What to Serve with Chicken Marsala: 13 Sides to Die For
With its creamy, rich, and deeply savory sauce, silky mushrooms, and the unique, nutty caramelized taste of marsala wine, chicken marsala is a classic Italian preparation that pleases the masses.
What can we say? Chicken marsala fills our hearts to the brim with both love and deliciousness.
Is it the marsala, that complex Sicilian fortified wine that lends this classic dish its name? Is it the thin chicken cutlets seared and caramelized in a good hot pan? Or is it the deep umami of the browned mushrooms?
The honest answer is that what we love about chicken marsala is how all these elements come together with the fond in the pan to make the most luscious and delicious pan sauce.
That sauce is really what transforms those individual elements into transcendent star quality that leaves us all swooning.
That said, though, we want more than just the star actor on the plate. We want a well-rounded supporting cast. We want some really great chicken marsala side dishes. The sides really make the plot come alive.
When we think about what to serve with chicken marsala, most of us will first think of a warm bed of flat, wide noodles.
There’s something absolutely perfect about the combination. That precious sauce gets caught up on the noodles in a truly satisfying way.
But there are so many other starches and sides that work if you’re looking to stretch your boundaries.
Think gently seasoned starches – from rice to potatoes or orzo to bread – that can soak up that sauce and spread the love around.
And there are many other side dishes that can round out the meal nicely too.
Think distinctive vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or broccolini that will bring some textural contrasts but also complement the marsala sauce.
Whatever you do, there’s no reason to be timid.
Sometimes you want to switch it up. Sometimes you want to buck the trends. And sometimes you get a little more adventurous.
What Goes with Chicken Marsala: Let the List Begin!
We’re here to help you find both the perfect classic routes as well as some roads less traveled. It’s time for some chicken marsala magic with just the right pairings.
Sure, chicken marsala is often served with noodles, but it’s okay to play with your food – and your side dishes.
So, send that pasta packing and get thee some polenta.
And what’s even more fun is all these flavors work beautifully with the flavors and textures of polenta.
It’s corny, buttery, cheesy, goodness at its finest! Warm creamy polenta soaking up the marsala wine and mushroom sauce is pure bliss.
Jo over at Jo Cooks has a great version. Grab the recipe here: jocooks.com
2. SKIN-ON MASHED POTATO WITH BACON
Sometimes a marsala dish will be gussied up with a bit of crunchy fried pancetta. Because, why not? It’s a pretty out-of-this-world flavor profile!
The combination of salty meat and cream makes us hold on to the back of a dining room chair for stability when we see it on a platter on the table.
Wowza. That looks good.
But what if the salty meat wasn’t on the plate with the chicken. What if it was on the side, atop a perfectly mashed skin-on potato? Hello, bacon!
Well, that would be pretty magnificent too.
Grab Deborah’s delectable recipe over at Taste and Tell: tasteandtellblog.com
3. BROWN RICE
When it comes to rice, we don’t just like brown rice – we drop to our knees and sweep our hat in brown rice’s direction.
Good day, Good Sir! We applaud your presence!
We love the nutty and savory flavors that it provides. As you can imagine, we also love it with chicken marsala.
The earthiness loves the mushrooms in the sauce, and together they create an explosion of flavor.
Take a look at a fun way to prepare it from Bridget’s Kitchen below.
4. ASPARAGUS PARMESAN RISOTTO
When we get a hankering for chicken marsala, sometimes that urge goes hand-in-hand with our thoughts turning to a simple spring-like risotto.
Mmmm. Winey chicken, bright asparagus, sharp parmesan – oh, yeah.
There’s just something about the slow cooked arborio rice with veggies and herbs that makes it the perfect pairing for chicken in a rich wine sauce.
Chicken marsala would love to boogie with this colorful rice dish. Let’s get them together on the dinner plate dance floor, shall we?
There’s so many ways to prepare this vegetable – you can even choose asparagus as an appetizer for the same wonderful effect.
Grab Gaby’s delicious recipe here: whatsgabycooking.com
5. NO-KNEAD ROLLS
When it comes to what goes with chicken marsala, one of the “must haves” is something to sop up that gorgeous wine-filled, succulent, mushroomy sauce.
And by “something to sop up the sauce with,” what we mean is some really, really, crispy sourdough rolls. We love a good crunch on the outside, with a pillowy texture on the inside.
The tactile pleasure of ripping apart the roll and getting little bits of the crust on the plate, while dipping pieces of the roll into the sauce is, well, a wonder to behold.
Here’s a fun recipe from Jenny for no-knead rolls that fits the bill.
6. GRILLED FENNEL
We love the anise flavor of fennel. There’s just something fresh and savory – nay, may we even say, decadent – about the freshness in that bulb that elevates everything it comes into contact with.
And we love it grilled. When fennel has some char, it brings out succulent flavors and makes it positively swoon worthy.
Now, picture that grilled fennel covered in herbs, lemon, and parmesan, and you get what we’re talking about. Just think about all that goodness sitting next to chicken marsala.
Pure delightfulness on a plate.
Grab Marie’s recipe from Proud Italian Cook here: prouditaliancook.com
7. EASY ROASTED BROCCOLINI
Mmm, hmm. There’s just something a little magical about bright and fresh broccolini that makes us want to pair it with everything.
Now, don’t think that we’re just all about appearances. We’re not that shallow.
We love broccolini’s mellow, sweet taste. It’s a little earthy, a little mild, and packs a lot of lick smacking deliciousness.
But let’s face it, it looks pretty darn good as a compare and contrast on the plate with the richly hickory-hued sauce of chicken marsala.
And when it’s tossed with garlic and kissed with a little umami rich tamari – well that just makes it all the better.
Here’s a fun recipe from Jordan and Clark over at The Fitchen: thefitchen.com
8. PARMESAN PETITE RED POTATOES
We love buttery potatoes. We also love the diminutive size of petite baby potatoes. So, whenever we get the chance, we love to combine the two.
Buttery goodness in every small bite.
And potatoes are the perfect vehicle for the rich marsala sauce.
Especially when they’re herby and a little cheesy.
Grab the knife and let’s start chopping, we have the perfect side to get on a sheet pan.
Baby parmesan and butter potatoes.
The Brown Eyed Baker, aka Michelle, has a great recipe here: browneyedbaker.com
9. LEMON JASMINE RICE
Lemony rice is perhaps one of the best types of rice. Little grains of starch love to be coated in a touch of zest for the perfect the lively flavor combination.
And of course, that brightness is the perfect counterpoint for the rich marsala sauce.
Bite after the bite of the two together, just makes us want to have a third bite.
And a fourth.
We like this recipe quite a bit, because it’s not just lemony – it’s also herby.
Herby and lemony.
Just the way we like our grains.
Check out Denise’s recipe here at Sweet Peas and Saffron: sweetpeasandsaffron.com
10. CAPRESE WITH PESTO
Fresh, light, and tangy, caprese salads are quite often on the table next to our favorite main dishes.
The combination of colors and textures are a guaranteed winner. Every. Time.
Soft and sweet tomatoes, rich and creamy mozzarella, anise-ey basil, and sweet and tart balsamic all marry perfectly into each perfect bite.
But what if we upped our caprese game? What if we doubled our basil fun and threw in some pasta to boot?
Hmm. That sounds pretty good. Quite excellent in fact, and it creates one of the finest choices for what sides go with chicken marsala.
So, pile your plate high with chicken marsala and follow it with a bite of caprese salad.
You’ll be happy you did.
Grab Kelly’s enticing recipe right here: http://foodtasia.com
11. SPINACH SALAD WITH CRISPY PANCETTA AND CANDIED NUTS
Salads are another perfect side for chicken marsala. And they don’t need to just be simple fresh green salads. They can be complex and filled with contrasting flavors and textures.
Marsala can stand up to the biggest, brightest, and boldest salads.
So, when we ran across this salad, we thought it would be a fantastic addition to a hearty Italian meal.
Salty pancetta, fresh spinach, and slightly sweet nuts, all tossed in a creamy lemon dressing elevates the earthy chicken marsala sauce.
Give this a shot. You’ll be psyched you did.
Grab Natasha’s beautiful recipe here: saltandlavender.com
12. GREEN BEAN ALMONDINE
While we know marsala can handle complex side dishes, there’s nothing wrong with a simple classic side sharing the plate either.
And green beans are the perfect base for a wonderfully fresh side dish.
But let’s help them up their game, shall we?
Let’s start with butter.
And then let’s add some crispy almonds into the mix.
Now let’s toss them together, and let the flavors shine, shine, shine.
Check out Kim’s amazing recipe over at Low Carb Maven: lowcarbmaven.com
13. SPINACH WITH GARLIC AND LEMON
Elegance isn’t just relegated to a simple little black dress and pearls.
“Elegance” should – in fact – be sautéed spinach’s nickname.
It goes with everything, and it’s a classic.
Elegant spinach dresses up everything in its vicinity with its simplicity.
And when you toss in some garlic and lemon – well – that’s just gilding the proverbial lily, isn’t it? Tart lemon and savory garlic make everything good even better.
Bowl of Delicious has a perfect version. Grab Elizabeth’s recipe here: bowlofdelicious.com
What to Serve with Chicken Marsala: The Best of the Best Companions
We’ve talked delicious sides so far…but what about THE traditional combos? These are definitely worth mentioning with a little detail.
A CLASSIC FOR A CLASSIC
Even though we love to play around with some ideas more off the beaten path, there really is something insanely comforting about the well-loved combination of chicken marsala with a wide, rustic noodle.
The pasta catches the luscious sauce perfectly.
That said, there’s also no reason to stick to the boring, run-of-the-mill boxed pasta that we find ourselves reaching for all too often.
Handmade pasta is much simpler than most people think, and wide rustic noodles are simple to make even without a pasta maker. You can do it with just a rolling pin. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.
And the difference in texture will make you wonder why you didn’t learn to do it earlier.
Pappardelle is just one amazing noodle that will make you feel like a master pasta maker in no time. So, roll up those sleeves, crack an egg or two, and get rollin’!
Finish your artisanal creation with a touch of butter, plop that gorgeous chicken marsala on top, and transport yourself to Italy.
PERFECT PAIRINGS AREN’T SO HARD TO COME BY
What wine goes with chicken marsala?
It might seem natural to think a perfect wine pairing would be a glass of that same dry marsala you used in your sauce.
This particular bit of “common sense” pairing doesn’t work out very well in our experience, though.
For one thing, the flavors of chicken marsala as a whole are quite different than wine uncooked in your wine glass.
Also, a wine pairing should bring contrasts and complements.
You’re taking sips between bites, so a great accompaniment will break up the overarching flavors while adding a pleasant complexity – you’ll notice flavors you wouldn’t otherwise pick up on.
The substantial earthy flavors of chicken marsala work well with balanced full-bodied whites. Chardonnay, with its oak notes, is a nice combination.
Also, though it’s often true that white wine goes with chicken, chicken marsala is actually pretty heavy and earthy, so some soft supple reds can work nicely as well.
Lighter and medium bodied reds can be just the thing. Pinot noir is smooth and accessible, making a good match, as is a Beaujolais.
So, open up a good bottle of wine, and dig in to your main dish and the best choices for what to serve with chicken marsala for dinner tonight.
Related Meals, More Great Sides
Check out these side dishes for other chicken-based meals
- Chicken Picatta sides: If you love marsala you love you some piccata. Check out sides for this tasty dish.
- Chicken Pot Pie sides: This is one top comfort-food dish we all love.
- Jerk Chicken sides: If you haven’t had this in awhile (or ever!), now’s the time.
- Chicken Salad sides: Make this your main course, and try some tasty sides.