What to Serve with Baked Ziti: 13 Quick and Amazing Side Dishes

If you are looking for an easy and delicious meal to add to your rotation, baked ziti should definitely be on your list! 

This classic pasta dish is perfect for feeding a crowd, and it is easy to throw together on a busy weeknight. 

But if you want to make your baked ziti feel like a real feast, you need some amazing side dishes to serve alongside it. So, what to serve with baked ziti?

If you’re stumped on what to serve with your baked ziti, fret no more. This article will give you the lowdown on some quick and amazing side dishes to serve with your baked ziti.

In this post, we will share some perfect quick and delicious sides that will take your baked ziti to the next level. Get ready to impress your guests (or just treat yourself to a truly special meal)!

What is baked ziti? What does baked ziti taste like?

Baked ziti is an ideal classic Italian dish that combines cooked ziti noodles, a cheesy tomato sauce, and often various other ingredients such as ricotta cheese, sausage, or vegetables. 

Once assembled, the dish is baked in an oven until the top layer is golden and crispy. The result is a hearty and delicious meal that provides a balance of savory flavors with plenty of creamy cheese throughout.

baked ziti

The cooked ziti noodles provide a chewy texture to the dish, while the tomato sauce adds a hint of acidity. 

If ricotta cheese is added, it provides additional creaminess to compliment the smokiness of the sausage (if present). Depending on what vegetables are used, they add flavor complexity as well as color to the dish.

Once fully baked, this hearty Italian casserole has delicious layers of flavors that combine perfectly together. 

Each bite is filled with subtly sweet tomatoes, salty cheeses, smoky meat (if present), and tender vegetables, all enveloped in a creamy sauce. It’s no wonder why baked ziti has been enjoyed by families for generations!

13 Best Sides to serve with baked ziti

1. Garlic Bread

There is no denying that a warm and crispy slice of garlic bread is the perfect side for any pasta dish. 

Garlic Bread

You can make it from scratch by toasting some French bread and spreading garlic butter on top, or you can buy frozen garlic bread from the store and bake it in the oven.

2. Roasted Vegetables

To balance out the richness of the baked ziti, add some healthy and colorful roasted veggies to your plate. 

You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, but we recommend broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or bell peppers.

3. Caesar Salad

A classic Caesar salad is always a crowd-pleaser. The crisp romaine lettuce, salty Parmesan cheese, and tangy dressing make the perfect contrast to the creamy baked ziti.

Caesar Salad

You can even make the salad ahead of time and just toss it with the dressing right before serving.

4. Antipasto Platter

For an Italian-inspired feast, create a beautiful antipasto platter that includes cured meats, olives, roasted peppers, and marinated artichokes. 

This platter is perfect for sharing with a group, and it will keep your guests happy and satisfied.

5. Caprese Salad

Another classic Italian dish, Caprese salad, is a fresh and flavorful side that pairs perfectly with baked ziti. 

Caprese Salad

Simply layer slices of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Discover More: Complementary Dishes to Serve with Caprese Salad

6. Garlic Roasted Potatoes

For something a little heartier, roasted potatoes are a great choice. They are excellent to serve with baked ziti.

You can toss them with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil before roasting them on the cook stove. They will come out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – the perfect complement to the pasta.

7. Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans Almondine is a perfectly simple yet delicious side dish features steamed green beans tossed with butter, garlic, and toasted almonds. It’s an easy way to add some crunch and vegetable flavor to your meal.

8. Meatballs

If you want to make your baked ziti feel really special, add some homemade meatballs on the side

You can make them with beef, pork, or a combination of both. Serve them with a simple tomato sauce for dipping.

9. Bruschetta

For a lighter appetizer that is perfect for warm weather, try making bruschetta


Simply toast some bread and top it with fresh diced tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar for a tangy finish.

Explore More: Creative Side Dishes to Elevate Your Bruschetta

10. Grilled Vegetables

If you have a grill or a grill pan, try grilling some vegetables to serve alongside your baked ziti. 

Zucchini, eggplant, and peppers are all deliciously grilled and drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

11. Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe is a bittersweet, leafy green vegetable that is very common in Southern Italian cuisine. 

You can sauté it with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a delicious and slightly bitter side dish. (Recipe)

12. Sautéed Spinach

Since spinach is considered a “superfood” due to its iron-rich content, it’s a great option as a side dish. 

Sauteed Spinach

Sauté some fresh spinach in garlic, onion, salt, and olive oil for a side that’s healthy and addictively delicious.

13. Roasted Asparagus

Another great veggie option that boasts a cancer-fighting nutrient is the roasted asparagus. 

Mizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then roast in the cookstove for tender, tasty asparagus spears to complete your meal.

5 Best salad goes with baked ziti

Adding a salad to your baked ziti makes for a delicious and balanced meal. Here are five of the best salads that pair well with this classic Italian dish:

1. Caesar Salad

The tangy, garlicky flavor of the dressing enhances the flavors of the ziti.

2. Arugula and Tomato Salad

The slightly bitter greens contrast with the savory ziti, while tomatoes add an acidic balance.

3. Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

Packed with nutrients like iron and calcium, spinach adds a taste of sweetness to the dish.

4. Mediterranean Salad

The abundance of olives, feta cheese, oregano, olive oil and lemon juice create a unique flavor combination that pairs perfectly with ziti.

5. Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad is a simple salad made up of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, mizzled with balsamic vinegar for a sweet-tangy twist on the classic Italian dish.

Learn More: What to Serve with Crab Salad

what to serve with baked ziti vegetarian

Baked Ziti Vegetarian is a classic Italian dish that can be served as either an entrée or a side dish. 

To complement the cheesy, savory flavors of the ziti, consider adding a green salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. 

Something like a simple arugula salad would be refreshing alongside the baked ziti. 

Additionally, crusty bread is essential for dipping into the creamy sauce. If desired, top off the meal by serving an Italian dessert such as Tiramisu or Cannoli.

baked ziti

What are the best flavors to go with baked ziti?

Baked ziti is an ideal classic Italian dish that can be paired with a variety of flavors. 

For a traditional Italian flavor, adding some chopped basil, oregano, and garlic to the tomato-based sauce will give the dish an additional dimension of flavor. 

For a more robust flavor, adding Italian sausage or ground beef to the tomato-based sauce adds a savory and delicious depth. 

For vegetarians, roasted mushrooms and zucchini make great additions and give the dish an earthy flavor. 

Adding ricotta cheese also adds creaminess and richness to this dish. To top it off, Parmesan cheese brings an irresistible nutty flavor that ties all the flavors together perfectly.

Find Out More: Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Twice-Baked Potatoes

How do you jazz up baked ziti?

You can jazz up baked ziti by adding extra ingredients such as cooked Italian sausage, prosciutto, grated parmesan cheese, mushrooms, garlic, and herbs like oregano or basil. 

You could also add a layer of freshly grated mozzarella cheese on top of the dish before baking for added flavor and texture. 

Additionally, you can serve it with a side salad dressed with olive oil to give the meal an additional boost of flavor.

baked ziti

How do you display baked ziti on a platter?

Baked ziti can be displayed on a platter in a visually appealing way. 

To start, place the cooked ziti in an oven-safe dish. Top with your desired cheese and other toppings such as vegetables, herbs, and sauces. 

Once all ingredients are added, bake in a preheated cookstove until the cheese is melted and bubbling. 

When done, carefully transfer the dish onto the platter to display it in its full glory. The baked ziti should have an even layer of melted cheese over it and be lightly browned on top. 

For extra decoration, you can place some fresh parsley or basil leaves around the dish for added color and texture.

Wrap Up on what to serve with baked ziti

In conclusion, choosing the right-side dish when serving baked ziti is essential to have a perfect meal. 

While the above list is far from exhaustive, it provides a great starting point for any home cook. 

Whether it’s classic garlic bread or an antipasto platter, you can undoubtedly elevate your baked ziti meal by adding one or more of these recommended dishes to your menu. 

So, get cooking, and enjoy the mouth-watering flavors of Italian cuisine!


How much-baked ziti per person?

The amount of baked ziti per person depends on a few factorssuch as how hungry each person is, the size of the portions, and what else is served with it. 

Generally speaking, a half-cup to one cup of cooked ziti per person should be adequate. If the ziti dish is an entree in its own right, a larger portion may be necessary. 

Additionally, if the ziti is served as a side to a larger dish or alongside other sides, then smaller portions might be more appropriate. 

Keep in mind that all food servings should remain proportional to ensure balanced nutrition and satisfaction for all guests.

What type of wine goes with baked ziti?

When it comes to choosing the perfect wine to pair with a dish like baked ziti, the answer can depend on several factors

For example, depending on the type of cheese used in the recipe, opting for a white or red wine can make all the difference.

A good rule of thumb is to match lighter cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta with wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. 

On the other hand, more robust cheeses like Parmesan or Provolone pair nicely with Cabs and Chiantis. 

When it comes to non-dairy ingredients, such as tomato sauce, consider that acidic sauces require a higher acidity in your wine selection. 

Therefore, if you’re making a baked ziti made with marinara sauce, opt for a bright Italian red such as Chianti Classico Riserva. 

The same goes for cream-based sauces – in this case, try a buttery Chardonnay or even an oaky Viognier. 

If your recipe is particularly spicy, reach for something off-dry like a sparkling rosé or Chenin Blanc.

Notwithstanding the type of wine you decide upon for your baked ziti feast, always remember that, ultimately, pairing food and beverage should be based on personal preference and taste!

What appetizer goes well with baked ziti?

One appetizer that pairs beautifully with baked ziti is garlic bread. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, garlic bread is always a crowd favorite. 

To make it even more delicious, try brushing melted butter onto the bread before sprinkling it with minced garlic, dried herbs, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. 

Serve your garlicky creation with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, and you have a surefire hit!

What meat to serve with baked ziti? 

Baked ziti is a hearty, comforting Italian dish that pairs well with a variety of meats. 

To complement the flavors of the ziti, a classic option is to serve it with Italian sausage. The spicy, savory flavor of the sausage balances well with the rich tomato sauce and cheese used in most baked ziti recipes.
Another great meat to pair with baked ziti is cooked chicken. Whether you use cubed or shredded chicken, its mild flavor helps to enhance the other ingredients without overpowering them. 

If you’re looking for something a bit different, try pork loin or even ground beef. Both offer up a delicious flavor that will really take your baked ziti to the next level!

Leave a Comment