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What to Serve with Marinara Sauce? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Sauces are condiments meant to be served with dishes, whether primary or side.

Marinara is one such sauce that’s excellent and versatile.

It’s a sauce that originated in Italy and is made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs and onions.

You can enjoy marinara sauce with numerous foods such as pizza, meatloaf, vegan chili, risotto and poached eggs are some items you can serve with marinara sauce.

If you’re looking for ideas on what to serve with marinara sauce, you arrived at the right place.

You can continue reading to know more.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Marinara Sauce?

Marinara is a sauce and you’re supposed to eat it with other dishes.

While you can eat a few spoonsful, consuming large amounts of sauces isn’t practical.

Hence, you’ll need some side dishes to have with it.

You can’t simply serve marinara sauce to your guests, right? There must be some side dishes or everyone will leave your home hungry.

It’ll also look odd to place only the sauce on the table.

Marinara sauce tastes good with many items so why shouldn’t you enjoy them together?

What to Serve with Marinara Sauce? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Here are the ten items you can serve with marinara sauce.

1 – Vegan Chili

Earlier, we mentioned that marinara sauce taste good with almost everything and vegan chili is one of them.

Typical chili has beef but you can make a vegan dish if you’re not too keen on meat.

Vegan chili tastes as good as meat chili and will be a perfect side dish for those who don’t like to eat meat.

Sweet potatoes, black beans and pinto beans can make up for the meat.

You can use the remaining ingredients as usual.

But you can also use other legumes like kidney and white beans if the first two types aren’t available.

You can also switch the sweet potatoes with something else because no rule says you can’t use other ingredients.

2 – Meatloaf

If there’s one dish that matches perfectly with marinara sauce, it has to be meatloaf.

This meat dish matches the sauce so when you combine the two; you’ll not want to taste anything else.

Apart from the taste, the combo will offer you fullness without overwhelming you.

Meatloaf feels like a complicated dish to make because it’s so delicious.

But you have to undergo only a few steps using everyday ingredients.

If you’re wondering what to do, there are only three steps.

You’ll mix the ingredients and make it into a loaf, pour the sauce over the meatloaf and bake until it’s perfectly cooked.

Ground beef, onion, milk, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper are the only items needed to make the dish.

3 – Poached or Fried Eggs

If you have marinara sauce, it would be lovely to have it with eggs.

The combo is exceptionally delicious and your guests will enjoy them too because everyone loves eggs.

There are different ways to cook eggs and each one tastes good.

Poached eggs are delicate so you have trouble making them.

If that’s the case, fry them because both taste good with the sauce.

But it’s necessary to use the freshest eggs for poaching or frying or they won’t be perfect.

Choose eggs from refrigerated cases and go for uncracked shells.

4 – Pizza

It may be an everyday dish you eat regularly but when there’s marinara sauce, you should have pizza.

The combo is perfect, and of course, pizza is popular with everybody.

Pizza comes in multiple flavors and tastes good with marinara sauce so you can serve any type.

You can serve veggie, meat, cheese or fruit pizza alongside the sauce depending on what you like.

While it isn’t difficult to make pizza, it can take a while.

Hence, you can buy fresh pizza from a reputed outlet if you don’t have much time to make it.

5 – Stuffed Peppers

Bell peppers are naturally delicious and when stuffed, they become tastier.

They also make a suitable pairing with marinara sauce. There are two ways to enjoy them.

First, you can use the sauce as a topping on the cooked stuffed peppers.

Second, you can mix the sauce with the filling ingredients before baking the peppers.

Or you can have the sauce both ways.

The bell peppers come in different colors, so use them for a bright look.

Food looks more appealing when you have more color so use as many as possible.

6 – Baked Ziti

How can you not have a pasta dish with marinara sauce? They taste great together and it’s popular with everyone.

Any pasta will taste good with the sauce but let’s add ziti because it’s flavorsome and easy to cook.

Cooking ziti pasta isn’t tricky but there is one aspect to keep in mind.

You must cook the pasta perfectly, or even the delicious sauce will not save the dish.

Your pasta should be al dente, firm with a slight chew.

You can make baked ziti with meat and cheese like Provolone, mozzarella and Parmesan for creaminess.

It’ll make the dish richer and everyone will have a full stomach.

7 – Pan-Fried Chicken

A simple pan-fried chicken can also pair perfectly with marinara sauce.

Everybody loves chicken so it’ll be a hit dish at any event that you have marinara sauce.

You can add the fried chicken in the sauce and serve them on the same plate or use the sauce as a dip.

Either will taste great and make you want more.

Making pan-fried chicken is simple and it doesn’t take much time.

There are several recipes but you can stick with a simple one because the sauce will make it delicious.

8 – Mexican Rice

Mexican rice is also called Spanish rice and it has a distinct bright orange-red color.

It’s flavorful and you can enjoy it with multiple items.

Mexican rice contains onions, chicken broth, ground cumin, garlic salt and tomato sauce.

You can use marinara sauce instead of regular tomato sauce for this dish.

While any rice variety can work, long-grain white rice is the first preference for the dish, so you may want to use that.

9 – Cheesy Eggplant

How about cheesy eggplant for the menu? This dish is simple and you can enjoy it with many other items.

Cheesy eggplant usually has a tomato paste so you can use marinara instead of that.

Cheesy eggplant tastes incredible and looks fantastic.

But cooking the dish is simple because you don’t have to use too many items for the dish.

Eggplant, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, spray oil and marinara sauce are all you need.

But you must use the best veggies or the dish may not taste as good as you want.

Fresh eggplant should be heavy, firm and glossy.

Any signs of bruising or discoloration can mean decay and age.

10 – Mussels and Clams

You must definitely have seafood with marinara sauce.

How about mussels and clams? They’re good to eat, easy to find and fast to cook.

Most recipes include a simple tomato sauce.

So you can set that aside and use marinara sauce instead.

It will add more flavor to the dish.

Seafood tastes best when fresh, so see that you buy only the best clams and mussels or the dish may stink and even taste different.

Fresh and live mussels’ shells should be tightly closed.

If they’re slightly open and don’t stay closed when pressed, reject them.


If you’re serving marinara sauce in any occasion, you’ll have the ten dishes to serve alongside.

All of them make the perfect pairing with marinara sauce so you won’t have trouble.

But you mustn’t serve the same dish two times in a row.

Or it can get boring and even a tasty dish will not feel so delicious anymore.

You must always keep a gap before you serve the same dish so that it tastes good every time you cook it.

What to Serve with Marinara Sauce? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Want to elevate your marinara sauce game? Explore our selection of the 10 best side dishes that pair wonderfully with marinara sauce. From classic pasta accompaniments to creative twists, these dishes will enhance the rich flavors of your marinara sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Vegan Chili
  • Meatloaf
  • Poached or Fried Eggs
  • Pizza
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Baked Ziti
  • Mexican Rice
  • Cheesy Eggplant
  • Mussels and Clams


  • Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  • Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  • Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  • Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Keyword What to Serve with Marinara Sauce
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