It is hard to think of something that beats the refreshing Spanish cuisine.
While relatively heavy, it is still suitable enough to refresh you on a hot summer day.
Paella is one of the most representative dishes in Spanish cuisine.
It was originally invented in Valencia, but it has become a popular choice all over the world.
Although not really a national dish in Spain, most foreigners see it as one.
There are more varieties of this recipe – or dish – and each of them comes with various enhancements.
They usually depend on what you truly like.
Not sure what to serve with paella? Here is what you should know.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Paella?
Paella itself could be seen as a dish – after all, it has a bit of everything and can be quite fulfilling.
If you are cooking for yourself only, you might as well enjoy serving alone, without any side dishes at all.
Obviously, it would taste better with something to complement the aroma and texture, but this is a personal choice.
When you expect some guests over, most people will expect more than just plain paella.
Having a side dish is almost a must then.
What to Serve with Paella? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some side dishes that will work well with paella.
1. Crispy Bruschetta
Bring in the Italian or Greek cuisine, and your audience will love the outcome – plus, they are quite close to the Spanish traditions anyway.
A bruschetta is basically a piece of bread – slightly baked and enhanced with all sorts of things on top.
Most recipes imply some chopped fresh tomatoes, a sauce, and maybe some cheese and spices.
All in all, bread is the only main element that misses from a paella, so this is your opportunity to bring it in and change everything.
You can prepare more dishes within a few minutes only – you can even opt for different toppings for a little variety.
They look great, and they taste even better.
2. Caesar Salad
Paella is delicious, and you can never go wrong with it.
The problem is that it has so many heavy ingredients that it feels quite heavy itself too.
Sure, it is complete, but if you can find a way to make it lighter, go for it.
Sometimes, a simple salad is more than enough.
The Caesar salad c0mes with lots of greens for a bit of color and freshness.
As for the texture, nothing beats the crunchiness in this salad – great for the soft paella.
3. Homemade Crusty Bread
While paella may seem a bit sophisticated for some, the truth is you can keep everything simple.
Simplicity is the key sometimes – this way, everyone will be able to focus on what really matters, the taste.
You can bring bread into this dish without any enhancements at all.
Plain bread is everything you need.
If you do it yourself, the crust will be a bit harder, while the soft will be tender.
You can prepare it just before your guests arrive – nothing is better than the aroma of fresh bread.
4. Fried Sweet Plantains
Paella is not just a mix of ingredients, but also a mix of rich flavors.
All of them are slightly salty, so this is the kind of meal that makes you feel thirsty.
But then, you can simplify its saltiness with a bit of sweetness.
Now, this idea requires a lot of attention because sweet and salty can ruin everything in the wrong combo.
Keep it simple with some fulfilling sweet plantains.
Apart from the delicious taste, fried sweet plantains are also easy to make.
They have a refreshing flavor and will reduce the heavy profile of paella.
5. Roasted Red Peppers
In theory, roasting something will make it heavier.
But when it comes to certain veggies, they manage to retain their freshness somehow.
Roasted red peppers will be softer than their fresh alternatives, but they can still retain a bit of crunch to complement your paella.
When it comes to the taste, they add a slightly sour aroma and a bit of smokiness.
This type of side will take about half an hour to prepare, but it is totally worth it.
It adds a bit of color to your meal too, not to mention the extra vitamins and minerals.
6. Crispy Ham Croquettes
Still not sure what to serve with paella? How about some crispy ham croquettes, then?
You can make them yourself with just a few ingredients.
If you want to stick to the Spanish cuisine, try to find serrano ham, as it comes from Spain.
If you cannot, any type of ham will do.
The breaded exterior is what makes these croquettes crispy.
When it comes to the taste, they are quite salty and will match your paella like a glove.
There is one problem, though – they will make your meal even heavier, so have this combo in moderation.
7. Garlicky Green Beans
Vegetable side dishes are always great with paella because the dish itself does not have too many of them.
Furthermore, veggies make it feel lighter, despite all the heavy ingredients.
Green beans, for example, are quite trendy today and look pretty luxurious.
They taste great, and they bring a colorful spot to the table.
The crushed garlic is naturally infused into the beans, making them even better.
You have to roast them, but there is nothing to be concerned about – they will still be a bit crispy.
This side dish should be ready to serve within 15 minutes only.
As a short final conclusion, figuring out what to serve with paella is not as difficult as it may seem.
The dish is straightforward and represents a decent meal itself, but side dishes can make it even better.
The general idea is to make it feel lighter – however, some of the above-mentioned dishes go in the opposite direction.
As long as the taste can impress everyone, there is literally nothing to be concerned about.
If a meal is too heavy, simply bring in a beverage and sort it out.