Paella and its many variations are often considered to be the national dish of Spain, and it’s not hard to see why. All that color and all that flavor make it an appealing feast for both the eyes and the tongue and belly!
Often being cooked and prepared in a large wok or pan, paella has so many ingredients and flavors thrown into it, that many people often eat it simply straight as a full meal in itself.
However, if you’re looking for a side dish that you can have alongside this delicious meal, there are plenty of recipes and foods that will work nicely.
If you want to find out more about those sides, then check out this quick list of some of our favorites!
1. Hibachi-Style Fried Rice
We’re starting this recipe recommendation list with a little curveball here!
Many people, when thinking of the perfect dish to serve as a side to paella, might not initially think of a traditionally Japanese-style meal to go with it. Especially one that also uses plenty of rice. That is a lot of starch in one meal1
However, if you give this recipe a try on your next paella evening, you might find yourself surprised!
The traditional savory/sweet flavors of this type of rice make for a nice contrast against the traditionally pure savory flavor of paella. Plus, this recipe has also got tons of eggs in it, making for a different bucket list of ingredients to grab and enjoy too.
2. 1905 Salad
Made famous by the iconic Columbia restaurant, the 1905 salad packs a ton of flavors that you otherwise wouldn’t normally find in a typical paella recipe.
Many Spanish dishes are often served with sides for a great range of flavors, and the same is true for this classic salad.
The fresh tomatoes, the briny olives, and even the fresh, crunchy greens, all make a great change of texture and taste alongside a paella main course.
Plus, this salad recipe is relatively light on calories while having all that flavor.
And considering how carb and calorie-heavy a good paella dish is, this one helps ease that guilt a little, by keeping your plate at least a little healthy while enjoying Spain’s national dish!
3. Fried Plantains
Plantains are a type of food that is more closely associated with many Caribbean and Latin American cuisines than Spanish.
However, you’ll find that many of the types of foods and flavors that they have overlap, making for some interesting food combinations. And that includes frying up some of this fascinating fruit!
Frying up this fruit will add a subtle, yet still very noticeable sweet flavor that goes amazing with a variety of different meals, from burritos to rice, to, yes, even a good paella.
Plus, with this particular side dish only needing two ingredients, it can be made on a relatively small budget, and in next to no time at all.
The best side recipes keep it quick and keep it simple, and this recipe manages to do both!
4. French Bread
One of the things that many people will notice quickly about paella is that it is also a surprisingly saucy dish. The broth that the rice and other ingredients are cooked in keeps this dish as smooth dish as it is eaten.
This also means that the sauce that goes into a paella is primed for being soaked up by an excellent side dish.
So, allow us to introduce you to this amazing wrench bread recipe, which can be made in a surprisingly quick time, while still maintaining that distinct spongy texture that all freshly baked loaves have.
Dip a slice of this bread into your paella, and this bread soaks up all that meaty and fishy-flavored sauce.
Serve the bread with a small black of butter, and you have the perfect side dish for paella, all set for your next meal!
5. Fresh Tomato Salad
Tomato salad, while often associated with Italian cuisine, is also a popular dish to serve in many Spanish cafés and restaurants.
So, you’re not going to get any strange looks by eating your paella alongside a healthy helping of this tomato salad recipe!
Like with the last salad recipe that we covered in this guide, one of the things that we love about this dish is that it is packed full of flavor, with tomatoes, a little bit of heat from the fresh onions, and even some creamy mozzarella cheese was thrown in there for good measure!
It’s a very bright salad that is just as colorful as the paella that you’ll be serving it with!
And, of course, the lighter ingredients that go into this salad play a nice healthy balancing act with the heartier and carb-heavy ingredients that go into a paella!
In short, if you love a salad that is juicy and fresh (and has a little cheese in it too), this is the side dish for you!
6. Garlic & Butter Green Beans
Green beans are another healthy side dish that goes well with plenty of foods in many different cuisines, from Latin American to French, and even Spanish, as it does here with a good paella.
The green bean pods that you’ll be cooking up are perfectly seasoned with a little butter and garlic, to help take the edge off the bitter plant texture and flavor, while also infusing little savory flavors into the mix.
The result speaks for itself, with a pleasant herbal and buttery side dish that is perfect for placing on the side of a plate full of paella.
And the best part, aside from its flavor? It is a recipe that can be made incredibly fast. Meaning that, while your paella is slowly cooking away, you can easily prepare this dish while the rice, fish, and meat are still cooking away.
7. Broccolini Salad
We’ve covered quite a few salads in this guide so far, and that’s partly because, although paella uses plenty of veggies in its preparation, their flavors just don’t come through as much and as often as meats, fish and spices that it’s also sharing flavor real estate with.
Fortunately, when it comes to veggie-friendly dishes, we have recipes like this broccolini recipe to satisfy that particular hungering itch!
Easy to make, and not taking too many ingredients either, this is the perfect recipe to prepare while you’re waiting for the paella that is cooking to finish the hard work.
8. Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole
A casserole with paella? Isn’t that a little carb-heavy?
Well, you’ll be surprised! If you’re feeling extra adventurous while making your paella, this might be the perfect side to serve it with!
With a creamy sauce to serve these beans with, this is a recipe that feels extra decadent, when served with a paella.
Plus, it’s a good vegetarian option to have handy, in case someone else at the table won’t or can’t eat a hearty paella for whatever reason!
9. Spanish Omelette
If we’re talking about staple recipes in Spanish cuisine like paella, then we can’t exactly forget about that other classic Spanish dish, the appropriately-name Spanish omelet!
The main difference between these kinds of omelets and traditional omelets is the inclusion of diced roasted potatoes being thrown into the mix, creating an interesting blend of texture that is perfect for serving in pretty much any scenario, whether it’s a side dish served cold, or a main meal served piping hot, fresh from the skillet or pan!
Now, to be fair, we are slowly encroaching on not-so-side dish territory with this dish. After all, this and paella are two hearty dishes to serve alongside each other.
However, if you’re trying to figure out how to serve a big crowd at that next Spanish fiesta, this is a great recipe to serve alongside a classic paella!
10. Spanish Mussels
Finally, we couldn’t have a list of Spanish side dishes without mentioning one of the most popular kinds of seafood in Spain.
Mussels are commonly eaten as both a main course for a meal, as well as as a side for another dish. So, they’ll also make for a great dish to serve alongside paella (even if you’ve included mussels already in your paella recipe)!
So, as you can see, paella is not short on tasty company when it comes to the extra recipes to serve it alongside.
Now, which of these delectable dishes will you dish out with your Paella?
10 Incredible Sides For PaellaCourse: Sides
- Pick from the list above
- Click the recipe name and visit the website
- Collect the ingredients and cook the food
- Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review
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