What To Serve With Mac And Cheese
Gooey mac and cheese is the ideal comfort food and is also a solid staple found in many households. However, pairing it with side dishes to turn it into a complete meal can be tricky. The perfect mac and cheese side dishes are those that offer contrasting textures, flavors, and ingredients. Although the most important factor is probably the color, the mac and cheese sides must complement the plate of beige and yellow. Therefore, think beyond mashed potatoes and cornbread.
Here we have listed out our top ideas for what goes well with mac and cheese. You are sure to find something that pairs perfectly with your cheesy plate of pasta from crispy green salads to zingy coleslaw. Ready to explore those recipes’ Let’s get started!
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1Fresh veggie salad
When you are thinking of what to serve with mac and cheese, the first idea that usually pops in mind is the “goes with anything” salad. This colorful and light dish beautifully balances the richness of the main dish. What makes it even more appealing is that it takes minimum effort and delivers maximum flavors.
You can simply chop up a fresh iceburg lettuce before stirring in a wide array of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, stuffed peppers, radishes, green and red onions. You can also throw in your favorite protein, such as bits of bacon, ham, or shredded chicken.
You can add a bit of sweetness by putting in some mangoes or mandarin oranges. If you wish to make it crunchier, add nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews. Finally, tie the whole dish together with your favorite dressing. You can experiment with anything from caesar dressings and creamy ranch to balsamic vinaigrette and tangy honey mustard.
As mac and cheese is such a creamy and decadent dish, serving it with a green vegetable will help cut down its richness. Broccoli is one such vegetable that pairs very well with mac and cheese. To enhance the flavor of the broccoli, give it a smoky char by roasting it to perfection.
It is very simple to do. Just chop the broccoli florets, top it with some feta cheese and slices of red onion and drizzle a small quantity of olive oil. Next, toss them in the gas oven (Or into your gas smoker if you want a really authentic taste) and roast it at a temperature of 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.
While the use of fresh broccoli is recommended, you can use the frozen if need be. They can be popped in the oven along with the mac and cheese. This way, they will be ready at the same time.
If you want to have something crunchy along with your mac and cheese, then go for coleslaw. It will round up your dinner perfectly. Also, it is super easy to make. For making the coleslaw, finely chop some carrots and cabbage first. Then mix it with diced onion, white vinegar, poppy seeds, sugar, and salt. Finally, add some mayonnaise and whisk them all together. You can also add some spice to the dish by putting in freshly ground black pepper.
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To make the coleslaw more colorful, try using purple or red cabbage along with the green. The bright mix of colors, along with the mac and cheese, will surely make your dinner Instagram worthy!
If you are short on time, you can just use a pre-made coleslaw mix. Don’t worry! This shortcut does not compromise the taste of the dish.
4Eggs baked in tomato cups
This is a fun and delicious side that tastes great with the main dish. It brings an interesting addition to an otherwise ordinary meal. The deep red color contrasts beautifully with the yellow mac and cheese.
To make this, it is important to choose tomatoes that are round, plump, and firm. This will ensure that they retain their shape after being hollowed out. Start by preheating the oven to 425°F. Then remove the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Next, place the tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle some pepper, salt, and small pinches of cheese.
Now comes the fun part! Crack an egg inside each tomato and sprinkle pepper, salt, cheese, and herbs into it. If you like eating a soft yolk, bake it for 20 minutes; otherwise, let it bake for 30 to 35 minutes for a firmer yolk.
5Roasted asparagus with scrambled egg toast
If you are looking for tasty tummy-filling mac and cheese side dishes, roasted asparagus with scrambled egg toast is an excellent idea. This is a quick and healthy recipe that does not require much prep work. Just a few simple ingredients that blend well to create a lovely dish.
To get on with the dish, layer the asparagus on a skillet and pour a few drops of virgin oil. Season it with pepper and salt. Saute for a couple of minutes till the asparagus is roasted. Next, toast the bread and spread some butter on it. To make the scramble, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Take a pan, melt butter, and then pour the egg mixture. Stir well and allow it to cook.
For assembling the dish, place half a slice of cheese on the buttered toast and put a few spears of roasted asparagus on top. Voila! Your scrumptious side is ready!
6Ham and bean soup
Although it may sound unusual, ham and bean soup do make a great mac and cheese side. The only drawback is the time. The recipe does take a few hours to complete, but it is worth the effort.
Begin by first rinsing the beans and adding it to a large pot with boiling water and salt. Let the beans sit in it for an hour. After 60 minutes have passed, bring the pot to a boil and put in the ham bone, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, and mustard. Stir for some time and then reduce the flame and let it simmer for another hour.
Finally, take the ham bone out and discard it. Add chopped ham and stir. Allow it to simmer for another half hour and then season it with freshly ground white pepper.
Next up on the list of what to eat with mac and cheese is sauteed spinach. This is another stress-free recipe that tastes amazing. If you think it’s going to be mushy and lifeless, think again! The aroma of olive oil infused with garlic will make your taste buds tingle. Also, the slight drizzle of lemon juice will brighten the dish up. The fresh and vibrant taste is so good that you will be reaching for seconds!
To make sauteed spinach, first, wash the leaves thoroughly in cold water. Heat oil in a large pan and sautee the garlic for a minute. Add the spinach, black pepper, and salt and give it a good mix. Cover it with a lid and allow it to cook till done. Then transfer it to a serving bowl and top it with a dollop of butter and a generous squeeze of lemon. Serve hot!
8Chicken Caesar Salad
Do you have leftover cooked chicken lying in your fridge? If yes, you can use it to make a tasty chicken caesar salad to serve along with mac and cheese.
To prepare the salad, first, shred the chicken and combine it with lettuce and bell peppers in a large bowl. Prepare the vinaigrette, take oil, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir the mixture well using a whisk. Pour this over the salad and toss it well. Sprinkle with cheese and croutons. Gently mix it to combine well with other ingredients.
9Skillet pepper steak
This recipe is one among the mac and cheese side dishes that can be cooked under 15 minutes. Also, it does not leave behind a trail of dirty dishes! Begin by taking a large skillet and adding in some oil. Next, place the steak on the skillet and season it with pepper and salt. Stir-fry the steak until browned on the exterior. Transfer it into a medium bowl. Add rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes. Toss it all together until well combined.
In the same skillet, heat some oil and put in sliced bell peppers and garlic. Cook it until it is tender. Once done, gently push the bell peppers on one side of the skillet and place the steak on the other side. Garnish the steak with sesame seeds and scallions.
10Chinese cucumber salad
If you are looking for something light to pair with your creamy mac and cheese, why not try the Chinese cucumber salad. Made using smashed cucumbers, minced garlic, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, the flavors are surely going to bowl you over. It just takes 5 minutes to prepare and reach the dinner table.
Smash the cucumbers and cut them into small pieces. Transfer into a bowl and add minced garlic, vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and salt. To add a hint of chili, use chili oil to taste. Mix well and serve immediately.
With that, it’s a wrap! Apart from the dishes listed in the article, you can also explore many other flavor combinations and choose from a variety of vegetables and protein additions. But before you do that, give this delectable collection of mac and cheese side dishes a try as it will surely not disappoint!