With its mild, gently sweet flavor and meaty texture, swordfish is one of the most versatile and satisfying seafoods around.
With that hearty bite and subtle taste with little or no oily, fishy flavor, it’s also a great way to appeal to those who aren’t big fans of fish.
But fish lovers love it too! And why not? There are few things tastier or more substantial than a grilled or broiled swordfish steak.
Still, unlike so many other fish options, swordfish is also substantial enough to hold up to stews and longer preparations. Deliciously versatile.
And good quality swordfish takes sauces and marinades really well. It also loves fresh herb flavors and can handle even assertive herbs like rosemary and sage.
While you can use a broad palette of flavors, a little restrain can sometimes be in order, though. You don’t want to overpower the gentle flavor, you want to enhance it.
Keeping your flavors relatively simple and straightforward is a great way to feature the natural qualities of this succulent and delicious fish.
But once you’ve nailed down the flavor profile you want to use, there’s still the question of what to serve with swordfish.
Because, after all, context is king and every meal is about more than just the central player. James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, but where would he be without his “funky drummer?”
So, whether you’re using a simple citrus, herb, and olive oil preparation or you’re exploring more complex regional flavors from around the world, you want the perfect supporting player to bring out all the best grooves in your swordfish.
Maybe some grilled veggies with that grilled swordfish?
Or, what about something a little tropical to wake up the palate?
Then again, maybe a little crunch is just the thing to play off that tender, succulent meatiness?
All these tradewind routes, and many more, are worth exploring to find the best accompaniment for your swordfish dinner. And we’re here to guide you in your exploration, with a list of side dish ideas to get you going.
What to Cook with Swordfish: A Luscious List of Delish
So, grab your harpoon and your sunscreen, because we’re heading out to sea to bring home a catch of side dishes that will bring your swordfish alive on the plate.
1. Veggie Kabobs
Meaty and mild swordfish loves to be grilled. But you don’t want it to get lonely on the grill, do you? No, of course you don’t. Give it some company on that grill.
So, why not make everyone’s favorite grilled side to serve along with it?
Veggie and fruit kabobs make the whole world sing in joy. Potatoes, onions, peppers, and pineapple marinated in a sweet and savory sauce is pure perfection on the plate.
Grab Chuck’s recipe at Brand New Vegan and be prepared to fall in love.
2. Tangy Vinegar Based Slaw
We love a good hit of tang in our swordfish sides. And a coleslaw with a big, bold, white vinegar dressing fits the bill perfectly.
Feel the pucker power!
And we love using pre-shredded cabbage mixes for our coleslaw because that helps us get dinner on the table in a flash.
So, we went looking for a salad that had ease of prep – but that didn’t sacrifice on huge flavor.
And we found it from Paula at Call Me PMC. Your swordfish will love this salad!
3. Salsa Verde
Grab that mortar and pestle, and fire up that food processor.
Because we love, love, love a brightly-hued and spicy salsa verde with our swordfish.
Two kinds of hot peppers.
Along with raw and cooked garlic. (Yes, we like both kinds, in a nod to The Blues Brothers.)
This is the perfect salsa to make your grilled swordfish sit up and take notice.
We love this recipe from Janet at Jauja Cocina Mexicana, and we think you will too.
4. Mustard Greens Salad
Peppery mustard greens make the perfect base for a side salad for swordfish.
So. Much. Flavor.
And when the greens are tossed with fruit and nuts, well that means that dinner is going to be fabulous.
We found a recipe from Gabi at Honest Fare for a salad that can stand up to – and complement – grilled swordfish.
It’s loaded with pears, pecans, and parmesan and tossed in a thyme-ey, lemony vinaigrette. Who wouldn’t want that on the plate?
5. Mango Salsa
Sweet, bright, tangy, spicy, and citrusy salsa waits for no man – or woman – or child.
Or piece of swordfish.
It’s the jewel of the table even when it’s a side dish. But is mango salsa that’s loaded with avocado and jalapeno ever really relegated to just a supporting role on the table?
We think not.
It shines brightly for the world to see.
And we found a recipe from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen that’s the perfect companion to grilled swordfish. Or, is the swordfish the companion to the salsa?
6. Grilled Tomato “Lollipops” with Ricotta Toast
We think grilled cherry tomatoes are the cat’s meow.
And swordfish loves them too.
The natural sweetness is enhanced ten-fold once they’re gently removed from the grill playing beautifully against the mild flavor of the fish.
And we also love grilled cherry tomatoes on a slice of crusty bread that’s been slathered with ricotta.
So, if your swordfish is feeling like it will benefit from sweet tomatoes and tangy ricotta, we say, go for it! You’ll be happy you did.
Grab the recipe from Todd and Diane over at White on Rice Couple.
7. Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf
Earthy mushrooms play well with everyone – and especially swordfish. The meaty, umami qualities of the mushrooms really complements the flavor of swordfish.
“Oh, hello, Swordfish! I really like the cut of your jib!”
That bit of whimsy aside, a hearty mushroom pilaf is a fabulous side dish for swordfish.
And we found a fabulous recipe from Shawn at I Wash You Dry. So, grab that rice, garlic, and thyme and get cooking!
8. Sautéed Beet Greens
We love beet greens, because they’re savory and oh-so-slightly-bitter in the best way possible. They’re also stunning, and who doesn’t like to look at beautiful food?
Not us. Bring on the beauty, we say!
And we don’t just utilize the greens, we also like to sauté the stems for an extra bit of brightly hued flavor.
Here’s a good recipe from Maria at Maria Ushakova that will walk you through all the beet goodness.
9. Southwest Quinoa Salad
If our swordfish feels like it wants a hearty companion, we love to pair it with a good quinoa salad.
And if the quinoa salad has veggies and beans – well – that makes it all the better.
Swordfish also likes a light touch of heat, so we thought some garlic and chili powder would round out the salad quite well.
We have some other necessary requirements to fulfill, though.
Is it beautiful? Hopefully it’s well-rounded and filling? And is it absolutely bursting with flavor?
We were psyched to find this recipe from Kristine at Kristine’s Kitchen Blog that checks all those boxes.
When it comes to swordfish side dishes, this salad is transcendent.
10. Corn on the Cob
If your swordfish is craving a little kiss of smoky flavor, may we introduce you to our friend grilled corn?
It’s smoky, savory, sweet, and cooks in its own husk – which makes it feel like a birthday.
“Oooh, what’s in the package? I think I know!”
Why, yes. What’s in the package is perfectly charred corn.
We found a great recipe from Rachel at The Stay at Home Chef that explains how to give swordfish the perfect plate mate.
11. Best Tossed Salad with Avocado Dressing
We love a good salad with our swordfish.
But what we have in mind for dinner tonight isn’t just a “good” salad, we’re in the mood for the best salad.
A salad with homemade crispy croutons, romaine lettuce, and a ton of veggies. We’d also like it to have a pop of tang, and some seeds for little nuggets of texture.
Well, we found just what we were looking for from Sonja and Alex at A Couple Cooks. Grab it here for all the salad joy.
12. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto
Swordfish enjoys being served with pasta.
But what if we upped the game by substituting pasta for zucchini? And then tossed it with a rich, garlicy pesto with some seriously bright red wine vinegar undertones?
Well, that would be fantastic.
So, yeah, when we think of what to cook with swordfish, our hands don’t always reach for the boxed pasta. Sometimes, we prefer to reach into the crisper.
Here’s a recipe from Kate at Cookie and Kate that’s perfect for a Wednesday night meal.
13. Grilled Corn Salad
Swordfish gravitates toward bright color and bright flavor.
So, it doesn’t hurt if the color and flavor are also loaded with citrus and a ton of smoky grilled corn. Because, we all love that.
And if the salad also has some peppery arugula and fresh, citrusy cilantro, well that just brings it to a whole new level.
We found a recipe from Erin at Well Plated that practically vibrates off the plate with pure joy.
What to Serve with Swordfish: Apps That Make Us Happy
Even with so many side dish options, this really is just the beginning of ideas for what to pair with your swordfish.
One place to start, of course, is at the beginning – appetizers. But what appetizers should you serve to get your swordfish dinner off to the right start?
Well, again, it’s best to start at the beginning, assess the foundation, and get right down to basics. Such as really considering…
What does swordfish taste like?
It seems like a simple question, but that subtly sweet flavor, mild ocean quality, and meaty texture really does suggest certain combinations.
Bright acidic flavors like lemon, orange, and lime have a natural affinity for swordfish and most other seafood. Briny accents like capers and olives can also perk up the palate in a perfect way.
In fact, here’s our list of favorite seasonings for swordfish you can use if you’re up for trying something new.
In general you can go for bright, light flavors in your appetizers as well.
Think crostini topped with lemon-kissed asparagus. Or a simple antipasto featuring caperberries, giardiniera, and a few cured meats – perhaps shaved prosciutto.
Maybe you’re using tropical flavors, like mango or papaya, in your main course?
This leads to playing with similar notes in your starting course. So, what about grilled pineapple and sweet pepper skewers or a salad featuring dragon fruit?
And this all raises another good – and eminently tropical – question. Are you in the mood for a passion fruit sangria?
Sounds decidedly delicious to us. Don’t mind if we do.
Beverages to Chill With
And while we have the white wine out, let’s talk some beverage pairings.
A classic mojito, for one, pairs incredibly well with grilled swordfish.
And let’s face it – you can’t go wrong with a beer.
A very cold, a very light, a very crisp beer as you man – or woman – the grill is the perfect right-or-left-hand beverage. A pilsner or citrusy wheat beer will do nicely, thank you very much.
And when you get that fish off the grill, let’s talk final touches.
If your main swordfish dish leans into Asian flavors – indulge in luscious lime and bright cilantro. Not only are they visually stunning and succulent, they also add the perfect finishing touch to any fish dish.
Note: Those pair perfectly with southwestern flavors too. How amazing is that? Or as the kids call it, “a twofer.”
(Do kids still say that? Did kids ever say that? Don’t ask us, we still say “bounce.” As in, “we’ve gotta bounce to go check on our swordfish.” Look, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, we’re just trying to get “bounce” back into the common vernacular and talk about swordfish. Don’t judge.)
And finally, even better, swordfish is also a relatively sustainable choice of seafood. This is particularly true of North Atlantic swordfish, which is among the most sustainable choices available.
That said, you don’t get to eat it every day. Restraint is the name of the game.
So, when it comes to what to serve with swordfish our opinion is that there’s a whole world of dishes and flavors to choose from.
And don’t forget to chill that beer – and fire up that Weber.
More great side dish ideas for…
- Tuna Steaks: This is one other classic seafood that tastes divine when grilled. Check out our list of sides for it now.
- Halibut: If you like swordfish, you know your doors (mouth) is always open for an outstanding halibut meal.
What to Serve with Swordfish
- Veggie Kabobs
- Vinegar Slaw
- Salsa Verde
- Greens Salad
- Mango Salsa
- Grilled Tomato
- Mushroom Pilaf
- Beet Greens
- Quinoa Salad
- Corn on the Cob
- Tossed Salad
- Zucchini Noodles
- Corn Salad
- Choose your desired Swordfish side dish recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty Swordfish side to complete your meal!