side dishes will come in handy when you have plenty of mouths to feed.
Finally, a meal isn’t great if you have only a single dish.
You can only have a complete and exciting meal when there are several side dishes.
What to Serve with Manicotti? 10 BEST Side Dishes
You can serve the following whenever you cook and have manicotti as the main dish.
1. Crispy Eggplant
You may not see eggplant as a popular ingredient, but it’s a versatile and delicious vegetable.
You have to know how to cook it the right way, and you can have a delicious dish.
Crispy eggplant fries are perfect to pair up with manicotti.
You will need the usual ingredients for coating, like eggs, all-purpose flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
Parmesan cheese, olive oil, fresh parsley, Italian seasoning, and marinara sauce for dipping are other required items.
One thing to remember is to pick eggplants whose skin is taut, vivid, and shiny.
The veggie should also be heavy, have a green stem, and feel firm to pressure.
2. Italian Chopped Salad
Since manicotti is Italian inspired dish, a salad with Italian flavors and ingredients would be a perfect addition to the menu.
Besides, a salad brings in a touch of freshness and cleanses your palate.
This Italian chopped salad is simple but flavorful, and you can easily find the ingredients.
The salad has lettuce (iceberg), radicchio, cherry tomatoes, roasted chickpeas, pearl mozzarella, provolone cheese, pepperoncini, dried oregano, red onion, and a lemon vinaigrette.
You make it like any other salad, clean, prep, mix and add the dressing.
The lemon vinaigrette has lemon juice, shallot, garlic, and red wine vinegar.
3. Tomato Basil Soup
A soup is warm, comforting, and filling, and it can also be light, depending on the ingredients.
Tomato soup with fresh basil leaves is yummy and filling but also light.
Hence, it pairs nicely with manicotti.
For this dish, you can first roast the tomatoes in the oven before adding them to the soup.
You can use chicken stock or water for the base, as either is good.
If you want it a bit heavy, use the former.
Any tomato variety is good for the soup, but you can use plum tomatoes for this dish.
If you’re looking for an extra kick, add red chili flakes but go easy, or it can become too spicy.
4. Crispy Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Green beans are common, but they’re versatile and flavorful.
You can cook them in many ways, and the beans taste good with almost anything.
Crispy green beans with toasted almonds are yummy and perfectly gels with manicotti.
Moreover, it’s a simple dish to make, and you don’t have to look for exotic ingredients.
You only need beans, garlic, salt, pepper, unsalted butter or olive oil, and toasted almonds.
It’s best to use green beans as soon as you buy them, but if you buy a large quantity, they should be refrigerated in a plastic bag, and you must use them within a week.
5. Grilled Chicken Skewers
Anything tastes excellent when grilled, and chicken skewers are no less.
You can serve grilled chicken skewers with manicotti anytime because they are great together.
You can make the kabobs using various ingredients, but onions and bell peppers suit the dish very well.
A little lemon juice, garlic, and a Mediterranean spice blend, including cumin, cinnamon, paprika, salt, and pepper, are perfect.
Chicken breast is the best portion for making the dish, so you should grab a few pounds depending on the number of people.
6. Creamy Orzo Salad
How about a creamy orzo pasta salad to go with manicotti? It’s delicious, complements manicotti, and is easy to make.
Add the perfect dressing, and you’ll have everyone rushing to grab a few spoonsful.
Make the yummy salad with orzo pasta, tomatoes, green pepper, onion, cucumber, salt, and pepper.
You will require Thai curry paste, soy sauce, and Philadelphia cheese for the dressing.
Cook the pasta as any other, al dente, and rinse.
Don’t let it overcook, or the dish won’t taste as good as expected.
7. Lemon Pepper Shrimp
A seafood dish adds variety to the menu so that you can serve pepper shrimp with manicotti.
They are compatible, taste excellent and balance each other.
Moreover, shrimp cooks fast, so you won’t have to spend hours watching your dish cook.
The dish, when cooked, is yummy but what’s interesting is it doesn’t need too many ingredients.
Shrimp, olive oil or butter, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and zest and parsley are all you need for the dish.
You can find frozen and fresh shrimp on the market, but the former is more available.
However, if you have fresh shrimp available, choose them over the frozen variety.
8. Oven Baked Barbeque Ribs
Ribs will be perfect if you want to include one more meat dish.
Oven-baked barbeque ribs are yummy, and they also pair well with manicotti.
It’s a simple dish but takes a little more time because you want those ribs cooked perfectly.
But when you complete the cook, you won’t regret choosing this dish.
You will need ribs, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, cayenne powder, olive oil, and cumin.
For the sauce, you need barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, olive oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper.
Make sure to rest the meat for ten minutes before slicing and serving for the best results.
9. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
Any veggie dish alongside manicotti tastes good so let’s add sautéed spinach with garlic to the list.
It will refresh your palate and also balance the meal nicely.
Spinach is a versatile vegetable, and you can cook it in multiple ways.
Sautéing is one of the best ways to enjoy spinach, and with a touch of garlic, you have an aromatic, crisp-tender dish.
Always buy fresh leaves, as the veggie can get wilted pretty fast.
If you notice any blemish or wilting, it’s best to avoid the veggie and look for fresher bunches.
10. Stuffed Mushrooms
Finally, we have a dish that’s neither meat nor veggie but has features of both.
Mushrooms are delicious, meaty, and versatile.
They’re fungi but come under the vegetable category in cooking.
Stuffed mushrooms complement manicotti; they’re delicious, or the dish won’t be on the list.
You don’t need many ingredients for the dish, and it’s also easy to make.
You can use large mushrooms for the dish.
Portobello is best for stuffing and baking, so you can get those for a yummy dish.
So, these are the ten dishes you can serve with manicotti.
Some dishes take more time to cook than others.
Hence, depending on the time, you can choose suitable dishes to serve.
Some items take only a short time to cook, so when you have many guests, choose these to cook in several batches to have a sufficient amount for everyone.
Make 3-4 or even 5 dishes if you have the ingredients to include more variety in the meal.