Chicken Parmesan, also called Chicken Parm or Chicken Parmigiana, is a classic Italian favorite that many people love to make. No matter what you call it, this delicious recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Whether you are making this family favorite for the first time or looking for healthy alternatives to pasta to serve with this delectable dish, you are in luck.
I have put together a comprehensive list of options you can serve with your favorite chicken parm recipe. (Don’t worry, they work with the vegetarian dish eggplant parmesan, too!)
What is Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken Parmesan is an entree of breaded chicken breasts covered in tomato pasta sauce (a marinara sauce), and cheese. The cheese varies but is usually parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or provolone cheese. Some parmesan chicken recipes call for chicken cutlets to be used, in place of chicken breasts.
Many home cooks also use fresh mozzarella cheese or their favorite homemade sauce to spruce up the dish.
Some recipes call for ham, bacon, or fresh basil to be added, although not always. Others use panko bread crumbs as the base for their bread crumb mixture.
You will also likely always see salt, black pepper, and garlic powder as seasoning staples for this dish.
Chicken parm is usually served with simple spaghetti pasta. Although, there are many reasons you may need to serve it with something different. You may be trying to eat healthier or a dinner guest has dietary restrictions…
Dietary Restrictions to Consider
Many people serve pasta with their chicken parmigiana. However, that option does not always align with individual needs (or for the picky eater!).
If you or your guests have an allergy, like Celiac Disease, then pasta’s not an option. While there are many gluten-free pastas on the market, they don’t always taste the greatest.
Others may have other dietary restrictions limiting their carbohydrate intake. For instance, keto dieters and diabetics have to severely limit their carbohydrate intake. In that case, both pasta and pasta alternatives like mashed potatoes are not great options. Especially when you count the carbs from the bread crumbs on the chicken parm.
Thus, the need for pasta alternatives! You can turn a classic, comfort food meal and turn it into a healthy entree.
What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan Besides Pasta
The following is my list of different side dishes to serve with traditional chicken parmesan. There is sure to be something that the whole family will love!
1. Classic Caesar Salad
This green salad is made from crisp romaine lettuce, croutons, and a creamy dressing. The dressing consists of olive oil, lemon juice, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Some recipes add more anchovy flavor than others.
This is an easy side dish. It pairs well with a chicken parm main dish because its zesty flavor offsets Italian food dishes that use a lot of acidic marinara sauces. If you’re cooking an easy chicken parmesan recipe, then this easy option completes a perfect meal!
Pierogi are delicious Polish dumplings. Traditional pierogi are filled with potatoes and cheese, which make a great side for chicken parmesan. They can be served as an appetizer, main dish, or (in this case) a side dish!
What’s great about pierogi is you can also fill and top them with just about anything. We have a great article on How to Serve Pierogi (Fillings, Toppings & Side Dishes).
If you don’t want to make pierogi from scratch, you can buy premade pierogi in the refrigerated or frozen sections at your market. Premade ones are quite delicious, too, because they heat and reheat well.
3. Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes are one of those versatile vegetables that can go well with many different dishes. They’re not just for steak! Their fine flavor will not compete with chicken parmesan and will leave you filling full and happy.
Making mashed potatoes is an easy go-to. They are inexpensive and make great leftovers. Talk about a win, win!
4. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli is already a popular veggie to serve with this classic Italian dish. But you can elevate it by mixing it into a broccoli salad recipe.
There are many different ways you can go with this type of salad, and plenty of recipes are available online.
5. Green Beans
There is no shortage of green beans recipes out there. Steam them and serve them plain, or roast them with salt, black pepper, and garlic. By adding in some Italian flavors, these beans can pair perfectly with your chicken parmigiana recipe.
Add in your homemade tomato sauce and you have a winning dinner!
6. Sweet Potatoes
Another veggie side dish to pair with chicken parmesan is sweet potatoes. They have a mild flavor that can mix well with a tomato-based sauce. Using sweet potatoes is an excellent alternative for those that cannot eat rice or pasta.
7. Garlic Bread
Who does not love garlic bread? A thick, crusty bread made soft on top by melting a butter and garlic mixture can easily replace pasta.
You can easily top your garlic bread with the chicken parmesan mixture to create an open-faced sandwich. Then use any leftover bread to soak up the leftover sauce on the plate.
Mmmm… talk about a yummy, comfort food!
8. Zucchini Noodles
These veggie noodles are a perfect side dish because they look very similar to the real thing! You simply use a potato peeler to peel zucchini in spaghetti-like strips.
It’s a low-carb option that is perfect for any eaters on a keto or low-sugar diet.
9. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are one of those veggies that people either love or hate. That is because they have a strong, distinct flavor. They are often paired with pancetta and balsamic vinegar, which are also strong flavors.
If you’re one that loves them, they make an excellent pairing for your favorite chicken parmesan pasta recipe!
10. Saffron Rice
That’s right, saffron rice! This beautifully bright yellow rice has subtle saffron flavors. Some call the flavors floral, and others say they can be slightly pungent.
However, like brown rice, this grain will soak up the strong flavors of your main dish, making it a great choice to serve on the side.
11. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash can be paired nicely with chicken parmesan and makes a nice alternative to the typical pasta dish. The squash is low in carbohydrates, so it works well for those watching their carb intake.
It has a mild flavor, so it soaks up the tasty and delicious sauce that you use for your chicken parmesan meal. Best of all, it mimics the look of pasta!