Ravioli, which means “little turnips” in Italian, is yet another gift to the world from the Italians. While the fillings inside ravioli are usually cheese and/or meat, they can vary greatly depending on where you are.
Traditionally in Italy, ravioli are made at home and the specific filling varies according to the area or region in which they are prepared. For example, in Sardinia, the most common variety is a cheese ravioli made up of ricotta and lemon rind. And conversely, in Rome and the surrounding area, the filling is commonly made up of ricotta, spinach, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Unfortunately, for a while growing up, I was mostly only familiar with Chef Boyardee canned ravioli. This probably isn’t too much of a surprise as the iconic red can with the chef on the front can probably be found in pantries across the country. But, I was missing out on the goodness that fresh ravioli is. I also learned that ravioli certainly isn’t only for kids.
Whether you’re eating your own homemade ravioli recipe or store-bought versions, ravioli is a filling and fulfilling dinner on its own. However, if you’re serving it as a main dish and are wondering what to serve with ravioli, you came to the right spot.
Let’s check out the 15 best side dishes to serve with ravioli.
What to Serve with Ravioli?
When it comes to what exactly you should serve with ravioli, you have a lot of options to choose from.
Since there are so many different types of fillings and sauces in ravioli, you can also choose from a wide variety of foods that will fit alongside it perfectly. Because of this, you can choose from sides that have various tastes and textures.
However, for myself, I usually prefer to stick with foods that have similar taste profiles. So in the case of ravioli, while the textures of the sides can vary, I think the best side dishes have rich, savory, and sometimes even creamy flavors.
This includes dishes like polenta, Italian roasted vegetables, and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. And of course, I will even suggest some great wine accompaniments later on too.
Best Sides to Serve with Ravioli
Here are some of the best sides to serve with ravioli. As you’ll see there is no shortage of options or variety from light salads to a bacon-wrapped dish you’ll be certain to love!
Easy Italian bread
An Italian dish deserves Italian bread to perfectly complement the dish. It’s hard to beat Italian bread as a side dish for ravioli, and it’s also very simple to make.
The nicest thing about serving bread with ravioli is that it soaks up the pasta sauce, making for a filling and delicious meal. While I recommend this recipe if you’re making it at home. You can also buy some at the bakery if you’re short on time too!
Buttery polenta is unquestionably one of the best ravioli side dishes.
Because of the buttery flavor, it goes especially well with lobster ravioli. So, for a well-rounded meal, offer a creamy and buttery polenta dish with freshly made ravioli. But, it’s a great addition to all types of ravioli and it’s super easy to make. This is a classic quick recipe.
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Something crunchy and salty is sometimes just what this creamy and al dente pasta needs and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus fits the bill perfectly.
Steamed asparagus is excellent on its own, but wrap them with smoky prosciutto for a rich, savory combination.
Serve this crunchy, delicious side dish alongside your ravioli for a complete supper. You probably don’t even need a recipe for this easy dish, but you can find one that spices it up a bit here.
I know I’ve discussed bread before, but what else can I say? Bread and ravioli go together like butter and honey, it’s a hard combo to beat! Whilst I love Italian bread, the addition of garlic makes this a winner for me.
And, just like with the Italian, some good old-fashioned garlic bread also goes great with ravioli. Pasta with butter, garlic, and shredded cheese is always a winner.
These three parts will work nicely together, no matter what sauce or filling you use. It’s also incredibly simple to prepare. It’ll be ready in minutes and it’s even easier if you buy some that are already prepared for you.
Fried Parmesan Zucchini (Frico chips with zucchini)
Fried parmesan zucchini (or Frico chips with zucchini as they’re also known) are an amazing dish to serve with ravioli. But, once you read parmesan you probably already knew that. If you’re unfamiliar with this delicacy, it consists of fried or toasted blocks of Parmesan cheese. And it’s an understatement to say that Frico chips are tasty.
Frico chips are already addictive, but when you add zucchini, they’re even better! And finally, when you combine these bite-sized treats with ravioli, you’ve got a winning combination.
When it comes to blending soft and crunchy textures, you can never go wrong. Plus, like I said before, cheese and pasta are a match made in heaven.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
You’re probably already familiar with a Caprese salad, but this unique take on the dish adds an additional depth of flabor when you roast the cherry tomatoes. And this variation on the classic is ideal for serving with ravioli and a crispy piece of bread.
Air Fryer Vegetables
It seems that’s it’s an exception if air fryer vegetables don’t go great with a dish. This is because first, air fryers are amazing, and second, you can change the seasoning and vegetable assortment to pair perfectly with whatever you cook.
So, when it comes to ravioli you can use one of my favorite air fryer vegetable recipes that will certainly go great with ravioli. It’s simple and quick! But that doesn’t make it any less delicious.
Caramelized Brussels sprouts
Is it just me or does anything caramelized make your mouth water? It’s probably just me because I love caramelized veggies. While onions and mushrooms may be my all-time caramelization favorites, caramelized Brussels sprouts are an amazing side dish to ravioli (and my third favorite vegetable to caramelize).
Their savory umami flavor is to die for and balances perfectly with a main course of ravioli.
Parmesan Garlic Rolls
Okay, yes, it’s more bread. But I can’t help it, especially when it comes to garlic and cheese!
I won’t go over all of the reasons why bread is the perfect side dish to ravioli again, but I will say that the addition of parmesan really takes the bread-as-a-side thing to the next level.
Also, while you can make them from scratch, if you’re short on time then you can just grab some pre-made dinner roll dough (like Pillsbury dinner rolls) and then quickly add the butter, garlic, herbs, and parmesan cheese, and have something that’s nearly as good as completely homemade.
Roasted (Baby) Carrots
Carrots are really great. There is a reason that Soffritto (or also known as battuto) is a thing in Italy. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s “the holy trinity” of ingredients in many Italian soups, stews, and some sauces. And one of the three main ingredients is carrot.
So, while it’s not in a soup or stew per se, it’s still probably not much of a surprise that roasted carrots would be a classic side dish for ravioli.
Balsamic Chickpea Cucumber Salad
This salad is a great, light side dish for ravioli. This Balsamic Chickpea, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad requires no cooking and is a great twist on a typical summer salad. It’s a great appetizer or side dish to serve alongside Ravioli.
Napa Cabbage Caesar salad
The caesar salad is a funny thing. It’s a relatively modern dish that was invented in Tijuana, Mexico by an Italian restauranteur Caesar Cardini that originally immigrated to the United States.
Caesar salad history aside (although it’s weirdly interesting), this Napa cabbage recipe is a tasty twist on the original that goes very well on the side with ravioli.
These Italian vegetables are simply translated as “small onions,” but they’re packed with flavor. Regular onions are smaller, flatter, and paler than cippolini onions. They’re also sweeter, making them an excellent roasting candidate.
When roasted in balsamic vinegar or fried in butter, Cipollini onions become extremely caramelized and soft. They aren’t going to have the same robust, pungent flavor as their American version. When combined with ravioli, you get a delicious balance of sweet and salty flavors that your taste buds will love. This recipe is a great one!
This vegetable, also known as rapini, resembles broccoli but is completely edible, from the stems to the leaves to the buds. It’s particularly delicious with butternut squash ravioli.
So, if you’re going to make that, make sure you have some broccoli rabe on hand!
But no matter what kind of ravioli you make, this Italian-style recipe will pair nicely.
This is another one of those classics. It’s light and provides a great balance to the heavier ravioli.
Best Wine to Serve with Ravioli
There are some traditional ‘rules’ that white wine should go with white sauce, fish, chicken, etc. while red wine should be served with foods in red sauce, beef, etc.
However, these ‘rules’ don’t seem to be as clear cut anymore, but for the best experience, there are still some things to keep in mind, like the ingredients in the filling.
A good rule of thumb is that ravioli should be paired with a medium red wine or a bold white wine. And since it’s an Italian dish, you should try to pair it with Italian wine.
Some red wines include Chianti or Barbera and some white wines include Soave, Pecorino, or Fiano. Bon appetit!