If you’re craving the flavors of chicken parmesan or lasagna but want to hold out on the meat, eggplant parmesan is an excellent alternative. The sauce is rich in cheese and tomato flavors, and the eggplant slices are perfectly coated with crunchy, tasty breadcrumbs. Plus, eggplant is certainly lighter and more nutritious.
Moreover, eggplant parmesan pairs well with various sides! But if you’re sticking to a vegetarian diet, and want to know what to serve with eggplant parmesan, this article offers 14 delicious and easy recipes. They have no meat or animal flesh but may contain animal products, like cheese and honey.
Eggplant parmesan is excellent with pasta, so why don’t you try it with nature’s spaghetti? Spaghetti squash is an underrated, delicious vegetable you can roast and then scrape, so the flesh resembles noodle strands. Seasoning is simple – just olive oil, salt, and black pepper – so when paired with rich dishes like egg parm, the main entree’s flavors are highlighted.
A simple vegetable side that goes great with egg parm is grilled zucchini. Grilling imparts a unique, smoky flavor to the zucchini slices, which blend well with the other seasonings: olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Also, it’s quick – it takes only 25 minutes or less to prep and cook!
Try this easy roasted cauliflower recipe if you prefer the oven over the grill. The textures are on-point, as the florets are satisfyingly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The flavors are also terrific, as roasting the cauliflower perfectly caramelizes it. But don’t worry – the seasonings are kept simple, so the side’s overall flavors don’t overpower the savory eggplant parmesan.
Are you having Italian-style eggplant parmesan? Then there’s no better side dish than Italian dishes, like this Panzanella salad. This Tuscan-style treat is an assortment of Italian bread soaked in olive oil, juicy tomatoes, bright bell peppers, refreshing cucumbers, and various herbs and spices. All these flavors are fresh and light, perfect with a rich entree like eggplant parmesan.
The classic caprese salad is another Italian-style but more popular side you can serve with eggplant parmesan. It stands out for its simplicity, consisting of only three main elements: fresh mozzarella cheese, juicy tomatoes, and aromatic basil leaves. They are sliced into rounds, then arranged beautifully and drizzled with olive oil and salt. As you’ll notice, these flavors match the egg parmesan, which makes the two perfectly together.
If you want another Italian alternative to caprese salad, consider this recipe for burrata with heirloom tomatoes. The two salads are similar because burrata consists of mozzarella and cream! There are also fresh, juicy tomatoes in this recipe. But unlike caprese salad, you get more elements, like peaches, cherries, currants, herbs, and pistachios, all tossed in a lemon-thyme dressing.
If you want more textures and complex flavors, pair your eggplant parmesan with cherry tomato couscous salad. Like the other salads, this one is packed with refreshing tomatoes, cucumbers, and tasty, subtle herbs. But there’s also the exciting addition of chickpeas, couscous, and feta cheese, which all contribute new textures and tastes.
Italian chopped salad is a well-recommended pairing with eggplant parmesan, so you must try this one. This specific recipe is also explicitly vegetarian, so you’re sure to get bright, fresh flavors that meet your palate and your diet. It consists of romaine lettuce, radicchio, red onions, celery, tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, and chickpeas. The salad dressing is a homemade Italian vinaigrette.
A great-tasting Caesar salad is always welcome to an eggplant parmesan meal. However, some recipes contain anchovies; thus, to ensure it’s vegetarian-friendly, you can follow this recipe instead. It has no Worcestershire sauce, eggs, or anchovies – just romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese tossed in a homemade, vegetarian-friendly Caesar salad dressing.
10. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli side dishes, like roasted broccoli or salad, are recommended as a side dish to eggplant parmesan. However, most broccoli salad recipes have bacon in them. To avoid meat, you can try this recipe. It only has broccoli florets, sunflower seeds, red onion, cherries or cranberries, and cheddar cheese. These ingredients are tossed in a homemade honey mustard dressing.
Although the brussels sprouts and honey mustard are the primary flavors in this salad, you also encounter other interesting flavors and textures. For instance, you can add toasted or smoked almonds, although the smoked nuts are more unique in taste. Cherries and parmesan cheese are also included, then all of them are tossed in a homemade honey mustard dressing with hints of vinegar and garlic.
12. Spicy Bruschetta
If you prefer a side dish with simpler flavors than salad, try this spicy bruschetta. Bruschetta is Italian bread soaked in olive oil, and you might often have it with tomatoes on top. But this recipe has no tomatoes – just lemon, salt, chili pepper, and olive oil. Instead, you can dunk the bruschetta in your eggplant parmesan sauce to get that tomato flavor!
Bread is perfect with eggplant parmesan as it absorbs the rich, savory flavors. The best bread is homemade crusty Italian bread, which you can make from scratch with this recipe. It calls for more time and effort than any other side dish on this list, but the outstanding quality makes it worth it.
Although eggplant parmesan is rich and savory, it’s still recommended with a bowl of creamy garlic soup, especially when the weather is cold and rainy. This soup is comforting and heartwarming, just what you need to complete a meal. Also, it takes only 45 minutes to prepare and cook.