Paella is a popular Spanish dish made with saffron-flavored rice, seafood, meat, and vegetables.
It’s typically served as a main course but can also be enjoyed as a side meal.
In Spanish cuisine, Paella and desserts usually go hand in hand.
After all, what better way to end a meal than with a sweet treat?
So, if you’re looking for ideas on what to serve with Paella, here are 7 of the best side dishes that will go perfectly.
Why Consider Serving Desserts with Paella?
Paella, being a rice-based dish, can be quite filling. This is why it’s often served as an entree.
However, to make Paella into a complete meal, you’ll need to consider serving some side dishes.
Not only will this help round out the meal, but it will also give your guests some options.
But while picking side dishes for Paella, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.
First, the side dishes should complement the flavors of the Paella.
Second, they should be able to stand on their own as well.
Third, the side dishes should be light, so they don’t overshadow your main attraction.
This is why people usually prefer having Paella on its own, then completing their meal with a sweet dessert like fruits (yes, Spanish people love having fruits as desserts), churros, and more.
What To Serve with Paella? 7 BEST Dessert Side Dishes
1 – Mixed Fruit Salad
As mentioned earlier, people in Spain love to enjoy fruits as dessert so let’s begin with a simple fruit dish.
You’ll love the paella-fruit salad combo because one is hearty, and the other is fresh.
You can also use multiple fruits for the salad, and the result will be just as good.
Many fruits are seasonal, but you can also find many others all year round.
So, check them out and select what you want to work with.
A colorful salad bowl appeals to the senses, so pick fruits in different colors.
Strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, mangoes, oranges, and watermelon are delicious and pretty.
Drizzle a little honey and squeeze fresh lemon juice to mix sweet and sour flavors.
2 – Spanish Flan
If you haven’t tried Spanish flan before, you are missing big.
It’s a delicious dessert and popularly eaten with paella.
The combo is yummy, and you won’t regret adding it to the menu.
A typical Spanish flan has a creamy texture with a caramel flavor.
You might find it a bit daunting at first to make the dish.
But if you follow the recipe correctly, you won’t have any trouble making the dessert.
The key is not to rush the cooking process.
Keep a close eye on it so that every part cooks evenly.
You can serve the flan on any special occasion or whenever you want to enjoy some paella and a nice dessert.
3 – Churros
They’re simple but incredibly delicious and quite popular in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.
It’s a type of fried dough made of flour, water, salt, and coated in cinnamon sugar.
The appearance in size and shape of churros may slightly differ from place to place.
For instance, the Mexican version is more extended than the Spanish churros.
The sweet and salty dessert cleanses your palate nicely after the richness of the paella, making you want to eat more of them.
Serve the churros alongside paella and see how everyone enjoys them together.
4 – Grilled Pineapple
Here is another fruit dish that you can pair with paella.
Grilled pineapple is also a popular dish that complements paella, so we have it on the list.
What’s more, it doesn’t take much effort to make the dish.
You just have to marinate prepped pineapple pieces in a bowl of sugar and spiced rum in the fridge for about two hours.
Next, heat the appliance and grill the fruit pieces on both sides until soft and golden brown for three minutes.
Place the grilled pineapple beside the paella dish and watch everyone enjoying the yummy fruit pieces.
5 – Cheesecake
It’s one of the oldest desserts in the world, as it dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman empires.
But cheesecake is a favorite dessert even today.
It also complements paella perfectly; hence you can serve them side by side.
Once you finish eating the rice dish, complete the meal with cheesecake.
What makes the cake more interesting is you can make it in several flavors.
Popular flavors include strawberry, vanilla, lemon, pumpkin, chocolate, and peanut butter.
For the cake, you can use soft and fresh cheese like cottage cheese, ricotta, mascarpone, and cream cheese.
6 – Crema Catalana
The crema catalana is a yummy dessert from Spain’s Catalonia region.
But since it’s so delicious, its fame has traveled far and wide.
It’s usually made from milk, sugar, cornflour, egg yolks, and spices and served at room temperature.
The dessert is popular when serving paella because they form a nice combo.
Hence, you won’t go wrong when you have the two items on the same table.
Unlike some other sweet treats, crema catalana is simpler to make.
It has a creamy and smooth texture, and when you caramelize the sugar on top, you also have some crunchiness.
7 – Marinated Strawberries
We’re adding one more fruit dish to the list, as paella and fruits are a perfect combo.
Besides, it’s always delightful to enjoy a variety of fruits.
Here, we have strawberries marinated in orange liqueur.
It’s a very light dessert that will refresh your palate after enjoying the heavy paella dish.
Strawberries are now a year-round fruit in most places due to increased strawberry imports from various areas.
Hence, you can easily find fresh fruits on the market.
The dish is also simple, as you must marinate the prepped strawberries in a suitable orange liqueur.
You can find several brands, so choose your favorite or the best on the market.
Add a little basil on top, and you’ll have a lovely bowl of aromatic strawberries to serve with paella.
We have mentioned only seven items here, and each is ideal for pairing with paella.
You can serve them whenever you have the rice dish on the menu.
You can also use other items such as almond cookies, Spanish apple tart, lemon granita, key lime pie, fruit sorbet, and tres leches.
Most desserts taste good after a savory meal, so you can also experiment with items you love.