HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Side or salad w/ Grandma's Spaghetti & meatballs?

  • e

Hi all,

Inspired by the recent Weight Watchers discussion, I'd like to serve a vegetable side with classic spaghetti and meatballs to balance the meal. I have trouble imagining veggie sides that go well with a hearty pasta dish--ideas?

Here's what's in my fridge/cupboard:
boston lettuce
romaine lettuce
a red bell pepper
snap peas
sweet potatoes
frozen peas, frozen chopped spinach, frozen sweet corn
walnuts, pecans, other nuts
dried cherries, cranberries
assorted vinegars & oils


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A great side to Italian food is Swiss Chard sauteed with garlic.

    1. Chard sounds yummy!

      My go-to side dish is always carrots -- you can do them sweet (glazed with honey/brown sugar/maple syrup) or savory (with sauteed onions, garlic and parsley), or even tart (with lemon or orange juice). One nice thing about carrots is that you can make them in advance: prep them and steam them, then reheat them in the pan with the glaze or sauteed aromatics. They also hold in a heatproof dish in the oven quite well.

      1. can't get with carrots and spaghetti and meat balls. need something green for color balance. i'd go with a simple salad (selections from your list below) to start, or (my favorite) after, to cleanse the palate.

        boston lettuce
        romaine lettuce
        a red bell pepper
        assorted vinegars & oils

        2 Replies
        1. re: wonderwoman

          It doesn't get any better than spaghetti with a nice salad on the side. I wonder is there a way to do lower fat (in deference to the WW) Creamy Italian dressing. LOVE this dressing when eating salad with a nice hearty pasta.

          1. re: wonderwoman

            Wonderwoman suggested exactly what I was thinking of. Nothing goes better with spaghetti (IMHO) than a nice salad. You might even want to put some shredded carrot on the top of the salad for some additional color contrast.

          2. we always had a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette -- after the pasta.

            1. thank you for your suggestions--i think i will serve the green salad suggested by wonderwoman with the shredded carrot atop per Ted, and after the pasta course per hotoy. ruth, i love carrots too but i find it difficult to plate a cooked veggie with pasta--we love our pasta in big bowls. i will steal your sweet carrots idea tho--sounds delicious!

              any suggestions for dressings for wonderwoman's salad? i'm sick of my old standby balsamic vinaigrette (works nicely with baby greens but with romaine? not so much). also not big on creamy dressings b/c i and SO don't like mayo. thanks again!

              1. with a fairly heavy main course like spaghetti and meat balls, i just drizzle a good olive oil and red wine vinegar.

                1. How about the salty savory flavors of Mayfair Dressing on that Romaine/Boston mix. I really like it w/ pasta!

                  1 Stalk Celery
                  1 Medium Onion
                  2T Mustard
                  1T Peppercorns (Some like more)
                  1T MSG
                  2 Garlic Buds or 2T Minced Garlic
                  3 Eggs
                  1 Can Anchovies (Flat)
                  2 Cups Oil

                  Combine in blender and liquefy

                  1. Mushrooms sauteed in garlic, olive oil, sherry, parsley, and red pepper flakes

                    1. You could do some nice stuffed mushroom caps with spinach & garlic. Chop up the garlic and the mushroom stems, and saute them in olive oil, then add the spinach and saute till it wilts. Put it in a little bowl, and mix in a little bit of parmesan cheese if you want. Take the mushroom caps and saute them lightly on two sides, then stuff the spinach mixture in, and put them under the broiler for about five minutes.

                      1. Here's one for future reference, since it doesn't sound like you've got these items stocked. Last night I made spaghetti & meatballs and garlic bread and served a salad of arugula and a small handful each of edamame, chick peas and chopped celery, tossed with a fast vinaigrette of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice (Meyer, since we just picked the last lemons off the tree), salt and pepper. The SO loved it! The crunchiness of the celery and the pungency of the arugula went really well with the spaghetti and both the edamame and the chick peas added a little nuttiness.

                        Though I think romaine, red bell pepper and a just a few walnuts would go well alongside too.