Crispy skin on a pork belly, wrapped around a pork loin and seasoned with deeply fragrant Italian herbs and spices.
It sounds like a dream. But it’s real. And its name it porchetta. (And, just for the record, it’s pronounced “pork-etta.”)
Sometimes known in America as simply “Italian roast pork,” it also becomes the heart of a succulent and hearty porchetta sandwich.
Regardless of what you call it and whether you’re making a fancy, date-night dinner or making an amazing sandwich with leftovers, porchetta is worth all the effort.
It’s fennel-ey, rosemary-ey, herby, double meat-ed, and kissed with a little spice. What’s not to love?
Depending on your recipe, making porchetta can be quite a commitment. You’ll probably be either brining it or marinating it overnight to get the right depth of flavor and texture to the pork belly skin.
And once you’ve dedicated that kind of time and love into making such a delicious main dish, you’ll no doubt decide to put some extra thought into what to serve with porchetta.
In a way, though, a lot of the work to find the best side dishes in this case has already been done for you, because the main dish is so succulent, delectable, and full of flavor that your side dish has a light load to lift.
A simple starch or grain such as roasted potatoes or a seasoned rice can be really nice, as can a simple salad of greens. The main dish really can do the heavy lifting, if you want to keep your side dishes straightforward.
But with porchetta’s assertive flavors (from fennel and garlic to rosemary and sage) and textures (crispy pork skin and tender juicy meat), there are so many more flavors and textures to explore for the perfect side dish.
And, boy, do we have you covered with a host of ideas for the perfect sides.
Porchetta Side Dishes: One List to Rule Them All
Break out an apron, dust off that roasting pan, and gather up those herbs and spices. Because it’s time to get some porchetta sides going.
1. Dilly Roasted Green Beans and Fingerlings
Green beans and fingerling potatoes are the perfect plate dwellers for porchetta.
They cut through the richness of the layers of pork and bring a brightness from dill.
And by “dill” we mean an exorbitant amount of dill.
Enough to make you say, “Wow. That’s a lotta dill.”
Jackie over at Vegan Yack Attack has the roasted veggie combination of our dreams, with the perfect amount of dill.
2. Fall Harvest Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad
A double amount of pork in the porchetta means that we’re looking for a double amount of flavor in our side dishes. And we really, really, really love a hearty and colorful green salad on the plate next to the pork.
But when the greens are kale, and they’re topped with apples and pomegranate seeds – well that just makes the perfect base for the salad.
Combine all that goodness in a tart cider vinaigrette and we’re all in.
We found this recipe from Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest that checks all our boxes.
3. Baby Potato Salad
Sometimes food stuns us with its beauty.
And some meals are just loaded with whimsicality.
However, some ingredients just make us want to pinch them on the cheek (if they had one) because of their adorableness.
That’s how we feel about baby potatoes.
They’re insanely adorable.
But baby potatoes don’t just make us coo, they’re also creamy on the inside and absorb flavors like nobody’s business.
Flavors like bacon, and vinegar, and onion.
What would pair more perfectly than a salad from those delectable ingredients?
Check out the recipe from Olivia over at Olivia’s Cuisine for all the baby potato-ey goodness.
4. Braised Garlicky Fennel
Pork and fennel are a stellar combination. There’s just something about the anise flavor in fennel that brings out the best in pork.
And when the pork dish is pretty much the most festive pork dish in the world – yes, we’re looking at your porchetta – then fennel is a wonderful go-to in our mind.
But fennel doesn’t just shine on its own. It enjoys a little company in the pan while it’s being braised.
Which brings us to another friend of pork, which is garlic.
Check out this easy fennel and garlic recipe from Deborah over at Italian Food Forever to check out this homey side dish.
5. Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Mustard Caper Browned Butter
Sometimes when we’re looking for a side dish for a very rich main course we like to turn into the skid (as our high school driver’s ed teacher taught us) and instead of trying to negate the richness – we pair it with something rich bring out the subtler flavors of something like porchetta.
Which brings us to this thought.
Hello, browned butter!
Browned butter is succulent and when it’s combined with briny capers and bright mustard – well, we’ve got something pretty magical on the plate.
Check out Carol’s recipe over at From a Chef’s Kitchen for cauliflower in all its buttery glory.
6. Radicchio Fennel Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
We really love radicchio.
It brings the right amount of crunch to a salad.
There’s not a lot to dislike about this stunning little head of chicory.
It dresses up everything around it, even when the dish next to it is a lovingly crafted porchetta.
And when it’s combined with a little salty prosciutto, it ties the whole plate together.
We found a recipe from Kayla over at The Original Dish that makes us very, very happy.
7. Italian Salsa Verde
Porchetta loves herbs. It’s just a fact of life.
And when those herbs are tossed in a bowl with garlic and citrus, plus a wink and a nudge of heat – well, that makes it all the better.
Which made us think that we’d like to search out an Italian salsa verde for our porchetta.
And we found one that we really dig from Danielle over at Our Salty Kitchen that made us run into the kitchen looking for a knife to start chopping parsley with.
*Note, we ran into the kitchen looking for a knife. However, because our Mama’s taught us well, we didn’t run with the knife in our hand.
8. Creamy Parmesan White Bean Stew with Spicy Greens
Thick. Hearty. Creamy.
We do love a good bean stew. Especially when it pleasantly surprises us with some unexpected loving ingredients.
What if the umami was kicked up a notch with anchovies?
What if there was a little smoky heat from paprika?
And finally, what if the savory notes were extended to the sky with a parmesan rind?
Well, well, well.
That would be pretty fantastic.
Think how perfectly this will rock the plate with a couple of slices of porchetta.
And that’s why we love this recipe we found from Jessica over at How Sweet Eats.
9. Garlic Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash
Not only do we love the colors, flavors, and textures of delicata squash, we also love the versatility that it provides.
Do you want it stuffed? Easy enough.
Do you want it diced? That’s simple to do.
How about sliced and tossed with some cheesy panko?
That sounds like one of the perfect porchetta side dishes.
Megan over at Country Cleaver has the 411 on how to get this side dish put together lickity split.
10. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
There’s something a little magical about hasselback potatoes. They look so elegant (and slightly complicated) when plated up – but they’re not difficult to make at all.
All a cook needs are a steady hand, (save the espresso for after dinner!), and a sharp knife.
Then whisk together some spices and oil, and voila!
You have a soft-in-the-middle and lightly crunchy-on-the-outside perfectly hasselbacked potato.
We found a lively and fun video with an impeccable technique for knife skills from the Impulsive Culinarian. Check it out right here.
11. Quinoa Salad with Cranberries
One of the things we love to pair with porchetta is dried cranberries. They’re so tart and bright that they cut through the savory richness of the meat to give us an insanely well-rounded bite of food.
And cranberries in a salad is always, always, always a winning combination.
But when cranberries and quinoa are tossed together with lemon and salty feta? Well, that’s just pure joy on a plate.
Think how much your porchetta is going to enjoy being paired with this.
Mmmmm. This is what to serve with porchetta. Oh, yeah.
Check out Erin’s recipe from Erin Lives Whole, for all the clean bright flavors here.
12. Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Thyme
Whole baked rainbow carrots are one of our favorite side dishes.
They give the plate an explosion of color and flavor, and make you feel like you’re gazing on a roasted work of art.
(Is “roasted work of art” a section in the Smithsonian? If not, it should be.)
And roasted carrots take to herbs like it’s no one’s business.
Thyme + carrots = deliciousness.
Thyme + carrots + porchetta = dinner perfection.
Grab Samantha’s recipe over at Five Heart Home for some rainbow carrot love.
13. Red Cabbage with Bacon
Salty bacon, savory purple cabbage, tart apples, and tangy vinegar are a joy to contemplate in a dish.
It makes your mouth water just thinking about them tossed together.
And the briny flavors are magical when paired with porchetta.
The pungent rosemary in the pork adores all the savory and sweet flavors in traditional braised cabbage.
So, of course it’s also going to love this recipe, because it up’s the typical braised cabbage by adding texture on texture for the perfect bite.
All the other porchetta sides say, “Welcome to the club, yo!”
Check out Edyta’s recipe over at Eating European here.
What to Serve with Porchetta: Stunning Sandwich Sides and Toppers
We’ve covered a decent amount of ground, taking a deep dive into side dishes for this amazing Italian pork preparation, but what about the classic porchetta sandwich?
It’s not just a way to extend leftovers, the porchetta sandwich is superstar all on its own.
Deeply savory porchetta sliced and piled high on a ciabatta roll with a slice of cheese and some bitter greens – oh my, that is a sandwich to behold and indulge in.
So, that’s a stunning way to start an indulgent lunch or a casual dinner party. But then you ask yourself, what to serve with porchetta sandwiches?
Well, there are several different routes to try. Let’s start with toppers.
A sharp provolone and peppery arugula or slightly bitter broccoli rabe are classic toppers for porchetta sandwiches.
And the perfect condiment really is a classic Italian salsa verde or gremolata, but a little spicy mustard or lemony, herby aioli never hurt either.
Quick-pickled fresh vegetables, like onions, cucumbers, or peppers can add a nice extra crunch and refreshing acidity.
Classic sandwich sides like crispy chips or French fries can be nice with your porchetta sandwich. But, there are other possibilities too.
A small side salad, like fennel and orange or arugula and microgreens, can cut the richness of the sandwich in just the right way.
Pairings for Porchetta: Wines to Serve with Your Pork
For a classic dish from Italy, it’s almost a no-brainer that Italian red wines are really the perfect place to start your pairing adventures.
From the heart of Tuscany and made from the mouthwatering sangiovese grape, chianti classico is a great, mildly acidic pairing with porchetta.
A medium-bodied, slightly fruity sangiovese-merlot blend can also be a nice pairing as well.
And, while sticking to wines from the country that the recipe originated from can be a good rule of thumb, all rules really were meant to be broken, right?
Perhaps a more full-bodied California merlot is just the right way to break the rules.
So, whether you’re making sandwiches or a hearty dinner, you won’t regret choosing porchetta as your centerpiece.
And, if you’ve read this far, now you don’t need to worry about what to serve with porchetta anymore. Now, get out there and get cooking.
What to Serve with Porchetta
- Green Beans
- Apple & Kale Salad
- Potato Salad
- Garlicky Fennel
- Cauliflower Steaks
- Radicchio Salad
- Salsa Verde
- White Bean Stew
- Delicata Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Quinoa Salad
- Rainbow Carrots
- Red Cabbage
- Choose your desired Porchetta side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Porchetta side to complete your meal!