What to Serve with Caprese Chicken: A Crowd-Pleasing Italian Meal
It’s said that the caprese salad, called ‘insalata caprese’ in Italian, was the creation of a mason who wanted to show the colors of the Italian flag in one plate.
The famed salad didn’t really take flight until the 1950s though, becoming a staple of cuisine in Capri from then on.
The tribute to the flag boasts red, white, and green in the form of ripe and luscious tomatoes, fresh thick slices of mozzarella, and garden-picked basil, creating a fabulous trio.
Somewhere along the line, these holy trinity of ingredients would find itself nestled between slices of bread to form a sandwich.
However, one of the best interpretations of this Italian salad is none other than caprese chicken.
Caprese chicken is a visually stunning and impressively tasting Italian dish that you can create any night of the week.
The simplicity of it lets the prime ingredients shine making for a no-fuss dinner that can impress for romance, a gathering of distinguished guests, or even a family meal.
As lovely as it is though, you’ll need to know what goes with caprese chicken that flatter it appropriately.
How many sides you serve will depend on how many will be dining around your table tonight, though if you’re tired of the same old stuff, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you want more carbs or more veggies, or even a little of both, you’ll have plenty to fill up everyone with happy and full bellies of amore!
Sides to Go with Caprese Chicken: Our Tasty Selections
Caprese chicken is a dish that balances protein with vegetables and dairy in a beautiful way.
The flavors play off of each other for a truly palate-pleasing meal.
These sides for caprese chicken will hold their own though without outshining the main dish.
1. Garlic Bread
We could hardly kick off this list without serving a classic Italian accompaniment to the meal.
Garlic bread is without a doubt a clear favorite choice.
For one, if you’re not using it to sop up the divine sauce or even as a vessel to load slices of chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil into your mouth, you’re just not living your best life.
For another, everyone loves it.
Even kids that complain when they find the tiniest sliver of garlic in their spaghetti sauce will eat their weight in garlic bread!
2. Spinach and White Beans
Spinach is often used in Italian cooking.
Look on the menu at your corner Italian restaurant and you’ll find dishes that are “Florentine” or served atop spinach.
It’s a great vegetable to go alongside your caprese chicken.
By adding white beans to it, you make it a bit more robust and filling.
Should you have any vegetarian or vegan guests joining you, this will give them something else to put on their plate.
Plus, for everyone else, you can have grated or shredded cheese on the side to let them help themselves.
Lindsay’s recipe at The Live In Kitchen is fantastically versatile to adapt to your own needs, plus it’s a quick, easy, and delicious side!
3. Pesto Pasta
No offense to tomato sauce, but why does it get all the love? Pesto sauce is such a nice alternative for a change.
The green basil-based sauce is an ideal match for serving with your caprese chicken.
You can keep your pasta on the side or pile the caprese chicken on top. Plus, any type of pasta could work with it.
Some people love linguine while others love pasta shapes.
We say go with what makes you happy, or at the very least, whatever happens to be in your pantry.
This side dish for caprese chicken can be on your table fast if you have a jar of pesto sauce.
You can make your own too with basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
It’s vegetarian, but if you need it to be vegan, you can leave out the cheese or simply choose a vegan alternative like nutritional yeast.
4. Stuffed Mushrooms
Should you be having more of a fancy affair, perhaps a quiet dinner for two or on the opposite end of the spectrum, a big family dinner party, make stuffed mushrooms!
These elegant, bite-sized morsels of deliciousness always look pretty on your best serving platters.
There are many ways to stuff them too.
Generally, they feature breadcrumbs and cheese, though you’ll also find them stuffed with crab meat, sausage, and other delights.
We love stuffed mushrooms because you can make them completely vegan or load them up with meat-loving ingredients.
Getting the technique right is important no matter what you put into them though.
This video by Laura in the Kitchen shows you how to do it right!
5. Parmesan Risotto
Some people just can’t get enough cheese. Confession: we’re those people!
Yes, caprese chicken has cheese in it, but a perfectly cooked parmesan risotto is a brilliant idea.
It’s also kid-friendly just in case you’ve got a younger crowd to please, especially the kind that turn up their button noses to anything that isn’t mac n’ cheese.
The trick to pulling off risotto is stirring and attending to its every need.
If you can do that, you’ll have creamy, perfectly cheesy risotto that will make for a superb caprese chicken side dish.
By the way, check out what you can serve with risotto for more inspiration.
Take it from Emily Grace at Grace & Good Eats who takes the intimidation factor out of making this classic Italian side!
6. Zucchini Tart
Zucchini is used quite a bit in Italian cuisine.
It’s smashing in soups, easy to sauté for a side, and can even be turned into carb-free noodles.
Another thing you can do with it for an upscale serving is to make a zucchini tart.
The soothing green hues atop a flaky crust with a bit of cheese to tie it all in together are a nice way to combine vegetables and carbs in one swift move.
With slightly overlapping layers of zucchini, it will make a fantastic impact on your table if you want to do something different for what to serve with caprese chicken!
7. Baked Stuffed Artichokes
Now, if you really want to pull out all the stops, we recommend serving baked stuffed artichokes with your caprese chicken.
These are definitely a labor of love, ideal for putting on the romance.
Perhaps for Valentine’s Day dinner in, an anniversary, or a date night, the sensual aroma of artichokes baking with garlic, parmesan, breadcrumbs, capers, and lemon will have you salivating.
Pro tip: to keep them from outshining the caprese chicken, choose smaller artichokes so you don’t get too full.
This is also what we recommend should you decide to serve these at a dinner party. You’ll thank us later!
8. Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
There’s something to be said for keeping it simple too. That’s why broccoli rabe makes a great side dish for caprese chicken.
It takes just a few minutes to put together. With fresh garlic and olive oil, you want to keep it from browning so you can still taste the freshness.
That’s the key to this side since the broccoli rabe should speak for itself in every bite.
If you’ve browned it, you’ll lose that immaculate taste so watch out!
Have you ever thought salad would be a whole lot easier to eat if it were made of bread?
In Italy, they apparently had that thought when they created Panzanella.
This Italian bread salad uses crusty bread, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and other bright ingredients (often cucumbers and olives) to create a simple yet unforgettable salad.
Yes, you’ve got similar ingredients in your caprese chicken, but Panzanella does tie the whole theme together rather well so give it a try!
If you want a meaty beginning to your meal, making an antipasto platter is a quick and easy way to have something waiting on the table when guests arrive.
Set out some wine and let everyone get acquainted while the caprese chicken bakes in your oven.
We love antipasto platters because they encourage light grazing, something that you really appreciate as a dinner guest.
It’s hard to keep your stomach from making loud, whale-like mating calls when you smell good food cooking.
Antipasto will keep everyone happy indeed!
You know how good risotto is, right? Well, what if you took it and made it into balls, rolled it in breadcrumbs and baked it until it was crispy?
That’s how you get arancini.
This heavenly Italian side dish works as a starter and is guaranteed to please everyone at the table.
Just a quick tip here though…make a lot of them for they will vanish seconds after you serve them.
The good news is that you can make them ahead and freeze them, so if you’re having a crowd, you won’t have to run yourself ragged right before everyone arrives!
12. Pasta Fagioli
Goodness! We almost finished our list of sides without a single soup!
Italian soups are some of the most comforting there are, and bite for bite, we’ve got to go with pasta fagioli on our recommendations.
It’s an extremely easy soup to make which uses a tomato and chicken broth base, cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, and plenty of seasonings to give it such a warm and welcoming flavor.
There are many versions of this soup that include meat, though with caprese chicken, you have the option of including meat or keeping it vegetarian.
You can even make it vegan if you use vegetable broth.
Gina at Skinny Taste has a great vegetarian-friendly recipe that you can make from start to finish in just 35 minutes!
13. Caesar Salad
With caprese chicken, a good crisp salad makes a nice side dish.
It’s easy to throw together in a pinch, especially if you get one of those last-minute calls that guests are joining you for dinner.
The key to a memorable Caesar salad isn’t just in the quality and freshness of the lettuce though.
It has everything to do with the dressing. Stop buying that stuff from the supermarket shelves and make your own.
Anchovies are what give a classic Caesar that amazing taste.
If you can’t stomach the thought of chopping anchovies up though, cheat and use anchovy paste which gives you the same flavor without all the fuss.
What to Serve with Caprese Chicken: Tips for Making and Serving
Now that we’ve got our caprese chicken side dishes sorted out, let’s tackle some tips for making it the best version of this favorite dish!
Make the mozzarella top quality
Since caprese salad shines on the quality of the holy trinity of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, don’t skimp on your cheese.
Buy a good brand of it, preferably in a large whole ball so you can slice it yourself.
You can use the mini mozzarella balls if that’s all you can find at the supermarket, but the quality of the cheese itself is what will impact your finished dish.
Tomatoes matter too
If you look at different recipes for caprese salad and hence, caprese chicken, you’re going to see a lot of types of tomatoes.
Which is the right one to use? Most chefs will go with vine ripened tomatoes or beefsteak, but we say to go with the freshest ones that are available to you.
They should be perfectly ripe, a nice bright red color, and firm without being too firm.
It’s a delicate balance, but if you get the ripeness right on the tomatoes, it won’t matter which type of tomato you choose.
Chiffonade your basil
While dried spices can come in handy in a pinch, please don’t use dried basil in your caprese chicken dish.
It will lack the depth that the fresh version brings. Additionally, you’ll want to chiffonade that fresh basil.
While it sounds fancy, it’s just a technique for slicing it that not only makes it pretty but reveals its best flavors.
Lucky for you, it is easy to do too. Simply remove the basil leaves from their stems and stack the leaves.
It works best if you put the larger leaves at the bottom, stacking around 10 leaves.
Then, roll up your basil leaf stack lengthwise and slice them all at once. Voila! Chiffonade!
Try it hasselback
Using the hasselback technique, which is to make small slices that don’t quite go all the way through, you can speed up the cooking time for your caprese chicken.
It also lends a pretty presentation with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil peeking out of every slice on the chicken breast.
Use pesto sauce in a hurry
While it’s not ideal, if you come home from work and have zero ideas about what to make for dinner tonight, you might be able to pull of caprese chicken.
If you have tomatoes, chicken, mozzarella, and pesto, you can throw it together.
It will be slightly different but no less delicious. And while the fresh mozzarella does work the best, even if you have shredded mozzarella, you can make it work.
Pair it with the right wine
Was today a particularly drab day at the office?
Or are you celebrating the end of the week with a nice caprese chicken dinner?
Either way, you can’t go wrong with a good bottle of wine. But which wine pairs well with caprese chicken?
- Barbaresco – Made with Nebbiolo grapes, this red wine is best from Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s a smashing unity with the tomatoes and chicken from the dish that thrive well from that oaked flavor.
- Valpolicella Ripasso – Another oaky red from Italy, this time in the Veneto region, it summons a different feel thanks to a medley of grape varietals.
- Sauvignon Blanc – You can also dare to be different by grabbing a wine that is best from Chile. Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white with an unoaked flavor. It adds mystique to your caprese chicken.
Build Your Own Caprese Chicken Sides to Complete Your Meal!
And now that we’ve covered all that, you can pick and choose from the 13 delectable side dishes above to form your own perfect caprese chicken dinner.
The arancini and stuffed mushrooms will be wonderful for a bigger gathering or even something quiet and romantic while the artichokes are best for fewer guests.
They can be time-consuming, but if you’re making a special meal, then go for it.
A nice salad, soup, bread, and any of the vegetables are great ideas for what to serve with caprese chicken, and can take this Italian meal and turn it into a proper feast!